17 January 2008

Macaroni & Cheese the Granddaddy of Comfort Foods ...Eh!!!!!

If you were a fan of SCTV (Second City TV) in the '80's you will remember Bob & Doug McKenzie a pair of fictional Canadian brothers who hosted "The Great White North". Bob was played by Rick Moranis and Doug was played by Dave Thomas. The Great White North" was originally known as "Kanadian Korner" that poked fun at Canadian stereotypes. As Canadians we don't mind poking fun at ourselves. We do say "Eh" when we want confirmation of what we just said instead of saying "right? or "OK?".

Bob and Doug were two dumb (brain-challenged) beer-swilling brothers wearing heavy winter clothing and toques, and would comment on various elements of Canadian life and culture. They frequently employed the interjection "Eh?" and derisively called each other a "hoser." Among the topics discussed were snow routes, the Canadian-built robot arm on the Space Shuttle, and "why there aren't enough parking spaces at take-out doughnut shops." These played on the stereotypes that we as Canadians have snow 12 months of the year, live in igloos and eat doughnuts. The sketch spawned the movie "Strange Brew". For a little nostalgia and a "blast from the past" visit their website here .

I feel comforted to be a Canadian (insert your own country here...), a diverse and cultural country.....which brings me to the reason for this post at all.

What foods do I think of when I think Canada? Well... maple syrup, Cheddar cheese, wild rice...to name a few. I'm sure you could come up with many more! I'm sure also that all of you have family recipes or foods with local ingredients that just ooze comfort to YOU no matter what part of the world you live in.

Macaroni and Cheese
Over at the Garden of Eating they are having a Comfort Food Cook-off for this month. What foods bring you comfort? Well for me there are many .... shepherd's pie, meatloaf, chicken soup...but the granddaddy of them all is macaroni and cheese!!!!!!!

My daughter dislikes all of the above and wears garlic around her neck if I even mention the word casserole. That is one reason why these foods are even more comforting for me if I do make them at all. I have frozen pies and casseroles in my freezer for when I feel the need...on our cold and blustery winter days!!!

When I was growing up I was rarely allowed in the kitchen. One thing I was able to cook was macaroni and cheese. For every cook there is another recipe. I have several dozen recipes of my own...and I love them all!!! Mac 'n' cheese can be a simple affair or twisted into something more gourmet. However I want to have it I love every creamy, luscious mouthful. I love being a Canadian (once again..insert your country here) and I love mac 'n' cheese!!!!!! As the highly successful Molson brewing company commercial slogan says I AM CANADIAN!!! Coo-roo-coo-coo-coo-roo-coo-coo!!!

You use only 1 tsp of the garlic paste in the dish. I used aged Canadian Cheddar and Emmenthaler because that is what I had on hand. I also had no broccoli...sad to say....

**Macaroni and Cheese Casserole**

3 tablespoons butter, unsalted (45ml)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (60ml)
3 cups milk (750ml)
2 cups chopped and cooked broccoli and/ or cauliflower florets (500ml)
1 1/2 cups penne or elbow macaroni(375ml)
1 1/2 cups shredded smoked applewood cheddar, gruyere or smoked mozzarella(375ml)
1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste (5ml)(see below)

Breadcrumb Topping

2 tablespoons butter, melted (30ml)
1 -1/2 cup Panko or fresh breadcrumbs (375ml)
1 tablespoon chopped, parsley (15ml)

Roasted Garlic Paste

1 head, garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil (15ml)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Cook pasta , in boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and return to pots.
Melt butter in a saucepan until bubbling. Add flour and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually add milk to flour mixture, whisking for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Add vegetables.

Add cheese sauce to pasta pot.

Divide mixture into 8 oz. ramekins.

In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, if using and butter. Top each ramekin with breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in centre of preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden.

A) Two casserole dishes can be used instead of individual ramekins.

B) Recipe can be used as a Quick Macaroni and Cheese – omit breadcrumbs and serve from saucepans.

Roasted Garlic Paste

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Cut top off garlic to expose cloves. Rub garlic with olive oil. Wrap in foil.

Bake in centre of oven, in a small baking dish for 45 minutes or until soft. Cool.

Squeeze out garlic into bowl and mash with fork. Refrigerate.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Val, Mac & Cheese is a fave from being a kid.

    Also, did you get a new camera? The pic looks great!;)

  2. I love homemade mac and cheese. And I hope to visit Canada one day. I did have a Canadian roommate once, though...

  3. Nope...not a new camera Peter...just some good advice :)
    Canada rocks Deborah!!!

  4. Lovely picture of the macaroni!
    I do love smoked applewood, but never thought of adding it! I had some tonight actually, on oatcakes, with a cat watching my every move. I didn't mind sharing, but neverly lost my hand a couple of times, due to his excitement.

  5. What's not to like? ;)

  6. Yay for Canada! Lovely version of an old favorite, Valli.

  7. Macaroni and cheese is great comfort food! Yours looks really good. I like the panko crust. The smoked applewood cheddar sounds really interesting. I will have to look for some.

  8. You hit the nail on the head! YUM!

  9. Well I can't comment on what it's like being a Canadian. Being Australian and all.

    But I can say that mac and cheese is the best. THE BEST. Who doesn't love it.

    Adding garlic paste is a great idea. I will be trying it out.

  10. I haven't had mac & cheese in forever and this sounds like a great take on it. I think you've just inspired me to make some!

  11. Yummeh! I made a mac and cheese casserole this week too, but it's because the hubz and I quit smoking and needed some good cocoon food. Mine had chicken and spinach in it, and crunchy french-fried onions on top. :P

  12. Who doesn't like pasta? I had to laugh when you said your daughter wears garlics around her neck... he, he, he!

    I think my first cooked dish was also pasta, but spaguetti.

    I'm sooooo proud I met you: A CANADIAN!!!!
    Also, and I'm finishing, Great Picture!!!!

  13. Val you are soooo right, comfort food for many = mac & cheese :D

  14. That recipe sounds delicious. I never make homemade mac and cheese. I guess I should start.

  15. I suspect mac and cheese will be the go to dish for a lot of people for this event, I know it is for me, eh?

  16. Beautiful mac and cheese! My husband is a fanatical SCTV fan. I have a closet full of old SCTV videos that he has been saving for over 20 years! He will not part with them.

  17. Mmmm yes mac and cheese is definitely one of my favourite foods and favourite comfort foods! I love trying any variation on it with different cheeses, veggies, spices, herbs, whatever. Yum!! Broccoli in mac and cheese is really good too. I think my favourite is made with old cheddar or aged white cheddar, and onions!

  18. I heart mac & cheese. I think it might be my favorite dish. Maybe.
    OF COURSE, it has to be homemade. Nothing from the box!

  19. HAHAHAHAHA! I remember those guys! Do you remember their Christmas carol? "And a beer! In a treeeeeeee." Thanks for the giggle down memory lane, Valli. :)

    OH! (duh, lol) And your macaroni looks delicous!!!

  20. Coo-roo-coo-coo-coo-roo-coo-coo Nikki!!!!

  21. Well that was 2008, so I'm a little bit late.

    It's now 2011 and I can cook this and be in dining heaven!


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