Sunday, October 17, 2010

cozy cooking

I’m a loyal member of team Glass Half Empty, but life’s been pretty good lately.

However, between rockin’ but sleep depriving birthday karaoke jams, backstage VIP antics, cross-country flights, and fulfilling but child-and-thus-germ-packed job, my poor body is BUSTED.

I have serious serious SERIOUS laryngitis. I actually don’t feel all that bad but my voice is GONE. Comfort food is the name of the game.

Wednesday I left work after a mere 8 1/2 hours (it’s been a high drama week- yesterday was a solid 11) and got to cookin’.

For me, when I want comfort, that means a few things.

1. Roasted vegetables


Cauliflower and multicolored tomatoes, tossed with a hint of olive oil, were the name of the game.

2. The smell of sizzling onions.

I like a mix of oil and butter, oil for heart health and burning prevention, butter for deliciousness.


Vidalia onions are my default. Sweet and delicious!


Then I added flour…


to make a ROUX because this was gonna be….


Cheese sauce!

Let’s rewind.

For those of you who haven’t made a cheese sauce, it’s super simple. You take your oil/butter/whatever fat, and get it hot and melty (you can also cook seasonings, like onions, garlic, or whatever in it).

Then you add flour in a quantity basically equal to the quantity of fat (I used 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 tablespoon butter, and 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour). Stir it around with a wooden spoon (I personally have never found a whisk to be necessary).

Then you add your liquid. Depending on the flavor you want, milk, broth, and pasta water in varying combinations are always nice. I went for 1 cup of milk and a ladleful (1/4 cup?) pasta water. I let it get warm and just simmering.


Then it’s time for QUESO. You may remember my family just came into a good quantity of cheese. If you’re gonna win something, I highly recommend winning cheese.


I actually grated this in my food processor grater attachment, the greatest invention in the land.


Stirred in with just a dash of hot sauce if you’re daring (and I highly recommend being daring), and you’ve got yourself a cheese sauce.


Then out came the roasties…

DSC01204 DSC01206

And tossed together went the veggies, the sauce, and some pasta cooked just shy of al dente.

I actually made two batches. Ours, for my and my mom and my leetle seester (who arrived home for fall break where she was welcomed with cheese, her favorite food item) was an adorable amalgamation of leftover nearly finished pasta boxes, in a blend of regular and whole wheat…


And a bigger batch for potluck on the right. All non-whole-wheat, as Caroline took a pasta making class while studying abroad in Florence and thinks whole wheat pasta is heresy and not very good.


I went to potluck and was all stoked to show off my homemade mac and cheese and then Steve made homemade lasagna (!) and Josh made HOMEMADE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI IN A BROWNED-BUTTER-SAGE-SAUCE. So…. I am unimpressive. And we will all make salad next week.

Friday night I went home and was just uggggggggh.

Hardcore laryngitis, a general despondent feeling after a depressingly unproductive encounter with Child Protective Services at work, just…. ugh.

And I was home alone.

So I pulled out some homemade and frozen veggie stock, my standby in such situations.


Then whacked up some veggies…


And cooked them for varying times (potato 12 min, carrots 7, cabbage 2).

Pulled out my faithful, low-sodium, protein-packed companion:


And had some much needed winter comfort.


With parmesan on top!


Maya said...

Feel better soon!

Your potluck dinners sound awesome. Did he make the pasta, too? Ridiculous

Erin Lee said...

feel better! i hope you do soon so we can shake it on the dance floor. i wish you could have come friday!

Michal said...

Oh no im sorry to hear that your under the weather! Hope you feel better soon! :)