Harry, Encore

If South African travels are what it takes to keep this ginger gent in the news, then I think he should just unpack his bags and stay there for a while.

People.com

People.com

Seriously. This is the perfect way to usher in Redhead Month.

People.com

People.com

Yeah, I just co-opted an entire month based on a holiday I already borrowed and improved. What of it?

Oscar Night

I’m a little late with this wrap-up, but Oscar Night was sort of lackluster, especially in the redhead department.

The first (and only) Ginger Win of the night came for Princess Merida, who apparently turned up the scraggle enough to win. So that’s pretty lovely.

Merida - GingerParrotCoUk

gingerparrot.co.uk

And though she didn’t win – and Jennifer Lawrence was awkward and wonderful, which made JC’s loss a little easier to take – can we talk about this gorgeous dress? Copper couture, glossy locks, and bright red lipstick. Perfection.

people.com

people.com

 

Paddington Harry

Well, if this doesn’t cheer up a dreary day, I don’t know what does.

People.com

People.com

Let’s Go

I love planning trips. Specifically, I love perusing available guidebooks, plotting with a friend on paper napkins over a latte and scone, and the thrill of booking a room at a hotel recommended by only a 90s-looking website. I’m heading to my 15th country this year, and I today took the first step of making things seem more real: I bought a guidebook.

I have such fond memories of pouring through the guidebooks I took to Europe years ago. I ripped them up, marked them up, stuffed them in purse pockets, and squeezed every last restaurant recommendation and museum-hours list out of them.

It also happens that whenever I think of guidebooks, I think of this bit from the genius Bill Bryson and his book Neither Here Nor There:

“I had with me two incredibly useless guidebooks to Italy, so useless that I’m not even going to dignify them by revealing their titles here, except to say that one of them should have been called Let’s Go Get Another Guidebook and the other was Fodor’s (I was lying a minute ago). Neither of them so much hinted that Capri town was miles away up a vertical mountainside. They both made it sound as if all you had to do was spring off the ferry and there you were. But from the quayside, Capri town looked to be somewhere up in the clouds.”

"Gosh, Steve, that was one sick bird."

“Gosh, Steve, that was one sick bird.”

I’m rather partial to Let’s Go guides, myself, and I also adore Rick Steves. But Asia seems to be tricky – neither Rick Steves nor Let’s Go want to go there, apparently.

Stir Crazy

With a title like that, this should be about risotto. But there’s a pretty fair amount of stirring involved here, too.

There were some beautiful, gracefully long shreds of Swiss cheese calling to me from the refrigerator drawer. And it just so happened that I had a little bit of pasta hidden at the back of a cabinet. Oh, and non-spoiled milk (kind of a rarity). Plus, I’ve been looking for an excuse to try a non-baked, gooier mac and cheese. These elements, combined with Day Three of a snow-induced long weekend, meant a little kitchen experimentation. My favorite.

Delicious from every angle

Delicious from every angle

Stir Crazy Mac & Cheese
A small-batch spin-off of PW’s master recipe

2ish c. dry pasta (I had radiatore)
1/8 c. (1/4 stick, 2 Tbsp) butter
1/8 c. flour
1 1/4 c. skim milk
1 tsp. (ish) Dijon mustard
2-3 c. shredded cheese (I used  about 1 cup cheddar, 1 cup Swiss)
Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, to taste

Cook macaroni until they’re the way you like them, then drain. (This is a non-baked mac and cheese, so the pasta won’t have any additional cooking time.)

Over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add flour, whisk constantly for a few minutes (about 3) until the flour is thoroughly combined and cooked. Add the milk and mustard. Whisk/stir constantly until the mixture thickens – about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat, add cheese, and stir until melty and smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add sauce to cooked pasta, stir to combine.

Here’s where the good part comes in. I had some interesting ingredients hanging around — I was thinking about making spinach salad — that sounded like they might be pretty good with gooey mac and cheese. So…

Dish up. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and french-friend onions, more cheese, or whatever sounds good.

Eat up!