Redheaded Step-Child

Two instances of this phrase in my Google reader in the past two days. Weird.

When in reference to a chocolate-chip clafoutis, I feel like it means “that quirky, kind of weird, but totes the one you want to hang out with” redhead. {Big Girls Small Kitchen}

In reference to lip prints, I’m not sure what to think. (Although those Marc Jacobs earrings are pretty cute.) {Girls of a Certain Age}

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Paddington Harry

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

People.com

People.com

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!

The RRWB Report

Bits and the best of all things redhead, reader, writer, baker.

Redhead
Oscar weekend! Looking forward to seeing what all my favorite gingers will wear. Rooting for this girl (and, as it were, hoping to very soon adapt her savvy airport style).

people.com

people.com

Reader
I’m trying to get deep into research mode for this semester’s class. So it looks like I’ll be spending my weekend reading about St. Catherine of Siena, feasting and fasting, and holy anorexia.

Writer
I’ve been buying lots of new music lately, so this is more about songwriting than anything else. I am particularly enjoying The Lone Bellow and Alabama Shakes‘ Boys & Girls.

Baker
The roads are looking better in Kansas today, but the kitchen still benefits from a little salt (and chocolate chip cookies).

Bon weekend!

Snow Day!

If you’ve grown up in a Midwestern town, you know it takes something monumental — colossal, gargantuan — to get a snow day called at the local university. So you can only imagine my surprise when, last night, nary a flake in sight, just inky indigo skies and moon-kissed clouds rolling through, I got The Text canceling classes and closing the school for today.

When I woke up at 5:15 this morning, I wondered if perhaps we’d been duped. It was still black and blue outside. So I went back to sleep. Around 7:30, I grabbed my glasses and peeked through the blinds. White. Blustery, drifting, blanketing white on the parking lot, the roads, the fields, and beyond.

And it’s still coming. Apparently there is freezing fog involved (whatever that is?), and I experienced my first Thundersnow from safe beneath the covers.

Snow Day Plans

What’s a girl to do with a blessedly blizzardy day?

KPR, of course.

Perhaps some quality time with my DVR (Mindy, the KGB, Nigella, Smash, Bogie, Bacall, Borgnine) and with The Hour.

Some research, perhaps, or maybe a little work.

But definitely cookies — a variation on a theme.

Sand on the Roads and Salt on my Cookies

1 c. butter-flavored shortening (texture, people, texture. I’m telling you. This is the way to go.)
1 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 cups chocolate chips, discs, etc. (I had a birthday present of beautiful semisweet discs, but can’t find them online. Good luck!)
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Oven to 375°.

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until incorporated. Add flour, salt, soda, and mix. Add chocolate chips, mix in. Place rounded spoonfuls on baking sheet (mine’s lined with a silicon sheet). Slightly flatten cookies and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until just barely golden on the ridges. Enjoy with a glass of milk, a warm blanket, maybe some Bach or a BBC period drama.

Sand on the roads, salt on my cookies.

Sand on the roads, salt on my cookies.