Friday, May 14, 2010

Fail! (Kitchen Edition)

I made Macaroni and Cheese last night from my new Alton Brown cookbook that I got for Mother's Day.  Or rather, I tried to make macaroni and cheese.

I followed the recipe, really I did - even buying whole milk because that was specified.  But somewhere during cooking the sauce "broke" and we ended up with noodles and a grainy, nasty-ish sauce.  Edible, but not good eats.  I think I must have overcooked the cheese sauce during the thickening phase.  My stove burners run hot, and "Joy of Cooking" says to cook a bechamel sauce slowly over low heat.  Alton said "medium", and I over-browned the roux (although I don't think that was the main problem) and probably overheated the milk.  I think I tempered the egg correctly, the sauce seemed ok after that point.  But it was NOT cheesy gooey goodness, although the panko breadcrumbs on top were a big win.

Sigh.  At least the dinner we cooked for John for his birthday the night before came out well.  He requested a home cooked meal, and suggested the kids should help.  So Rachel made the cake (from a mix, but she did well), JC made the potatoes (Crash Hot Potatoes from the Pioneer Woman, yummy!) and helped grill the steak, and William helped make biscuits from Alton's cookbook.  Those were a big win, by the way, because even with his "help", which I'm SURE made for more working of the dough than the ideal, they came out tender and yummy.  And I made my first ganache (I know, what took me so long?), which was fun although really really rich on the cake.  Easy enough, and made us feel fancy (way faster than frosting, I'll say).

So it's a mixed bag, but I still love Alton.  Surprisingly, the book did not include any warnings or fixes about the cheese sauce breaking, but I'm betting if I could watch the episode, there would be some little comment that would make the difference.  John LOVES baked macaroni and cheese, so any help would be appreciated!

5 comments:

Lisa C said...

Which Alton Brown book did you use? I got one for Christmas and I haven't tried anything from it yet. It seemed more the science behind recipes then recipes themselves.

I have a great Mac and Cheese recipe from America's Test Kitchen you could try. I liked it, my John likes the store bought stuff better, and it serves 10 people so makes too much for just the two of us (kinda 3 now). Has breadcrumbs on the top but you could use panko. Let me know and I'll get it to you.

Becca said...

yep, its the heat that broke the sauce for sure. I did that with an indian dish with coconut milk in it last week and it tasted good but didn't feel good in my mouth. try again on low heat

Ann in NJ said...

Thanks, Becca, I'll have to try again. I think I'm going to leave out the dry mustard this time, too. I'm thinking that was part of the flavor we didn't like.

Susan Z said...

We should do it when we are together this summer. Jim has an Alton book too and has made the macaroni. It took me a long time to convince him that he did not have to make a roux if he was cooking mac & cheese from the blue box....

Ann in NJ said...

Ok, the image of Jim making a roux while cooking blue box mac and cheese just makes me laugh.