Comfort and Joy
Goodbye, 2010.I cannot say I will look back on you fondly. But, through the warmth of friends and access to major food groups—cheese, cream and tasty proteins—I found solace over the holidays and, happily sated, bid the last year adieu on a high note.
Of all the delicious and ridiculously decadent dishes we concocted (see future blogs), two variations of macaroni and cheese headlined holiday dinners and thoroughly satisfied a longing for comfort. For Christmas, I ad libbed on a recipe from the Los Angeles Times’ SOS column: beer-baked macaroni and cheese. I cut the recipe in half, sautéed onion and garlic to build a roux, tossed in St. Andre instead of cream cheese and substituted Allagash for the amber beer. The kicker came at the end: a generous topping of bacon bits from Fairbury Steaks in lieu of a panko crumb topping. Porky good, richly melty and greasy in the best of all ways.
For New Year’s Eve, we upped the ante and fulfilled a special request by Jeanne-Aimee for lobster macaroni and cheese. Pulling ingredients together from four different recipes (and informed by last week’s foray into mac-and-cheese land), we blended shallots, garlic, butter, cream, chardonnay, cheddar, parmesan, gruyere, marscapone, chipotle powder and a pound of chopped lobster meat into creamy, gooey, heady nirvana.
And the bonus: a lovely lobster broth (distilled from lobster tails, a fresh vanilla bean, a bay leaf from my sister’s garden and carrot), now safely nestled in the freezer, waiting to ring in 2011. I am thinking lobster risotto.