Friday, March 18, 2011

For the Love of Food-Southmoreland Test Kitchen

After last month's successful attempt at the delicious fudgy walnut brownies found on the cover of Bon Appetit, I decided to attempt the cover recipe each month. Imagine my excitement when I saw the most recent cover and a cheesy delicious crock of mac and cheese. I love macaroni and cheese! Homemade mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food to me (the blue box -- not so much) and hearkens back to Friday nights during lent when my mom was frantic to find an acceptable meatless entree to serve the masses.

Since Nancy is not fond of cheese I decided to attempt this recipe while she was visiting with her mom and sister in Miami. Dear friends, Kitty and Kelly, agreed to serve as guinea pigs for the evening. They are always good company and I knew they would help me make an honest assessment. The recipe is not traditional mac and cheese. It is more of a hybrid between mac and cheese and the pimento cheese spread my mom used to fill a celery trough. I found the recipe actually quite easy to throw together. One interesting component of preparation is that rather than creating a cheesy roux on top of the stove you create a sauce in the food processor. hmmm

The taste was really quite good. It was tangy from both the cheese, the peppadews and the peppadew brine which is used in moderation. The three of us agreed that the crunchy topping (how can you go wrong with toasted panko, Parmesan and butter) was a delightful surprise. Unfortunately, we didn't feel that the recipe was as cheesy and we expected and overall it was a bit dry.

If you're a traditionalist then you may not want to try this especially if you only treat yourself to mac and cheese once in a while. But, I would incorporate the toasted panko-parmesan-butter topping because it does add a flavorful crunch. If you are more adventurist and like a bit of spice then you should give it a whirl.

Mark Reichle and Nancy Miller Southmoreland on the Plaza