On Sunday, I thought we were having pizza, because I had definitely seen B making pizza dough the day before. Belatedly, I realised that he had put it the freezer, not the fridge, so at 5.30 I was faced with an ever-enhungrierening family (it is so a word) and no plans. Fear not! Luckily, I had sent them swimming that afternoon while I took myself on an important mission to coughbuybootscough and had stopped by the organic food market on the way home, because they have the round crackers that the kids love because they taste like Ritz and I prefer because they don't have HFCS.
I've been increasingly ... dissatisfied, no, that's not it; disillusioned, hmm; icked out, let's say... by the meat department in my supermarket lately. When I first moved to the US the sheer volume of deep-red, styrofoam-trayed parts of dead animal in that corner of any supermarket overwhelmed me; now I'm used to it, but the more I try to avoid reading all those articles about mass-production of meat, the more I know that they're out there with horrible information in them just waiting to make an ethical consumer out of me. So while every now and then I just say "Feck it" and buy a package of minced beef or their so-called Organic chicken tenders, I'm also willing to spend a bit more less often and get meat I can feel good about. So I bought some happy sausages, because Mabel loves sausages and whenever I feel she's probably lacking some protein, I know she'll eat them.
I accidentally bought the pre-cooked type, because they looked just as anemic and undone as the regular sort, and I failed to adequately read the packet. In Ireland, the only sort of pre-cooked sausages we have are salami and its relations, so I'm still confused by the concept of pre-cooked sausages here, and tend to avoid them. Still, I decided to cook them in the oven just as I would the other sort, only for a shorter time, and they tasted pretty good. They went with some hastily conceived mac-n-cheese with that broccoli I didn't put in the carbonara I didn't make on Friday (are you still following this? Oh good), and thanks to my mistake it was all ready in 20 minutes.
So, without further ado, I will tell you how to make a cheese sauce. Mac 'n' cheese is such a staple of American childhoods that apparently it has to come out of a box, and many people - not you, obviously; all the other people - seem to be terrified of making their own sauce. It's easy, it takes five minutes, and you can use nice cheese. So do it.
Take about a tablespoon of butter and melt it in a saucepan. Stir a heaped tablespoon of plain flour into the liquid butter, season with salt and pepper, and let it cook, stirring all the time, for a minute or so. It will puff up and look weird.
|That is not a scoop of vanilla icecream; it's the flour. I promise.|
|Argh! Lumpy blobs of puff!|
|Stir, stir as if your life depended on it.|
Mrs Madden told me that mustard brings out the flavour of cheese. (It's supposed to be a pinch of mustard powder, but I don't have mustard powder.)
Pizza tonight; pizza dough recipe (as if you needed another one) tomorrow.