I thought it might be fun today if I gave you a little look into my thought process for coming up with ideas for the blog.
So here’s the deal, I think about food – oh, let’s say 85% percent of the time – hmmm. . scratch that, maybe 90%. The rest is basically, husband, pug(s), work related, family, friends, the fact that I’m cold (come to my office) or that I’d really like to take a nap. There might be some other things going on in my head too, but I can’t think about it right now because I’m thinking about food.
It’s a problem, my husband gives me a hard time because I don’t keep up enough with news websites anymore, unless you count Gothamist.
Right so back to my process, I have to write, ahem, I mean note everything down. My Google calendar is a mess. I keep track of everything on there. When I might want to post stuff, or future ideas for recipes and things are constantly being shifted around.
So where do the ideas come from? Sometimes I get a craving and think, I haven’t made that in awhile AND I haven’t blogged about it. Down it goes. “Ooh, that would be a good twist on a classic, let’s do it.” Then of course, an item becomes seasonal and that’s all I want to eat, so you get the multiple days in a row of just that ingredient.
I also subscribe to about 4 cooking magazines, not to mention all the blogs I read on a daily basis. Like I said 90% of my time.
Now this recipe, I’ve been making plain old smoked gouda mac and cheese for years and then one day when I had some kale sitting in the fridge I thought, I’m going to add it to mac and cheese! Boom. Done. Here’s your recipe!
Bring a large stockpot filled with salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the packages directions (subtracting about 2 minutes, as to not overcook the pasta later). Drain and set aside.
Over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil and sauté the onions until soft and lightly caramelized, stirring often, making sure they don't burn - about 15 minutes. Add the baby kale and cook until wilted about an additional five minutes.
While the onions are cooking, in a medium-sized pot melt the butter over low heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk the roux for at least a minute to cook out the raw flour taste.
While whisking, slowly pour in half your milk into the roux, once there are no lumps remaining, add the remaining milk and heavy cream. Cook for 7-10 minutes until the béchamel has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, making sure to stir every 30 seconds. Whisk in the cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
Turn off the heat and in batches, stir in the cheese until completely melted. Add the onion/kale mixture and finally stir in the cooked pasta.
Pour the mac and cheese into a 13X9 buttered dish and top with panko breadcrumbs and dot with pieces of unsalted butter.
Place into a pre-heated 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes until set.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.