Monday, July 27, 2009

Mac and Cheese Party

One of the things that comes with having a food blog is that co-workers, family members, friends, and significant others (and eaters) all request that you make their favorite foods. If anything, these special requests give me confidence that the meals I cook at least look good on a computer screen.

One such cooking request came from the Significant Eater and seven of her girlfriends, when they asked that I cook a macaroni and cheese feast for them. I've never been a fan of mac and cheese, but this was one cooking job I could not turn down. Doing so would have jeopardized my good-boyfriend standing. Despite my dislike for mac and cheese, I would have to make the mac and cheese of my life for the group of mac-and-cheese-loving women.

Scouring for recipes was no easy task for me since I find most mac and cheeses to pretty much the same no matter what goes into them. I felt like a steakhouse chef trying to come up with a salmon dish to put on his menu. I finally came across Jean-Georges Vongeritchen's wife's recipe for mac and cheese. Yes, I decided on a recipe for macaroni and cheese that a French chef proclaims to be the best. How very snobby of me. But with four cheeses and a fairly simple preparation, it sounded like a mac and cheese that would please everyone.

I created another challenge for myself with my mac and cheese party. In my desperate attempt to forever be deemed a good boyfriend by the Significant Eater's friends, I offered to make a healthy version of mac and cheese for those who were averse to eating pasta soaked in milk, cream, half and half, and four cheeses. I myself have an aversion to low fat cheese, so finding a "healthy" version of mac and cheese that I was willing to put my name on proved to be much more difficult than finding a recipe for the standard version. I settled on making carrot mac and cheese. The recipe sounded pretty vile, but I figured if anything, its awfulness would force the health-conscious girls to at least try the four cheese version.

The best thing about any casserole dish is that it is easily transportable. After spending an hour in my own kitchen preparing the two mac and cheeses, they were both packed in their baking dishes and ready to head to the party. While drinking wine and enjoying some hors d'ouevres that one of the girls made, I was able to simply pop the two dishes into the oven. Fifty minutes and a few more glasses of wine later, they were ready to be eaten.

The dinner turned out very well. All of the girls tried and loved the Vongeritchen mac and cheese. Surprisingly, the carrot version, while far from tasting anything like mac and cheese, went over well. Even me, the mac and cheese hater, went back for seconds of each. With yet more wine and some great side dishes that the girls made, it was a very enjoyable dinner. It may have just been the wine speaking, but all of the girls said I did a great job with the mac and cheeses. Will I forever go down in history as great boyfriend material? That, I will not know, but I did woo one of the girls.

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