Friday, December 22, 2006

Colorado's Blizzard 2006

Here is our photo after it had been snowing all day on Wednesday.

I think we're expecting more in a day or two. It will be a white Christmas this year!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Couple of pics from Denver's Museum of Nature and Science

The Alma King, the largest complete rhodochrosite in the world, measures 14 cm x 16.5 cm. You can get a sense of the size with my mom in the picture. Rhodochrosite is Colorado's state mineral.

Gray Wolves, my favorite diorama at the museum. They looked so real, I kept expecting one to turn their head and look at me. The museum does a really great job!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

World's Best Macaroni and Cheese

Ok. So maybe I haven't tried all the macaroni and cheeses of the world, but this one is pretty dang good!

3/4 lb. elbow macaroni (I like Barilla)
5 Tablespoons flour
5 Tablespoons butter, plus couple extra Tablespoons for the topping
2 1/2 or 3 cups (depending on your tastes) shredded Cabot Vintage Choice cheddar cheese*
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Emeril's essence (recipe follows)
2-3 slices sourdough bread, cut into smallish cubes

1. Boil pasta in large pot of water until al dente; drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, begin melting butter in a large skillet/saucepan. Once melted, add the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, making sure not to brown the flour.
3. Slowly add milk while whisking (ensures it will not clump).
4. Remove from heat. Add 2 - 2 1/2 cups of the cheese (reserve remaining 1/2 cup cheese for topping), stirring until melted.
5. Stir in heavy cream to adjust consistency.
6. Pour macaroni into skillet and coat with the sauce.
7. Pour into a buttered baking dish and top with cubes of bread, remaining 1/2 cup cheese, 2 Tbsp butter (broken into small pieces to help the bread get toasty) and 1 teaspoon of essence.
8. Bake in oven at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly and bread crumbs are toasted; approximately 30-40 minutes.

Emeril's essence:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

*Cook's note: I found this aged cheddar at Costco.