Saturday, March 21, 2015

Seafood and Eat Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Friday, Day 13 - I think I ran out of reasons to whine, after yesterday's let-me-beat-up-on-myself post. I just have one doctor phone call to make today, and then I can concentrate on meatloaf.  Unfortunately, I am not going to make it to the flash dance mob for my friend Donna.  It's a secret (or it was - I won't publish this until it is over), and something to cheer her up after her damn cancer fell out of remission.  But right now, I cannot deal with crowds, and do not want to chance having a panic attack while out in Celebration (in my mind, a really stupid name for a town. It should have been named Stepford) which is a good 10 miles from home.

Right now I am having a grand inner debate over whether or not I should include a sautéed onion in the cheese sauce.  That's apparently the highest level of cogitation I am capable of engaging in.

I did decide, and the onion is in there, and the dish is finished, and it is good.  Feel free to add another half cup of shrimp, I think it could use it.

Seafood and Eat Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

1 - 16 oz. bag frozen cauliflower, cooked according to package directions, substituting seafood stock for the water
1/2 cup frozen green peas, defrosted in hot water
1 1/2 cups cooked, frozen salad shrimp, defrosted according to cold water method on package
1 - 4 oz. tub crumbled feta cheese
1 - 12 oz. box Barilla Casarecce pasta, cooked 2 minutes less than package directions (7-8 minutes)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Combine the drained cauliflower, green peas, and shrimp in an aluminum baking dish.  Add the feta cheese and toss gently.  Drain the cooked pasta and add it to baking dish.  Toss gently with the other ingredients.  Sprinkle on the grated Pecorino Romano and toss again.  Set aside.

Now prepare the sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
kosher salt
white pepper
rubbed sage
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 cup shredded Sargento Four State Cheddar
1 cup shredded Sargento Extra Sharp Cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Combine these three cheeses and set aside.  In a saucepan, melt the butter, then add the onion and garlic. Cook just until the onion is getting soft and a touch translucent.  Now add the flour and whisk for a minute, or until the flour no longer has a "raw" smell. (Congratulations, you just made an onion roux, or what my great-grandmother-of-blessed-memory would call an einbrenne).  Pour in the milk and continue to whisk over medium high heat until the white sauce bubbles and thickens.  Take it off the heat and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sage, and stir in the Dijon mustard. Stir in 2 cups of the combined cheeses until the sauce is melted and smooth.  Pour the cheese sauce over the contents of the baking dish, and carefully fold the sauce in.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

It was Romeo's turn to accompany me on my walk, and we had a fine time. He would not get into the stroller out of the gate, but about a half mile into our stroll, he stopped, looked at me with tired eyes, and let me place him in the seat.  We walked further than usual, passing the traffic circle and along the walkway of the older section of the lakefront, where Muscovy ducks rule.  It seemed to help that I had the stroller to lean on, even slightly, and I did not suffer as I had the day before.  It may also have
helped that I wore somewhat better shoes.

I got quite a bit more photos, with and without Romeo.  I expect there will be even more pretty flowers now that we are officially out of winter and into spring.  At least here in Florida ... it was snowing in Brooklyn, according to a video posted by my cousin.  I wonder what happened to the crocuses?  I love the crocuses in Brooklyn.  I also love azaleas and lilacs, neither of which grows well in Florida.   Oh geez, I've been bitching about those lilacs for almost 24 years.  Time to move on.

By the way, the flash dance mob took place, and it was just what Donna needed to cheer her up.  She's a fighter, that girl - after all, she's Sicilian - and I have no doubt she will kick that frakking cancer in the butt yet again.

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