Mac n cheese is a comfort food, and likely the most comforting one. Though I would personally not recommend eating this every day, it is a memorable and delightful dish when prepared right. Box mac n cheese just isn’t worth all the calories, as it isn’t half as good as my recipe!
This is no run of the mill mac n cheese. I contains four cheeses: sharp cheddar, feta, parmesan, and velveeta.
It contains real butter, onion, bacon bits, paprika, beef broth, and crushed pork skins. Ingredients may be omitted if you dislike them, but I don’t think you should. Try it!
To begin with, we will not cook the pasta in water, but beef broth. [approx. one part pasta to three parts liquid. In this recipe , we will cook one pound of pasta. Two quarts beef broth should work, but depends on the pasta you use. You may add a little water if pasta soaks up the broth too quick, but it won’t.
Pasta should be cooked al dente. I mean, almost crunchy! It will be subjected to further cooking, and mushy mac just won’t do.
Notes on cooking pasta!
- Always salt pasta water for flavor. Saltless pasta is disturbing to me, and just plain weird. I can taste the lack of something. Yes, some people need to limit their salt intake, I get that. Flavor is compromised though. That’s life! You can reduce the salt content and add other flavors such as herbs and spices. My suggestion is 2 tablespoons of salt to one gallon of water. This recipe contains no added salt, as the broth has enough.
2. Different kinds of pasta cook at different speeds. Read the pasta box directions if you have questions. For example, ordinary elbow pasta is usually done in under 7 minutes al dente, and a maximum of 10, well done. Ramen noodles, and many Asian noodles cook in a little over 1 minute al dente!
3. It is a good idea to wait until water hits a rolling boil before you add pasta. Many pastas don’t cook right in under temp water. They often become gummy, before water begins to boil. I have found this not to be true though, of ramen noodles.
While the macaroni is cooking, the sauce should be cooking too. The more time space we can optimize the better! Keep this in mind as crushing the pork skins, measuring ingredients, are best done before you begin. Good mac n cheese really needs good timing. That’s why the boxed versions are so popular. My take is that if you wish to do something, do it right!
The pork skins and bacon bits are the topping, replacing bread crumbs, and garbage like that. This is a full flavor dish!
1. Pour beef broth into a four quart pot, heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Add one pound pasta and cook al dente. Drain, and reserve in strainer.
2. Meanwhile, add four tablespoons of butter to a pot capable of holding four quarts, on a high heat. When butter melts, add two cups finely chopped onion. Saute until translucent.
3. Pour the one and a half quarts of heavy cream into pot, stirring well, until it begins to bubble. Turn to low heat and add all cheeses. Stir well until a sauce is made. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350F.
4. Pour macaroni into a casserole dish capable of holding a gallon. Pour the sauce on top, but using a large spoon or spatula poke lightly into contents to spread the sauce.
5. Top first with bacon bits, and then crushed pork skins. Put into oven and cook until surface bubbles. Remove from heat, letting surface skin.
6. Top with paprika.
This is definitely the best mac n cheese I have ever made, and probably the best there is! When finished, the macaroni will be creamy soft, but not gummy or mushy. The crust on top is both crisp and bursting with flavor. This is a dish to impress people with, if only yourself.
Outside of the macaroni, there are few carbs to this dish. If you use the sauce for zucchini pasta, chitterlings, tripe, or shredded pork skin, this could be a low carb dish.
I think about things like this when writing recipes…
I want to make a dish good for anyone interested in following it. Low carb, just omit the pasta, and use something else. You don’t do pork? Use turkey bacon and fried chicken skin, or whatever does it for you.
Yet many a person of a varied diet will love this as it is, and find that although this is not a health food, it is healthier than it’s alternatives.
Yes, it’s a little more complicated than buying boxed mac n cheese. Some people don’t enjoy cooking, and this recipe is not for them.
Please allow me to compare 1. boxed mac n cheese, 2. leading mac n cheese recipes, and 3. my mac n cheese recipe.
Store bought mac n cheese varies in quality according to price. Most contain only one cheese, and often that cheese isn’t even real cheese. They are fortified with vitamins you may or may not need. Most contain corn starch, which puts on pounds quick, and is bad news on blood sugar. Many contain flour as well. I can taste it, can’t you? These products almost always contain much more additives than one would be lead to believe. The taste is simple, but not bad. If this is your mac n cheese preference, please read the box, and seek high end product. These are usually healthier, taste better, and less likely to contain hydrogenated oils. Watch out for these!
I have seen and tasted some very good home made mac n cheese. Love to taste other peoples culinary masterpieces both for pleasure, and inspiration! In addition, I’ve come across some really good recipes. Most of these contain at least two cheeses, real butter or other healthy fat/oil, some form of topping[bread crumbs, etc], usually contain some degree of flavorful vegetable such as onions, do not rely on flour and corn starch to thicken product. Creaminess should come from the cheeses and fats used. Contain milk, and or heavy cream. Most use bacon, ham, or some other meat to give flavor. Much better than boxed for health and taste.
My recipe contains pasta, milk and milk products, four cheeses, real butter, beef broth, paprika and pork. The fourth cheese, Velveeta, contains some additives and preservatives. Usually, I make my own, omitting these. Still, store bought Velveeta is a good product, and greatly adds to the creaminess of my recipe. This dish is amazingly delicious and very satisfying. Just what I intended
This recipe is for people who love to make good food, and are not looking for less!
Try it, and please let me know what you think!
I will begin this post by explaining what kombucha is, how to make it, and then
go into it’s uses as a probiotic, and how artists can use it as a medium for sculpture, and for growing canvasses.
Kombucha is a probiotic beverage made by fermenting sweet tea with a scoby [symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast]. Scobys are biofilms, similar to MOV [mother of vinegar]. To brew kombucha, you may purchase a scoby online from various suppliers of kombucha culture, or you can buy a raw [unpasteurized] kombucha tea, and use it as a starter.
Before I go on, let me stress that I will not go into great detail regarding the science of kombucha brewing, nor will I explain much about it’s health benefits and history in oriental medicine, and the wellness movements. This is due to two concerns:
1. There are quite a few great people, and wonderful companies who earn their living from this subject. I know what I know due to them. They are the experts in this field. At the end of this post, I will give a list of great references, so check em out!
2. I am an artist and a cook. My focus in this post is to share my relationship with kombucha, and not to compete with others who dedicate their lives to this subject. I’m no expert in this field, but I brew a lot of kombucha Sam style, not gospel of the niche.
So for a 16 to 20 fluid oz. bottle of raw kombucha, I make a gallon of sweet tea. I like to use a lot of sugar, because this is what feeds the cuture. I use at least two cups per gallon. Making sure sugar is completely dissolved into the tea, I pour it into a glass or pyrex gallon jug, and allow to cool to about 80 degreesF. To this I add 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, and the bottle of kombucha tea. If you buy a scoby instead of a kombucha drink, my directions remain the same. Just add the scoby one minute after adding the apple cider vinegar. Scobys need to breathe, yet leaving the jar open will welcome contamination, which could be dangerous. Some cover the mouth of the jar with cheese cloth, but I don’t trust that. I use a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Not too shabby, this keeps a lot of mold spores out, but allows adequate air passage. Next step is to wait. Bubbles should begin forming in a day or two, or even sooner, but only in a warm environment. At temperatures under 70F. it will take longer. This is not desirable as the threat of contamination lowers as the ph does. Kombucha culture transforms glucose into vinegar and cellulose, which build the scoby. As acidity increases, the culture dominates the tea, as other micro organisms cannot tolerate the acidity. The bubbles will rise to the top, covered by some film. Soon the film covers the surface of the tea, and then thickens with time, until it exhausts the glucose supply. The film forms in the shape of the container it’s in. You may drink the tea when it’s right for your taste. Many people like their Kombucha sweet, and for them, it is a natural soda, sugary, bubbly, with probiotic benefits. I like my kombucha sour! I’m diabetic, and don’t like sugar much anyway. My kombucha is really a live vinegar. My dosage is only 2 oz. daily, mixed into a large glass of ice cold water. The scoby should be introduced to a new gallon of sweet tea. It will probably sink to the bottom, but within a week, a new scoby will form on the surface. Ok that is the probiotic tea part. Next I will explain my uses for extra scobys, and if you brew kombucha, you will have extras!
Scobys have the consistency of sturdy jellyfish flesh. Unlike that, they are not salty, but very sour. I like ribbon thin slices of scoby on salads, or as a garnish to fish and meats, just to give a little bite with health benefits. Shredded scoby can be added to sauerkraut, but only prior to eating, as salt will soon kill it, and thereby, it’s beneficial effects. If you wish, you can brew a saltless sauerkraut in kombucha tea, adding salt to taste before eating, or eliminating it completely.
One day soon, I’m thinking of posting some recipes which include scobys, or kombucha vinegar.
Wrapping things up, Kombucha is a probiotic drink and food with many health benefits. You should not consume too much though, as large amounts of vinegar can induce acidosis, which can be fatal. Kombucha is great in moderate amounts, but like with all brews, you can overdose if you work at it. Don’t! Kombucha can be a part of your personal health and life extension program.
As an artist, I’m really excited about revealing how scobys may be used in art!
If you wish to grow scobys for artistic reasons only, you can toss much caution to the wind. Just cook up a huge amount of sweet tea, put tons of sugar in it, and add a scoby. Cover in a way that’s logical to the situation. For example: making kombucha in 8×8 pool. Doesn’t need to be deep. If the container can hold twenty gallons, it’s probably enough. Three pounds of sugar should do. pour into the pool. Brew enough sweet tea to fill the pool about three or four inches.Add a chopped up scoby. Stir, and cover with a loose fitting tarp. When kombucha biofilm covers the pool, and thickens to at least one inch, remove. This biofilm may be used as a canvas after being secured to a frame, and allowed to dry. Water repellants may be sprayed, or brushed on after canvas is dry, to increase permanence. To begin with, the biofilm will seem too thick for a canvas, but once dried, will be perfect. I suggest treating with water repellants to prevent rehydration from paints and environmental moisture.
In surrealist sculpture, kombucha biofilm may be tied, or confined into shapes, until dry, and then painted. At some point, I will post my kombucha sculptures. Many of my paintings are painted on kombucha canvas. You wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you. Biofilm makes great canvas, when treated to protect from elements. It costs much less to paint on treated biofilm, than to buy artist’s canvas.
Ok. Are you interested in brewing your own kombucha, or maybe just learning more about it? If so, check out these great websites!
Top of the list!
Kombucha Kamp- www.kombuchakamp.com This is my favorite Kombucha website. Extremely informative, well put together site, down to earth and entertaining, yet state of the art. Great forum for kombucha lovers and brewers, top products, easy to follow instructions. I believe you’ll love The Kombucha Mama, an expert, and so cool. She is a wholesome, resourceful, beautiful person who created a lifestyle and dream company for herself, and so many others. Have a question? Ask her. I trust her wisdom!
Kombucha.org- www.kombucha.org This is a very good site. Great tutorials, good values and product shipping.
Get Kombucha .com-www.getkombucha.com Good cultures and continuous brewing supplies. Friendly, knowledgeable, great tutorials!
The Kombucha Shop-www.thekombuchashop.com Makes really nice kombucha brewing kits. Well packaged orders and good tutorials. Your order will teach you the basics quick. Great customer service.
There are many other great sites out there, at least so I hear from friends, but I am only offering first hand experience. These are the sites I have ordered supplies from, and have always been impressed.
The best to you, and all your endeavors. Happy brewing!
Gotta pee a lot for sure! Disorder appears in everything rational. Great things are accomplished, and I hope to see a great tomorrow, if my practice tonight doesn’t close the gate!
Have you ever come to the realization that you are capable of many great things, but something is keeping you locked out of the mind set needed to manifest these things? I think many of us have. For the artist, the problem becomes extremely obvious because our welfare depends on our inspiration. If I have difficulty writing and painting, then I will soon have a big difficulty with life! What price would one not pay to open the flood gates of inspiration, allowing raw, unfiltered perception?
Please allow me to share a poem by one of my favorite writers, Jim Morrison.
Why Do I Drink
“Why do I drink? So that I can write poetry.
Sometimes when it’s all spun out, and all that is ugly recedes into a deep sleep,
there is an awakening, and all that remains is true.
As the body is ravaged, the spirit grows stronger.
Forgive me father for I know what I do.
I want to hear the last poem of the last poet.”
Alcohol is a hard drug, and likely the world’s favorite! It’s ability to produce utter mayhem is excelled by none. Even cocaine and crack can’t touch this, nor does heroin. Why? The other hard drugs cause blatant changes to personality and overall behavior, unemploying it’s devotees frequently, and thereby dividing the users from the non-users. Alcohol, on the other hand, may be managed by many, and though it’s effects on society are extreme, we are used to these extremes, and so they are tossed into a pile labeled Sociopath!
Let’s take a trip around the block, to a couple of kids helping each other grow up. Let’s get drunk enough to have sex!
One of our worst problems is that we don’t feel comfortable living our lives, and alcohol cures this! It takes us to a place where we are comfortable enough to bring in our higher being to the practice table!
Does this statement my friends, resemble you? If it does, guess you’ll see, it resembles me too.
An artist becomes one, because first, they are an explorer. Their quest will soon turn toward finding the highest truths, the workings of the mind, the dream state, psychology, and the “meaning of it all”. Frequently we will turn to Eros, where our dream imagery is highly clarified. Alcohol aids this in three ways:
1. We are soon catapulted to the cauldron, “sex bed”, of inspiration.
2. Once there, we will align with the awareness of many.
3. Our minds are temporarily freed from inspiration destroying mind constructs.
Now, the problem is that we find that we have to be drunk to get to that place! This is the same problem faced in the acid tests, with two more problems…
- Alcohol is toxic. Though it offers some health benefits, it often does a body harm. So to use alcohol in a healthy way to cultivate inspiration, we have to create cycles of use, and abstinence. Addiction is very possible, and for some, it becomes physical.
2. Like steroids, most of the benefits evaporate along with the drug.
In addition to these problems, one will often find that alcohol erases psychological problems temporarily, but gives them back threefold when the drunk is over.
Shy and inhibited people are likely to develop panic attacks. Aggressive people may find their violent or reckless streaks worsen. What is happening is that alcohol, and many drugs, eventually exaggerate the psychological nature of an individual. The wise gain wisdom, the timid become fearful, the bold get bolder, and the stupid get stupider. the huge problem, is that in reality, we all have some degree of these attributes, and so chances are that anyone:
- will gain some insight
2. contract a new phobia
3. become aggressive in some way, good or bad.
4. do something incredibly stupid!
Personally, I believe drug use is safest under some form of organization, religious, intellectual, or revolutionary. Why? In this bardo state of substances, you will need direction, or a lot of luck. You will need something to drive you to the levels of Aleister Crowley, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, or any one you can think of that won at this! Social order allows one freedom from conventionality, which may easily be lost.
Vincent Van Gogh contributed so much to art and awareness, but he never really benefited from the miracles of his brush. How sad to die feeling yourself a loser, when you made the world a better place.
I wish I had been there, took that great man to the hospital, and as he recovered, showed him how much he will mean to the future. Wish I could have helped him with those demons in his head. Wish his story ended differently. Never the less, he made the grade by contributing so much to awareness, spirituality, art and passion!
What would have happened if I did? Who knows! It could have been good, or perhaps all of his work would be lost!
I am giving a warning here that drug use may be fatal, and often is. On the other hand, I understand why people go here, and I am among them. I would prefer to die than to leave my truth in the closet. Further, I would hate to see a world without Van Gogh paintings.
Many successful people I know have said that without drug use, they would be nowhere, and for that reason would not regret if their path should cause early death. That is their value judgment, and we all hold our own.
For people like us, The Staff Of Dionysus hovers over our heads. We never like the mundane stuff. “Good enough”, is seldom good enough.
We understand that death is a part of reality, and no punishment for error.
We seek fulfillment over time measurement and even personal satisfaction, because truthfully, we are journalists of ” The Great Continuum”!
On his deathbed, Salvador Dali was curious and pleased that the media was still following him. He was more concerned with public image, and the preservation of his body, than he was his health. I understand this, as a creative mind. We all will die, but what have we accomplished here? If we have something to say, will it be heard, to establish how we remain.
I think to most artists, the worst curse they could get is to be forgotten, but this is not an ego problem. If you seek everyday, for the betterment of all, so much pain to feel your life quest is lost!
Artists, like all good journalists, will do whatever it takes to make their awareness public, so drink or not, I will do all of this for you and me.
Do you have to drink and use drugs to be an artist? No, of course not. Life has no “one size fits all fixes”, I’m just paying homage to my brothers and sisters who used this path, and said what they needed to say.
How would you express it? how do you get out of your mind? The world is our stage. Speak your truth!
Cosmos for awareness!
I’ve loved pasta for as long as I remember. I think it’s just how you feel when you have Italian blood! It would be wonderful to me, if I could eat it three times a day, every day! Unfortunately, that would probably be a very unhealthy decision. Like ice cream, breads, and really all grain products, pasta gives many a culinary euphoria that can be habit forming. What makes it worse is that pasta is relatively cheap, easy and quick to prepare, and most kids love it. Unfortunately, it will probably be a long time before a healthier food will provide pasta with any competition. Excessive grain consuming is unhealthy, especially for anyone who is not extremely active. Diabetics should run from it like crazy! Those who have a hard time with eating small portions should do the same. These kinds of foods are largely responsible for the health and obesity problems in our country. What can a pasta lover do?
Control your portion sizes: avoid eating more than a cup of cooked pasta. Once a day is plenty. This works well for unique people! My mom and dad had a friend named Moreska, who walked to Central Park every day of her life, to smoke one cigarette. She sat on a bench, lit it, and savored it’s high. When her buzz came down a little, she would talk to her friends, and invite them to her house for tea. She lived to 93! She always smoked one cigarette a day, but never more than one. If you are like her, eating pasta is great!
2. Investigate pasta alternatives! Many of these fall short of pasta, though still good. Some get pretty close. At the top of the list are:
A. Carb Free Noodles! Yes, they exist and are great, but quite expensive! When the price comes down, these will rule!
B. Sea weed noodles, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, various animal products such as pork skin and intestines of pork, beef, and chicken. Once I heard of a fish intestine pasta. These are great ideas, though I have an easy fix for many people. Try Cauliflower.
Cauliflower is low carb, high protein, delicious, and well, very similar to pasta when cooked right. So let me introduce you to my recipe for Cauliflower And Cheese! I think you will love this!