Fall feels like it is officially here! I didn’t get home from work until after dark, Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale is in the house, and I needed a sweatshirt after my run while cooking dinner. Shipyard is my all time favorite pumpkin beer, starting with the packaging. I love it! To me, some pumpkin beers have an overbearing cinnamon and spice flavor and feel like drinking potpourri. Shipyard is nice and smooth with a hint of cinnamon pumpkin pie.
This evening I broke one of my cardinal rules of going to the grocery store between a workout and dinner. . . which resulted in a basket full of fun looking things that I probably didn’t need. I am sure you will be hearing all about them.
The hubs and I cooked dinner together tonight. His being out of work is kind of nice in that he is home and does a lot of cleaning around the house so that I don’t have to. I love being in the kitchen with him, and when I said so tonight, he gave me the title of this post “What happens in the kitchen makes a house a home”. I happen to completely agree. When we have company, we don’t end up on our comfy sectional couch or in a room with a TV, we all end up in the kitchen. When we were buying our condo, a big kitchen with entertaining space was a must, and most nights it is where I unwind while chopping, roasting, and listening to music.
On tonight’s menu, homemade macaroni and cheese with a Swiss twist. We started with Cabot Racer’s Edge sharp cheddar cheese, 6 cloves of garlic, chopped baby Bella mushrooms, Barilla gemelli pasta, skim milk, apples, and nutmeg.
I love my little nutmeg bowl and grater. We bought it three years ago in Grenada on our honeymoon. It is the lifetime supply of nutmeg!
I grated the entire block of cheese and divided it so that 1/4 was reserved off to the side. Then I grated the garlic cloves and started to sauté the pulverized garlic in olive oil. I tossed in 3/4 block of cheese, lowered the hear, and poured in about a cup of skim milk. Stirring very slowly, I increased the heat until the cheese and milk were blended. Once the sauce was creamy, I grated a bit of nutmeg in and then added some fresh ground black pepper. At the same time, hubs was cooking the pasta and chopping and sautéing the apples in a bit of olive oil. Once the pasta was al dente, it was drained and poured into a baking dish. I poured in the cheese mixture and then added crumbled baby Bella mushrooms, stirring everything thoroughly. I sprinkled the remaining shredded cheese on the top and put this mixture in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes.
The sauce was a bit thin, I think because I did not use cream and maybe needed more cheese. But the taste more than made up for it. The mushrooms gave it a lovely earthy, meatiness that went well with the creamy cheese and the slight spice of the nutmeg. Topped with warm, soft apples, it reminded me a lot of the Alpine noodles that we enjoyed so much in Switzerland.
Its been a really great week so far. I booked my travel and accommodations in San Francisco last night, and tonight we are going to plan our wine country itinerary. I also had my annual review at work today, and not only did it go well, but I was able to talk about what I would like to do more at work, mainly Public Relations and development of more creative, robust communications materials and events.
I am off to enjoy this chilly evening, and I hope you all do too!