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Old 02-23-2019, 03:37 PM   #1
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4 Levels of Mac and Cheese: Amateur to Food Scientist | Epicurious




What one would choose??? I go with level 2 chef.

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Old 02-23-2019, 07:48 PM   #2
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I'm with Level 2 as well, although I do like the addition of the bacon from Level 3. What I didn't like about #3 was the idea of graham crackers and sugar.... that seemed like too much sweet. The right cheeses can bring all the sweetness you need.

In the end, it is after all, Mac and Cheese. Unless you really do something weird, it's still going to taste pretty darn good.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:05 PM   #3
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I saw this video a few days ago. I don't know why it is titled "4 Levels," when there are only 3, but whatever.

The one I would most want to try is Level 3, because it is the most intriguing. I would never think to use graham crackers for a topping. I'd like to know what it tastes like, because I can't imagine in it.

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Old 02-24-2019, 10:24 AM   #4
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I guess level 4 is the lady at the chalkboard.

Now if they only did a real taste test of the three levels to which one really was best.


I would not mind mini bits of bacon along with the panko bread crumbs.
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:36 PM   #5
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I’m not a big fan of Mac & cheese. I’ll eat it though.

Graham crackers and sugar is kinda weird, exactly why I WOULD try number 3. That and the cream cheese.
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:32 PM   #6
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I guess level 4 is the lady at the chalkboard.

Now if they only did a real taste test of the three levels to which one really was best.


I would not mind mini bits of bacon along with the panko bread crumbs.

I'd also brown the panko in some of the bacon fat.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:07 PM   #7
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In another thread, Roadfix mentioned tenkasu, the crispy leftover bits from tempura, commonly used on sushi rolls.

Bet those would be great on mac and cheese!
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:37 PM   #8
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I'd go with #2 also.
The sweetness thing on #3 just doesn't work in my mind. I love trying new things and being experimental, but Mac and cheese is such a homey comfort food, that the more it deviates from what im used to, the less likely my mind ( and mouth) are going to accept it.

Im not a big fan of bread crumbs or anything to make it crispy on top. To me, its too much of a contrast from the softer texture of the cheese and pasta.

I usually start mine with some butter and flour, add in the milk ( or cream) til it gets thick. Ill salt it a bit and also add some white wine . My preference is cheddar cheese, but Ill often add some American to help make a more homogeneous sauce. Finally , I toss in sliced mushrooms. Sauce is done when the mushrooms are done ( a few minutes to cook through). I always used elbows ( no ridges, as the change in texture annoys me). I like to top it just with a layer of cheddar cheese, then bake it. Last minute or two I like to broil it to get that top layer of cheese a little well done, kinda like when I finish off onion soup.

I love truffles, so often I will drizzle a little truffle oil on top right before I eat it.

Always use a spoon. Although I get looks and ridiculed by my family or anyone who sees me using a spoon, from a physics point of view, I can get a better load of elbow pasta on my spoon, then on a fork, or trying to stab each elbow with a fork. I use the ' shovel it into my mouth ' method.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:04 AM   #9
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I'd go with #2 also.
The sweetness thing on #3 just doesn't work in my mind. I love trying new things and being experimental, but Mac and cheese is such a homey comfort food, that the more it deviates from what im used to, the less likely my mind ( and mouth) are going to accept it.

Im not a big fan of bread crumbs or anything to make it crispy on top. To me, its too much of a contrast from the softer texture of the cheese and pasta.

I usually start mine with some butter and flour, add in the milk ( or cream) til it gets thick. Ill salt it a bit and also add some white wine . My preference is cheddar cheese, but Ill often add some American to help make a more homogeneous sauce. Finally , I toss in sliced mushrooms. Sauce is done when the mushrooms are done ( a few minutes to cook through). I always used elbows ( no ridges, as the change in texture annoys me). I like to top it just with a layer of cheddar cheese, then bake it. Last minute or two I like to broil it to get that top layer of cheese a little well done, kinda like when I finish off onion soup.

I love truffles, so often I will drizzle a little truffle oil on top right before I eat it.

Always use a spoon. Although I get looks and ridiculed by my family or anyone who sees me using a spoon, from a physics point of view, I can get a better load of elbow pasta on my spoon, then on a fork, or trying to stab each elbow with a fork. I use the ' shovel it into my mouth ' method.
I use a spoon for mac-n-cheese. I find a spoon far more effective with pastas like macaroni or penne, etc. Nobody ever looks at me funny. Or, maybe I'm too busy eating to notice.

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Old 02-25-2019, 01:48 AM   #10
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Larry, sometime ago you actually turned me on to eating lots of stuff with a spoon.

For example, it's a lot more efficient to eat things like a goodie loaded chopped salad with a spoon, and we have a chopped salad almost every night. I haven't convinced SC yet though.
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:20 AM   #11
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I use a spoon for some traditional fork foods, too. Potato salad, mac & cheese, most anything saucy. I'm not one to drag a piece of bread around my plate or bowl to get all the sauce, but I don't want to miss out on any of it either. Hence, spoon.


I could be cooking friends with "Anthony", AKA Cook #2. I like pastas that collect the cheese sauce, like campanelle, cavatappi, rotini. I sometimes top ours with toasted bread crumbs. And I noticed that he was the only cook to combine his pasta and sauce together before adding it to the cooking vessel - critical in getting a good coating of sauce on all of the pasta, IMO. I start my sauce by making a bechamel, then adding as much cheese as I want. My secret blend tends to be "what do I need to use up?", however. I do try to have some smoked Gouda for the sauce, though. Like "Michael", I almost always add Colman's dry mustard to my sauce; sometimes a dash of cayenne, depending on what I might be serving with the mac-and-cheese.

Graham cracker? Brown sugar? No, no, no. Maybe one taste to find out, like cd said. But as a regular thing? Nope.
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:48 AM   #12
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Graham cracker? Brown sugar? No, no, no. Maybe one taste to find out, like cd said. But as a regular thing? Nope.
You never know, you could taste it and fall in love with it.

Never say never.

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Old 02-25-2019, 02:58 AM   #13
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No, cd, my taste buds have a very good imagination. I can "taste" it just thinking of it. If you made it and offered me a spoonful, I'd try it. Then I could say "no" with absolute certainty.

I'd be down on the bacon, though. Bacon makes everything better.
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:48 AM   #14
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Larry, sometime ago you actually turned me on to eating lots of stuff with a spoon.

For example, it's a lot more efficient to eat things like a goodie loaded chopped salad with a spoon, and we have a chopped salad almost every night. I haven't convinced SC yet though.
I knew I mentioned in some thread in the past, glad someone was paying attention

Spoon is definitely my utensil of choice, second to my fingers.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:13 PM   #15
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Has anyone tried the ATK stove top method of Mac and Cheese? The pasta is cooked in equal parts milk and water. Since there are only two of us here, I gave it a shot. Nice and creamy. I was pleasantly surprised.

Raising and feeding five kids, I often made a big pan of it and placed it in the oven to get a nice crust. I also added crumbled bacon bits. Along with the cheese, they were getting an additional dose of protein. I also used to use one can of evaporated milk along with equal parts of water for the sauce.
And when I was really broke, the canned milk got mixed with powdered milk.

So from now on, I will be using the ATK recipe for just the two of us. One pan, one meal.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:14 PM   #16
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If you want to see the ATK version of the recipe click on the video:




I say you can't go wrong with this one.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:14 AM   #17
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I have made this version twice. If I still had the kids at home, I might be tempted to make the oven version. But this recipe is perfect for just two folks with a good appetite. So creamy. And rather than having the whole top covered in breadcrumbs, I love finding that crunch when you least expect it.

Served with a nice salad, a great meal for a late Sunday night meal. Go for it!
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