Following the Ingredients to… Macaroni and Cheese

I am not a recipe writer; I’ve been learning a bit about food blogging lately and that seems to be the most daunting of the aspects of it: what if my recipe works for me but fails because I forgot some detail I needed to tell the readers? Perhaps this is why I like trying other people’s recipes and tweaking them, because it is easier than writing my own.

Lately though, since I started daily posts, I’ve found that I don’t get around to enough new recipes a week to keep the blog full up on only completely new recipes. For instance, we were quite tired the other night, so I did something I call “following the ingredients” – I start with one thing I know I want to eat, then add things that I think will be good until a food emerges.

For me, it started with some pasta shells. They looked like they were aching for some cheese, so while they boiled, I scrounged in the fridge. I found a smoked gouda spread that we were given a long time ago; since we don’t sit down with fancy crackers and cheese spread very often, it really hadn’t found a home, but I had a hunch it would make a good cheese sauce, if I added (consults fridge) the last of this block of cream cheese!

When the shells were finished, I put some leftover cream from when I made liquid truffle, and began dissolving the two kinds of cheese into it. In went my go-to spices for italian food: oregano, garlic, sea salt, cracked pepper. The bowl of recently-picked cherry tomatoes stared up at me accusingly, reminding me that there was no vegetable matter in this dish. I sliced them all up in halves and threw them in with the pasta on the side. The cheese sauce smoothed out, and a few leaves of basil later… something was born.

Husband loves cooking this way, just throwing in what we have, not worrying too much about recipes or whether the flavor mixes are perfect, but personally? It feels like a one-off – when I’m a little lazy, it’s great, and I’ll tell you – smoked gouda cheese spread doubles as a killer mac and cheese sauce. Recipes still are my favorite though: getting to be a part of that difficult, long-term creation process starting with originator of the idea and coming all the way through a bunch of grandmothers and mothers and food bloggers and pinterest-pinners all the way down to you. It’s pretty special.