Seriously... don't delay. Make this today: Mark Bittman's macaroni and cheese.
I make the first version of this, though I am intrigued by the variations and might try some of them soon. Jeremy and I just made some of this over the weekend and it's fab. It's very grown-up, savory mac and cheese--no gloopy, overly sweet cheesy goop. The bay leaves in the milk give it its special taste.
This time I added peas and ham. Cook one cup of frozen peas according to package directions; drain and set aside. Slice one ham steak into small cubes and set aside. Stir the peas and ham into the pasta after adding the sauce before baking. Yum!
We paired this dish with Brussels sprouts and sausage with just a touch of white wine and vinegar. Steam the sprouts, cut them in half vertically, and set aside. Throw some butter in a large pan and add the sausage, preferably split in half longways. Cook the sausage till it's about half done, add some more butter to the pan and throw in the sprouts. Once the sausage is nicely browned and the sprouts and done (still firm but easy to put a fork through), remove the sausage and sprouts, but leave the heat on the pan. Add a little dry white wine to the pan and stir it up, scraping up any bits left in the pan. Heat for a few minutes, cut up the sausage into small bits, then turn off the heat on the pan, stir in a splash of white vinegar, and drizzle over the sprouts and sausage. Tangy and delicious!
I made this one up on the fly because I had sprouts and sausage in the freezer and a bottle of dry white wine that I really didn't like as a drink in the fridge, but I wanted to try and find a use for it rather than just pouring it down the drain. I remember having some sprouts that a friend of mine made years ago with bacon and apple cider vinegar, so I put my own little twist on them. They turned out really tasty!
I went to an Italian street festival in my neighborhood, and in addition to a meatball sandwich that I purchased for a dollar (priced to sell!), I also had some really good lemonade and my very first deep-fried Oreo. The Oreo was delicious--kind of like an old-fashioned donut with an Oreo in the middle. Yum. I definitely giggled when I bit into it--a sure sign that I am really surprised by and am enjoying a food. I love street fair food.