First off today, I would like to thank all of you following my blog post here and on FaceBook. The thought of someone actually reading some of my nonsense will make me a better writer...eventually.
On to the show.
My friend Larry Gaian at The BBQ Grail has been promoting a contest of sorts. A contest to come up with the best and most appealing dish containing MOINK Balls. For those that don't know what a MOINK Ball is, visit http://www.thebbqgrail.com/.
I have brilliant ideas in my head about what to do with MOINK. Ahh, yes. MOINKaroni and Cheese. Not just any Moinkaroni, but smoked Moinkaroni. This means doing some stovetop cooking. Remember what I said earlier about comfort zones? Yeah, talk about leaps from a comfort zone. I had to develop my own recipe for the macaroni and cheese, too.
So, I set out and buy elbow macaroni, cheddar, mozzarella, and monterrey jack cheeses. I cook the pasta, set it in three quart pans.
Now, for the cheese sauce.
Knowing that I needed to use the double boiler to avoid scorching the cheese and milk, I was feeling very sure of myself. Very sure, that is until the cheese sauce had been melting for quite some time without having the consistency and texture I envisioned.
What went wrong? Do I scrap the whole thing and start new using an easier blending cheese? If Velma finds out I toss twenty dollars of cheese and mess up the kitchen for naught, this macaroni may very well be my last supper. Not an option.
I proceed to simply place the coagulated mess of dairy product over the noodles. Place more cheese and crushed fish crackers over the epicurean nightmare to cover any evidence of wrongdoing.
No one will know.
I placed it on the smoker hoping that the Good Lord would make it edible as company was coming over to serve as guinea pigs. Then, it dawns on me.
I took no pictures, and forgot to add the key ingredient. MOINK!!
Well, too late now. I go on to prepare the rest of the meal, with grilled squash and zucchini. Pork and beef are sizzling their familiar sounds on the grill while the bubbling mass of ill repute quietly cooks away on a drum smoker. For two hours it taunted me as I knew that the rest of the splendid meal would be ruined. Ruined by a side dish of badly prepared pasta.
When time for dinner comes along I set out each dish for buffet service as if I knew exactly what I am doing, placing the macaroni disaster last in line in the hopes no one would have a spot on their plate.
Enter the guests. They scan the line of food picking and choosing what they will try, when the first person dips into the Great Pasta Debacle. Much to my surprise, they didn't pick up the whole pan while trying to dip out a serving. Instead pulled a perfectly cheesy, steamy and bubbly, portion of smoked macaroni and cheese. (Insert OOHs and Ahhs here)
What happened? I stepped far away from my comfort zone without a clue, and came away a winner.
Was it fun? Not at first. But we all have to start somewhere, right?
Thanks for reading.