Monday, March 23, 2009

Hey Tax Man!

Due diligence pays.

Out the whazoo.

We decided to get our taxes done early this year (more than a week ahead of the 15th is early,) and ended up getting $50 some odd dollars back from the Fed and owing $600 something to California. The exact figure escapes me....

I go numb from head to toe as I hand our accountant the debit card. My mouth is dry. Tack on another $150 for his services to that figure... I'm itchy. What was that figure again? His mouth is moving---Do I need audit protection? Do I? Is it just me or is it itchy in here? Did he just say audit protection?

It was hard to tell if it was a lump in my throat or if I was stabbing myself with my wallet, whatever it was, it felt like poker night all over again.

6s-10s-8h on the flop, I have the 8 and 9 of spades. Checks all around, I check. 8 of clubs on the turn... checks all around, I bet. I bet big. I have mid trips and am on a straight, flush, four of a kind, straight flush draw. I beat a high pocket pair, two pair, would lose to a higher straight or flush.... I get raised. By my boss. I put the rest of my chips in. He calls.

Pocket 10s.

Two cards and two cards only can save me.

Those same two cards were nowhere to be found in the accountant's office as well.

So you pick yourself up. You want to call a time-out, a quick 20, hell you'd take a knee if you could, but you don't. You say, "Thank you." A "thank you" with this open ended pause that carries an inaudible yet oh so painful "for the spanking."

Times like these call for one thing and one thing only...

Mac 'n' Cheese.

Substitute regular flour and wheat pasta if you'd like, I don't eat either.

1lb dry Brown Rice Penne (TJ's)
2tbsp rice flour (I use sweet rice, fine grind)
1 large shallot diced
3 tbsp butter (6 if you want it "Schnobrich Style")
2 cups milk
2 tbsp warm water
2 pinches saffron
8oz Havarti cheese cut into small cubes
8oz Cheddar shredded
4-8oz of any other cheese you might wanna throw in for good measure
1/2 tsp or so of smoked paprika
1tbsp salt (for boiling)

Take those 2 tbsp of warm water and add the two pinches saffron to it. Like now would be a good time. Do it before you even think about making/reading this recipe.

Boil up some water over medium high heat, you'll need at least a 4qt sauce pan. When that comes to a boil, add the pasta, tbsp of salt and crank the heat up the rest of the way. Cooking directions vary here... If you are going to bake this Mac N Cheese, leave the pasta under cooked, if you are going to eat this right away, cook them all the way through. If you lost big, you could throw some extra saffron into the pasta water for further punishment/self-loathing.

Melt the butter in a saute pan, add the shallots, and continue to cook until translucent. Add the rice flour and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the saffron water, and don't sweat the pieces that will stick to the side of the ramekin, there is work to be done. Immediately reach for the milk and add just enough to make a loose sauce, bring that up to temp, and more milk, bring it back up to temp, add the rest of the milk with the cubed Havarti, and kill the heat. Once you have all of that, you should look over at that pasta you forgot all about. Rinse the pasta in the strainer with some hot water. If you're using wheat pasta, skip that step. Good thing you read ahead, right?

Mix the cooked pasta, the sauce, any of those threads of saffron that stuck to the side of your ramekin, and the shredded cheddar (maybe some fontina too) into a baking dish. Sneak a bite. Tell your loved ones it's to test for seasoning. Take another bite, because that's some good advice and add salt and pepper if you'd like and top with the smoked paprika. Bake @ 350 until bubbly, or eat right away.

Serrano Ham is super tasty. It would be even tastier bathing in this dish, lower the salt if you add this to the dish. Lobster would do fine here as well.

No 8 of diamonds or 7 of Spades needed.


  1. Next time test bet big! (half your stack or so) See if he limps in or reraises. And for goodness sake use more butter or something. JS.

  2. YAY! I have wanted a good homemade mac n' cheese recipe! Who knew all this time I could have gotten one from you! Thanks!

    PS: I love all the little stories about William in your blog! He cracks me up!

  3. JS,

    I agree, on all fronts! (note the change in the recipe.)

    -btw I brought Fruit Bars to OWL, and one of the kids asks, "But aren't you the chef?"

    Thank you (open ended pause)
    -m :)