Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cooking Like Mom

I've been on a bit of a roll cooking American food recently. Not really sure whats gotten into me, but they seem like things that I ought to know how to make. Yuki had been having a rough spell at work, so last weekend I decided to cook her some comfort food and turned to a couple of my mom's staples.

Her baked mac & cheese will put you in one of the warmest fuzziest food comas of your life, it's that good. Unfortunately, I don't have access to her secret ingredient in Japan (don't worry mom, I won't tell them what it is!) and needed Yuki's sorry little oven/microwave (they often combine the two here in Japan. CRAZY!) for baking dessert anyway, so I went with a recipe from one of my favorite blogs that makes it in a pan and calls for minimal butter to boot. I toasted some panko and sprinkled it on top to add a little texture. It turned out pretty well, though it didn't have the awesome crusty bits you get when you bake it, which everyone knows is the best part. Still good stuff for a cold winter night.

My mom also makes a mean apple crisp that people always devour. I'm not sure if there have ever been leftovers when she makes it... I will admit, for a long time I steered clear of cooked fruit. I looooove cold crispy juicy refreshing fruit, so I never really saw the point in taking all that away by baking them. But I've been more open to new foods recently and every now and then there will be a dish that forces me to give credit to the cooked stuff too. The only problem I had was that I ignored my mom's recommendation to use tart apples, opting instead for red ones that were on sale. Red apples are, in general, juicier than green ones and as a result it took way longer for all the liquid to evaporate and for the apples to start breaking down than it should have. After about twice as much time in the oven as the recipe called for, it was finally at an acceptable point, though to be completely honest it would have been better with even more time. That being said, I made had made a ton and expected at least half of it to be leftover, but we served it up with some vanilla ice cream and ended up killing the whole freaking thing. We have a problem with making too much of something and eating til it's gone. We're getting better about it, but leftovers are quite rare.
It was all a bit indulgent, but it hit the spot and left us feeling full and content.

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