So one of the interesting things about this recovery from knee surgery, other than Jane Eyre is a pretty good book even if it is a billion pages long and makes me think in long and flowery sentences in my head, is that I am being barraged by soup. I don't really mind. I'm fairly certain the Brain doesn't mind either. Actually it's not just soup, but soup has definitely made a strong showing.
First we had my mother in law's chicken noodle soup. It was very yummy. Then she made us her corn chowder soup which was really really really good. And she brought these delicious corn sticks from this brand new cookbook I'm really chomping at the bit to tell you about, but you have to wait until I'm up and cooking first. Sorry. Trust me it's worth the wait. Then my mother in law left for South Carolina to visit with my very lovely brother in law and sister in law who I'm excited to go see this summer. However, my "nurse on call" who happens to be a really fun lady who's best friends with my mother in law, kept up the flow of soup and brought us some delicious chicken soup and some really yummy cobbler. She also dropped by this afternoon with some chocolate chip cookies for me. I've been told we're getting a pot of beef barley soup over the weekend too.
I'm going to have to get a move on with the physical therapy or I'm going to end up like Jaba the Butt. Although the cookies came at an opportune time because I'm just about out of medicinal chocolate. And the cobbler, while way more delicious than cobbler has any right to be, does not fit well in a pocket and thus makes it hard to carry around on crutches. Well and keep the pants clean-ish.
One thing I can say about small town living. Each one of these women make better soup than me. But you know what I can make?
Macaroni and Cheese. I'm not talking the Kraft Mac 'n Cheese that along with Van de Kamp Fish Fillets was a staple throughout the Fridays of Lent of my childhood. I'm talking about the gooey rich deliciousness of homemade macaroni and cheese. The luscious bite of the sharp cheddar. The garlicky breadcrumbs. The smooth smooth cheesy-ness of it all. The stuff I never make just for us, because of that dreadfully malodorous lactose problem. Yeah, but I know it's good because whenever I have an occasion where the other ladies are making their delicious soups, I make macaroni and cheese. And I save a tiny little casserole dish just for me. What do you take people who are layed up for a while?
As a little update. I saw the doc today and although I still can't drive, I'm starting physical therapy and I'm allowed to bend my leg more. Well, allowed is probably not the right word. I can bend it about 50 degrees and now the lockout is set for 90 degrees. If you want to imagine what my life is like, I spend most of my time laying on my back on the couch with my leg on 6 pillows reading books. This would be bliss, except sometimes my leg hurts pretty bad, and I'm really tired of laying on my back on the couch. It's at those moments when I attempt to bend my leg the amount it's supposed to go and I try fun stuff like leg lifts. I'm actually getting pretty good at those. I don't see the doctor again for another 3 weeks, but I'm hoping if I try really hard, maybe I'll at least be off the crutches by then.
Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Bread Crumbs
For Bread Crumbs:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 lb macaroni
2 lb extra sharp cheddar, grated
Make bread crumbs:
Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until melted. Toss in garlic and bread crumbs, stirring until crumbs are golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in a 3-4 quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add flour and cook, whisking 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, cream and mustard and simmer, whisking occasionally for 3 minutes.
Cook macaroni in a 6 to 7 quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in white sauce, cheese and salt to taste.
Pour macaroni mixture into a 13x9x2 inch casserole dish. You can either pile it high, or also spoon some in a small casserole dish big enough to fit the excess. Sprinkle the garlic bread crumbs on top of both casserole dishes. Bake the casseroles in the middle of the oven until bubbly. About 30 minutes for the big one and much less for the little one.