Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter's Unlikely Superhero

Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a, it's a grossly enlarged girl, suffering the pangs of post holiday carb consumption. Able to consume copious quantities of Christmas cookies, pasta carbonara
and oh yes, one more glass of Chardonnay, the Carbed Crusader spent the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, demonstrating the stupendous eating abilities of a true superhero.
Ever the social butterfly, the Carbed Crusader politely accepted whatever was proferred at all the parties, all the potlucks. A truckload of Triscuits and hot artichoke dip, seductive salt and black pepper potato chips, an oozing pastry wrapped brie partnered with a tart cherry compote, all delicious, all delightful, fueling our gargantuan girl wonder with all the glories of the season.
Seemingly there is no end in sight to the catastrophic caloric clogging. Now deep in the dregs of January, with yet another massive snow storm on the way, the Carbed Crusader is contemplating constructing a succulent Chicken Pot Pie crowned with a flaky, cheese laced crust. Then she will fill a
sturdy dutch oven full of elegant, richly flavored Beef Daube, accompanied by a large loaf of crusty olive bread. Once that's done, the Carbed Crusader will commence to concoct a volatile vat of chili.
After all, Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and provisions must be made! Plus, that steaming bowl of spiciness is just the vehicle for beefing up the body of this one woman eating machine.
While the chili is cheerily bubbling away, there exists the perfect excuse for whipping up a batch of tender cornbread laced with sharp cheddar and bracing bits of jalapeno. A bright yellow crumble of cornbread, slathered with creamy butter and drizzled with wildflower honey brings a definite touch of sunshine to dark winter days. Never mind the crunchy, salty tortilla chips, luscious chunks of avocado and giant plop of sour cream that make that bowl of chili just about the most heroic of winter meals.
Of course, the Carbed Crusader does realize that all wild indulgences must eventually be curtailed. One cannot retain superior crime crushing skills, glowing skin and bright eyes when one keeps feeding the insatiable demons of desire. C.C. knows that moderation in all things is the superior way to be ready for all of life's adventures. Slumping, slack flesh and that tight, uncomfortable pinching, along with an ever plummeting energy level will at some point become an unbearable encumbrance.
But before the Carbed Crusader can return to a rigorous routine of responsible eating and regular exercise, there is one last moment of gustatory glory to be savored. An indulgement so divine and delicious it will carry this carb craver to a place of complete contentment. The need to exceed will be quietly quelled by a magnificent pan full of mighty macaroni and cheese.
The Carbed Crusader considers macaroni and cheese a sacred dish, one to be created with reverance and really good ingredients. Seldom using less than 5 selections of cheeses in her macaroni and cheese, the Carbed Crusader favors a flavorful blend of sharp cheddar, smooth, unassuming Swiss, a bit of mozzarella, a bit of bleu or gorgonzola to add a bright, salty bite and a heavy handful of Parmesan.
Meze rigatoni is the only macaroni she will use, the stubby tubes a perfect vehicle for harboring perfect mouthfuls of ooey gooey cheesiness.
The sauce is a classic roux, blended with warm skim milk and some half and half, whisked until perfectly silky. Nearly all the cheese is stirred in, then the rigatoni. Poured into a buttered baking dish, the remainder of the cheeses are scattered atop the pasta and the whole creation is capped off with hand torn shards of french bread tossed with salted butter. Into a 375 degree oven, and thirty minutes later sheer heaven will emerge. It is advisable to check the oven halfway through for burning breadcrumbs. If they are overbronzing, protect with a layer of aluminum foil.
A super feast for any eating hero, the crisp, golden crumbs mingling with melted cheese is worth every calorie. Besides there is 2 feet of snow out there for the Carbed Crusader to shovel her way through. Super carbs for super strength!! Up, up and away!

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