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Get Pumpkined: Mac and Cheese & Molten Pumpkin Chocolate Cakes & Squashed Squash Souffle

14 Nov

My mom, slowly losing her mind as we spend our Sunday afternoon drowning in packing peanuts; we finished with just enough time left for Pumpkin Chocolate Cake-baking.

Using a recipe to make good ol’ Mac and Cheese from grand kitchen pooh-bah Grant Achatz feels vaguely ludricous, like asking Arizona Muse how to grow sassy eyebrows, or asking the sun what yellow feels like.

Does Grant even acknowledge Mac and Cheese? Hasn’t he evolved to a station in which he requires food in powder or foam form to recognize it’s reason for existence? Isn’t he too busy sketching pictures of Roasted Maitake Mushrooms with Chestnuts, Roasted Vegetables and Autumnal Aromas or freeze-drying Pineapple Chips and Cherries for his Powdered Ham and Clove dish to consume, much less prepare, a lowly meal consisting of carbs and dairy products that haven’t been shot out of cannon or chanted over by a wizard in a green teepee?

Thankfully, no. And I decided to give his refreshingly simple recipe for Mac and Cheese a whirl. One of the marvelous side effects of eating basic food made with a great chef’s recipe is the manner in which the dish is reinvigorated; the flavors sing, in their most elemental, yet elevated form.

The macaroni, in Grant Achatz’s hands, becomes the all-American carb and dairy fest it always is, underpinned with assertive waves of BBQ (it tasted like a smoke-bomb, in a good way, probably due to the paprika and cayenne sauteed at the same time as the onions and infused into the roux), grilled cheese (the topping of simply grated cheese, cooked until crisp) and … bacon (chopped and fried); in other words, he unlocked the key to the holy Trinity of classic edible American childhood, and I served it for dinner.

In addition to my usual carb splurge, I wanted to get a handle on the growing pile of pumpkins and squash in my kitchen. I got a bumper crop of sweet pumpkins and squash from Cascade Farm this week, and I celebrated with a batch of Molten Chocolate Pumpkin Mini Cakes and a Slightly Squashed Squash Souffle. No matter how gently I fold my egg whites into my soufflé, it never holds the super high rise I want it too, probably because I cram too much cheese into it. But it certainly tastes good on a chilly Sunday morning.

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