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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“Pasta Specialties, Pt. XIV: ‘Old-Fashioned Ham and Macaroni—one of America’s All-Time Favorite Comfort Foods for the Twenty-First Century’ by Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier”



As with the past twelve days, we’ve been presenting the Doors to you for your listening enjoyment and now that we’ve completed their official albums, we enter the realm of the long-lost live treasure trove of albums that was always said not to exist when suddenly, they started coming out!  Their THIRTY-NINTH album—“Live at the Matrix 1967”—was released in 2008 like several of the others and was another great retrospective live album by one of rock’s greatest bands ever! You’ll definitely want to buy this one NOW!  [Unfortunately, the link may no longer be possible due to the fact that the Amazon.com Associates’ Program’s status is up in the air due to the fact that our home base is in California—you can still go there and BUY it!] Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.



                                                                          


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 269 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!





                                                                                         


STINKBUG 2012


                                                                                





Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier

END Commentary 03-29-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,860.



CULINARY POLITICS



ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier

PASTA SPECIALTIES, PT. XIV


 Pasta Specialties, Pt. XIV: ‘Old-Fashioned Ham and Macaroni—one of America’s All-Time Favorite Comfort Foods for the Twenty-First Century’ by Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier



Bakersfield, CA, 03-29-2012 Th: We are going to make one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, one that has caused an entire restaurant chain—Romano’s Macaroni Grill—to come into existence, macaroni and cheese.  In this case, it’s going to be the traditional Ham and Macaroni, a favorite dish of most Americans except for those who had to eat TOO much of it as kids.  We use it in coffee shops as a special at lunchtime and believe it or not, we use it as a side dish on occasion in the fine-dining world because people love it.  That’s the wonderful thing about working in the country club atmosphere—it’s like being with one’s family because you see the same people each and every day, take care of their families, and get to know them by name.  They tell you their likes and dislike more than at any other foodservice operation—with the exception of high-class rest homes—so you get to know not only them but their tastes.  Therefore, putting a dish like Ham and Macaroni on the menu as a side dish never meets with derision, disapproval, nor disgust which to me is part of the fun. 

My mom always made this dish in the wintertime and my siblings and I always enjoyed it when we came in the door from school and smelled the familiar aromas wafting about the house.  Not only did it smell good, it tasted good, too, and there was something rapturous about the combination of creamy cheese, Béchamel Sauce, and savory ham in a delightful casserole dish.  Whatever she made was consumed within one night and that was fine for all of us.  Anyhow, if you’re ready, let’s get started:

(#939 A) HAM AND MACARONI





Yield:  4-6 servings  / Mis-en-place: 3+ hours:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1.5
#
Tavern ham, diced into 1” cubes

2
Gallons
Water

2
Each
Bay leaves

4-5
Each
Whole cloves

3
Quarts
Ham broth

1
Tablespoon
Kosher salt

1.5
Teaspoons
Vegetable oil

8
Ounces
Cut, salad, or elbow macaroni

1
quart
whole milk

2
cups
Half-and-Half

1.25
teaspoons
kosher salt

.5
teaspoon
white pepper

.5
cup
melted butter

.5
cup
all-purpose flour

.5
cup
diced pimientos, drained 
Patted dry
1
Tablespoon
Dry parsley flakes

Tabasco sauce
Optional
2
Cups
Grated medium cheddar cheese

1
Cup
Grated Swiss cheese

.5
Cup
Freshly-shredded parmesan cheese

.5
Cup
Melted butter

Freshly minced parsley flakes
Rinsed
Hungarian paprika




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! First of all, you need to prepare the ham as we will use the ham broth to cook pasta, thereby instilling additional flavor into the macaroni and increasing the flavor of the dish.  Cut the ham and have ready—we prefer tavern ham but smoked ham or some other type is acceptable.  Heat the measure of water on the stove in a large stock pot, add the bay leaves and cloves, and bring it to a boil.  Once there, add the ham cubes and boil until tender—practically falling apart—and then stop.

a.      Remove the ham and place it into a bowl of ice water to retard further cooking.  Meanwhile, reserve at least THREE quarts of the broth and return to the stove in a clean saucepot—be sure the cloves have been removed!

2.      When the ham broth is boiling, add the salt and oil and then the pasta.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente-tender but no more.  Stir occasionally during cooking and for sure after it’s been in the water for about 20-30 seconds to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and scorching.  When it’s done, drain and discard the liquid and place the pasta underneath cold running water and rinse it; set aside.

3.      Combine the milk and half-and-half in the top of a Bain Marie or double boiler over HOT water.  In another saucepot that can hold the liquid in the first pot, combine the butter with the flour to form a roux.  Add the salt and pepper.  Cook the roux for 3-4 minutes—stirring almost constantly—until it’s blond and no longer pure white.  When it is, raise the heat and then quickly whisk the HOT dairy products into it, whisking constantly until a medium-thick sauce has formed.

4.      Cook the sauce for 4-5 minutes and then lower the heat.  Check the flavor of this basic Béchamel sauce and readjust it with additional salt and pepper.  Add the dry parsley flakes and if desired, a few drops of Tabasco sauce.  Meanwhile, drain the ham and pat dry the macaroni.  Heat your standard oven to 400°F or your convection oven—fan in the “on” position—to 350°F and have ready. 

5.      Spray a baking dish with PAM or with some such other food release spray.  Combine the pasta and the ham and then combine with the sauce in a large bowl, mixing well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Scoop this mixture into your prepared baking dish and then top with the three cheeses.  Sprinkle the fresh parsley flakes across the top and then using the Hungarian paprika, carefully create a diamond-shaped pattern across the top of the cheese.  Shake diagonal lines in one direction and then shake diagonal lines in the other direction to form the diamond-pattern across the top. 

6.      Place the ham and macaroni in your preheated oven on the middle oven rack and bake for 15 minutes; then, drop the heat by 25°F and continue baking for another 30-45 minutes or until a quick-temp thermometer inserted directly into the center reads 165°F.  If it browns TOO much during cooking, spray a piece of aluminum foil with PAM and tent it.  When it’s done, remove it and place it upon a wire rack to cool for several minutes, during which time, it will set up.

7.      When it’s firm, it’s ready to serve.  Spoon portions into casserole boats or into pasta bowls and place upon doily-lined serving plates.  This can be used as a main dish or as a side dish.  If desired, sprinkle with additional freshly minced parsley flakes and enjoy.

8.      Leftovers must always be cooled to below 45°F as quickly as possible, the lower end of the Danger Zone for foodborne illness to begin so when you’re done eating it, transfer the leftovers into a smaller pan and refrigerate quickly.  Make sure that you either stick a spoon in the middle so that the cold air can quickly get inside the dish or that you stir it around several times during the cooling process.  When it’s completely chilled, cover it with plastic wrap to keep the air outside it and always heat leftovers to 165°F or higher in your microwave oven; only you can prevent foodborne illness!

This is a wonderful dish that almost everyone knows and loves.  It is a treat from childhood and is definitely considered to be a comfort food for many.  Always use nothing but the best pasta and if you wish, you can substitute other meats like chicken or sausage for the ham for a completely different dish.  Never be afraid to experiment, who knows what you’ll discover?

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As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will hopefully become dedicated followers of the END.  In this day and age of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this dish as it’s one of my favorites and believe it or not—still sells out whenever it’s run as a side dish on a dinner night or as a lunch special.  One can work in the most elaborate country club, hotel, or restaurant and people will still order the foods that make them happy, even if they’re simple like ham and macaroni.  But that is our job as professional culinarians—to give the people what they want regardless of what the heck it is—as long as it’s legal, that is—and this is the sort of food they want on occasion.  I understand their feelings because it’s one of my comfort foods, too, something that I grew up with in my household as a child and I still love sitting down eating a bowl of it every now and then.  It makes me think of my mother, someone I love very much and still do to this day.  I make it just like she did and always make sure I use nothing but the best ingredients as that is what gives it its distinctive flavor, creaminess, and flavor.  I love ham that is practically falling apart—ala ham and limas—and this is one dish its okay to overcook the meat.  You want this dish to practically melt in your mouth and believe me, it will, if you’ve prepared it properly.  Always pay close attention to it as it bakes, it’s good that the top becomes a molten mess of cheese but don’t let it scorch, burn, or otherwise become inedible—always keep a close eye on whatever it is you’re cooking for best results!            

 Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the DOORS and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thanks, my friends!

Gervais

Gervais Krinkelmeier
ACF, CEC, American Bakers’ Association, the Bread Bakers’ Guild of America, Professional Chef and Baker for 45 years.


This is me back in 1981 at a Chefs de Cuisine dinner in Los Angeles, California, at the Century Plaza Hotel. I was among the chefs who worked the dinner and it was there that I met Stinkbug, my good friend. We later worked together in Washington State in the Puget Sound area, primarily Mukilteo. I began my career in 1972 in Culver City, California but presently make my home in Frazier Park, California.

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The END Commentary for Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier

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Recipe created by Chef Gervais Krinkelmeier on December 04, 1974 in Culver City, CA.

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This is #1404 a 16” x 20" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “On the Prowl.’" It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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PLEASE NOTE: WE HAVE BEEN STYMIED BY THE CALIFORNIA LAW TAXING THE INTERNET AND UNTIL WE CAN BEGIN POSTING LINKS TO AMAZON.COM AGAIN, YOU WILL HAVE TO GO THERE YOURSELF.  BE SURE TO WRITE GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN AND TELL HIM HE’S WRONG FOR WHAT HE’S DOING.  HE’S CRIPPLING BUSINESS BUT OF COURSE, HE KNOWS THAT! THANK YOU, THE ELEMENTAL NEWS OF THE DAY.















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