Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stock-Market-Crash Comfort

The easiest way for me to say this: we're in trouble. After Congress, led by the House Republicans, voted down the $700B bailout proposal, the stock market plummeted yesterday, losing more points in one day than ever in history - almost 10%. Granted, the stock market isn’t the economy, but it sure as hell isn’t completely disconnected to it.

I left work yesterday channeling Wall Street – in a slump. I’ve been a bit bored lately, coupled with my father’s health problems, and my complete lack of inspiration for writing my thesis, I felt like the only thing that would cheer me up in the least (outside of a surprise visit from my boyfriend, Cliff, a.k.a. the man who makes my world go ‘round), was some serious comfort food.

I forced myself into the car after I got home and fed the cats, feeling the drain of getting an hour and a half of sleep before and 8-hour workday after an 8-hour drive and looking forward to a 12-hour sleep to come. After cruising through the aisles at Publix (yay Publix!) in a half-asleep daze, I ended up with a carton of organic milk, some (full-fat) Colby Jack cheese, a couple of cans of Ro-Tel (more about this later), and a rotisserie chicken.

A note about the chicken: It was the last one under the heat lamps and about five other people were on their way to snatch it.

I won.

I was not about to wait another ten minutes for more chickens to come out of the rotisserie. That’s ten minutes I could have been asleep.

Upon arriving at home, I put some water on the stove an boiled some whole-wheat rotini pasta and started scalding some milk…

A half hour later, I sat in front of half of my lemon-pepper chicken and a mound of steaming, creamy macaroni and cheese. Comfort food is white. That’s just the way it is. I felt bad that I hadn’t steamed some green beans or made a salad, but after listening to Marketplace and the exceedingly dismal economic conditions and projections, I got over it.

Macaroni and cheese from scratch is probably the only thing I’ll actually take 30 minutes to make after getting an hour and a half of sleep the night before. Just letting you know.

Stock-Market Slump Mac and Cheese

8 oz pasta of your choice
2 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1 ½ c milk (fat content of your choice)
8 oz shredded Colby-Jack cheese/Sharp Cheddar
½ t salt
½ t white pepper
Dash Tabasco

1. Boil pasta until al dente, drain, keep warm in a pot.
2. Melt butter in a small pan.
3. When melted whisk in flour and cook 1 minute to a paste. Remove from heat.
4. When milk comes to a boil, add flour/butter roux and bring back to a boil.
5. Cook milk until thick, stirring constantly with wooden spoon or whisk.
6. Add cheese and stir until completely melted.
7. Add salt, pepper, and Tabasco.
8. Pour cheese sauce over drained pasta and stir to coat completely.

Enjoy with other white foods: chicken, mashed potatoes, etc, and large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or (for extra comfort) extra-light, extra-sweet coffee. Be comforted.

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