Cooking on Cam: Everyday Food

LoxSarahTheLoDown [infobox subtitle="Mac n' Cheese" bg="gray" color="black" opacity="on" space="30" link="no link"]Cooking on Camera[/infobox]

Long story short, Martha Stewart is my Magical Unicorn.  If you've been following the blog for a bit now or check out my Instagrams from time to time, you understand my passion for cooking but also my love for creating beautiful experiences and environments.  I grew up on Martha.  She taught me that cooking with grace means taking risks, eliminating fear of the unknown, and not being afraid to laugh if a mistake is made.  Cooking is fun with Martha, and I love her for it!  She is my ultimate creative inspiration, not to mention a keen businesswoman with her eye constantly on the prize.

So, with that being said I must reveal that something totally awesome has happened.  A few weeks ago I was invited to the Martha Stewart Creative Living offices to chat about what I'm up to these days (cooking delicious things while wearing fabulous shoes, obviously) and to discuss a potential collaboration with one of Martha Stewart's great digital shows you must subscribe to, Everyday Food.  Everyday Food is hosted by the charming and talented Sarah Carey (such a doll, that woman).  She dishes up a delicious meal everyday to the enjoyment of her viewers, expertly walking through each dish step by step.

Clearly, considering the talent on the table and the opportunity at hand, I jumped at the chance to cook alongside the wonderful Sarah.  The next question - what would we cook?

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After deliberating over a number of recipes, from my Classic Roasted Chicken to Poached Salmon, Sarah and her team decided on the Ham and Gruyere Mac n' Cheese recipe I'd sent over.  It's delicious, perfect as a main dish when the weather gets cold or as a beautiful side during any holiday celebration.

This Mac n' Cheese is decadently over the top but simple to prepare.  There is crispy ham involved, buttered bread crumbs, and a delicious Mornay Sauce filled to the gills with gruyere cheese.  The recipe and preparation are below, and I'd love your comments on the video and for you to share this exciting moment for me with your friends and loved ones!

You can check Sarah out in Everyday Food right here.

Ham and Gruyere Mac n' Cheese

[tabgroup layout="horizontal"] [tab title="Ingredients"]1. 1 box of pasta (macaroni or gemelli or cavatappi)

2. Butter

3. Flour (about 1/4 cup)

4. Milk (2+ Cups for a thick sauce)

5. Gruyere Cheese (about 1 cup grated)

6. Salt and Pepper to Taste

7. Freshly ground nutmeg to taste

8. Thinly sliced ham cut into small squares (about 1/8-1/4 cup)

9. Breadcrumps (1 cup)

10. Quarter of an onion (root on)

11. 1 Clove

12. 1 Bay Leaf[/tab]

[tab title="Procedure"]1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place milk in a saucepan over low heat with a quarter of an onion, clove, and bay leaf to flavor the milk.  Attach the bay leaf to the onion with the clove, sticking it through like a nail.

2. Boil a large pan of water, salting it heavily until it's salty like the sea.  Salty water seasons your pasta so really crank it up.  Cook pasta very al dente, and then run noodles under cool water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

3. While pasta is cooking cut ham into thin, tiny squares and quickly fry up on the stove top in a bit of butter.  Remove the ham and add breadcrumbs to soak up the rest of the butter (you can add a little more just so the breadcrumbs are coated evenly).

4. In a sauce pan, melt butter (in equal measure to your flour, about 1/4 c) over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add flour and stir quickly off the heat until combined, then return to heat and continue to stir for 1-2 minutes.  This paste that forms is called a roux.  Add flavored milk (pull out onion, clove and bay leaf), quickly stirring to avoid clumps in your béchamel.  Once this boils and expands, you can add cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until your cheese sauce has reached a consistency and flavor you like.

5. Butter a large casserole pan, add noodles, ham pieces and cover with cheese sauce.  Stir so that the pan is completely filled.  Cover loosely with bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes in the oven until golden brown and bubbling!

[/tab] [tab title="Notes"]Serves: 6-8

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 45 minutes[/tab] [/tabgroup]