January 30, 2007

Hope & Optimism

Another flutter from the fridge door -

"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."

- Vaclav Havel

Tell me the poet/politician/former president of Czechoslovakia wasn't up to his elbows in pastry when he thought of this.

In the fragile world of hope and optimism, my friend Carol shines a beacon. She is a bulwark against my occasionally cynical, always skeptical mind. If you put out positive stuff, positive stuff happens. And it seems to. For her.

I am not so convinced. I am more convinced that the earth is neutral. That we live. That we die. Fate? Meant to be? Cosmic energy? Reincarnation?

Nope. I doubt it...Let's say I'm open to conversion, because I like the idea of it, the story of it, the potential.

Carol and I usually drown our disagreement in more wine, and get down to eating.

And in this discontent of winter, I can't think of a better recipe to represent hope and optimism and Carol's energy...than her recipe for mac & cheese.

Carol's Mac & Cheese

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp coarse-grained mustard
1/2 lb. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (and supermarket varieties tend to be too mild, it might be worth heading to your favourite cheese shop)
1/4 cup, parmesan, grated

Cook the macaroni. Drain well. Return to pot and set aside.
In medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the jalapeno for 1 minute, then add the flour. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and heat to boiling.
Add the mustard and cheeses and stir until smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and toss.

That should serve 6...


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