Someone in my building has been playing the theremin, or possibly the saw, for six consecutive days now. For at least five hours each day, the tremulous, mournful whine navigates a path through the raindrops and into my window, along with September's calling card: the damp chill that settles on sofa cushions and bloats doors until they groan in their frames. To the doleful duet between warbling theremin/saw and congested gutters slopping rainwater into the alley, W. takes practice-GRE tests sequestered in her room; I perch at my computer and wonder what to write.
I got a job serving at an upscale restaurant in the Union Square area. I'm continuing to pursue other avenues of employment more closely related to my various long-term ambitions, but this gig will definitely pay the rent without breaking my back, and also offers good food at a generous discount. I feel it would be inappropriate to write a review for it during my tenure as an employee (particularly since my superiors can consult my resume for the blog address); suffice it to say, then, that the restaurant is particularly known for its candle-lit ambiance (featured below).
I'm enjoying it so far (and will be even more so when my training is over on Thursday and I actually get to keep my tips); the consistent patterns of set-up, glass-filling, and reciting specials make me feel rhythmic and at ease. The job also offers a welcome opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of wine; and besides, being any part of a process of providing people with good food is very satisfying to me.
All that said, I haven't cooked a stitch or snapped a photo in two weeks; lately, I've been eating questionable staff meals at the restaurant, but the only thing I've bothered to make at home is another round of this self-devised "French" mac 'n cheese (or should I say, "mac et fromage"?) that I made, ostensibly for my passel of nieces and nephews, at the beach. I think the adults enjoyed it more than the children, but all-around I'd say it was a success and worth repeating.
Rosemary-Brie Mac 'n Cheese
2 cups small elbow macaroni, or similar pasta as desired
1/2 cup panko flakes or other breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole milk (be prepared to add more as necessary)
7 oz. Brie, rind removed
5 oz. gruyere, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
5 oz. fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in 1 teaspoon butter
1 cup diced fresh figs
salt and pepper to taste
Cook macaroni in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain.
Melt 3T butter in large saucepan; melt remaining tablespoon in small saucepan. Mix panko or other breadcrumbs into small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.
Add flour to large saucepan; whisk over medium-low heat 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Add rosemary and bring to boil, whisking constantly. Whisk 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add cheese, mushrooms and figs; stir until melted. Add more milk if necessary for thick, creamy consistency.
Now that I'm not frantically job-hunting or penny-pinching so ferociously (not to say that I won't continue to be an expert on dining in the East Village for ten dollars or less for a good while yet), I hope to get back to blogging with some regularity/continuity. After all, the CSA keeps pouring in, the Greenmarket still spreads its welcoming arms every Sunday, and I continue to be hungry. Thank you for your patience and support!