What I’m about to share with you transpired roughly four months ago, but it’s taken me that long to stomach the thought of this disaster long enough to pen this post. I also thought it apropos to recount the tale now, considering my friend, Laura — with whom I embarked on this maki mishap — just got home from her first grad school semester in Europe.
When I first sought to break into the food blogosphere, I was inspired by a site called The Food in My Beard. This guy, Dan, always seemed to be entertaining his friends with fun parties full of creative dishes. One of the first recipes I ever favorited was his macaroni and cheese mock-i rolls, a playful take on maki (hand-rolled sushi) using Kraft macaroni and cheese and ground beef. Now, if you read my “About” section, you’d know that I typically avoid The Blue Box in my esculent endeavors, but the creativity and novelty of Dan’s creation reeled me in.
First mistake: Laura and I tackled this challenge on a weeknight. You must set aside a lot of time for this — like, four+ hours. Unfortunately, we were incredibly impatient, which not only doomed the dish, but caused us to pick at all the mac ‘n cheese and ground beef scraps along the way; when the dish got plated hours later, I wasn’t hungry anymore, and forcing myself to try it made me sick to my stomach. (I may or may not have gagged a few times writing this.)
The basic approach is to make thicker macaroni and cheese, spread out the “rice” on a sushi roller, add ground beef and sriracha (Thai hot sauce), roll it up, put it in the freezer to solidify, cut into maki slices and bake to serve. Sounds simple enough, right? Yeah, we thought so, too. Our mac ‘n cheese wasn’t thick enough. We used Tiger Sauce instead of sriracha. We rushed through it. Things got messy. Instead of clever little maki rolls, we ended up with terrible little maki blobs. A culinary failure if I’ve ever seen one.
Total time? Way too long. Way, waaaay too long.
Cost? $1 Kraft mac ‘n cheese, $3 ground beef (but you need only about 2 cups), $3 Tiger Sauce (but I implore you: Go with the sriracha).
Overall success relative to expectations? 2 out of 10. And to make matters worse, Laura insisted she’d eventually bake up the unclaimed mac-beef logs in my freezer, so instead of throwing them out, I had to be reminded of this disaster every time I went for ice. (And, I might add, Laura left for Europe without following through on the maki resurrection.) Kudos to The Food in My Beard for the creativity, and more props for pulling it off. Laura and I could not, but at least we had a good time. That’s all that matters in cooking, right? No? Well… I got nothing then.