Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet Matt!

I'm Matt, a.k.a. Matt the Butcher!  I hate talking about myself, but here it goes.  I live in central Florida, where it's way too hot for eight months out of the year.  I've been cooking for most of my adult life.  I really can't remember cooking as a kid, or what got me started cooking.  I just know that I do love to cook, for myself and my family, and I get great pleasure watching others enjoy the food that I've prepared.  I don't think I have any particular cooking style so to speak, but some of my favorite things to cook are a nice Boston butt that's been on the smoker for 10 or 12 hours, a Detroit-style pizza that I've been experimenting with, and any odd cuts of meat I can find, which includes most any kind of
offal.  I'm a butcher by trade, working in a large grocery store. I absolutely love cutting meat and sharing recipes with all of my customers.

I'm also a self-taught cake decorator.  When my kids were very young I started making their birthday cakes.   Just the usual round 2 layer cakes, but as they got older the cakes became more and more complex, up to the point where I've made wedding cakes for a couple of my kids!  So, if I could learn to make candles, I guess I'd be the person you've all heard of but never met:  The Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick maker!

When I'm not working or cooking, I like riding my old Harley or playing racquetball with my kids and grand kids.  I'm addicted to tattoos, having about 15 or so.  I'm in the process of getting my entire arm completely covered in ink.  I like to think I've had a big influence in my kids being interested in cooking.  My oldest son placed third in a Boston butt cook-off last year, and most of my other children love to cook, as well as my grandchildren!  I can remember my oldest grandchild, Kay, sitting on the counter watchin' Grandpa cook when she was just a baby.  She's 17 now, and cooks for her brothers and sisters when her Mom works late.  At the moment, we have our 3 year old grandson living with us and he's my little sous chef, taking every pot and pan out of the cabinets and cooking along with me on the floor in the kitchen.  My namesake grandson, Matthew, is 7 and he likes to cook on the BBQ while his Dad keeps an eye on him.

Matt the Butcher's Almost World Famous Mac 'n Cheese

Of all the different things I cook, I think this is my wife's favorite.  Kinda her comfort food.

1 pound elbow macaroni
6 Tablespoons butter, divided in half
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups milk (any kind)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon annatto, if desired (for coloring)
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Cook macaroni until it's about 2/3 of the way done (remember, it's gonna cook more in the oven).  Drain macaroni and set aside.  Melt 3 Tablespoons butter and mix with the bread crumbs; set aside.  In the same pot that you cooked the macaroni in, over medium heat melt 3 Tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour, stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes.  Turn the heat up to medium high and add the milk and spices, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens.  Turn off the heat and add the cheese in 2 batches, stirring until all the cheese is melted.  Add the drained pasta and mix well.  Turn the mixture out into a 9x13 inch baking dish, cover with the bread crumb mixture.  Place in a 450°F oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the bread crumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbling.  Try and wait for about 15 minutes before serving.  :)

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