Ever been on Food Network? Well, I had to wait until I became a grandma before there was a slot just for me! Clash of the Grandmas. It was the most amazing fun, hardest work, and satisfying experience of my life. Now… I got the bug to do more!
If any of you have watched Clash of the Grandmas, 6 episodes which air every year between Thanksgiving and New Year, you will know what I mean when I say, ‘We Grandmas Get Down!’
Challenge. I was in episode 2, and one of my challenges was to create a Mac & Cheese dish that could be HAND HELD!! Really? Crazy. It’s a funny thing how the mind kicks into a rich resource of memories, flavors, foods we have had throughout our life, and in that moment, I just knew what I would make, never having made it before, or thought of it until that very moment.
My Middle Eastern heritage quickly pulled out of my brain the concept of using phyllo dough as something to hold this ooey gooey, messy idea together. Then, since I grew up along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, crabs began to scream for attention in my creation. Crabs and, of course, Old Bay seasoning. Old Bay is the perfect blend of salts and spices that complement any seafood dish.
Next the dilemma was going to be the cheese. I am not sure why many chefs say seafood and cheese don’t go together. I think someone just made that up and others joined in. Cheese is basically cream, and there are many seafood dishes that have cream in them. Look at Scalloped Oysters, or the cheese in grits for Shrimp and Grits. I quickly chose Gruyere Cheese, since it is a hard cheese and would melt slowly, rather than drip out of the roll, like Mozzarella would have. Also, it has a very gentle yet nutty flavor.
Within the fastest 30 minutes of life, (or maybe it was 40?), Mac & Cheese Crab Rolls were created, in front of about 35 cameras, right there for all the world to see.
The dish was made and plated. Some olives and a few other Mediterranean condiments were set on the plate, and the exciting moment for the taste test arrived.
Judges Brandi Malloy, Eddie Jackson, and Jamika Pessoa were to taste, and determine my fate, while hottie Cameron Mathison melted all us grandmas to a mere puddle.
YES! It was a hit, and I was to move on to the next round, the round that finished me off: Meatloaf, yuk! But… I promise you, you will love my creation of Mac & Cheese Crab Roll. I make it often, and so will you.