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VOL. 38 | NO. 48 | Friday, November 28, 2014

Diet-busting dishes and history in Baltimore

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Hubby and I always attend the American Court and Commercial Newspaper Conferences, and they’re usually held in interesting cities we’ve never been to before. This year it was Savannah, and last year Baltimore.

In Baltimore, we stayed downtown, right across the street from the Chesapeake Bay. We had a beautiful view from our room of the USS Constellation, which is now a permanently docked museum. It’s a wonderful scenic view to look out over the water at the gigantic ship and all the neat little shops and restaurants they have built up around the bay.

I wanted to write about the lengthy history of the ship. What I can generally summarize from the website is that the first Constellation, a frigate designed by Joshua Humphrey, Josiah Fox, David Stodder, and the superintendent of shipbuilding, Captain Thomas Truxtun, was built at the Sterrett Shipyard in Baltimore and launched Sept. 7, 1797.

In 1797, the first ship of the U.S. Navy, the U.S.F. “frigate” Constellation, was commissioned, named for the flag of the Continental Congress.

Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, warmed, plus 2 tablespoons for egg wash
1 pound grated cheddar
1 pound grated smoked Gouda
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Prepared marinara or Alfredo sauce

Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into butter and, whisk, cooking about two minutes. Whisk the warmed milk into the flour mixture, working out lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, about two minutes.

Remove from heat, add the cheeses, and stir until melted and smooth; season with salt and pepper. Mix cheese sauce into macaroni. Pour the mac and cheese into a shallow pan and refrigerate until cold, at least two hours.

Shape the cold mac and cheese into meatball-sized balls and place them onto a waxed paper-lined tray. Freeze overnight.

Beat the eggs and two tablespoons milk together to form an egg-wash. Pour the breadcrumbs into shallow bowl. Remove the mac and cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash and then into the breadcrumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you’re ready to fry them.

Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac and cheese balls until golden brown and center is hot (about five minutes). Serve hot, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and marinara or Alfredo sauce for dipping.

Because of her speed and handling ability, Constellation became known as the “Yankee Racehorse.”

Thousands of sailors serving in the U.S. Navy aboard ships named Constellation have written a proud, illustrious and stellar history as they protected and defended freedom for both America and other nations around the world.

There’s so much more than I can possibly write in this column, so instead, I just highly recommend, should you ever be in the area, put a tour of the ship on your A-list. You won’t regret it.

The only thing I can think of to improve the tour is that they serve cheesecake and fried mac and cheese balls.

Well, I know that last sentence threw you for a loop, so let me explain.

We were also right across the street from the Cheesecake Factory, a definite nemesis to our diets.

We had cheesecake for dessert after dinner, as a midnight snack and even for breakfast. No kidding.

However, my recipe is about the fried mac and cheese balls the restaurant serves.

We ordered these as an appetizer, but they could easily have been our dinner (along with cheesecake as dessert).

They are delicious and would be an excellent party appetizer, so I decided to get a recipe.

This is a slightly different sample of the restaurant recipe, but no one will notice. Even though the recipe is a bit lengthy, they’re delicious, and the results are rewarding.

This recipe serves about six (two each).

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

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