Spicy Bahamian Macaroni and Cheese
Its that time of the summer for thunderstorms galore. High winds, mini tornadoes, hail and darkened skies. Then come homes without power and yards full of debris, fallen trees and the silence of animals in hiding. It may be that we summoned last night’s storm by accidentally calling to the ancient Bahamian gods of The Hurricane. The recent passing of Hurricane Emily left the Islands of the Bahamas relatively unscathed. But yesterday, as Mom and I put our pan of Bahamian Macaroni into the oven, within minutes the sunny afternoon was dark and hail started slapping the windows.
And by the time the Macaroni was ready to come out of the oven, the skies had begun to clear. Leaving us with a giant oak laying in the backyard, branches and pine straw all over the street, in front yards and stuck to cars and taking out much of the neighborhood’s (though thankfully not our street) power. It also left us with an excellent Spicy Bahamian Macaroni and Cheese.
Spicy Bahamian Mac&Cheese:
1 box elbow macaroni
enough water to cover noodles by about 1”
1 tsp salt
1 small onion
½ green bell pepper
1-2 small chili peppers (Thai or Bahamian Bird)
3 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
4 cups extra sharp cheddar, shredded
2 can evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9×13 pan. Place enough water in the pot to cover noodles and set on heat to boil. Meanwhile, dice onion and all peppers. Season the water with salt, thyme, ½ the paprika, garlic salt and add diced onions and peppers. Add noodles and stir occasionally to keep them from sticking. Cook on medium low heat until all of the water is gone. Turn heaT to low and add butter and evaporated milk. Also add remaining paprika, cayenne (if you want it). Add cheese a little at a time, reserving about ½ cup for the topping. When cheese is melted in, continually stir as you add the beaten egg. The mixture should be relatively creamy and will set up as it bakes. Transfer to 9×13 pan, top with remaining shredded cheddar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top and set.
In the Bahamas, one of my favorite places to shop is the bakery. The smell of fresh baked sugary confections is enough to make one weak at the knees. We always get a loaf of Bahamian bread, which is a fluffy, sweet, white loaf that makes for the most excellent sandwiches and toast. They also have a case of smaller fare, dumplings, scones, turnovers but cream and fruit filled and a dish of macaroni and cheese. When the macaroni is served, it is briefly heated up and handed over the counter wrapped in cellophane to be eaten like a sandwich, hand held and without utensils. The magic of the Bahamian Mac&Cheese is not only its spiciness, but its sheer portability. And so, Mom has been on a quest to recreate this same dish. Last night, we used her closest recipe to date and continued its alterations. We added a bit more cheese and evaporated milk and baked it a tiny bit longer.
Hello yum. Macaroni and Cheese for breakfast anyone? Yeh, its that good.