May 30, 2011 9

Recipes from Abroad: Bahamian Macaroni & Cheese

By in Bahamas, Caribbean

Note from Libby: Today’s guest post comes from Kirsten Alana, a photographer and writer I met on a recent trip to the Bahamas. Although the words and photos are hers, I can also attest that the experience she writes about is a dinner I will not soon forget. The food was fantastic and the Bahamians we met were above and beyond warm and welcoming. Our host, Lesley, was gracious enough to share her recipe for Bahamian-style Macaroni and Cheese – a dish I will be making in my kitchen for years to come! Just don’t call it “Mac & Cheese,” warns Lesley, because that’s what Americans associate with store-bought brands from boxes. Keep up with Kirsten’s adventures on her blog or follow her on Twitter.

I boarded a plane for Nassau, Bahamas most excited about the beach. There are few places I feel as rested and relaxed as a stretch of white sand and turquoise water. However, I’m a self-proclaimed foodie too and when I travel I always enjoy exploring new cuisine and sampling old favorites with a new spin. So when I found out that our stay in Nassau would include a meal in the home of a local, courtesy of the “People to People” program, I was pretty excited. There was only one problem: I don’t eat seafood. What’s the most consumed meal in Nassau? As fate would have it: conch. Fried, battered, steamed, cut up and served in a soup – Bahamians love their conch.

I tried not to worry. Surely there would be at least one or two other things on the menu besides conch. Also, I’d give it a try. It’s only fair when you are a guest in another person’s home. When we pulled up to the front of our host’s home, darkness already descended, torches burning – I had a good feeling. Our kind and enthusiastic host Lesley must have known I was coming. Not only was there more than conch on the menu, there was my favorite: Macaroni and Cheese! Prepared as a baked dish, it was cheesy and gooey and not too tart or strong in any way that might be considered anything but memorable. I’ve sampled many versions of this pasta dish over a period of quite a few years and the memory of that Macaroni and Cheese will stay with me for many more.

Lesley is a woman of many talents who created a table for us that was just stunning and a meal that was unforgettable. Truly it was beyond what I ever expected to find outside a five-star restaurant during our trip. We stayed long into the night and talked over all manner of subjects. Wine and beer flowed, friendships were formed. Food was the great equalizer that night and we were joined together because of it.

Bahamian Macaroni & Cheese (pictured above)

Lesley warned that “Bahamians tend not to measure when cooking, we go by taste and the feel of the dish when mixing,” but tried her best to come up with proportions for this recipe. Thanks Lesley!

Ingredients:

1 lb box of Muellers (or any other brand) elbow macaroni
1/2 stick of margarine/ butter
1 lb grated cheddar (yellow) cheese
1 1/2 cups herbs (diced onions, sweet peppers & celery)
3 beaten eggs
1/3 cup Tabasco sauce
salt
2 – 3 cups of evaporated milk

Directions:

Boil pasta until cooked and tender (approx 15 min). Drain pasta. Add margarine, diced herbs, grated cheese, beaten eggs, Tabasco sauce, evaporated milk and salt to taste. Mix by hand ensuring all of the ingredients are all blended together.

Pour in a greased Pyrex dish or pan. Sprinkle/dust with paprika. Set oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until golden.

Notes: If you want to make it a little spicy, add some chopped scotch bonnet pepper (in the Bahamas we call it goat pepper).
You can also add extra grated cheese on top if you want it cheesier. We also use margarine/butter to grease the pan.

Serves 6 – 8 persons. This is a calorie loaded dish.

Have a story and recipe to share from your travels? Let’s talk. Send me an email at zaymedia [at] gmail [dot] com

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9 Responses to “Recipes from Abroad: Bahamian Macaroni & Cheese”

  1. Abby says:

    If I cooked, I’d try to make this, because it looks amazing! I’ve also never tried conch… And I love the idea of the People to People program. What a great way to both meet locals and get that local experience — or to proudly show off your culture, like Lesley did.

    • Libby says:

      Thanks Abby! You’re right, I wish more places would jump on the People to People bandwagon. It was an awesome experience and I learned so much!

  2. [...] said our host ambassador Lesley as we ate dishes like plantain and conch meatballs and Bahamian-style macaroni and cheese. Even better than the food was the company, a warm and friendly group who fielded all our questions [...]

  3. [...] said our host ambassador Lesley as we ate dishes like plantain and conch meatballs and Bahamian-style macaroni and cheese. Even better than the food was the company, a warm and friendly group who fielded all our questions [...]

  4. It truly was an *awesome* experience and thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to write about it Libby! Also, so wonderful to meet you in the Bahamas. I hope we get to travel together again one day.

    • Libby says:

      It really was one of the best dinners ever. I hope we get to meet again, too, Kirsten! I have a feeling it will happen.

  5. [...] said our host ambassador Lesley as we ate dishes like plantain and conch meatballs and Bahamian-style macaroni and cheese. Even better than the food was the company, a warm and friendly group who fielded all our questions [...]

  6. [...] Macaroni and Cheese (I used my grandmother’s recipe but I found a fellow blogger‘s recipe which is virtually the same) My Mac and Cheese before it was put into the [...]

  7. Pam says:

    Just got back fom my aunts in Bahamas LOVED the conch salad fritters and cracked conch…a Bahamian cooked me Bahamaian Macaroni red snapper and peas and rice I will BE cooking The macaroni and rice often DELICIOUS

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