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Featured Cookbook

Delta Delicious with Martha Hall Foose

By Martha Hall Foose

Delta Delicious with Martha Hall Foose

For stovetop macaroni & cheese or quick custard pie, reach for a can of milk.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue cans of evaporated milk tucked in the back of my pantry. They have saved me countless trips to town. Shelf-stable evaporated milk is simply cow’s milk that has been slowly heated to reduce the water content by 60%, giving it a rich texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor.

I’ve always thought of evaporated milk as an old-fashioned ingredient, and it is. My great-grandmother and great aunt, two women who lived miles from town, seemed to always have a partial can in the refrigerator and splashed a dash in their morning coffee. They taught me to keep it handy. Up until the 1930s, when electric refrigeration became widely available, canned milk was found in most kitchens. It continues to serve as a convenient and useful ingredient. I use it in a pinch as a replacement for half-and-half in recipes or thin it with a little water for recipes calling for whole milk.

These two recipes come together with easy to have, on-hand ingredients and are perfect for school night dinners. So, reach in the cupboard for some milk and remember to keep those cans on your shopping list.

 

Stovetop macaroni & cheese

This recipe is great served up right out of the pot. It also can be made ahead, topped with buttery crumbs, and baked at 325 degrees until bubbly. I find all manner of additions to stir into the mixture. (Think broccoli and ham or bacon bits and grilled chicken.)

 

INGREDIENTS

1 pound large elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut in small pieces

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon ground dry mustard or 1/4 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

1 pound extra-sharp cheddar, grated

8 ounces American cheese, cut in small pieces or grated

1 tablespoon cornstarch

A few shakes of hot pepper sauce (I like Crystal brand)

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

 

DIRECTIONS

1) While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs and mustard in a small bowl and set aside. Toss the cheeses with the cornstarch.

2) When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and return it to the pot. Add the butter and stir over low heat until melted and the pasta is coated with butter. Add the evaporated milk mixture and stir well. Add the cheese a handful at a time stirring after each addition. Continue to cook stirring constantly until the macaroni and cheese is thick and creamy.

 

Simple custard pie

This recipe takes a short cut by skipping the crust. When just a little something sweet is called for, this pie fits the bill. Silky textured and simply flavored with a touch of nutmeg. When the weather cools, sometimes I add a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. When it comes to toppings, a drizzle of chocolate sauce is easy as can be, so is a spoonful of your favorite fruit pie filling ladled over each slice.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

3 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons all-purpose fl our (plus a little for dusting the baking dish)

2 tablespoons melted butter (plus a little for buttering the baking dish)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

DIRECTIONS

1) Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a buttered and floured 9-inch pie baking dish on a sheet pan.

2) Combine the eggs, evaporated milk, salt and sugar in a blender. Give the mixture a few quick whirls. Add the fl our, melted butter, vanilla extract and ground nutmeg and blend well.

3) Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pie pan and place the sheet pan and pie in the oven.

4) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set and slightly puffed around the edges.

5) Serve warm or chilled. Leftovers should be stored covered and refrigerated.

 

Martha Hall Foose, the author of “Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook,” won the James Beard Award for American Cooking. Her latest collaboration is “A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South” with Amy C. Evans. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son. She is a member of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

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