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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
Learn to cook better and get new recipes every week.
BASEBALL MEMORIES
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About this blog
By Linda Bassett
Author and culinary school teacher Linda Bassett provides recipes for and tips on the season's freshest ingredients. She is the author of \x34From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.\x34 Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol. ...
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Kitchen Call
Author and culinary school teacher Linda Bassett provides recipes for and tips on the season's freshest ingredients. She is the author of \x34From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.\x34 Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol.com.
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By lindabcooks
April 3, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Opening Day should be a national holiday.  Baseball’s opening day.   Slate wiped clean, not matter how good or bad the team did last season.  The first day of school was never that clean.  Some teacher always remembers the trouble you caused last year.

Other sports.  Forgotten.  Yeah, I know, college basketball, Final Four.  Blah, blah, blah.  March is gone.  Basketball should be over.  In fact, all other sports should cease and desist for baseball season.   Proof of my dedication:  I was among the last to leave the old Yankee Stadium at the end of that All Star Game that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

Yes, baseball is close to a religious experience.  A few years back, I may have inadvertently conveyed that to our French exchange student, Sophie.  She arrived shortly before the Little League opener in our town.  A parade was scheduled that day.  My son and all the little players marched in team uniforms before they hit the fields.  By coincidence, we chose a spot in front of a large stone church to watch the parade.  Without a proper orientation in American sports from her school in Paris, 16-year-old Sophie observed with great seriousness.  She noted our hands over our hearts when the color guard passed, and at one point, I thought I noticed her crossing herself.

During the dinner conversation that night, Sophie mentioned how much she liked the American custom of lively processions.  Procession, as in a religious rite.  Or had she just locked onto my fervor?

Anyway, dinner was mac-and-cheese, the standby of baseball moms.  As a chef who must cook for my family as well, I sometimes fall down during baseball season.  Sometimes I’ll make hot dogs with all the fixings for watching a game on TV.  And as I hate delivery pizza, Little League post-game dinner often consists of mac-and-cheese.  Rarely, unless it’s Annie’s, from a box.

Anyway, one that doesn’t make kids run for cover, as in lobster mac-and-cheese, I like to call The Ultimate.  I know it’s a little restaurant-y, but parents gotta eat, too.

THE ULTIMATE MACARONI AND CHEESE

Makes 10 to 12 servings

1 ¾ cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1-¼ cups half-inch cubes extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 5 ounces

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1-½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a dash Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2-2/3 cups half-and-half, low-fat is fine, not fat-free

2/3 cup sour cream, low-fat is fine, not fat-free

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional – some kids can detect it from the front door

1 ¼ cups packed grated sharp cheddar cheese



  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cook macaroni in large saucepan of boiling salted water, until slightly undercooked. Drain; transfer to the buttered dish. Gently toss in cubed cheese.






  • Whisk flour, salt, mustard, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in half-and-half, then sour cream.  Add eggs and Worcestershire sauce; whisk to blend.  Pour over macaroni mixture; stir to blend.  Sprinkle grated cheese over.






  • Bake until just set around edges but slightly liquid in center, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly.




 

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