Patti Labelle's Mac and Cheese

This is our all time favorite Mac and Cheese. It is super creamy with five different cheeses.

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 8 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly butter a deep 2 and 1/2  quart baking dish.
  • Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add macaroni and 1 tbs of oil.
  • Cook for about 7 minutes or until almost tender.
  • drain and return the macaroni to the pot.
  • In a small sauce pan, melt 8 tbs of the butter then stir in the macaroni.
  • In a large bowl combine all of the shredded cheeses.
  • To the macaroni, add 1 and 1/2 cups of the shredded cheeses, the half and half, the cubed Velveeta, the eggs, seasoned salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
  • Dot with the remaining 1 tbs of the butter.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  

Jamaican Drum Pan Jerk Spice

In the past few years we have spent a lot of time kicking around in the Caribbean , the Bahamas, St Kitt's, St. Lucia, Dominica, Barbados,  Puerto Rico and Jamaica.

Each island has their own special  spice mixture and flavors, however there was an obvious continuity that wove all the flavors of the Caribbean together. We spent several months in Jamaica with friends who are native Jamaicans.  They really helped us to understand the flavors of the Caribbean.
 We spent most of  our time in Kingston as well as the inner island.

The hub and life force of Jamaica is Kingston and the Coronation Market. It's a city and farmers market   If you go to Jamaica, do yourself a favor and visit Kingston. On Friday nights the streets would be lined with grills with the most incredible smells wafting into the air.  In many cases they were making "drum pan jerk".  It works equally well on chicken, pork or beef.

  • 1/4 cup whole allspice
  • 3 scotch bonnet peppers seeds and all
  • 10 scallions white and green parts coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves crumbled
  • 1 sprig rosemary chopped  fine
  • 3  heaping tbs fresh ginger root
  • 1 leek white and light green parts
  • One cup fresh thyme leaves minced
  • 1 tbs fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbs fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbs fresh ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs kosher or sea salt (do not use table salt)
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, toast the allspice until fragrant, about two minutes.Then crush or process in a spice grinder.
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse stirring as  necessary, Process until paste forms.
  • Now you have the basis of "Jamaican Drum Pan Jerk Seasoning".
  • This seasoning mix has no relationship to anything you can buy in a bottle!
  • Drum pan is the type of grill that is typically used. It is basically a 50 gallon oil  drum cut in half and made into a grill.
  • This mixture is traditionally rubbed on the meat and marinated for several hours. Then the meat is grilled over wood and charcoal. 
  • In a pinch you can also use a regular oven.( But if you are going to do it. Do it right!)
  • The key is to marinate the meat and rub in well. Show the meat some love!
  •  Cook over gray embers watching the meat carefully. Cook meat until desired doneness is reached  Remove meat from grill and let the meat rest.
  • Serve.

Down Home Sweet Potato Pie

Here is a down home classic. Quick and easy Guaranteed to please your sweet tooth!

  • 1 frozen pre-made pie crust(or make your own homemade crust)
  • 2 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of whipping cream or 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Peel potatoes cut into cubes and bake or boil until soft
  • Puree potatoes in a food processor or press through a mesh sieve until smooth.
  • Place in a large bowl and whisk in all other ingredients until very smooth.
  • Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour in filling to thawed pie crust.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to 325 and bake for 20 minutes more.
  • Cool completely on a rack.
  • Add whipped cream and serve.
  • Makes 1 pie.