Cheese ‘n’ Biscuits

My dad had callused hands, cracked heels and a temper that could split stone. He rose early, knew the hours without looking at the clock and clung to the land. He defined himself by his work whether it was selling cars, picking raspberries or pruning peach trees, and travel made him eager to get home. His voice rose with “ Holy, Holy, Holy” at First Presbyterian, and I didn’t know whether to relax or tremble in his presence. When he cooked breakfast for everyone, he opened a hidden door to a generous side, and his blue eyes twinkled.

His specialty was a homespun version of Welsh rarebit served on hot homemade biscuits with fruit, jam or bacon. Most people don’t think of the “cheese on toast” idea as something for breakfast, but it is indeed delicious and serves as a simple supper equally well. While his tender drop biscuits were in the oven, Dad melted a hefty amount of grated cheddar in milk and stirred in a couple of beaten eggs just before serving.

I’m refining the process here by thickening the milk first with a little cornstarch to guard the melting cheddar against curdling, which really isn’t a problem outside of appearance. If I don’t have biscuits on hand, some good whole grain toast will suffice. Rather than breakfast, I’d choose this cheese dish for supper or a starter with a dab of chutney or salsa. Now that I live far from the apricot tree out the back door, a side green salad will complete the plate.

Father’s Day beckons us to remember; I’m thankful my dad cooked.

Joe’s Cheddar Rarebit

1/3 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 oz. grated sharp cheddar (3/4 cup)

salt, pepper, cayenne, dry mustard (optional)

1 farm fresh egg, well beaten

Bring milk to simmer in a small saucepan. Season with pinch salt, pepper and optional dash of cayenne and/or mustard powder. Liquify cornstarch with a teaspoon of cold water and stir into scalded milk. Simmer stirring until milk thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Add grated cheese and stir with wooden spoon until cheese melts.

At this point the milk and cheese will look thin. Blend three spoonfuls of the hot cheese into the beaten egg; pour the tempered egg back into the cheese in the saucepan and continue to stir with wooden spoon in a figure-eight pattern. Cook, stirring gently over low heat until the spoon leaves a dry path on the bottom of the pan and the cheese has thickened to a soft, dolloping sauce.

Spoon cheese onto split, hot biscuits or over crisp, buttered toast. Serve with a dab of spicy tomato chutney or salsa and a green salad. Makes a light first course for 3-4 or supper for 1.

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One Response to “Cheese ‘n’ Biscuits”

  1. Sally Says:

    Yeah, me too.
    Love you,
    Sally

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