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Pimento Cheese and All It’s Glory October 27, 2009

Filed under: Screen Doors and Sweet Tea — amynb2008 @ 5:02 pm
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pimento cheese and applesauce 003I was making lunch for my girls the other day.  I was cutting up an orange and was contemplating the perfectness of it.  It has a pretty sturdy outer peel to protect the juicy insides.  It is nice and round and quite portable.  Inside it’s all juicy and sweet and divided up into pieces just the right size for popping into your mouth.  Perfect.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that most of the world’s perfect food come from nature.  Oranges, apples, avocados, spices, and so much more.  All that we need for flavor and nutrition was given to us by God in a package most perfect to them.  Heck, this even applies to chocolate.

Amazing.

But then, I came to another realization.  While all of nature’s food is perfect…not all perfect food comes from nature.

Case in point?  Pimento Cheese.

Those Southerners among us will understand.

The only pimento cheese I’ve ever had is the kind that comes in a little glass jar that’s sold in the cheese section of the grocery store.  I have fond memories of spreading this out on Townhouse Crackers as an after school snack. pimento cheese and applesauce 010I never buy it any more because  I could probably eat the whole jar by myself in one sitting.   While I do really still like that stuff, I now understand that it’s not real pimento cheese.  Oh no.  Not even close.

I made Martha Hall Foose’s pimento cheese from her cookbook “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea”.  It’s made with mayo and lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and cheese, which now that I look at that list doesn’t really seem like it would go together…but oh how it does.  A perfect food…creamy and tangy and cheesy.

I guess a girl can’t live on chocolate alone.

I am now so intrigued by pimento cheese that I have begun an investigation on what to do with pimento cheese.  There are oh so many applications.  Pimento cheese, how do I love thee?   Let me count the ways…

1. Spread on a cracker

2. Used in place of cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich

3.  Mixed with equal parts flour, rolled out and baked into cheese strawspimento cheese and applesauce 019

4. Stuffed into jalapeño peppers and baked or deep-fried into a popper

5. Rolled into a crescent roll and baked

6.  Used as a sandwich spread

7. Used on a burger

8. Used as a dip for chips or pretzels

9.  Added to a BLT

10. Stuffed in celery

11. Used as a veggie dip

12. Spread on a toasted English muffin or bagel

13. Used as the ham in a ham and cheese sandwich

14. Spread on a grilled chicken breast (hmmm….might be my lunch today!)

15.  Spread over toasted bread and them broiled until bubbly

16. Mix with cooked bacon and use to fill a  hallowed-out bread bowl, heat until bubbly, and eat with the bread from the inside of the bowl

17.  And…the most obvious…just eat it by itself off a spoon

So that’s what I came up with.  If anyone else has more ideas, please share.  I’d love to hear them.

If you don’t than you probably have never had pimento cheese before and you need to make this recipe.  Now.  Go on.  Enjoy.

Pimento Cheese

from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose

1 cup mayonnaise (the recipe suggests homemade)

1 teaspoon finely chopped sage (I didn’t add this.  I forgot.)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces Colby cheese, grated (2 cups)

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimientos, drained

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Hot pepper sauce

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, sage, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce.

Add the two cheeses and pimientos, blending thoroughly to combine.  Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Busy Baking Weekend April 20, 2009

Filed under: biscotti,cookies,Screen Doors and Sweet Tea — amynb2008 @ 5:35 pm
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This weekend I was quite busy in the kitchen and I have to say that I loved it!  I had a Private Quarters party on

Blue Cheese Pecan Bread

Blue Cheese Pecan Bread

 

Saturday and made some really yummy things for my friends who came.  

 

 

One thing I made was Blue-Cheese Pecan Bread.  This recipe is from the cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose.  I actually met Martha at Zingerman’s last year.  They had a special dinner consisting of dishes entirely from this book.  She was there as well.  The whole evening was so much fun and the food was amazing.  That’s where I first got a taste of this bread.  I’ve made it a few times and it’s always a hit.

I also made biscotti from a recipe I got in baking class.  I have to say, everyone loved them!  They were  very popular, both with and without coffee or tea.  I think everyone was impressed with the biscotti because they think it’s hard to make.  In reality, it isn’t — but let’s just keep that little secret to ourselves.

Biscotti and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Biscotti and Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

Another recipe I made was for nut cookies.  This recipe came from my baking text book.  I made them in class a couple of weeks ago and wanted to make them again.  These are basically Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cakes.  I used ground hazelnuts and that just took ’em up a notch.  So good!

Lastly, I tried a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe is out of the new Cooks’ Illustrated magazine.  It’s an interesting recipe that calls using melted butter rather than softened.  I have to confess that I did not follow the exact recipe.  For some reason, I read it wrong so I’m not sure they came out the way they should have.  They turned out really well regardless.  They had a different texture than the usually

Hazelnut Cookies

Hazelnut Cookies

 chocolate chip cookies I make and the butter and dark brown sugar really make a flavorful cookie.

Spring Biscotti

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 egg white

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces white chocolate

1 1/4 cups pistachio nuts

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and egg whites, one at a time beating well after each addition.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually blend into the butter mixture using a wooden spoon.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and chill for about a half an hour or until dough is not sticky.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Form each half into a semi-flat log about 12 inches by 3 inches.  Put on making sheet about 3 inches apart.  

Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow logs to cool on baking sheet until they are cool enough to handle.  On a cutting board, carefully cut each log with a serrated knife into 1-inch thick slices (I actually made mine a bit thinner).  Arrange back on the baking sheet.

Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  Enjoy!