I 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.
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. I 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 straws
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.
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.