Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pimento Cheese - Yes, I live in the south now.

It is dangerous to go to the bookstore the weekend I get paid, and even more dangerous to start entertaining thoughts of cookbook buying! This past weekend I picked up The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners. I have expressed that I feel like I know nothing about southern cooking, and thought this would make a nice start.

I should clarify - this is NOT a vegetarian cookbook. But it does have some good vegetarian adaptations of southern dishes, plus some recipes that everyone seems to know but are hard to find.

For my first attempt, I decided to brave making pimento cheese. Pimento cheese is one of those things I have seen in every store but have never braved trying - it always looked like velveeta with the red things in olives that I don't like. When I read the recipe, it didn't sound so bad, so this is what I made for dinner tonight.

I'm writing this down from memory so it probably won't be exactly like it is in the book.

Pimento Cheese
2 oz. softened cream cheese
3 tbsp. mayonnaise (preferably Dukes or homemade)
1 roasted red pepper or an equal amount of pimentos, chopped fine
3 cups (8 oz) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine. Chill for up to a week.

I spread it just on regular wheat bread, but it probably belongs on a sturdier white. It was really thick, probably too thick, but what do I know? Perhaps if I had let it set for a while first, it would not have tasted like a glorified cheese sandwich. Or perhaps this is the point? Impossible to know without ever trying it on my own. At least it wasn't slimy, since most of the grocery store pimento cheese always looks slimy.

Verdict - I'm not sure either of us liked it well enough to make again, but I wouldn't turn my nose up if it appeared at a picnic or tea. I will try other recipes from this book. Some of them are just too good to pass up!

Categories: Cheese, Sandwich, South


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