notes from maggie's farm
no, this not exactly your mama's pimento cheese.
in fact, as i hear tell around here, some mamas didn't even have a pimento cheese. my own mother's pimento cheese came from a plastic tub from the grocery store. it was served on white bread. with nothing else. i wasn't much of a fan. but that was too bad because i was fed a few hundred pimento cheese and white bread sandwiches. a certain farmer, being a yankee and all, had no pimento cheese from his mama. (no pimento cheese?!) when i mentioned that i was making pimento cheese, he asked, "can you make pimento cheese? can anyone make pimento cheese?" he, being the wandering sort, had become aware in his travelings that there was, indeed, such a thing as pimento cheese. and it came in a plastic tub. from the grocery store.
so, like the blackeyed peas and the deviled eggs, it came to my attention that pimento cheese was a southern thing. and i have the research to back this up-- check out the links below:
i guess you get the picture.
my mother, being born in oklahoma, could be forgiven her use of the plastic tub pimento cheese. because oklahoma is a little more midwest than south. unless you're a yankee. and then it's all south from kentucky, down. and mostly over. however i, being the wandering sort, am geographically disposed to pimento cheese. not from the plastic tub. from scratch.
and i, being the not average sort, do not make your average pimento cheese. i make
not exactly your mama's roasted pimento cheese
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (i prefer to use my trusty box grater. some southern folks mash it with a fork. some use the food processor. some use, dare i even say it?, packaged pre-grated cheese. don't do it. really.)
- 1 cup finely grated swiss cheese (see above.)
- 1-2 tablespoons grated sweet onion (if you can't find 1015's, or noondays, or vidalias, bless your heart, go ahead and use a regular ole spanish onion, or whatever you can find. but rinse it in a strainer before adding--that'll make it close to as good as the sweet onion. but it's really sad that you can't get sweet onions. i'm sorry.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons ground roasted peppers (see below)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise ( i use hellmann's exclusively. duke's or blue plate would not be frowned upon, of course. that is if you can find it. but heavens-to-betsy please don't use salad dressing. you know how i feel about that.)
- 1/4 cup light sour cream (just to give a nod to my doctor. paula deen uses cream cheese. and lots more of it.)
- kosher salt, to taste.
and the rest is easy. mix it all up. adjust seasonings. that's it.
of course to make your sandwich, you're going to need:
- some really good bread. we use from maggie's farm whole wheat boule.
- a handful of greens. we use arugula. it stands up well to the hearty flavors.
- a few strips of oven roasted bacon. see below.
and you just construct your little masterpiece and serve.
now about those roasted peppers:
wash and pat dry an equal amount of fresh mildly hot and sweet red and golden peppers. strew on a baking sheet, very lightly drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tsp for a full pan), season with kosher salt. roast slowly, at 250 degrees, for around 2 hours, or until peppers are well blackened, turning midway. when cool, break off stems and tear into small pieces for grinder.
in a coffee grinder dedicated for spices, grind pieces of roasted peppers, seeds and all, in batches, until powdered. refrigerate unused portion, where it will keep for several months. use in any dish that needs a little pep. it's milder than crushed red pepper, with a little smoky flavor. it's great on pizza. and macaroni and cheese. and soup. and most everything else. except ice cream. but then, again, if you like that sort of thing...
and the bacon,
lay bacon slices on a broiler pan, or over a rack placed in a baking sheet. roast at 350 degrees, until golden. turn. complete browning until chewy crisp. allow to cool slightly, then pat between paper toweling to remove excess fat. (just a nod to my doctor, again.)
we're already into the first games of the beginning of college football season. this sandwich might just be the perfect thing to serve to a hungry spectator. even might be good to tote along for tailgating, if you're lucky enough to be at 'the game'. it appears no. 11 wisconsin has already put a whoopin on poor unlv, 51-17. there's a long, glorious weekend ahead, and we're going to need sustenance. so we'll be sharing another weekend special edition, tomorrow, and in honor of my lsu tigers, because they're going to need all they can get, an
andouille poboy with balsamic roasted peppers.
'cause it's a special weekend.
college football has arrived!
(okay, i know i am speaking a foreign language to many, but please indulge me. thank you.)
must be a southern boy.