Here in the south there are some things that just define the culture...
Some of those being the humidity (take note, southern women don't sweat, we "glisten")
The dialect (hun-neh and pah-dun, included)
and especially important, the food.
And be quite certain there "ain't" no one that can serve it up like someone's momma or grandmomma.
Those of you that were not lucky enough to be born in the south can cook like one, with the proper instructions, mind you. Today we are going to examine some of those essential and defining southern dishes. Pretty soon, you will be serving up a slice of cornbread and sweet tea like a southern belle. Ok, almost....we still need to work on that drawl. In the meantime....the dishes.
Every Tuesday on my recipe blog, Plates and Places, I will introduce you to the fine art of southern cuisine.
Today, Pimento Cheese.
You either love it or hate it. Unless of course, you are like me and have had a complicated relationship with such a cheese. If you read or have read my blog, you might know my affinity for cheese.
Yes, it's true. I could totally relate to the infamous Seinfeld episode, "The Summer of George" where he equated happiness and bliss with cheddar cheese the size of a wagon wheel.
And it was I, as a child who stood in line waitig to see Santa, to hear young girls in front of me request a Barbie Mansion and a Wetsy Betsey doll. Imagine Santa's surprise when I asked, in all seriousness for a cheese tray. I am still trying to decipher that one with the help of a good shrink. Oh, I kid.
But I do not kid when it comes to cheese. However, up until about a year ago, I wouldn't even get near a pimento cheese sandwich. The thought of eating anything with mayonnaise completely disgusted me. Then one day, I sat with my mother at a local deli, Zoe's Kitchen, and she insisted (for the 4,357th time) that I try a bite.
"At least try it, Leigh."
"Moooom! I am 38 years old. I do not want to try it."
And then she gave me "the look". Yes, you know the one. The one that each and every mother innately develops as soon as she gives birth to her first born child. Initially we first demonstrate it to our husbands as we push the child through the birth canal, a simple reminder of what he did to cause this ---the look of complete madness. It's beyond a force.
Oh, wait....pimento cheese sandwiches. I was getting onto another subject. LOL.
Pimento cheese, so I tried it and I loved it. And I craved it. And I bought a pint and I hid it in the back of the fridge, away from my husband and children. And so, I feel in love with it.
As I was saying though, most either have an opinion one way of the other. It's rarely a subject in which one will ride the fence. And if in fact you are riding the fence....well, here is betting you that Zoe's can bring you down.
What? Don't have a Zoe's in your neighborhood? Here is a great recipe for Pimento Cheese, though not Zoe's...it's goood.
2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup of minced pimentos (or use fire roasted red peppers, if you have them)
3 green onions, white part only, minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
1/2 tsp of white or black pepper
1 finely minced fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed
1/4 cup best quality mayonnaise
Chop. Mince. Combine. Let flavors mellow at least one hour in the refrigerator if you can.
Good on crackers, celery sticks, or as a burger topping. My favorite is on toasted bread. Yum.
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