When I moved to Ohio from Texas in the summer of 2005, I had no idea that I’d be leaving behind one of my favorite comfort foods. According to Wright Bryan, an NPR producer who was raised in Georgia, “Pimento cheese is so ingrained in the lives of many Southerners that we don’t realize our passion for the stuff doesn’t exist outside the region.”
Amen to that. After discovering that I couldn’t get a burger at Dairy Queen (no burgers! AT DAIRY QUEEN!), I found myself taking inventory of things I simply can’t get here, and pimento cheese headed the list, closely followed by decent Mexican food, Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia and the Allman Brothers on the radio.
I had clearly fallen into the Midwest version of the Black Hole of Calcutta. Civilization was but a distant memory.
Then, while I was in Chappaqua, New York I happened on a copy of Frank Stitt’s Southern Table. I began to weep openly in the middle of Barnes and Nobles, for I saw that in spite of my Beloved-imposed banishment to the Great White North where all things are drowned in marinara sauce, I could still have my pimento cheese and eat it, too. I will be forever grateful.
I wasn’t going to post the recipe originally – just about it – because of the copyright laws, until I found it on several other websites (which pretty much makes it public domain). So I give to you Miss Verba’s Pimento Cheese – it is equally good on crackers, in a sandwich or stuffed in celery and shows up the stuff you buy in a tub at the grocery store for the pale imitation it is. Yum, yum, yum.
Miss Verba’s Pimento Cheese
- 1 pound sharp yellow cheddar
- 1/4 pound cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise or best-quality commercial mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Splash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholulu
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Grind the cheddar in a food processor fitted with the grating disk, or grate it on the small-holed side of a hand grater. Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl, add the cream cheese, white pepper, bell peppers, mayonnaise, sugar, hot sauce, and cayenne, if using, and blend all together thoroughly. Refrigerate and serve chilled. (The spread will keep for several days in the refrigerator, but it usually disappears long before then.)
Lynn over at After the Dust Settles is giving away free, hand-painted piggy banks! Hop on over there and take a look. This lady is so talented and her piggy banks are just adorable. She’s got two contest going on, and one of them requires a bit of creativity, so go take a look and have some fun!
I’d also like to welcome Duchess Omnium to my midlife blogroll. I thought she was in (and from) New Zealand, but as we all know I can’t tell my left from my right (or count to 100), so it’s no surprise that she’s American by birth, spent the majority of her adult life in England and now resides, albeit temporarily, in Alaska. She’s a wonderful writer and her blog is just great – and she’s gorgeous, too.