Sunday, September 18, 2011

Titles are Cheesy

And really, who doesn't like cheese; it's a food group all on its own as far as I'm concerned.  Today's post features my recipe for pimento cheese. Pimento cheese is a primarily Southern food, often eaten in sandwich form on white bread.  It can also be used as a spread on crackers (my favorite), or, really, anywhere sliced cheese might make an appearance: hamburgers, grilled cheese, etc.  Growing up, I remember my mother eating pimento cheese sandwiches regularly, which I thought was disgusting (cause pimentos are weird and icky, duh).  Clearly I got over this and my southern roots proved true, because I certainly love the stuff now.  A word of caution, however, do not take the easy route and buy pimento cheese in a tub from the grocery (cause that will always be disgusting); this is one recipe that has to be homemade.

What You'll Need
1 large mixing bowl                                                         A beloved mixing spoon
Measuring spoons                                                            Cling wrap or sealed container
Cutting board                                                                   Knife of choice
16 ounce block of sharp cheddar                                      1/2 tsp ground red pepper
7-8 ounce jar of diced pimentos                                        2 Tbsp mayonnaise
6 Tbsp sour cream                                                            Cracked pepper to taste
4 green onions

Now Let's Make Pimento Cheese
Mmmmmm... cheese!
Shred the entire 16 oz block of cheddar (do not use reduced fat, blegh) into your large mixing bowl. Try not to press down to much on the cheese while you do this; you don't want to squish or compact it - it needs to stay fluffy and shredded.  Also, do not attempt to take a short cut by using already shredded cheese, as this won't mix into the spread properly.  Whatever they do to packaged shredded cheese forces it to stay in little shredded pieces, and this will ruin your pimento cheese. (You don't want to ruin your pimento cheese, do you? DO YOU?!)

Sliced, not diced
Set your bowl of cheesy goodness (aka the shredded cheese) aside.  Place your four green onions onto your cutting board. It's okay if the onions each have multiple stalks; count out your four based on the roots not the tops.  Slice up your onions by starting at the green top and thinly slicing your way down to the white base.  Once you get to white part of the onion, stop slicing and discard the base.  You can slice your onions either one at a time or all together, whichever you're most comfortable with. Scrape your sliced onions into your bowl of cheese.

Already looks tasty
To your bowl of hand-shredded cheese (please tell me you didn't shred your hand!) and onions, add 6 Tbsp (some heaping) of sour cream and 1/2 tsp of ground red pepper. Most often, pimento cheese is made using mostly mayonnaise, but I don't really like too much mayo.  I find that using sour cream enhances the flavor and texture of the spread. I usually use light Daisy sour cream, as that brand has the best flavor and texture hands down. Using light sour cream will not effect the flavor of the pimento cheese at all, and will cut the calories significantly since you're reducing the amount of fat in the recipe.

Broken down. *sniffle*
Mix this all together until the cheese breaks down completely, transitioning from shredded to a more spread-like texture.  It's really important that you make sure all the cheese breaks down. Any remaining pockets of shredded cheese will effect the quality and texture of your spread.  It will also inhibit the mixing in of later ingredients. So, mix! (*cracks whip*)

Is pimentoey a word?
When your done mixing, drain the jar of pimentos by holding the lid partially open and tipping it over the sink. Try to drain away as much of the liquid as possible, but don't fret over it too much.  You won't be able to get all the liquid out, and it will add flavor to the pimento cheese.  Also, a small amount of liquid will help keep the spread from being too dry, which means you won't have to add as much mayo in the next step (which equals less fat). Add the pimentos to the cheese spread and mix in well; you want the pimentos to be even throughout the spread, without clumps.

I swear it gets prettier
Now, add about 2 Tbsp of mayonnaise (more if spread is dry) and the cracked pepper.  I use the new mayo made with olive oil, as this reduces fat but doesn't effect the flavor of the mayo or the spread.  If you don't have fresh peppercorns around just waiting to be cracked, don't worry about it.  Regular pepper will work just as well.  Be careful not to overdo it; you don't want to forget that you've already added some red pepper, which adds a good bit of spice.  I probably add 2-3 tsps of black pepper, but it's hard to tell, since I usually just eyeball it.  Anyway, mix the mayo and pepper in well.

Once your done mixing, you can either scrape the sides of the bowl and cover it with cling wrap, or you can scrape the pimento cheese in a tupperware container.  Either way, you'll want to refrigerate your cheese for at least an hour or two before serving in order to let the spread set. to the right consistency.  Serve your pimento cheese in the manner of your choice: sandwich triangles (if you're feeling fancy), grilled ham and cheese, hamburgers, cheese and crackers.  I chose a selection of crackers for my pimento cheese (but let's not kid ourselves, it's just a means of conveying the pimento cheese to your mouth). Of the crackers, I think Ritz pairs the best.  Whatever you're method, you're ready to nom away.



  1. Maybe you should put together a cook book some day...with your personal photography of the dishes...

  2. Emma needs to see this. I'm going to the grocery store right now.

  3. @Abstract - Thanks! And I thought my food photography was only so-so!

    @Caitilin - You'll have to let me know how it turns out.


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