Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pimento Cheese

When the weather starts to turn warm, my whole mood toward food changes.  Instead of heavy, rich, brothy foods, I want cold, creamy, fresh foods.  One of the things I tend to start craving is pimento cheese.

Now my grandmother used to make herself pimento cheese quite often, but I was never fond of her version.  And I don't have the recipe, so I'm not sure what she put in it past mayo, cheese, and pimentos.  In fact, she may not have used anything other than those three ingredients for all I know.  So typically I've just bought my pimento cheese already prepared.  Yes, I know; it's almost blasphemy for a Southerner to buy prepared pimento cheese.

A few weeks ago, though, I signed up to send in pimento cheese and crostini for a teacher appreciation event at the 8 year old's school, so I went in search of the perfect recipe.  As luck would have it, just a day or so later Bree over at Baked Bree posted just such a recipe.

I had to fiddle with it, of course, but I did stay true to the original for the most part.  Bree made her own mayo, which would have been lovely.  I just don't have the energy or the food processor to make mayo.  I also thought it had a touch too much heat to be pleasing to a wide variety of people, so I toned down the cayenne and hot sauce (it's always Tabasco in our house).  And I used roasted piquillo peppers in a jar for a little added sweet/smokiness.  Be sure to mind the sage.  It can get over powering quickly!

Pimento Cheese
lightly adapted from Baked Bree

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon diced fresh sage
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 - 1/4 cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces jarred roasted piquillo peppers, finely diced
4 drops Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine well all ingredients except cheese.  Once well blended, fold in cheese one cup at a time.  Serve with crackers, crostini, or french bread.

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