Friday, April 8, 2011

My Adventures with Pimento Cheese

My first encounter with pimento cheese was at the Farmer's Market near my old apartment. Witt and I had just started dating and I'd gone with him that morning to help set-up a tent for the beer festival in Greensboro. Afterwards we went to the Farmer's Market because I love the Farmer's Market and Saturdays are when they have fresh flowers and twice the venders. We might have bought other things but I know we picked up a loaf of homemade bread and a container of homemade pimento cheese. I couldn't remember ever having pimento cheese before, or at least not having it often. It was just one of those things, something that wasn't around the house much growing up, unless it was like my dad's sharp white chedder and strictly off limits to anyone but him.

   We went back to my apartment and made pimento cheese sandwiches, on the griddle I think. Afterwards, we both promptly got sick. Since then I haven't been on very good terms with pimento cheese. Often Witt will buy some at the Fresh Market or Earth Fare and when he looks in the fridge he'll say accusingly, have you been eating my pimento cheese?? Such a ridiculous question. But he's also been asking me to make it, something that baffled me. I had no idea what was in pimento cheese and making it sounded like a trip to a goat farm or straining my own yogurt (naive I know). Also, I didn't want any, so selfishly I kept forgetting to find out.

But as I was looking through an issue of Bon Appetit today, I saw a description and the recipe included three ingredients. Three. I felt bad for refusing so many times to attempt the project, and since Witt brought me home some rum last night to celebrate my new job with a cocktail, today I decided would be the day I would make pimento cheese. Since it's so easy I'm sharing it here.

 I looked through several recipes and put together what I thought sounded good. This is all you need:

Gypsy Slow Down

1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 cups grated extra sharp chedder cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers from a jar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper

Beat the cream cheese until soft. It helps for the cream cheese to be at room temperature.

My kitchen is so small, the only place for my mixer to go is on a tiny island we bought that, it turns out, is very rickety. So when I'm beating things really fast I have to put the mixer on the floor as you can see here:

Gypsy Slow Down

You really want to get all the clumps out (now I'm sounding like some kind of expert on pimento cheese. That's how easy it is) so beat it good.

If you don't want to chop up your peppers, the food processor will get them nice and fine.

Gypsy Slow Down

Add the chedder cheese to the cream cheese in the mixer and beat until fluffy. Add the mayonnaise, garlic, salt and pepper and beat until smooth. Stir in peppers until combined. Place in a container with a lid to refrigerate for at least an hour.

Gypsy Slow Down

Still not my favorite, but lovely even so.

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