Fried Chicken, Sweet Tea, Barbecue, Catfish, and Grits— are all some examples of true Southern culinary icons. Which brings me to two of my favorite words “comfort” and “food.” Put them together and it’s magic, just like the simple blend of cheese, mayonnaise and sweet peppers known across the South as pimento cheese.
Like most Southerners, I grew up with pimento cheese spread — from the processed stuff sold in supermarkets to the wonderful, chunky and flavorful varieties made at home. The popularity of this unique spread remains largely confined to the states below the Mason-Dixon line, where it assumes its place as a Southern delicacy. But you don’t have to travel down South to enjoy some authentic pimento cheese. Its basic ingredients are readily available everywhere, and it’s a cinch to make. With it only taking 15 minutes or less to make, why not whip up a batch today?
- 6 ounces cream cheese, soften
- 4 ounces vermont extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 (4 ounce) jar of pimentos, drained and chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated onion
- 1/2 teaspoon Porter House Seasoning, recipe follows
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 dash hot sauce (or more!)
1. Using a hand held mixer, beat cream cheese until soft.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until creamy and combined.
3. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
4. Serve as a dip or as a sandwich filling.
Porter House Seasoning
- 1 cup salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- 1/4 cup onion powder
1. Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
For the Salad:
Red onion, thinly sliced
Cucumber, sliced and seeded
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
For the Lemon Garlic Dressing:
6 Tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 Teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1. For the salad: Wash lettuce,tomatoes and cucumber well (make sure you spin-dry the lettuce when finished). Peel and slice 1/2 of a cucumber, set aside. In a bowl combine and toss all the veggies; set aside
2. For the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar together. Then add the minced garlic and oregano. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well again, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
3. Toss salad with prepared dressing and garnish with fresh feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
*CHEF’S TIP – If you are not the proud owner of a salad spinner place freshly washed lettuce in a clean towel. Spin towel around in a circular motion for about a minute or so. Viola! Instant spin-dried lettuce.
I absolutely love broccoli. It is definitely my favorite vegetable. So when I was first introduced to this salad it was at our wedding shower; I instantly fell in love. And then it showed up again at a baby shower we attended. That was it; I had to know the recipe. And the rest is history.
8 slices bacon, crumbled
2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and crumble.
In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cheese, bacon, raisins and onion. Now in a small bowl prepare the dressing by whisking together the red wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Combine dressing with salad and toss until it is well coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. Serve & Enjoy!
* Chef’s Note – Want a little crunch? Add in some of your favorite nuts!