The great PIMENTO CHEESE SANDWICH
This weekend we were in Southern Virginia at Smith Mountain Lake -- the moonshine capital of the world thank-you-very-much -- celebrating a friend's 40th birthday. The last time we were there, I was served the best grilled cheese sandwich I've ever had in my life -- and, I don't mean to brag, but I've had my fair share of toasted cheese. Let's just put it this way, as Wilt Chamberlin was to women, so am I to grilled cheese sandwiches. And if you haven't lost your appetite after that analogy, I'm going to share with you the holy grail of hot sammies: pimento cheese.
If you're a newbie to this tasty treat, you're probably a yankee like me (PA proud and a virgin until my late 20s, ahem, I mean…pim cheese virgin!). If you're a already hooked, then feel free to share your tips and tricks for homemade pimento cheese. You can get it pre-made at the grocery store, but there's a whole ton of strange chemical sounding things in that kind which are pretty creepy. Plus, when you make your own with fresh and wholesome ingredients, you're going to get way more bang for your buck. Because even a trough of that stuff will be gone in a heartbeat. Go big with this. Really. You won't be sorry.
One tip, use quality cheese. I am a huge fan of the cheeses Washington's Green Grocer delivers to me. Every week, I add on three blocks of Organic Valley sharp cheddar or the Talbot Reserve Cheddar and, never fail, the day before our next scheduled delivery, we are totally out. These are two of my faves and you can use them in everything from lasagna to pim cheese spread to pizza.
Pimento Cheese Spread
1 eight ounce block sharp cheddar, grated
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (if you have it…a little variation in the cheese is good, but not necessary)
1 half 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 four ounce jar pimentos, drained
1 clove garlic, minced or else a good sprinkling of garlic powder
a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt (Seven Stars is perfect here)
2 tablespoons grated onions
salt/pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Spread on tea sandwiches or crackers -- or my personal favorite, on your best bread (I tried on challah and sourdough) as a grilled cheese. However you serve it you'll love this Southern delicacy.
Dining alfresco with grilled pimento cheese and apple slices. YUM.
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