Award Winning Pimento Cheese…

image

Family recipes are sacred in the South- Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese is one recipe I had held in the family vault for over 30 years until a friend asked for the recipe- actually he begged. He wanted to put it in a Pimento Cheese Contest, and I was not surprised one bit when it won First Place! It turns out there were some serious food critics there. I discovered later that the Cookbook Editor for a James Beard Award Winning Chef tasted Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese; even she agreed it was indeed the winner! In case you are wondering…there are lots of Variations of Pimento Cheese. Yankees have been trying to duplicate Southern Pimento Cheese for years; without much success I might add- they get too creative. Southerners often add an Ick ingredient to Pimento Cheese-they mash in Cream Cheese! Avoid those recipes like the Plague! As you know, I am an Amateur Food Critic myself- perhaps because my grandmother was the most serious Food Critic I have ever known! Mimi’s food backed up her expertise. I’m feeling in a generous holiday mood, so even though Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese is a year round favorite- it is especially welcome this time of year! Now, before I share it- you must understand it is a Method as much as it is a recipe! 

Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 12oz Sharp or Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese- finely grated, don’t you dare buy packaged preshredded cheese!
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
  •  1 small jar of Pimentos- not diced and not drained!
  • 3/4- 1 cup of good Mayonnaise –  I say this all of the time, it is too bad you don’t make it yourself– however, you must look for lemon juice as an ingredient in store bought mayonnaise, and don’t dare try to cut calories by getting light or reduced fat mayonnaise Hellman’s® has lemon juice and so does Winn Dixie’s® store brand, if you can’t find either, buy the regular kind and add lemon juice to it!
  • 1-2 teaspoons Pepper Sauce – for those of you who don’t know what this is- we use it to spice up turnip greens. It is an essential ingredient in a Southern Pantry- made from pickled hot peppers, the liquid is really what we want far more than the actual peppers! This is not Tabasco ® ! We use a lot of that- but not for Pimento Cheeseimage

Method:

  • I wish everyone had one of these little graters which finely shreds cheese in the most perfect form. You can use the fine side of a box grater- *please don’t do this in a food processor! Finely grate the Sharp Cheddar- *grate it cold, let it come to room temperature for the best results. That pre-shredded mess is coated with corn starch or something and it will not absorb the other ingredients! Put the finely grated Cheese in a medium size mixing bowl, allowing a short time to soften.
  • Start with adding 3/4 jar of the Pimentos and most of the juice to the grated Cheese .
  • On top of Cheese put the good Mayonnaise, start with 3/4 cup- you may need to add the rest later.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of the Hot Pepper Sauce on top of Mayonnaise. You aren’t stirring yet are you?
  • Add Spices- Cayenne Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes on top of the Mayonnaise.
  • Now you can lightly incorporate the Mayonnaise, Pimentos, Pepper Sauce and Spices into the cheese. The mixture will seem stiff at first- keep lightly mixing until all is absorbed.
  • At this point, you will know if you need more Mayonnaise or Pimentos with a bit more of the juice. *Hint- for a sandwich spread or Tea Sandwiches you will want Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese to be thinned out more, but to spread on crackers- a stiffer mixture is better. This is by feel, so you will need to either grate more cheese, if too thin- or add more Mayonnaise if too thick.
  • Do not be overly concerned as you are mixing, right at first. Just know that your hard work of grating that Cheese will pay off! It will begin to absorb the Mayonnaise, Pimentos, Spices and become thicker. When the Pimento Cheese is chilled it will become a stiffer mixture. Wait until it has chilled and set to decide whether to add more mayonnaise or more cheese.
  • Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.For a party it will hold well at room temperature. *Warning! This is a spicy Pimento Cheese! Mimi was a spicy lady! But I’m warning you, if you mess with Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese you’ll be sorry!  Enjoy.

This is a staple in the kitchen of Camellia’s Cottage, I hope you also will be convinced it’s truly Award worthy. *Do not send the container to a friend’s house before their party- you may find Mimi’s Award Winning Pimento Cheese has disappeared before party time! Remember to finely grate the cheese yourself and keep that Cream Cheese for something else, darlin’

Love y’all, Camelliaimage

Obviously all photographs are mine!

Purses, passion and pimento cheese…

imageThis is my grandmother, Betty Jo Sparks Holmes, standing by a fence in Alabama with her small son and her young brother. This photograph was taken in the late 1920’s. She was a working woman beginning in the late 50’s –  because her husband and her son were disabled. For almost 20 years she rode a bus to downtown Birmingham to work as a florist. She could squeeze a dollar harder than anyone I have ever known and get more out of it too! She was passionate about her work, her home and her family; always making sure her home was clean and beautiful and that there was something on the table that was fit to eat. To this day some of the best food I have ever eaten, the best meals I make, came from MiMi.  I still use her recipes and methods to make good food for my family or for pretty tea sandwiches –2015-06-05 12.02.11 I even grocery shop with her advice filling my head! No one ever left her home hungry; she was immensely talented and seriously funny. She believed in the old ways of putting out fresh tea towels, using the good silver often and being grateful enough to write a thank you note or compassionate enough to write a sympathy card. And she continued to do these things whether her pocketbook was full or not. This week, in her honor and in honor of other amazing women I know- I hand painted a ‘spring collection’ of notecards with cute little handbags.image

Susan B. Anthony said, ‘A woman should always have her own purse.’ This week in Birmingham Alabama, 100’s of women, with purses of their own, raised over $600,000 for victims of domestic violence. The YWCA Purse and Passion luncheon has been raising money and awareness in Central Alabama for over 15 years, they do an amazing amount of work which benefits women and children who often do not have access to safety or a purse of their own. These passionate women are proof that when a woman has a ‘purse of her own’ she can be a tremendous help and an outspoken voice for less fortunate women. The YWCA of Central Alabama is living proof that a passionate young woman named Susan B. Anthony was right about women and their ability to be a force for good and actually do need a purse of their own! In the 19th century, she began fighting for women to have the right to go to school, she went to school then began her own career as a teacher who fought for decent wages for teachers. She became convinced that women should have the right own personal property and earn a decent wage no matter what work she did. Ms. Anthony believed that the only way these things would ever become the law of the land was if women also had the right to vote. The passionate activist, Susan B. Anthony, died before women received the right to vote early in the 20th century, 1920, I believe. In Alabama, 90 years ago this week,voting rights for women weren’t  extended until 1956, more than 30 years after the rest of the nation.  Fast forward to the 21st century as famous Alabamian, Lily Ledbetter, also fought for several decades for equal pay for women. A bill with her name on it was signed in 2009- more than 100 years after Susan B. Anthony died. Yes, ‘Women should have a purse of their own.’

As a bonus, to honor these women- I will make available the closely guarded recipe for my grandmother’s award winning pimento cheese.

It is the best pimento cheese you will ever eat! If  you register your email address with Camellia’s Cottage, we’ll let you in on it! Use the sign up box or email:  brenda@camelliascottage.com

As always we will never ask for your height, your shoe size, when you started dying your hair or where you were when you got those redbug bites. We will never share your email address with anyone, we will never ask if the weight on your driver license is the same as the weight showing on your bathroom scale, we will always let you unsubscribe if you want to- but we hope you won’t, because we’ll never let you leave Camellia’s Cottage without knowing that we are grateful you stopped by! We’ll leave the light on…

Love y’all, Camellia

Grace and Grit –http://amzn.to/1XzrcBX Grace and Grit

Susan B. Anthony –Susan B. Anthony

YWCA YWCA

Visit YWCA of Central Alabama’s website – www.ywcabham.org