A Tale of Pimento Cheese and Biscuits….
April 28, 2010

Hands in motion, mixing a huge batch of pimento cheese...yummy...

There are as many ways to make a batch of pimento cheese as there are crackers to spread it on….but there are some rules that should be obeyed….using sharp cheddar cheese, using a good mayonnaise like Hellman’s, add a touch of Tabasco….but there are also some rules that can be broken….such as, never buying pimento cheese at the grocery store. As I’ve stated before, grocery store pimento cheese is just awful. So let me qualify that. If you’re a store that carries Callie’s Biscuits  pimento cheese, then by all means, grab hold and don’t let go.

Callie's employee mixing butter into the flour for biscuits...

Pimento cheese is a new product for Callie’s…a Southern Staple, as they call it. And I guess that’s true…growing up in Alabama there was often a pie plate of pimento cheese in the frig that would make its way into lunchtime sandwiches. A Pyrex pie dish because my Father, who often made it, found it easier to mash the pimentos that way…now you can buy pimentos already chopped. He always let my Mother add the mayo though…he was afraid she’d complain he put in too much.

Anyway, there probably lots of people now, who simply don’t want to take the time to grate the cheese, and add pimentos, Worcestershire, Tobasco, and Helman’s mayo…so maybe many of you have never tasted real pimento cheese….and Callie’s is like homemade…ok, better. When I was in Charleston last week, I called and asked if I could stop by where the magic happens, on famous Meeting Street….the dodgy end says Callie’s daughter Carrie, and they said sure..come on by.

Carrie filling biscuit bags with luscious biscuits.....

It’s a lovely little bakery, with hardwood floors and a big freezer to stock all the different flavors of biscuits. Carrie was up to her neck in alligators as they say, because Piggly Wiggly(love the Pig) had called and said,”It’s Friday and we need more biscuits pronto!” So Carrie was loading packs of Callie’s cinnamon biscuits, ham biscuits, cheese-chive biscuits and buttermilk of course, into bags as fast as she could while we talked. Carrie’s Mother Callie was the originator of the biscuit, and Callie is pretty much retired, though still doing a little catering here and there. And this is her biscuit recipe, that her business minded daughter made into a product…she told her Mom that people all over would want to buy them, and Callie never thought it would amount to much. “Oh, who would want to buy my biscuits?”  But lots of people do, because they are so luscious….as far away as Dean and DeLuca in St. Helena, California. These women know their biscuits.

Callie's...made from White Lily flour, of course....

And the rest is history…Carrie is still growing the business and getting them into more stores…the only place I can find them in Maryland right now, is Graul’s Market in St. Michaels and Annapolis. But I’m hoping that Graul’s here in Baltimore, or maybe Eddie’s in Roland Park would stock them. And the pimento cheese, of course. No shipping fees!  And while I carted down a couple of blocks of cheddar to Charleston with big plans to make pimento cheese….did I? Not once I spotted Callie’s in the Piggly-Wiggly. I’m gonna go spread some on a cracker right now.

Foodie delights for your weekend…..
January 29, 2010

Ok here’s the first one and it’s dead easy, and really good…I made it last night after work!! It’s called Chicken Ground Nut Stew….I know it sounds a little …awful…but it isn’t, and it is a variation of something cooked in the West Africa Peace Corp, but using Thai ingredients.

from the Peace Corps to you.....Chicken Ground-nut Stew

Here’s what you’ll need

1 can of coconut milk (highly recommend the brand  ‘A Taste of Thai’)
1 package of ‘A taste of Thai’ peanut sauce mix (use both envelopes in package)
1 can of water chestnuts
1 cooked (baked) and de-boned / de-skinned chicken – cut into approx 1-2″ pieces (Donna’s note: I also sautéed a red bell pepper, a bunch of green onions and fresh garlic and some fresh baby spinach at the end. Made it much prettier and much more healthy.)

1.  Shake coconut milk before adding to pan. This is important because a lot of the milk will stay clumped in the bottom of the can if you don’t shake it well. 
2.  Heat the milk to simmer
3.  Add the spices. 
4.  Stir together for 2 minutes (until the sauce is consistent)
5.  Add everything else and heat on medium low until boiling
6.  Boil on low for 2 minutes  …  and voila, you’re done! Serve over rice(and I like brown rice…healthier).    

Please take the bag away from me....

Next up: delicious crackers I found that are made on the Eastern Shore. Little Ragghi’s Crackers are yummy flat bread crackers made with olive oil and parmesan cheese. I’m eating one right now, and the flavor is just sooooo good. if you go to Ragghi’s website, you’ll find a list of where they’re sold and the story behind Raggi, which is pretty fascinating. I bought mine at Well’s Liquors on York Road…and picked up a bottle of wine for the weekend. Can’t wait to eat these with some cheese tonight!

Oysters, Gruyere, green onions and bacon..

Last, but not least…something I want to make this weekend, maybe Sunday night. It’s a recipe for Iron Skillet Oysters from Callie’s Biscuit Blog. I’ve told you about Callie’s before….their biscuits, which hale from Charleston are so very  very good, but I’m not gonna lie to you…they’re pricey. But they have some lovely and easy recipes on their blog….and this one really struck me as something I might like to make for Superbowl…and you don’t have to go outside…this recipe is made in the oven.  Fresh oysters, Gruyère cheese, bacon and green onions…what’s not to like?  So there you have it….3 suggestions to make your weekend a little more special…mostly simple, and people will love you for it. Play nice with others this weekend and come home safe….talk to you Monday!

New York Wedding….part 2…where did I put my wallet?
May 29, 2009

Ok, let’s see, where were we? Oh yea, Friday night party…check. I forgot to tell you a minor inconvenience/major flip-out that happened on Thursday. I discovered my wallet was on the lam. Yep, as in gonzo…missing in action…a disappearing act. Where did it go? Where was it lifted from my bag? I literally have no idea, but there were a couple of hours that day spent canceling credit cards(luckily I only have 2 plus a gas card-which someone did try to use), but I have to get insurance cards replaced, and my driver’s license(which is done-I’m not driving illegally)….But on a weekend where I need a charge card…that thing was almost on fire…it had taken a holiday. Luckily my daughter got in later that day and gave me back my Mastercard, which she “keeps for emergencies” (like lip gloss on sale at Rite Aid). And we moved on…really, what else can you do?

5823The wedding ceremony on Saturday took place at Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village…it belongs to a library that used to be a the women’s detention center…a great, Victorian gothic, red brick building, where women inmates used to shout from the windows at friends and visitors below! It has an exquisite garden, especially this time of year, huge rose bushes in bloom , along with peonies, allium, and mock orange. And amazingly the weather held….and in a garden wedding- a little important.( And a later addition-I forgot….this was the garden in which Miranda on Sex and the City got married…episode 88…small point of interest…but in that episode you can see how pretty this garden is, if you have it.)

Me and the groom-Mona in background!

Me and the groom-Mona in background!

A lovely young cellist named Mona that we found on Gigmasters,what a great site, provided some lovely music. The cello seemed an appropriate choice, because my son took lessons and played for quite a few years.

Wedding cake time....

Wedding cake time....

Dinner afterward was at a small(all restaurants in the village are small) place called The Market Table….it was where my son proposed to the lovely Jennifer, and it was a such a great choice for dinner. The food totally rocked it.  Mikey Price is the chef/owner…and the man can put some unbelieveable food on the table. And he did. We ate from a smaller version of their dinner menu, so you can get an idea of what the food is like. Pancetta wrapped porkenderloin with banana fingerlings? Amazing.  There was a small wedding cake that Jennifer’s fabulous Mom Jill insisted on(even though the adorable couple said no, we don’t need it), and I’m glad she did. It was the perfect touch on a perfect small wedding dinner.  everyone poured(literally) into taxis…no driving in nyc…and blissfully floated back to where we came from. As the lovely Jennifer’s Dad said, “On a scale of one to ten, it was a 25!” I couldn’t agree more.