Cheese, creamed, salmoned, and pimentoed(is that a word?)
July 20, 2011

Start with cream cheese, smoked salmon trimmings, and some chives...

You may have seen(and bought) the cute little expensive balls of salmon cream cheese…so pretty, and quite delicious, but around $10 for small ball…yikes. So I’ve learned to make my own…you can too.

Put the trimmings into a food processor, or chop them very fine by hand....

I use the smoke salmon trimmings you can find at Whole Foods….it’s the leftover bits but since you’re gonna grind it up anywhere, who cares? Process until it is in small bits….no one likes a huge stringy chunk of smoked salmon hanging from their teeth, unless you’re Sean Connery. (Seriously, on a film junket one time, I was standing by him at the snack table, and it happened, but he didn’t give a rip. And why should he? He’s Sean freakin’ Connery.)

Keep mixing, it's not there yet....

Mix it all up by hand with some Tabasco to get it a little kick, and you’re all set. Everyone will think you’re a genius.

And I made super eggplant dip, inspired by one I had over fourth of July….mine was a little different, but still really good….take a look at the video. I love it.

Pimento cheese...so easy a monkey can do it!

And I also made  huge batch of pimento cheese….I’ve always loved it as you know, but it has become quite trendy…as you can see from articles like this one in the Wall Street Journal…although the writer says  Moms of yesteryear made pimento cheese from processed cheese….excuse me, my Mom never did that…it was always real cheddar. And they talk about chefs roasting their own red peppers…and I’ve tried that, but honestly, I missed the taste of the pimentos…which is different. Whatever. This recipe also adds sugar, which I don’t care for…and cream cheese…a little unnecessary, but not too terrible. Other than that, go for it…it’s great on crackers, sandwiches, burgers, in pasta…and just a spoonful out of the frig.

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Nothing like an old rusty gate…and a little college football…
September 20, 2010

Look out South Carolina....

Ok, the weekend was fab…the Auburn tigers pulled it out(it being the game) in the last half against a very tough Clemson tigers….all’s well that ends well, as the saying goes. Oh, and the bison burgers were also fab…with Roquefort topping for  blue cheese lovers, and pimento cheese topping for the pimento cheese lovers(and who doesn’t love homemade pimento cheese, y’all). And there are, let me tell you, quite a few South Carolina Gamecock fans in the newsroom, and as Auburn hosts them this weekend, how do they say…oh yeah….”Jimmy, it’s oooooonnnnn!!! “

I love the heart shapes on it.....so sweet...

The project of the weekend was putting up an antique metal gate I found at C-MArt( which I missed so badly while they were gone). There was a little green picket gate here before, which was falling apart, and I’ve always wanted an iron gate. The trouble with this one(and probably any old gate) is that it wasn’t really straight, and there was no easy way to connect the gate to the wall, since it came with absolutely no parts or hardware… just here’s you gate Ma’am,…good luck.

painting still to be done of the brick and the wood....

So we ordered old rusty hinges from the “ye olde rusty hinge catalogue“, and someone who’s way better than me at stuff like that attached it to another piece of wood and then  attached that piece of wood to the wall. It’s not finished yet, as you can see.  But overall, I like the look of it, and it functions well. Now just some painting to be done of the wood strip, and the brick where the wood that used to hold the wooden gate was. That’s probably my department….and next weekend’s project.

OVERHEARD IN THE NEWSROOM: “When Alabama plays Arkansas this weekend, if they win by one or they win by one-hundred, they’re the number one team in the country, and anyone who says differently is freakin’ wrong.”

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.

Pimiento Cheese and Flannel-lined jeans….
November 3, 2009

Wow, things really never change.....

It’s odd how seeing certain things take you right back to your childhood. Or maybe it’s that everything that goes around, comes around. Take for example, flannel-lined jeans. When I was a child, I had a pair in the back of my drawer that I absolutely despised. In ‘bama, there was little call for such an item as you might imagine, but every once in a while there would be a “cold snap”, and girls were “allowed” to wear pants to school(I know, I know…how archaic is that?). But rather than simply wear pants, my Mom shoe-horned me into the most awful  flannel-lined jeans… under a dress. Imagine if you will, a stiff, bulky, little worn pair of flannel lined jeans…under a dress. The horror of one of those days remains with me still.  I was quite the fashion statement, but as I saw today on L.L. Bean….flannel lined jeans are still around…hopefully, (dear Lord, think of the children)prewashed.

classic pimento cheese sammich

The Today Show this morning, had a 2009 version of one of my childhood favorites…. pimento cheese(pronounced puh-men-ta cheese)… took me way back. As I’ve mentioned before, people who’ve never eaten anything but sticky, gross, sweet, store-bought pimento cheese, have never eaten pimento cheese. No…don’t tell me you know one that tastes good….that’s just crazy talk. You have to make your own, to get the finesse of pimento cheese. And it just ain’t that hard…grate some sharp cheddar cheese, add some jarred pimentoes(which are basically roasted red peppers), some mayo….and you’re golden. I’ve read some recipes that use Velveeta…I’m skeptical.  I like the real cheese. I’ve provided a link here to Paula Deen’s recipe….she uses sharp white and yellow cheddar…sounds good…and I like a few dashes of  Tabasco for a little extra zip.

Layered pimento cheese potato gratin....why didn't I think of that?

But on the Today Show, the Lee brothers…authors of a new cookbook called Simple Fresh Southern…put a new spin on pimento cheese…in a potato gratin! The recipe which I’ve linked here….looks pretty simple….really more like a deconstruction of pimento cheese, with potatoes. How can you go wrong? I will definitely give it a try this weekend. pimento cheese and flannel jeans….one out of two isn’t bad.