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Pimento Cheese

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I dont know about mayo in cheese but who the F doesnt like mayo on a cheese burger? Or mayo on a BLT w/cheese. Ham and cheese sandwich w/mayo.Or a turkey club with mayo? Cali cheese steak w/mayo. If you dont like mayo on these sandwiches, my guess is you just dont like mayo period.

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Not so! Love mayo w turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwich, but my turkey sandwiches never have cheese in them. Love mayo for egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad/ sandwiches. Love mayo for a BLT which is called a BLT and not a BLTC for a reason. And I don't remember ever eating a turkey club with cheese in it, just bacon and toothpicks. Never ate a cheesesteak. Don't eat cheeseburgers. When I grew up in NY mayo was really not typical on any hamburgers, just ketchup. But now I actually DO use a little mayo along with ketchup on a hamburger, although I rarely eat hamburgers any more. I'm wracking my brains and realize there is in fact one instance where I eat something with both cheese and mayo, and that's a tuna melt. So you got me there.

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In my area there is this old Dairy Ice Cream Shop that has sandwiches and other foods for lunch.

 

One of the things that make their hamburgers and cheeseburgers is a mixture of mayo & mustard

with some other flavorings that they put in it.  Perhaps the juice from the pickle jar.   I understand that

they make it the day before they use it so the flavors will merge. 

 

I know people who have moved several hours away from here who when they come back to visit

swing by there for a burger, first thing.  I figure they are using commercial mayo & mustard but

the quality of flavor in that seasoning is unforgettable. 

 

I think that will be what I shoot for with my own mayo when I make it to use in my Pimento Cheese.

I may attempt to experiment with cream cheese and cottage cheese as part of the cream medium

in this cheese spread. The notion of Velveeta still leaves me a bit perplexed.

 

I examined the copy cat recipe for Durkee's famous sauce just to see what is in it. 

 

http://www.food.com/recipe/durkee-famous-sauce-clone-108402

 

Balsamic vinegar in it may hold some promise.

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Kim, thank you for posting mama's recipe. I was coming here after work to do so , but you've beat me to it!. It is really good and so easy.

I do a version of it with a couple adjustments. I omit the mustard,and replace the L&P and fresh ground pepper with the McCormicks Worcestershire pepper. I know there are people who'd say nay, to preground pepper but it just works here. Takes between 1/2 and a tsp.and the 4oz.jar of pimentos are juice and all, do not drain. It makes a nice creamy spread and really accentuates the flavor.

Takes about 5 minutes or less to make.yields about a pint.

it's better if allowed to sit a few hours or overnight. The cheese absorbs the sauce and thickens a bit.

Edited to add: It's really good served with a nice pepper jelly, store bought or homemade!

I will have to try that Worcestershire pepper idea.  Do you know that we were first introduced to it at your house?  Never heard of it before.  C went out the back door and bought us a can of it to take home!  We've used it ever since.

 

I ate Pimento Cheese once, a couple of years ago, when I went to visit my daughter in Atlanta for the first time. Once was enough. I just don't think the combination of mayonnaise and cheese is in my DNA. Growing up, if cheese was in a sandwich we used mustard, not mayo. That article was interesting; and I always thought Pimento Cheese was a form of revenge exacted by the South on the rest of the country. Who knew it was originally a weapon invented elsewhere and that the South tried to improve it? Apologies, y'all!

This gave me a giggle, Katie!  Since I am exactly the opposite.  Cheese and mayo are, for me, such a perfect combination that I almost feel like they are the same thing.  A plain cheese sandwich MUST have mayo.  And a slice of cheese on a summer tomato and mayo sandwich is heaven.  To me, they go together so well that when I make a deli meat and cheese sandwich, the mustard goes on the meat side and the mayo on the cheese side - ALWAYS.  I think that you must be right about that DNA thing! :biggrin:

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I, too, use Rachel's recipe when I need a bunch.

In a pinch, the Palmetto brand sold down here is pretty good.

But, the best of the best is Sweet Grass Dairy's house version, made with their Thomasville Tomme and  piquillo peppers.

 

If you want a real treat, pair your favorite pimento cheese with some fruit butter.  My favorite is muscadine butter, but it can be hard to come by.  Second favorite is peach butter, especially if it has pecans in it.  Apple butter works, too.  When I first served it to some visiting friends, they were skeptical.  Then, we went to visit them and they served it that way, explaining to others, "I know it sounds weird, but you have to try it!"

 

Edited to say, the SGD pimento cheese is available on their website.


Edited by onrushpam (log)

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Where I purchase Pimento Cheese at Kroger's there is a young woman at the cash register who

suggest to me the mixing of potted meat with the PC.   She keeps telling me how good it is.

 

I may use some deviled ham and try it.

 

There was a local company who made something like this at one time.  It was like ham salad

mixed with PC and they used the marketing name,  "Chesham" which was pronounced "Cheezam"

 

As for myself,  I've almost always eaten the PC I've consumed as it came right out of the container.

But I'm open ot anyone's ideas about combining it with other items.  I'd like to hear more.

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Where I purchase Pimento Cheese at Kroger's there is a young woman at the cash register who

suggest to me the mixing of potted meat with the PC.   She keeps telling me how good it is.

In my personal opinion, the only thing good on potted meat is the lid to the trash can. But I can't say that I've tried it with pimento cheese... seems like it'd be a good way to mess up some perfectly good pimento cheese. I look forward to hearing what you think of the combination though.

 

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Where I purchase Pimento Cheese at Kroger's there is a young woman at the cash register who

suggest to me the mixing of potted meat with the PC.   She keeps telling me how good it is.

 

I may use some deviled ham and try it.

 

There was a local company who made something like this at one time.  It was like ham salad

mixed with PC and they used the marketing name,  "Chesham" which was pronounced "Cheezam"

 

As for myself,  I've almost always eaten the PC I've consumed as it came right out of the container.

But I'm open ot anyone's ideas about combining it with other items.  I'd like to hear more.

 

Personally, I think there's probably a very good reason why pimento cheese is a popular classic, while pimento cheese mixed with canned potted meat ain't.

 

There aren't many festive holiday tables in the South that don't feature a relish tray including celery stalks filled with pimento cheese.

 

I like to add finely-chopped green onions or chives to my pimento cheese.

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I'm guessing that pimento cheese is the Southern cousin to California's Pepper Jack - Monterey Jack with peppers finely diced and mixed in to the loaf.  Most pepper jack I've had has been pretty insipid, with mild, almost flavorless peppers and weak, lowest-common-denominator Monterey Jack.  Trader Joe's has a version that I use sometimes when making a cheese and spinach frittata for potlucks.  It's pretty good as it contains habanero peppers.

 

Now, I say pretty good because, even though it's quite a bit better than the typical store bough stuff, it probably has room for improvement.  Learning about the Southern pimento cheese has given me thoughts about making my own pepper jack, and how I may go about it.  It never crossed my mind that people would make a "home made" version of this.  So, with thoughts of pimento cheese and pepper jack dancing through my head, I'm off to explore the possibilities of a cheeky cheese with a little kick-ass bite to it.

 

Thanks for your Southern Hospitality ...

 

I am reminded of this.

 

And can't help but wonder...

 

Shel, did you ever try to make pimento cheese?

 

And, if so, how did it go?

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I am reminded of this.

 

And can't help but wonder...

 

Shel, did you ever try to make pimento cheese?

 

And, if so, how did it go?

 

I wasn't planning to make a Pimento cheese, rather, do something along the lines of a Monterey Jack. 

 

I started the experiment simply by taking a package of TJ's shredded pepper jack and adding some finely diced jalapeno to it, mixing well, and then melting the cheese in a small mold.  When cooled and firm, I sliced the cheese and I also grated some.  Conclusion:  Taste is good, texture needs work.  Haven't visited the project since ... but thanks for the reminder.  Next time I may add a bit of gruyere or maybe comte. 


Edited by Shel_B (log)

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I wasn't planning to make a Pimento cheese, rather, do something along the lines of a Monterey Jack. 

 

I started the experiment simply, taking a package of TJ's shredded pepper jack and adding some finely diced jalapeno to it, mixing well, and then melting the cheese in a small mold.  When cooled and firm, I sliced the cheese and I also grated some.  Conclusion:  Taste is good, texture needs work.  Haven't visited the project since ... but thanks for the reminder.

 

Interesting.  I suspect that the melting and then cooling of the shredded cheese might account for the weird texture.  I am reminded of trying to cool and then reheat pizza.  Sometimes the cheese doesn't come through the process with the best of textures.

 

But, makes me think about trying to make something more akin to the traditional pimento cheese but, rather than cheddar or other typical "pimento cheese" sorts of cheeses and pimentos, going for jack cheese and jalapenos - a much spicier version. 

 

I always make the ubiquitous pimento-cheese-filled celery stalks for our Thanksgiving relish tray.

 

Maybe I'll try something considerably spicier this year.

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For those of you who don't want to go to the trouble of making it, Palmetto Pimento Cheese is excellent! It's made in South Carolina and is becoming much wider distributed, we started getting at here in Louisville about a year ago. It's certainly the best we've ever bought. They have three flavors, regular, bacon and jalapeno. Here's their website: http://www.pimentocheese.com/

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I too do a version of this recipe, and agree with everything else Shelby says below. I will post a version using red poblanos when I get to the computer...

Here it is. Pimento%20cheese_thumb%5B4%5D.jpg?imgmax

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I just don't think the combination of mayonnaise and cheese is in my DNA.

 

That was my reaction too, upon reading the recipes above.  Indeed, when I gave it a whirl (hand grated cheese and home made mayo), I found the combination unpleasantly unctuous.  FWIW, to anyone else who feels the same way, what I have found experimenting the past few days is that a combination of two parts cheddar plus one part each cream cheese and nonfat fromage blanc works very nicely.  (So, for example, 8 oz cheddar and 4 oz each of the other two.)  Mash the cream cheese and fromage blanc together (or puree in a mini food processor then transfer to a bowl); stir in the pimentos and other flavorings as desired; then stir in the cheese.

 

Not the same as the Southern version, obviously.  But arguably this is just as valid an adaptation of the original, which it should be noticed did not have mayo.  See the Serious Eats article linked by heidih upthread.

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I wasn't planning to make a Pimento cheese, rather, do something along the lines of a Monterey Jack.

I started the experiment simply by taking a package of TJ's shredded pepper jack and adding some finely diced jalapeno to it, mixing well, and then melting the cheese in a small mold. When cooled and firm, I sliced the cheese and I also grated some. Conclusion: Taste is good, texture needs work. Haven't visited the project since ... but thanks for the reminder. Next time I may add a bit of gruyere or maybe comte.

Rather than trying to "reharden" cheese and hoping for its original texture, maybe you should just go for a spread - in essence a spicier pimento cheese.

Sounds like the taste is wonderful. Think if it were I, I'd just serve it with bread or crackers and a spreader. Or maybe plop a spoonful of it on top of the patties next time I make burgers.

You must have thought of this but decided you'd rather have a solid block. I'm curious as to what you see as the advantage of having a solid block of cheese over a spread.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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You must have thought of this but decided you'd rather have a solid block. I'm curious as to what you see as the advantage of having a solid block of cheese over a spread.

 

Actually, I didn't think much about it.  Making the block seemed like a simple, easy way to go, and I could then grate or shred it, slice it for sandwiches, use the slices to wrap other items.  I've never really had much use for spreadable cheeses ... can't recall when I ever used the stuff in my own home.  I like the grated cheese for use in a particular frittata I make, and I cannot imagine how I'd use a spread in that recipe (although I'm sure there are people here who could make some suggestions).

 

Lastly, I wouldn't know, without some research, how to make a spread.  My first question would be what needs to be done to the cheese to make it spreadable, and how might that effect the way the cheese behaves and tastes in my favorite frittata.

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After a lengthy absence, was advised by an eGulleteer offline of the existence of the pimiento cheese thread. As I count myself something of an expert on the subject, having eaten it all my life, here goes.

 

If you try grocery store pimiento cheese, I do not blame you if you loathe it. That stuff is nasty. Artisan brands from delis may differ. However, the only way to ensure GOOD p/c is to make your own, thusly:

 

6 oz sharp cheddar, grated

6 oz Velveeta, grated (Velveeta grates better if you semi-freeze it)

1 large jar diced pimientos, drained

 

Toss this together. Set aside. In another bowl, mix:

 

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I personally think you cannot do this right without Hellman's Real Mayonnaise, or homemade)

1 scant tsp sugar

1 healthy sprinkle Lawry's Seasoned Salt

1/4 tsp (more or less to your taste) cayenne pepper

1 tbsp cider vinegar

 

Whisk together. Pour over cheese and pimiento, stir to mix thoroughly, and put in a covered dish in fridge for 24 hours for flavors to develop.

 

1. You don't want too much mayo. It's nasty. Just enough to enable things to blend.

2. Be easy on the salt. It's easy to salt it too much.

3. Do not put more than a tablespoon of vinegar. You might do well to make it a half/tablespoon, and then build up.

 

This makes a marvelous, savory spread. You do not taste the sugar, but it's needed to pull everything together. The big problem is, you need to get the seasonings right on the first try, because it's not easy to adjust once the dressing is added to the cheese.

 

I know there are Velveeta haters out there shaking their collective head. Look, it's plastic cheese. There are only two purposes for it; this, and mac and cheese for the kids, which I do not eat. Don't judge, here. It adds an element that is elsewise absent.

 

Uses for pimiento cheese: 

 

The canonical sandwich is toasted bread, generally white, sometimes wheat. It may or may not have a schmear of extra mayo or a leaf of lettuce.

 

My personal preference is with a schmear and a couple of strips of crisp bacon, and a couple of slices of vine-ripened summer tomato. I have had them with fried green tomatoes, and that ain't bad, but more trouble than that to which I wish to go.

 

It does not go amiss on a celery stick, if one can abide celery; I can't. Shelby's proposal of p/c on apple slices sounds just excellent. I love it on a cracker. And a scoop of p/c smeared across a just-off-the-grill burger is something not to be missed.

 

It is truly the South's revenge. We have it. Y'all, for the most part, don't. But, you know, we'll share.

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I know there are Velveeta haters out there shaking their collective head. Look, it's plastic cheese. There are only two purposes for it; this, and mac and cheese for the kids...

 

Great post, except for this part.  Everybody knows that, in addition to pimento cheese, Velveeta is essential for combining with Ro-Tel for chile con queso dip.

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This article just appeared in Yesterdays News Paper, by Michael Felberbaum.

 

"Pimiento Cheese making a come back as trendy bar food"

 

Article even contains a recipe for Pimiento Cheese

 

http://www.jconline.com/story/life/food/2014/09/29/pimento-cheese-comeback/16422071/

 

 

In the article it mentions that some diners are incensed to see Pimiento Cheese on the menu of

high end southern restaurants.   They think it is something that would be eaten at home instead of a

fine restaurant.   But then people travel and may not come from an area where Pimiento Cheese is

available.   Some may have grown up in the south and moved elsewhere and on those occasions

that they are back home for a day or so,  it is a chance consume an old favorite with a meal.

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I just read this whole thread trying to get an understanding of pimento cheese. There seem to be a lot of different recipes, the only constant being that it must contain mayonnaise. The cheeses differ, the peppers/pimentos differ, the seasonings differ, etc. Also, I am not familiar with "sharp"cheese. Is that the same thing as an aged cheddar? Or is "sharp" cheese a processed cheese?

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I just read this whole thread trying to get an understanding of pimento cheese. There seem to be a lot of different recipes, the only constant being that it must contain mayonnaise. The cheeses differ, the peppers/pimentos differ, the seasonings differ, etc. Also, I am not familiar with "sharp"cheese. Is that the same thing as an aged cheddar? Or is "sharp" cheese a processed cheese?

 

Until someone with a more expert and technical answer arrives, I'll give you my quick opinion.  "Sharp" doesn't necessarily mean it is or is not aged or processed.  It's how "sharp" the flavor is and, to me anyway, it basically works out to be how "strong" and "cheesy" the flavor is.  I think it can be used to describe the strength of the flavor of many cheeses but you usually hear it in connection with Cheddar; ie, is the flavor mild, sharp, or extra sharp. 

 

I did do some googling into Canadian cheesemakers and found several companies that offer sharp and extra sharp Cheddar.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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Actually, I think Velveeta and a bit of milk (melted then chilled) is far superior to mayonnaise as the binder in pimento cheese. I like mayo but discovered that some "queso" used in a pinch was actually better. 

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