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Pimento Cheese

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I have been making pimiento cheese for more than 40 years, and while there are some versions I like as well as my own, there are none I like any better. Mine uses 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar -- and I generally use Kraft from the grocery store, eight ounces of Velveeta, a 4-oz jar of drained pimientos. The dressing is 1/2 cup Hellman's mayo (the full-fat variety, please); 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar; 1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt; 1 scant tsp sugar; a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, enough to satisfy your own heat craving. I generally stir the pimientos up in dressing, and pour the dressing over the grated cheeses and stir until it's combined.

 

This one of the three things I make for which I must have Velveeta, the other two being the canonical RoTel cheese dip and mac and cheese. Fortunately, due to its highly chemicalized nature, that stuff lasts forever in your fridge.

 

Love pimiento cheese on a Ritz cracker or just on white bread for a quick sandwich, but my two favorite applications of it are either on a burger or on a bacon/tomato/pimiento cheese sandwich, which is something I've been eating with great regularity since tomatoes have come in season.

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Thanks. I bought a jar of chopped pimentos yesterday and Hellman's mayo. I still need to get a couple of the other items before I can make this. We are a ways from fresh tomatoes here, like 2 months or so, but I think this spread would be great on BLTs. If I choose to use cream cheese instead of Velveeta, how long do you think the mixture would last in the fridge?

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Thanks. I bought a jar of chopped pimentos yesterday and Hellman's mayo. I still need to get a couple of the other items before I can make this. We are a ways from fresh tomatoes here, like 2 months or so, but I think this spread would be great on BLTs. If I choose to use cream cheese instead of Velveeta, how long do you think the mixture would last in the fridge?

I suspect you'd eat it all before it went bad! You can also cut the recipe in half, if you want a smaller batch. 

 

A lot of people pass on the cream cheese/Velveeta entirely, and just go with Cheddar, but I like the creaminess.

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This one of the three things I make for which I must have Velveeta, the other two being the canonical RoTel cheese dip and mac and cheese. Fortunately, due to its highly chemicalized nature, that stuff lasts forever in your fridge.

 

 

 

Velveeta really isnt all that chemicalized (just like Hamburger Helper isnt ether) it just gets a bad rap

 

Milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate; contains less than 2% of: salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), and cheese culture

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I find it difficult to grate velveeta. But a little velveeta sauce mixes well...

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I find it difficult to grate velveeta. But a little velveeta sauce mixes well...

 

radtek, I put mine in the freezer for about 45 minutes first. Grates passably well. But you're right, the sauce does fine.

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Velveeta really isnt all that chemicalized (just like Hamburger Helper isnt ether) it just gets a bad rap

I've noticed that, over the last few years, the quality of Velveeta has gotten worse. Checked with the company and, sure enough, they've changed the formula, adding less dairy (ie, cheese) than before.

So I've switched to Trader Joe's copycat: Clancy's Cheese Melt. I've also noticed that several of our local supermarkets' store brands still seem to be using the old Velveeta formula.

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Hmmm. Better than the Easymelt alternative? Almost out of veeta. A TJ run may be in order.

 

My parents ate it. Unconvinced as a child. But I really learned about pimento cheese from a leggy gal who liked Price*s on Ritz crackers. Dangerous thing- pimento cheese on a Ritz.

 

 

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Hmmm. Better than the Easymelt alternative? Almost out of veeta. A TJ run may be in order.

 

My parents ate it. Unconvinced as a child. But I really learned about pimento cheese from a leggy gal who liked Price*s on Ritz crackers. Dangerous thing- pimento cheese on a Ritz.

Well, try it and report back. Also was told the Kroger store brand is still essentially the old Velveeta formula. The self-appointed "Velveeta expert" guiding me in my quest said that cheese has more calories than chemicals so the way to tell what you're getting is to compare the calories of the "new Velveeta" with the copycats.

(Interesting to me that you found the pimento cheese on Ritz more dangerous than the leggy gal.)

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On 6/12/2015 at 10:45 AM, kayb said:

I have been making pimiento cheese for more than 40 years, and while there are some versions I like as well as my own, there are none I like any better. Mine uses 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar -- and I generally use Kraft from the grocery store, eight ounces of Velveeta, a 4-oz jar of drained pimientos. The dressing is 1/2 cup Hellman's mayo (the full-fat variety, please); 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar; 1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt; 1 scant tsp sugar; a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, enough to satisfy your own heat craving. I generally stir the pimientos up in dressing, and pour the dressing over the grated cheeses and stir until it's combined.

 

This one of the three things I make for which I must have Velveeta, the other two being the canonical RoTel cheese dip and mac and cheese. Fortunately, due to its highly chemicalized nature, that stuff lasts forever in your fridge.

 

Love pimiento cheese on a Ritz cracker or just on white bread for a quick sandwich, but my two favorite applications of it are either on a burger or on a bacon/tomato/pimiento cheese sandwich, which is something I've been eating with great regularity since tomatoes have come in season.

 

Well, I've taken my first step (as an adult) into pimento cheese. My mother, a Floridian, loved pimento cheese: store-bought, out of the jar.  We had a lot of small juice jars from those purchases, growing up.  I loathed the stuff. This topic, and a few glancing blows in other topics, have made me think I should try a different version. The occasion is an imminent trip to Missouri to see (we hope) the Total Solar Eclipse; I've been asked to bring a selection of vegetables and dips.

 

@kayb's recipe looked good.  This advice looked stellar:

On 6/13/2015 at 5:51 PM, kayb said:

 

radtek, I put mine in the freezer for about 45 minutes first. Grates passably well. But you're right, the sauce does fine.

 

Alas, the picture I took before I put it in the refrigerator to mellow is indistinguishable from, oh, rice and ham and cheese, with or without saffron.  I'll post something later, if I come up with a better photo.

 

My first and second impressions are that it's very good - not at all like that nasty stuff my mother liked so well. I might could have added more Lawry's salt and heat, but I was afraid to overpower it for other tastebuds and it may change as it settles in.  (In addition - I couldn't find the cayenne, couldn't find Tabasco. Settled for white pepper and touches of Aleppo pepper and chipotle.  What the heck, I'm mostly a Yankee.) Another discrepancy is that I used 2 4-oz jars of pimentos, twice the amount recommended here.  Based on my rereading of this topic, that won't get me kicked out of the pimento club.

 

My third impression will have to wait until it's had time to mellow.  Right now, I'm very pleased with the result.  Thank you, kayb!

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I make a similar recipe except no velveeta, lawry's, sugar or vinegar. And I also put in a couple shots of worcestershire and sriracha. And sometimes a little horseradish.

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I was able to find a block of American Cheese instead of Velveeta, but I admit that I'm not sure there's much difference.  I wish I'd thought of sriracha last night when I was looking for the Tabasco.  Well, this was a first try at the recipe, and I wanted to be as true to it as possible.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :)

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I had never tasted pimento cheese until I moved to Atlanta, but almost all the versions I've had here are just cheddar and mayo -- no Velveeta or American cheese. A very few contain a little cream cheese. I based my recipe on one from Duke's Mayonnaise, with a few modifications by way of Linton Hopkins and Sean Brock's recipes. I also use piquillo peppers because I can't readily find decent pimentos. Here's a link. (I originally wrote the recipe when I was running About.com's Cooking for Two web site, so it makes a very small batch. I usually double it; I guess I should probably update the recipe.)

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23 hours ago, Smithy said:

I was able to find a block of American Cheese instead of Velveeta, but I admit that I'm not sure there's much difference.

To start, Velveeta isn't really cheese but neither is American Cheese. I believe they're called "cheese products" because they can't really qualify as cheese.

That being said, I think you'll find Velveeta is the "meltier" of the two. When we were kids, my mom would always use Velveeta to make her cheese sauces (a basic white sauce with cubes of Velveeta added). Why she never grated it (so it would melt quicker) I never knew.

 

So how did your attempt at pimento cheese taste? Do you consider it a success?

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On 8/16/2017 at 9:52 PM, Smithy said:

 

Well, I've taken my first step (as an adult) into pimento cheese. My mother, a Floridian, loved pimento cheese: store-bought, out of the jar.  We had a lot of small juice jars from those purchases, growing up.  I loathed the stuff. This topic, and a few glancing blows in other topics, have made me think I should try a different version. The occasion is an imminent trip to Missouri to see (we hope) the Total Solar Eclipse; I've been asked to bring a selection of vegetables and dips.

 

@kayb's recipe looked good.  This advice looked stellar:

 

Alas, the picture I took before I put it in the refrigerator to mellow is indistinguishable from, oh, rice and ham and cheese, with or without saffron.  I'll post something later, if I come up with a better photo.

 

My first and second impressions are that it's very good - not at all like that nasty stuff my mother liked so well. I might could have added more Lawry's salt and heat, but I was afraid to overpower it for other tastebuds and it may change as it settles in.  (In addition - I couldn't find the cayenne, couldn't find Tabasco. Settled for white pepper and touches of Aleppo pepper and chipotle.  What the heck, I'm mostly a Yankee.) Another discrepancy is that I used 2 4-oz jars of pimentos, twice the amount recommended here.  Based on my rereading of this topic, that won't get me kicked out of the pimento club.

 

My third impression will have to wait until it's had time to mellow.  Right now, I'm very pleased with the result.  Thank you, kayb!

 

Most welcome. Always happy to welcome another member to the pimiento cheese aficionado club. I highly recommend it with bacon and tomato (lettuce is optional), as well as topping on a burger (again, with bacon is most excellent. I have also been experimenting with pimiento cheese grits with some success.

 

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I made my first batch of pimento cheese earlier this year, using the recipe from Vivian Howard's Deep Run Roots.  The recipe (available online here as part of the extremely decadent Baked Pimento Cheese and Sausage) uses 2 sharp cheddar cheeses (10 oz each of sharp yellow cheddar and aged white cheddar) and no Velveeta or cream cheese.  I used 18-month old sharp NY yellow cheddar and a 2-year old Canadian white cheddar.  Not a lot of mayo either, just 1/4 cup for 20 ounces of grated cheddar.  I really liked the sharp flavors.  

Gotta make it again!

 

6 minutes ago, kayb said:

I have also been experimenting with pimiento cheese grits with some success.

Edited to add:  I absolutely loved the Pimento Cheese Grits & Salsa from Deep Run Roots (posted here) - gotta make that again, too!


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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3 hours ago, Toliver said:

When we were kids, my mom would always use Velveeta to make her cheese sauces (a basic white sauce with cubes of Velveeta added). Why she never grated it (so it would melt quicker) I never knew.

 

 

If she was like me, she hated grating cheese because it's a PITA.

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I honestly can't imagine how I would grate Velveeta.....it would just goo up the grater IMO.

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When I was a kid one of my Great Aunts  would grate Velveeta by cutting a block of it into 6 inch pieces and using the refrigerator to get the stuff quite cold.  Then she placed her box grater in a large bowl  and processed it using the 3/8 inch hole slicing side of the grater.   I was a kid back then and it was the best home made I knew of.  Of course the older women of the family wouldn't consider "store bought" as a matter of principle.  They had been raised in the times of "Home Economics" that the Schools taught back in their youth.. 

 

But those were different times then.   And the stuff seemed to get eaten as fast as she made it.

 

Oh, and thank you Kayb for your recipe.

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Most welcome.

 

Easy way to grate Velveeta is to freeze it semi-hard first.

 

 

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I am not a fan of sharp cheeses, and avoid cheddar, jack, and a host of others. (ok, I know i am weird) So, I tend to make cheesy foods really differently. (my mac & cheese is made with mozzarella, my scalloped potatoes are made with smoked gouda) Anyway, I recently ran into a recipe online for pimento cheese variation using Jarlsberg which I enjoyed more than expected. I change it just a little in that I make my own mayonnaise, and I tend to make it fairly tangy (I like acid and don't mind if the mayo consistency is kind of loose), so cut out the cream and lemon juice. It's just Jarlsberg (or some other nutty Swiss type), mayo, and minced red onion or shallot.

 

I suspect that with some thought, a custom type of spread could be made for many varieties of cheese.

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@Lisa Shock, the store I worked a made this fresh in our cheese shop. Merchandised  as Jarlsburg dip.  As you know, it is way too thick to dip, but my favorite was to eat it was as a cheese toastie.  Spread on a nice Kaiser roll or pretzel bun...something substantial that will hold up to the resulting oil melting from the cheese and mayo. Toast til melted, bubbly and browned.  Makes a nice meal with a salad.

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2 minutes ago, caroled said:

@Lisa Shock, the store I worked a made this fresh in our cheese shop. Merchandised  as Jarlsburg dip.  As you know, it is way too thick to dip, but my favorite was to eat it was as a cheese toastie.  Spread on a nice Kaiser roll or pretzel bun...something substantial that will hold up to the resulting oil melting from the cheese and mayo. Toast til melted, bubbly and browned.  Makes a nice meal with a salad.

 

I hadn't thought of heating it, thanks! Little spoonfuls on crackers like Triscuits would be really good broiled.

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Indeed it would, just no breads with too light of a crumb, as the oil just seeps through. I will give the Triscuits a try next time I make the spread.

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I added a bit of horseradish to this Xmas's pimento cheese.

And I'd do it again.

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