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Twink's Treats:  As Southern As Possible – Pimento Cheese, Please!

Twink's Treats: As Southern As Possible – Pimento Cheese, Please!

I . Love . The . South ! Southern born and bred, my southern roots run long and I am southern to the core.  I have a plaque in my kitchen that states “ASAP – As Southern As Possible”.  That’s me. I can’t imagine living anywhere else but the South.  I have lived in Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, and most of my relatives live in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.  I have friends from all over the country, and my husband and his family hail originally from Long Island, New York – but the South has my heart and my soul.

To be southern is a way of life, a true culture, where your blood runs with sweet tea and humidity; where the summers begin in April and last until October; where flowers bloom 9 months of the year in your yard to snip and bring inside; where an inch of snow in the winter can be called a blizzard; where your neighbors are truly that – neighbors; and where pimento cheese is also a staple! I have heard it called “the caviar of the south” – and it’s addicting and so, so good. I truly grew up with pimento cheese as a staple in our refrigerator.  I thought everyone all over the country had it too, until I served it at a wedding shower a few years ago and some of the guests from the northern states were intrigued with it, fell in love with it - but had never heard of it.  It’s so versatile - makes great sandwiches, on celery as a quick appetizer, with crackers, topping for a great hamburger, baked into a warm dip – you name it.  I admit – I do buy it occasionally (Palmetto Cheese is the best), but I love to make it and it’s always a hit.  Here’s my version:

Twink’s Pimento Cheese
½ cup mayonnaise – only use Hellman’s or Duke’s
4 ounces (1/2 8 ounce package) cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped pimentos, drained
½ t. salt
1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
Dash or two of freshly ground pepper
1 8 ounce block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 8 ounce block of Monterey jack cheese, grated
Optional:  add about 3 tablespoons chopped jalapenos, drained, for spicy pimento cheese

In mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, cream cheese, Worcestershire, lemon juice, pimentos, salt cayenne, and ground pepper.  Gently fold in grated cheeses and jalapenos, if adding.  Refrigerate, covered. Enjoy!

Twink’s Tip: -Always grate the cheese yourself, and do not use pre-shredded cheese.  This ensures creamy, smooth pimento cheese.  Use your old fashioned box grater!  A little trouble, but worth it.  Also, use a high quality mayonnaise, either Hellman’s or Duke’s.  These are must-dos!

Until next time, be kinder than necessary, and leave some sparkle wherever you go! -Twink

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