Category Archives: cheese

Grilled pimento cheese spread and bacon sandwiches

Grilled Pimento Cheese Spread and Bacon Sandwiches. Please note the oozing cheese and red pepper garnish for health reasons.

As you all know, the Chicks at the Community Resource Center celebrate every Wednesday with bacon. And we had a truly revolutionary Bacon Wednesday a few weeks ago. Betsy made her grandmother’s pimento cheese spread. We used it on bacon and pimento cheese sandwiches. I am just going to say that we were happy nobody else was here because there was no sharing.

I have Googled this extensively and there is nothing like this recipe on the Internet so this will be a world premiere of Callie Everett’s pimento cheese spread. I will warn you that Betsy’s recipe makes about two gallons of the stuff. You can refrigerate it and use it again. In fact, Betsy had it on crackers this morning, about three weeks after she made it. So the shelf life seems to be, like, forever. It contains Velveeta, after all.

A word about my beloved Velveeta. Yes, I know it’s not real cheese. But I don’t care one bit. Any of you out there wanting to hate on my Velveeta just leave it alone. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. More for me.

By the way, you will question the use of dill pickle juice. Don’t. It makes the recipe.

Pimento Cheese Spread

1 pound Velveeta

1 16-ounce jar mayonnaise

1 small jar pimentos

Dill pickle juice to taste

Melt the Velveeta in the microwave just until its softened. Fold in the mayonnaise and pickle juice to taste. Spoon in the pimentos, adding a little bit of the pimento juice. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

 Recipe by Callie Everett, Betsy Everett’s grandmother

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Filed under cheese, pork

Chopped

Despite a language barrier, Danielle and I work well as a team using hand signals

We had an hour, but it is 20 minutes now until judging and the chicken is raw. And then there is the peanut butter issue.

In our basket at the Char-Broil version of Chopped are the mystery ingredients: a whole chicken, a fennel bulb, a stick of butter, bacon, a wedge of blue cheese, a pineapple and a horrifying jar of chunky peanut butter. We have to use all of them in our dish. The Char-Broil people, who have kindly invited the All-Star Bloggers to a resort outside Atlanta, have thoughtfully provided us with a nifty “kitchen” consisting of two disposable cutting boards, a half sheet pan, a moderately sharp knife, and four miniscule bowls.

Fear the Diva

But I have the ace card in my corner. My teammate is Danielle Dimovski, the reigning world pork champion better known as Diva Q. I am totally set here. This is going to be a walk in the park. “I know exactly what we’re going to do,” says Danielle as she hacks away at the pineapple. “We’re going to make beer-can chicken but we’re going to use the pineapple as the beer can. We can totally do this in an hour.” I have a slightly difficult time understanding her. Danielle is from Canada and she uses words like “aboat” (about) and “hoose” (house). Then again I use words like “haid” (head) and “bidness” (business). We have a slight language barrier, but we’ll work through that.

There are screaming hot Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grills set up around the Lake Pavilion at Serenbe, an insanely gorgeous planned community. Danielle slams that chicken onto the pineapple spike, rubs on some spices and citrus juice (the bloggers have a common “pantry” of additional ingredients we can use),  slaps the whole thing authoritatively on the grill and slams the lid shut.

If you’ve ever watched Chopped, the Food Network Show where four chefs are given mystery baskets of insanely inappropriate ingredients, you will understand that Danielle and I had to take a few minutes to ponder the butter, blue cheese, bacon, fennel and peanut butter.

Bacon? Obviously, no problem. We cook it on a grill pan. Fennel? Shave it and briefly kiss it with some grill marks. Alrighty then. We’re left with the butter, blue cheese and peanut butter. Yummy, yum, yum.

I am slightly reticent to offer suggestions to the world pork champion, but I wonder if we can’t use the peanut butter with some barbecue sauce to make a dipping sauce for the chicken. Why the hell not? We throw the peanut butter, barbecue sauce, a bit of lemon juice and a bit of Worcestershire into one of our pygmy bowls.  We throw in some bacon grease and butter. It looks like baked beans. But it tastes good.

It is now 20 minutes before turn in. Danielle lifts the lid of the grill. The chicken is…raw. Plan B. Plan B! This woman is a rock star. She takes the knife and dissects that chicken right on the grill! Two chicken breasts off the bird and onto the grill. I retreat to make a vinaigrette for the fennel.

Grilled chicken with fennel slaw and our almost-award-winning pineapple and bacon bites

I am going to cut to the chase.We made a grilled chicken breast over grilled fennel slaw in a citrus vinaigrette topped with blue cheese and bacon crumbles. But the single thing that makes our dish is this: We took some of the pineapple, cut into spears, and grilled it. Then we topped it with our peanut butter barbecue sauce concoction and then we put a strip of bacon on top. Sweet and salty on top of sweet and salty. They were over the top. The chicken and the fennel, not so much. Danielle and I knew this. Even though we don’t speak the same language we are realists.

We got honorable mention, based solely on our pineapple bacon bites. The winner was a New York

Christo modest in victory

City chef, Christo Gonzales, who made a chicken breast stuffed with fennel, bacon and blue cheese with a peanut butter and citrus jus. What a show off. Oh, I’m sorry. That’s not ladylike. But we’re not bitter. We applauded Christo, took a bite of his chicken and conceded we were outdone.

I will say this. After the competition, we had quite a few pineapple bacon bites left. And one by one, our fellow bloggers slowly sauntered over to our station and ate them all. I’m just sayin’.

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Filed under cheese, chicken, pork, salads, sides, Uncategorized, veggies

My $150 dinner

Tandy Wilson, in signature ball cap, and Ashley Christensen fixing us supper.

I am as cheap as they come. I revel in a $7.35 lunch for two at the Krystal. Fifty percent off of anything? I’m there. But once in awhile you just have to kick out the jams.

The Southern Foodways Alliance, of which I am a proud member, holds these Stir the Pot suppers around the South. They’re fund raisers for the SFA’s documentary film program. Watch one of the films here. I promise you it’s worth it.

So the Stir the Pot came to Nashville starring Chef Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, N.C., ably assisted by Chef Tandy Wilson of City House (where the event was held) and Chef Tyler Brown of the Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grill. Yes, my cheap self shelled out $300 for Mark and I to gluttonize ourselves. I do not believe gluttonize is a word but it should be. And it was worth every mouthful.

So without further delay, here’s the menu:

Snacks:

Hook’s 3-year Cheddar pimento cheese

Oyster stew with vermouth and turnip

Cornmeal fried green tomatoes with roasted tomato slaw

Chicken liver pate with whipped honey and Fallot Dijon (I had to look up what that was – it’s mustard with a pedigree)

Dinner:

Wood-roasted asparagus with frissee, beets, Chapel Hill Creamery Calvander (a cheese) and tarragon emulsion

Crispy N.C. softshell crab with sunburst tomato and marinated white acre peas

Rabbit confit pizza with Carolina ramps, pickled carrots, and black pepper aioli

Slow-cooked flank steak with oyster mushrooms, macaroni au gratin, and broccoli raab in vinaigrette

Dessert:

Warm cornmeal strawberry shortcake

Warm cornmeal strawberry shortcake with Cruze’s Dairy buttermilk anglaise and rhubarb jam.

This is more food than I eat in three days, folks. But you know what? I’ll remember every bite. And do you know what? The next day this is exactly what I ate: a package of cheese crackers. That’s how full I was from the night before.

This is so decadent in these times of trouble, spending $300 on dinner. But here’s why it’s worth it. If

The salad and that tarragon emulsion

you appreciate food, you appreciate it at every level from bacon-wrapped crackers to pimento cheese to a dinner like Stir the Pot. But Stir the Pot takes it up a notch. You taste things you’ve never tasted before. I practically licked the tarragon emulsion off the plate. The oyster stew with vermouth and turnips? One of our dinner companions said she hates oysters and she ate every smidge of it. Oh and let’s just wax poetic for a second about the

Flank steak, macaroni au gratin (that would be mac and cheese taken to a whole new level) and broccoli raab

warm cornmeal strawberry shortcake. This was the last thing on the menu, after eight other offerings. I cleaned my plate.

Recipes? I have no idea. I could spend three years trying to figure out exactly what was in all this stuff and never come close. That’s why it’s worth $150. I can cook. I can cook damn well. But I can’t come close to that dinner.

By the way, I am making bacon-wrapped crackers right now for a Community Resource Center event. They are not worth $150 but I’ll bet I could get $5 a cracker for them.

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Filed under beef, breads, cheese, pizza, Uncategorized

Huevos Rancheros

 

So it is Tax Day. Boo hoo. Mark and I timed our marriage date poorly because we tied the knot on April 14. So every anniversary is the day before Tax Day. Needless to say, we do not go all out on anniversary presents. Once again, boo hoo.

Last night, in celebration of our 22nd anniversary and to note the fact that we have no money because it is, yes, Tax Day, I made Huevos Rancheros, a traditional Mexican dish served as a mid-morning meal on poor farms. I have some mint and rosemary growing in a pot by the garage so I think that qualifies Casa de la Mayhew as a poor farm.

And because I was doing this on the cheap I used what I already had in the pantry and fridge. I would like to say that I settled on pureed lentils from a can of lentil soup instead of re-fried beans because the lentils are healthier. But that would be a lie. Mark wanted lentil soup when he was sick about a year ago and then he got well and he didn’t want it anymore. But with the addition of some ancho chile powder and cumin it made a fine stand-in for re-fried beans.

I would also like to point out the irony that my husband will never, ever order sunny-side-eggs for breakfast but he will happily eat one when I tell him the yolk makes a “sauce.” He’s so easily led.

Huevos Rancheros

For the pureed lentils:

1 19-ounce can lentil soup (Progresso), drained and pureed in a blender

½ teaspoon ancho chile powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

Heat the puree in a saucepan after blending.

 

For the tomato sauce:

½ cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon chopped green chiles

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup red wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and chiles in 1 tablespoon of oil until they are translucent and beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, red wine, salt and pepper and simmer until sauce thickens.

 

8 6-inch flour tortillas

4 eggs

Mexican melting cheese (or any cheese you have on hand), grated

Fry the tortillas in a dry pan until they are browned and crisped. Reserve.

Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in the same pan and fry the eggs.

To assemble: Place a tortilla on a plate. Top with the lentil puree and sprinkle with grated cheese. Add another tortilla and top with the tomato sauce and an egg.

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Filed under breakfast, cheese, eggs, Uncategorized

Burger love

We are only seventeen days into Lent.  Twenty-three days to go. And all we Episcopalians can do is talk about what we’ve given up. It’s a source of constant conversation. Kind of like the weather.

“How about that storm last night and sure wish I had some chocolate…”

I have one friend who has given up steaks and red wine. The first thing he does after Easter Sunday is go to the Palm and order a big ribeye and a glass of red. I have another friend who’s given up meat entirely. His favorite place is Chick-fil-A and, sadly for him, there will be no chicken sandwich on Easter morning because they are closed on Sundays. But I will be rewarded on Easter Sunday because I have given up hamburgers and I believe somewhere in the greater Nashville metropolitan area there will be a hamburger joint open.

But now, I am obsessing over hamburgers. Oh, an ode to Krystal right about now. These little puppies were extremely tasty: Krystals with barbecue sauce and fried onion rings. So wrong and yet so right. Is it unnatural to take photos of your hamburgers so you can gaze upon them lovingly during Lent? It probably is. But the packaging says it right there. Special. They are special. If you don’t live in the South you will never know how special they are. Particularly at three in the morning. After the possibility that you may have been slightly overserved. A sackful of Krystals will put you right.  Hardee’s Blue Cheese Steakhouse Burger:  blue cheese, Swiss, A.1. steak sauce, mayonnaise, crispy onion strings, lettuce and tomato. Oh, Lord, please don’t let this special go away until after Lent is over. Please?

And then there’s the Juicy Lucy.  I am about to faint. Genuine, Grade A, processed American cheese sandwiched between two beef patties and grilled to perfection so that when you bite into it the cheese oozes out the middle. On a sesame seed bun. I have gained five pounds just thinking about it.

O.K. Get a grip. Just twenty-three days to go. Avert your eyes when you pass the Burger King. I can’t see you. I can’t see you. I will go make a salad now. Salads are just like hamburgers only greener. And less greasy. One of the downsides of salad.

Twenty-three days to go. Twenty-three. Sigh.

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Filed under beef, cheese, Uncategorized

Bacon Day

Every once in awhile, worlds collide and my work life and blogging life intersect. For those of you who don’t know, I run the Community Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides basic household necessities for people in need. But more importantly, we have instituted Bacon Day at CRC and with that comes the recipe for the single best reason to blow your diet: pig candy. By the way, if you want to see what we’re up to at CRC, please hop on over to the CRC blog, Two Chicks in a Warehouse. And now, Bacon Day.

Betsy, the creator of Bacon Day

Here at the world headquarters of the Community Resource Center we have declared Wednesdays to be Bacon Day.

By the way, it has come to my attention that I do not include information on the important work we do every day at CRC on this blog nearly enough so I will intersperse important information in this blog about Bacon Day.

Betsy actually thought this up. Who doesn’t like bacon? she asked. Just the thought of Bacon Day makes her smile.  So for the inaugural Bacon Day last week we decided to make the classic bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. I borrowed Mark’s electric skillet that his mother gave him when he moved into his first apartment, oh, about 40 years ago and which still works perfectly fine because they made things better back in the day.

Important information: CRC just facilitated the donation of an entire office suite including cubicles, desks, filing cabinets and chairs to New Horizon, which assists people with developmental disabilities to become part of a productive workforce.  Because of the donation, New Horizons can take the dollars they would have spent to outfit an office and redirect them to their programs.

Of course, the proper bacon, egg and cheese sandwich must include very good bread, toasted, and then

Kim lovin' on a little bacon

liberally buttered. There must also be an ample amount of butter in the skillet to fry the eggs. Not a sandwich for dieters. And because I had cooked an entire package of bacon, there was extra bacon to snack on. Just to balance out the caloric excess of the whole enterprise, Betsy brought clementines.

Important information: The Mental Health Cooperative is opening a new Crisis Stabilization Unit and Intensive Intervention Center, which will serve a combined population of 3,000 people in need. CRC helped furnish those two centers. Horn tooting! Horn tooting! “We appreciate everything you (CRC) do for us (MHC),” wrote Della Baker of MHC.  “You do it well and are as excited to give, as we are to receive. Thank you all again for the good work you do for the non-profits of Nashville.”

So tomorrow is once again Bacon Day and I am bringing the ultimate, ultimate bacon treat: Pig candy!

Important information: The recipe!  You take your favorite bacon. Heat up your oven to 350 degrees. Take the  bacon and coat it with dark brown sugar. Put some foil on a cookie sheet with a rim and then put a rack on top if you have one. Put the bacon on the rack and bake it for about 20 minutes. That’s it! If you don’t have a rack, then you might have to turn it over once. Oh, and CRC distributes more than $1.5 million in new and gently used goods to more than 90 nonprofit agencies in Middle Tennessee every year.

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Filed under breakfast, cheese, eggs, pork

Southern fried fish tacos

I am torn as to the theme of this post. Using things up or stuff I always have on hand. Let’s vote. Who wants using things up? Anyone? Anyone? Well, alrighty then. It’s stuff I always have on hand.

I am very proud to say that of the 14 ingredients in this recipe I only had to buy three – tilapia filets (it’s never wise to always have fish on hand), cilantro and a lime. Everything else was already happily residing in my fridge or pantry. I always keep mayonnaise on hand, but that’s not unusual in the South. We use mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s, on everything. I hope I don’t get diabetes like poor old Paula Deen. I always have sour cream on hand because it’s a key ingredient in my mashed potatoes, which I make about every third day because who doesn’t like mashed potatoes? Cabbage – from the farmer’s market and it keeps for like two years in the fridge. Mexican melting cheese. A must have for quick quesadillas. Buttermilk. Buttermilk? Who keeps buttermilk on hand? Well, do you fry? Do you? Raise your hand. If you fry, you must dredge and if you dredge you must have a liquid vehicle for the flour/cornmeal to adhere to. Thank you. Have buttermilk on hand. Don’t drink it, of course. It’s nasty.

And cornmeal. Not cornmeal flour. Actual cornmeal. I keep mine in the freezer. It’s an old habit born of living in Florida where critters can invade your cornmeal and flour. There’s nothing more disgusting, except for cockroaches.

So I am pretty proud of this recipe. My original intent was to make tradition fish tacos with a beer batter. But then I decided to bread the fish with cornmeal. Good call. And if you are of the (old) school that fish and cheese don’t go together, you are just slap wrong. Just consider lobster mac and cheese. Or a McDonald’s filet o’ fish sandwich. I rest my case. And if you didn’t know that some serious foodies have a thing about fish and cheese then I’m sorry I brought it up.

Southern Fried Fish Tacos

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Juice of one lime

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

Peanut oil

4 tilapia filets

1 cup buttermilk

Cornmeal

Salt

8 small tortillas

2 cups shredded cabbage

2 cups shredded Mexican melting cheese (or any type you like)

Combine the first six ingredients in a small bowl and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat about a half inch of peanut oil to 350 degrees or until it bubbles immediately when you put the handle of a wooden spoon in the pan.

Cut the tilapia filets lengthwise to separate the thick and thin portions. Then cut each piece in half widthwise. Place the buttermilk in one bowl and the cornmeal in another. Soak the filets in buttermilk and then dredge in the cornmeal.

Fry the tilapia until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with salt. Heat the tortillas wrapped in paper towels in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Top the tortillas with the fish, cabbage, cheese and sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cheese, seafood