Tag Archives: mayonnaise

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

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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Ham salad

I am listening to Jacques Pepin on one of my food podcasts this morning and he is talking about what cooks really need to do is keep it simple. No asparagus foams or blood orange coulee. Just roast a chicken and serve it right up. And I wondered if my ham salad qualifies. I would be interested to know if Jacques Pepin actually has ever had ham salad. Or if he knows Mrs. Grissom.

Everyone in the South knows Mrs. Grissom. She started out as the pimento cheese lady and then she ventured into chicken salad and, finally, ham salad. Which is where my husband met her. Not actually. But there isn’t a supermarket below the Mason-Dixon line that doesn’t carry her products. And she’s a feisty old broad, still showing up at her factory in Nashville well into her nineties. The other day Mark was pining away for some Mrs. Grissom’s ham salad and I went to my beloved Publix to get some. And, shockingly, they didn’t have any. Maybe other people were also having Mrs. Grissom’s ham salad attacks and they had run out. I don’t know.

So I decided to make my own and this is so simple I am almost embarrassed to post this but if you, too, are having a ham salad attack one day and cannot find Mrs. Grissom’s you can make your own ham salad too.

First you have to start out with a very humble ham steak. I think this one cost $3.49. You may not think you’ve seen this, but you have. It’s the thing you walk by and wonder, “Who ever buys that?” I do. Mark just loves it simply fried in a cast iron skillet. Once you get it home, do the same thing. Fry it. It only takes about 2 minutes on each side. And then let it cool, trim the fat and remove the bone.

And then all you do is cut it into pieces, put it in your food processor and pulse until the ham is chopped very fine but hasn’t turned to mush. I like to keep things simple where ham salad is concerned. No pickle relish or chopped hard-boiled egg. Just mayonnaise and a little Durkee’s. Durkee’s is probably a story all by itself, but I’ll save that for another day.

There is no recipe here. Just add as much mayonnaise as you like in a ham salad and then add a touch of Durkee’s or plain yellow mustard if you don’t have the Famous Sauce. Taste it before you add any salt. Sometimes the ham is salty enough already.

As I said, I was not actually thinking of blogging about something so simple, but this morning Mark got out the last of the ham salad and started eating it on crackers for breakfast. Really? “This is the best ham salad I’ve ever had,” he mumbled as a few stray cracker crumbs hit the kitchen floor. Really? Better than Mrs. Grissom’s? I hope she doesn’t read this. I’d hate to give her a heart infarction or something.

 

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Filed under pork, salads, snacks, Uncategorized

Tomato sandwiches

Sometimes only a tomato sandwich will do. Like when you’ve had a raging summer cold for three days and you feel like cotton balls are stuffed between your ears. Like when the thought of actually cooking something requires far more energy than you can muster. Like when it’s still in the 90s and September is just so close, but right now turning on the stove seems an act of foolhardiness.

And that is why I am eating a tomato sandwich, a yellow tomato sandwich to be exact. So comforting. So familiar. So easy.

Everyone has their favorite way to make one. Some like them with soft white bread, slathered in mayonnaise and so juicy and loose you have to eat them over the kitchen sink. I like mine this way: Toast two pieces of bread, any kind, and then butter both sides. Slice the tomato and get rid of the seeds. Place the tomato slices so there is just one layer on the bread. Salt and pepper liberally and add a pinch of sugar. Put some mayonnaise on the other slice of bread that you have already buttered. Slice and serve.

Sometimes only a tomato sandwich will do. I’m going back to bed now.

 

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Chimichurri potato salad

I just love the unintentional discovery.  Many of mine come from being cheap. I hate throwing anything away.

The other day I made chimichurri for Noah because he’d never had it before. He lapped it up like it was liquid gold, slathered over skirt steak. So there’s this smidge left over that I don’t know what to do with. Not enough for another skirt steak, but perfectly good on something. Something.

Noah was also pining away for some potato salad. Geez, I indulge that boy. I’ve got to stop that. I made some potato salad and then threw the bit of chimichurri in. It was…actually…very good. No, better than very good. It was great. It was potato salad a whole new way that, I think, I actually invented. Dang it. I just Googled it and somebody else thought of this first. But just one person. And my recipe is better.

Noah and Marked loved it so much that I had to make a whole other batch. By the way, chimichurri answers the age-old question: What do you do with a bunch of parsley when you bought it for the two tablespoons required in another recipe? Below the potato salad recipe is Michelle Bernstein‘s version of chimichurri, which is the only recipe I use.

Chimichurri Potato Salad

3 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes

1 recipe Chimichurri

½ cup diced red onion

½ cup diced yellow pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Cut potatoes into chunks and boil them in until tender. Allow to cool slightly and then add remaining ingredients. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Michelle Bernstein’s Chimichurri

1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leave
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note: Traditional Chimichurri must be made at least an hour before serving.

Put parsley, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and vinegar into a blender or food processor and process until it becomes a coarse paste. Use a rubber spatula to scrape mixture into a bowl or other container. Stir in olive oil; add salt and pepper. Let sit for at least one hour before serving.

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Filed under salads, sides, Uncategorized, veggies

Lobster rolls

Oh, yes. What else is there to say?

Back before I got married, I did a lot of traveling by myself. I liked it. And one of my favorite places to go was Maine. Fly into the Boston airport, rent a car, drive an hour north and start hitting the lobster shacks all the way up the coast. Whole lobsters were, of course, the first object of the exercise – my favorite shack was in Kittery on the water and the menu included just three things: steamed lobster, clams and corn on the cob. Period.

But after a few (dozen) whole lobsters, I would then migrate to the lobster roll, probably the most decadent yet simple sandwich ever invented. It is comprised entirely of large chunks of lobster dressed in mayonnaise, salt and pepper (some places add in diced celery but that’s just completely unnecessary) nestled in a special bun that is brushed with butter and grilled. The bun resembles a hot dog bun but with the sides cut off.

I have been thinking about lobster rolls quite a bit lately although I don’t know why (or, perhaps, the better question is why not?) and completely gave in to temptation when I saw whole cooked “chicken” lobsters (one pounders) in the seafood case at my beloved Publix the other day.

I will now briefly digress to tell you that, yes, it had occurred to me that I could just buy a couple of live lobsters at any time and cook them. But then I remembered a rather unfortunate occurrence during my last foray into live lobster cooking. It involved scratching, shall we say. From the inside of the pot.

So, this was a better alternative. You can make a lobster roll using only tail meat and it would be perfectly acceptable, but adding the claw meat really takes it over the top. I suppose you could also make it with crab meat for a slightly different take. But the bun is really the thing and I can’t find lobster roll buns down here, which is where I think of myself in relation to Maine.  So what I did was buy a loaf of soft French bread and slice the sides off before applying liberal amounts of butter and popping them into the skillet. It was not authentic. But it was serviceable.

So, there’s no recipe here. Just a procedure. Procure your lobster meat and boil it, if not cooked, just until the shell turns red. Chop it into large chunks, add the mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for an hour or so. Then grill your bun, apply the lobster and devour.

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Egg salad and olive tea sandwiches

I know. I know. Some of you are sick of the Royal Wedding. But I am not. I just got the most fabulous invitation from my friend, Wanda, to come to her house at precisely 3:50 a.m. to watch the wedding. Dress code is optional (jammies are acceptable), but it is mandatory to wear a hat. I don’t think I have any hats other than ball caps and I am sure that is not what she has in mind. I guess now that those feather things stuck in the hair of young Royals are fashionable I could just bobby pin a feather to my head.

Unfortunately, of course, I had to decline since I will be in my mountain cabin with my friend, JoAnn, where jammies are required and hats are not.

So, one of the featured tea sandwiches at our little party will be egg salad and olive tea sandwiches. I do not know the origins of this recipe, but I have some very strong opinions about good egg salad. First of all, it should never be sweet. Pickle juice can never be involved. I feel the same way about potato salad, but that’s another story. Second, if you can find a grocery store that will sell you boiled eggs/already peeled go there. My beloved Publix sells them. I don’t care how many tips or techniques you read for easily peeling boiled eggs. They never work. It always makes you regret making egg salad.

Another thing. Never use a recipe. This is a salad that you just have to mix up until it looks right to you. But here are the ingredients, in my opinion.

Boiled eggs

Mayonnaise (Duke’s is best, of course, but Hellmann’s in a pinch)

Salt

Pepper

Green olives

What I do is take the eggs and run them through the food processor a few seconds. I like a fine-grained egg salad. If you like chunky bits of white, then just mash them with a fork. Add enough mayonnaise to get it the consistency you like. After it sits in the icebox a few hours, the eggs will absorb some of the mayonnaise and you may have to add a bit more. Salt and pepper. Taste. Chop up the olives in the food processor until they achieve a small dice. Add as many olives as you want. If you don’t like green ones, use black ones. This is your egg salad, for goodness sake. And it’s not rocket science.

If you’re going to serve the egg salad at a formal event, such as a funeral or reception or Royal Wedding party, it is essential to serve it on crustless bread. White or wheat, it doesn’t matter. Round, triangle or finger-shaped doesn’t matter either. But here is my tip on this, which may seem like a no brainer. Cut the crusts off the bread. Then spread it with the egg salad. Top with a remaining slice of crustless bread. Then cut it into the desired shape.

You will go crazy if you cut the bread into fingers first, for example, and then try to spread on the filling. There are enough things that drive me crazy in life (like people who talk on cell phones in the supermarket check-out line and never acknowledge the checker outer – how utterly rude). Egg salad shouldn’t be one of them.

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