Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Classic Homemade Pimiento Cheese

THE AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB in beautiful Augusta, Georgia is hosting the most prestigious tournament in the U.S., The Masters, this week. My husband and I are not golfers but we have family that are crazy about the game. And we have family living in Augusta, including 4-year-old twin boys, Twin A and Twin B (as they were labeled on their ultrasound).

A & B at their first Masters

The Masters is famous for their food, especially the egg salad and pimiento cheese sandwiches, which at $1.50 each are cheap. At least something about the Masters is cheap. When we were in Augusta last month for the twin's 4th birthday, we paid about $100 per night for our hotel room. For that same hotel, during the Masters, the rooms start at $650 per night with a 4 night minimum.

Twin B "enjoying" an egg salad sandwich?

The chips seem to be a bigger hit

In honor of A & B's first Masters, I decided to make Pimiento Cheese, which like all Southerners, I love.

There are many variations on this humble spread. Everyone seems agree with the three main ingredients; cheese, mayonnaise, and pimiento. Then differences kick in. All types of cheese can be considered. The texture is up for much debate. Some use a mixer or blender to achieve a completely smooth product. More mayonnaise or less? Cream cheese? Then there are add-ins, onion, Worcestershire sauce, olives, jalapeno peppers, the list goes on.

Although I will tamper with the ingredients, depending on what I have on hand, I remain, for the most part, a purist. I don't enjoy mayonnaise, so I use as little as possible, and include the pimiento juice, along with some mustard for extra moisture. I insist that for the best finished product, good quality, extra sharp cheddar cheese must be used, and must be hand grated. If you have the cheese at room temperature before grating, you can get a better idea of the final texture, rather than working with cold cheese. I mix by hand, minimally, because I like the chunky, homemade look. If you want your Pimiento Cheese fluffier or creamier, go right ahead, add more mayonnaise and mix it more vigorously, it will still be delicious.

Classic Homemade Pimiento Cheese
16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz. jar chopped pimiento, undrained
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/4 c. to 1/2 c. good quality mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper or cayenne, to taste

Mix all ingredients together until desired consistency, starting with the lesser amount of mayonnaise.

A & B watching the putters