Tag Archives: football

Pimento Cheese and Pretzel Sticks

Time once again to explore Southern food that once seemed so strange to this Northern gal. I’ve talked about corn bread and sweet potato pie in particular, but I think I’m most upset that I just now discovered Pimento Cheese. I’ve missed out on so many years! I don’t know if I ever tried it before (if I had it was obviously forgettable), but it always sounded like one of those “weird” foods that I’d be just fine without ever trying. And once again, I was proved incredibly wrong. I can’t get enough of it now that I’ve had it. I’ve been doing a lot of taste testing to tweak this recipe- all for your benefit of course. You’re welcome! It’s been tough but I survived. Yum.

According to our buddy Wikipedia, traditional pimento is pretty basic: sharp cheddar, mayo, pimentos, salt, and pepper. Pretty easy! But so many regional twists have been added that include hot sauce, cream cheese, jalapeños, and pickles. The possibilities are endless. And did you know that pimentos are just a version of red peppers? Slightly different and a little more expensive.

I used my new favorite cookbook Frank Stitt’s Southern Table to find a recipe base. Just a quick note on this cookbook: it’s a beautiful addition to any cookbook collection. Everything I’ve made has been fantastic and it has beautiful pictures with wonderful stories to accompany it. So if you are looking for a good Southern food cookbook (and if you aren’t, then why not?) this is it. (Note: I am not paid to say that! The cookbook was a gift from Dear Hubby.) But my recipe ended up quite different. First, I wanted to add pepper jack cheese in addition to sharp cheddar. Second, the mayo incident. He recommends making your own mayo (and has a recipe for it) but this was just not my day to make mayo. I’ve made it many times before without any issues but it just kept breaking on me, even after adding a second yolk! I didn’t want to spend all day making mayo so I just doubled the cream cheese. I also substituted jarred pimentos for roasting fresh red peppers to save time. And finally, I added some capers for a little color and tang.

And the pretzel sticks are just a variation of these pretzels. Just take a small piece of dough and roll them out super thin. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or just salt and bake at 425F until brown and crispy. Easy! This is one of my favorite dough recipes. It comes together in no time at all and always tastes good. Dear hubby actually did this batch. I made the dough and he took it from there!

How’s that for football food?  Enjoy!

Pimento Cheese

Adapted from  Chef Frank Stitt

One year ago: Sourdough Pretzels

Yield: About 3 cups

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 lb sharp cheddar
  • 7 oz jar pimentos, drained (you can use roasted red peppers if you can’t find pimentos)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 juice lemon
  • 1 tsp pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • Splash of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB capers, rinsed and drained

Directions

1. Finely shred the pepper jack or sharp cheddar. Coarsely shred it if you’d prefer more texture.

2. Add the remaining ingredients: drained pimentos, cream cheese, lemon, pepper, hot sauce, cayenne, and sugar. Mix until well combined. This may take a bit of muscle.

3. Eat! Leftovers will keep for several days in the refrigerator. But, you will want to let it come to room temperature or microwave very briefly, about 5 seconds, or it will be rather challenging to dip.

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Filed under bread, savory

Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate and Sea Salt – Football Food!

Today marks the first day of my favorite time of year – football season, which goes until the end of the holidays. I rarely  sit down to actually watch a game, but there is something I love about having it on in the background and my dear hubby enjoying watching his Alma Matter play their hearts out. The weather is starting to cool off, soon the leaves will be turning…it’s the best time of year!

And with football comes football food! I technically made these for a BBQ the day before, but they’d be great for game day. At a BBQ or any similar event you really need a food that is easy to pick up, no utensils needed. Smitten Kitchen saved the day yet again with these fabulous Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Ganache.They are very easy and very addictive. Well, addictive if your favorite combination in the whole wide world is peanut butter and chocolate. And mine is. I hope yours is too.

The batter takes about 10 minutes to make, including gathering up your ingredients (remember, I am slow with this part). It looks just like cookie dough, and I think you could probably actually drop these and make cookies instead.

Then you bake anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how you like your edges and how hot your oven is. After it cools completely, make the ganache. If you live in the Oven, aka the South, like me, you might want to put the blondies int he refrigerator to chill, otherwise you’ll be waiting all night. I needed to sleep, so that was not an option.

Pour the ganache on top, sprinkle with sea salt if you so desire. I think it would also be very tasty with some pretzels crushed on top for some added texture and that salty sweet taste. And would also make it more manly than “sea salt”.

And try very hard not to eat them all at once. Thankfully I gave most of mine away and am only left with a few little pieces.  Enjoy, and Go Team!

Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Ganache

Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Blondies

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used all natural, fresh ground, honey roasted from Earth Fare)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, see note**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter parchment.

Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes. Then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs and egg yolk.

Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until almost combined. Add in chocolate chips and beat on low until combined. Batter will be very thick!

Bake until blondies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours. Chill if needed.

Ganache
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)**
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

*1 1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt for topping

Put chocolate chips  in a heatproof bowl.

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute. Mix with a whisk starting slowly in small circles in the center, slowly working your way out as the chocolate and cream combine.

Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.

Spread ganache on cooled brownies. Sprinkle with sea salt (or pretzels, or nothing at all). Let cool until set. This may take a while if it is hot and humid out, possibly overnight. Chill for a short while (30 minutes tops) if you need to speed things up. Ganache is best at room temperature though.

Slice and enjoy!

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Filed under brownies