Monday, December 23, 2013

HOLIDAY CHEER


I have been now living the south now for about two-half years though with frequent jaunts back north giving the best of both worlds. While I will never fully purge of my northern attitude – more precisely, my New York attitude, I have succumbed to certain things about my new surroundings. I am enamored with the variety of wildlife I get to spy, and now when I see a mouse it is not scurrying along subway tacks all too aware of the third rail, and I have given up of spotting those hooting owls. I’ve become accepting of Carolina bar-b-que even though I still say hold the vinegar/sugar for heat. Many years ago I learned to embrace the place you find yourself and you will find the gems.

A couple years back, at one of the first holiday parties I attended down here a bowl of wet, way too yellow spread sat adjacent to splay of crackers. During a moment of cocktail-chatter mindlessness I picked up a cracker and took a dip. Curious.


A bit too mayonnaise/velveeta for me but I could see the appeal to this spread. I will forever be a food snob, who has lived in too many places to ever romanticize cheez whiz or believe it belongs in any kitchen. I do like the challenge of creating anew or recreating something we have lost to industrialization, and since I don’t possess a Southern mindset I felt completely free to tackle this classic with a foreigner’s eye. It has past muster on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, and has become a staple quick-to-make nibble on my cocktail table minus the Triscuits.


Pimento Cheese
¾-pound smoked gouda cheese - grated
8-ounces cream cheese
¼-cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1-tablespoon smoked paparika
2-teaspoons turmeric
½-cup minced stuffed green olives
1-tablespoon chopped capers
2-tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor or standing mixer, fitted with the paddle atachment mix all the ingredients to thoroughly incorporated.



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