Pimento cheese doesn’t have to be eaten in a sandwich – and neither does it need to contain pimento. Say what?! Before you flay us alive for our heresy, let us hurriedly explain that we replaced the pickled pepper with fermented home-made kimchi. And we, frankly, think it’s even better.
Pimento cheese, the iconic spread of the American south, turns out not to be very southern at all – at least in terms of its origins. It’s so associated with the south that it’s hard to imagine the spread (a mix of cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise and diced red pimentos) as coming from anywhere else, but our friends at Serious Eats did a little digging and discovered that pimento cheese actually got its start up north, in New York, as a way to market the burgeoning production of cream cheese.
In the 1870s, New York farmers started making a soft, unripened cheese, similar to Neufchâtel, that eventually evolved into cream cheese. Around the same time, Spain started exporting canned red peppers — or “pimiento” — to the United States. Eventually a combination of the cheese, peppers and mayonnaise became the spread we know today and like any good origin story, the lore soon outgrew its humble beginnings and pimento cheese became a staple of church picnics and neighborhood potlucks and fancy restaurants all over the southern U.S.
While most loved between two slices of bread, the cheese spread is versatile enough to lend itself to a variety of uses – as a dip, as a topping (think cheeseburgers, or our favorite, patty melts), and even as a stuffing for meats like chicken breasts, or pork chops.
Stinging nettles aren’t just for stumbling into with painful consequences. We’ll show you how to use the leaves safely to make a delicious and super healthy nettle risotto. Flavored with green garlic and Taleggio cheese, this is a knock-out Spring dinner. But don’t worry if you don’t have nettles and green garlic, you can make it with spinach and regular garlic too!
As a kid growing up in a vaguely-rural part of England, I quickly learned that if there was one plant that resisted your attempts to live peacefully with nature, it was the stinging nettle. Wherever it was most fun to run around in the woods, that’s where they lurked. If there was a perfectly tempting blackberry bramble by the side of the road, you could bet your last Rolo that there’d be a patch of nettles right in front of it. Children and nettles existed in a sort of uneasy symbiosis. We would fall into them, and they would sting us … actually, that’s not really a symbiosis, is it, it’s just how both nettles and children tend to work.
We were always encouraged to grasp the nettle! (meaning, just go for it, and it probably wouldn’t sting you, which was a lie). I wonder if many childhoods would have been changed for the better if we’d been encouraged to eat the nettle instead.
This Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream is supermodel gorgeous, rich and creamy, balanced by the bright citrusy flavor of lemon curd. And super-duper easy to make!
[We’ve been running around this week literally spinning plates and juggling knives, so here’s a repost from a few years back. It’s one of our absolute favorites from the blog, and is an absolute crowd-pleaser whenever we make it. It’s super-easy, and, other than the crust, doesn’t need baking. We just planted our own redcurrant bushes this year, so we’re hopeful that within a couple of seasons, we’ll have enough gorgeous berries to decorate a tart entirely from our garden.]
Besides being nerdy about movies, television and all things culinary, Matt and I both share a dorky fascination with etymology (the history of words).
I’ve written about my most hated words in a previous post (which had to be titled Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad because Matt despises the word ‘slaw’). Now I thought we’d list some of our favorites (join us and write yours in the comments!).
Emily: Luminescent, gloaming, nixed, defenestration
Matt: Ramble, button, spandrel, pickle
“Great,” you mumble. “But can I have the recipe for that tart now?”
Kimchi is an essential staple in Korean (and Korean-style) dishes, and we always have a jar on hand. It’s cabbage and other vegetables fermented in a spicy, garlicky brine and it’s just delicious. The process of making it at home might seem intimidating, but as we’ll explain, it’s actually quite straightforward and so worth the effort.
Matt here. Emily’s going to come in with the important tasting notes and all that later in the article, but I just wanted to share an anecdote from our very early cohabitation. When we first moved in together, I remember I was clearing room in the fridge – and at the time, Emily had a really beautiful spacious fridge she’d got cheap from a bump-n-dent clearance – and there was plenty of room to hide stuff at the back of the shelves. I was clearing out room to fit in whatever we’d bought together at the store, and I spotted a jar whose contents were unfamiliar to me. I opened the lid and, I don’t remember now, but I probably cursed (Emily: Yes, but in a very polite, British way). I think I might have warned Emily that there was something really bad in there that needed to be thrown away right that second, and preferably triple-bagged. (Emily again: The kimchi was just getting good and ripe. I ate a piece right out of the jar and Matt practically fainted. It was so cute.)
Our friends at Mullan Road Cellars wanted us to put together a recipe that would pair beautifully with their red wine blend. Fortunately, we had just the thing – our summery take on Eggplant Parmesan: grilled eggplant combined with sweet, roasted Campari tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese, and topped with crispy garlic and herb breadcrumbs.
We love a good cocktail around here, but more often than not, when we’re looking for a drink to pair with our food, we choose wine. Both of us love the versatility of rich red varieties: making Grilled Steak With Blue Cheese Butter? Red wine is the perfect choice. Having friends over for cheese and charcuterie? Red wine is a must. Hosting a holiday Pork Roast? Yup, you know what to serve with it. As soon as we tasted this wonderfully fruity and spicy Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend, we knew we wanted to drink it with something grilled. We decided to take inspiration from one of our favorite classic dishes, Eggplant Parmesan, and lighten it up for summer. To bring it out into the sunshine, if you will.