Born again cheese spread.
What is it about pimento cheese that makes me think of sitting on a stool at the counter in a drug store (hey, drug stores don’t have lunch counters any more.) having a pimento cheese sandwich on toast with some curly leaf lettuce and a nice pile of crispy dill pickles on the side.
I think pimento cheese is one of those southern things that some people not from the south have not experienced between two pieces of soft white bread or stuffed into celery. It is truly comfort food and most Southerns do not understand why it does not exist outside the south. This favorite sandwich is even served at the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia and a Southern picnic wouldn’t be the same with out a pimento cheese sandwich.
Just thinking of little pimento cheese tea sandwiches cut into triangles makes my mouth water. What would an afternoon tea be without pimento cheese sandwiches? Of course anyone from the south knows that you can just as easily use a corn chip or cracker to scoop up this wonderful spread. Add it to grits, stuff celery, slather it on burgers or hot dogs or even use it to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
In my early years of making this mushy, cheesy spread, I simply used Velvetta cheese and added some mayo and pimento and I have to say, it needs a makeover or at least another idea for it’s use.
We have all had Italian and Spanish style bruschetta with tomatoes, cheese, proscuitto and just about every topping you can imagine. If you are like me, you’re always looking for a way to improve on an old recipe and that being the traditional pimento cheese sandwich. So why not Pimento Cheese Bruschetta topped with finely shredded lettuce and some crunchy bacon — a summer bruschetta! (Summer is on his way out, but this would be good any time of the year.) So, whether you try this recipe or your own recipe, try a Pimento Cheese Bruschetta for your next party.
Not your ordinary sandwich!
I do love some ordinary sandwiches like bologna sandwiches on white bread with mustard or sometimes mayonnaise with a handful of potato chips on top and then they get mashed together until the salty chips totally cover the bologna surface. I love braunschweiger sandwiches with mustard on white bread and I know those aren’t good for me.
Other than burgers, occasionally, I never really threw sandwiches on the table for my kids. Or, for dinner anyway. They definitely had their share of pbj, grilled cheese and egg sandwiches for lunch.
Sometimes you just want something quick, like a sandwich, to fill you up so you can get going with whatever project you were working on. I’m sure everyone has had their share of sandwiches on bread (white, wheat, nut berry etc.) or pita sandwiches or wrapped sandwiches in tortillas. When in dieting mode, I have even wrapped my filling up in lettuce leaves. So, who would have ever thought there could have been another way to prepare a sandwich.
Once upon a time I was sitting in a tea room wishing it was mine.
Several years ago I thought I wanted a tea room. Who doesn’t like going to tea with all those cute little tea cups, lace table cloths, cucumber finger sandwiches, cheese straws, and a pot of steeping tea sitting right there on the table snug under it’s little tea cozy.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and I had talked about opening a tea room. After all, with all the catering experience I have, it would have been a perfect fit. We tried just about every tea room in our area, all the time envisioning what our tea room would look like. We attended a 3 day tea conference at Magnolia and Ivy in Georgia on “How to Open A Tea Room”. Magnolia and Ivy is listed as one of the great tea rooms in America and doesn’t that name just elicit the idea of an afternoon tea with ladies with big hats sipping their tea and talking about what’s going on in their lives.
Well, we collected china, tea pots, teas, and anything we would need to serve tea all the time looking for a perfect place to house our dream. We really wanted an old place with Southern Charm and that was not to be found in our area. So, eventually we gave up on that dream but I continue to cater teas and luncheons so I still get my “fix” on doing tea type foods.
A delicious grilled sandwich for a summer cookout.
I love anything that can be grilled outside in the summer so our kitchen does not get as hot as blazes. We grill out 12 months a year here in Texas. In fact, when we lived in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky, if we wanted BBQ we didn’t care if there was 1″ or 6″ of snow on the ground, my husband would crank up his grill and get a fire going.
This sandwich is great because there is only one slice of bread which kind of fools you into thinking it is good for your waistline. The chicken is grilled and it has all the flavors of the Southwest. Of course all the veggies toppings are good and healthy and full of color.
We have been trying to decide what kind of outdoor kitchen we want since putting our pool in five years ago. My husband has our original cast iron grill that we bought back in 1970 and it is still one of his favorites. He has a barrel smoker where he BBQs all his delicious pork butts and ribs and just recently he bought what he calls a “throw away” gas grill until he decides what equipment he really wants for doing some the best BBQ you have ever put in your mouth.
For this sandwich, he did not have the new gas grill yet and he used his turkey burner with a cast iron griddle on top. It was really kind of funny to look at considering his bbq skills and here he was with this “thing” rigged up to do the chicken breast.
This is a delicious topping for the chicken sandwich. The Orange and Black Bean Salsa has a nice bite to it and really enhances all the flavors of the sandwich.
Few people were as lucky as my brother, sister and me. We grew up with a Mom who cooked and cooked well. My name is Paul, son of Sherry, and I was born in Kentucky. People always ask me where I’m from and that is always a difficult question. I only really lived in KY for 3 months or so but when the time is right I like to claim it as my hometown. As I have grown older now and spent most of my years in Texas I guess I kind of have become a Texan, when convenient of course.
My mom was always the best cook and made us dinner almost every night growing up. While my other friends were eating fish sticks from Long John Silvers I was probably eating fresh caught crappie with homemade hushpuppies. When you are a kid you don’t realize how fortunate you are to be eating “real” food every night. Now that I have become older I have realized these things and want to practice the same lifestyle. My wife Brooke and I just had a child 6 months ago and we have been exposing him to as much food and preparation as possible. I don’t think he’ll be frying corndogs with me anytime soon but I do think it is important to get kids involved early on.
This brings me to my first post. In honor of the Kentucky Derby I wanted to cook something theme oriented as I sometimes do. One item came to mind. The Kentucky Hot Brown. Its origin is, I believe, from the Brown Hotel in Kentucky that wanted to serve something on race day. Being from Kentucky and having a mom who worked for the KFC headquarters, I thought I would make the dish, but with a couple of changes. I would take a Texas staple—chicken fried steak—and make it with turkey Kentucky style . This is where the idea came to bread and deep fry the turkey breast. In my opinion, once you deep fry something it becomes twice as nice. Below is the recipe and please feel free to be creative, as I was with the original recipe.
For those who would like to pair this with an adult beverage, my name is Brooke, Paul’s wife, and I made a spin on a classic cocktail. I must admit, I did not grow up in a family like Paul’s. My family certainly appreciated great food, we just never cooked or could really afford to eat out at nice places very often. I became very familiar with Campbell’s Soups. My parents were overeducated and underemployed bohemians who knew more about wine and spirits than almost anyone else.
Before I was born, my father worked as a wine buyer for a major Dallas chain and (for goodness only knows why) left after being asked to broker for winemakers in France. When I was a little girl, he again worked for Sidney Siegel. I was the lucky gal who got giant six-foot tall stuffed pink bunnies with Kahlua overalls for Easter instead of a little basket with waxy chocolates. Years later, he owned his own liquor store in an inherited building on Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas (yes, he kept a gun behind the counter). So, you see, I have experience growing up in spirited ways. We hope you enjoy the meal and the simple cocktail, just take a moment to rest after such an occassion!
Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches
Ingredients for Sauce:
- 4 T butter
- 6-8 T white Flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 T lemon juice
- 8 oz grated white cheddar
- 1-2 oz grated parmesan
- dash cayenne
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 T Tony Chachere’s
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large turkey breast fat and skin removed
- 6 slices bacon cooked until brown
- chives as needed minced
- sliced shallots 1/8″
- tomatoes cubed
- canola oil for frying
- hearty fresh made white bread from bakery- toasted until brown
- 1.5 oz. of your favorite bourbon we used Bulleit—met latest generation at this year’s Derby party in Austin
- 1.5 oz. ginger beer we like one by Maine Root with real ginger and not much else—a nice bite to it, organic and sustainable
- squeeze of lime
Sauce: Melt butter in small sauce pan and add flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir until paste forms.
Add milk and stir until smooth. As the sauce heats it will thicken. Keep some milk on hand to thin as necessary.
Add cheese, salt, and spices stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Other: Remove turkey breast from package and place between two layers of plastic wrap. Using meat mallet beat until 1/4 inch thin.
Cut turkey into three equal pieces.
Place turkey in bowl with buttermilk.
Mix breading ingredients in bowl and set aside.
Remove turkey from milk and add to breading bowl. Coat entire breast.
Place in deep fryer and fry at 350 degrees for approximately 3-5 minutes.
Remove from fryer and drain grease.
Add small amount of buttermilk to sliced shallots then drain.
Toss in flour mixture and deep fry until golden brown. Set aside.
Assembling Hot Brown: Turn on oven broiler.
Place toasted bread in oven safe dish.
Top with fried turkey breast.
Ladle on 4-6 oz of cheese sauce until bread and turkey is covered.
Broil until bubbly and golden, then remove from oven.
Garnish with tomatoes, chives, fried shallots, and bacon.
Enjoy with a cold Bourbon cocktail (See recipe below)
In a small glass with crushed ice, combine the cocktail ingredients and stir gently. Garnish with a sliver of lime on the rim:
I “heart” you finger sandwiches. Pretty and pink.
I have done these little sandwiches for bridal showers, baby showers and just because the are so cute. If you have an upcoming shower of any type, these are the perfect little sandwiches.
I love beets – period. On the other hand my husband says he doesn’t like “red” things on his plate and won’t try them. He does eat ketchup, tomatoes, and other red things. I think this is his way of saying “I don’t like beets”. I love the little heart cutouts for this sandwich and people are always thinking I hand carve them.
You’ll notice that only the outside is pink. The pinkness depends on how long you let them soak in the beet juice. These only soaked for about 3 hours. If you soak them overnight they will dye pink all the way to the yolk. Sometimes it may start to dye the yolk too so I usually remove after 5-6 hours. You can experiment with 4-5 hours first and if that isn’t pink enough soak longer on the next try.
You can make your own pickled beets (less expensive) or you can buy them already pickled. You will need a lot of juice if you are dying a dozen or more eggs. I would probably do at least 2 times the recipe below. My hearts were cut with a tiny aspic cutter made by Ateco (aspic or jelly cutters) 3/4″.
Egg Sandwich with Beet Garnish
- 1 can sliced beets
- 1 cup beet juice
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 cloves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 12 hard boiled eggs peeled
- White bread cut in 2″ circles
Topping for Bread:
- Fresh basil chopped fine
Bring all ingredients to a boil (except the eggs and the beets). Let cool then add eggs and soak a minimum of 4 hours. If you want the whites to turn pink all the way through, let them stand about 7-8 hours. Save your beets for another recipe or you can add back to the juice after you are finished dying the eggs.
Mix mayonnaise with fresh cut basil and top the bread circles with this mixture. Just before serving, slice the eggs carefully so you don’t lose any of the yolk. Top the bread slice with a slice of egg and then using a very small heart cutter, cut a slice of beet to go on top. You don’t want to put the beet heart on too soon or it will start to dye the yolk.
You’ll be cool as a cucumber when you try these cucumber sandwiches. The little center you see here are tiny dried rosebuds. I can’t find these anymore so I mix some softened cream cheese and mayonnaise and tint it yellow and pipe center into the flowers.
When I was pregnant the first time, we lived in Louisville, Kentucky. I craved this spread they called Benedictine Spread. It was a cucumber spread and you could buy it in cartons already prepared at the grocery. I would eat that for breakfast and lunch some days. Finally I found a recipe and started making it myself.
I have all the ingredients ready to make the sandwiches, the cucumber spread, the cut-out bread and the sliced cucumbers.
Spread a little cucumber spread on the bottom piece of bread, top with cucumber slice and then the other piece of bread. You can finish off with a little yellow mayo in the center.
- 2 large cucumbers
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- Tabasco to taste
- garlic salt and seasoned pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 c. finely grated onion
- white or wheat bread
Take one cucumber, peel, cut in half and scrape out seeds. Grate the cucumber and the onion into a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out moisture.
Put the cream cheese, mayo and seasoning into a mixing bowl with the grated cucumber and onion. Mix until well blended. I add a drop or two of green food coloring. Take the other cucumber, cut off each end and then drag a fork down the sides all the way around. I usually use my mandoline and cut these very thin. Now for the ones in the picture, I use a flower cutter for the bottom and a daisy cutter for the top.
Cut out bread shapes (you can always just do them in rounds). Spread a little of he cucumber spread on one bread slice, top with a cucumber slice and then another bread slice. I sometimes make these one day ahead. If you are going to pipe in a center to the flower, wait and do that right before you serve them.