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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pimento cheese

As you've probably guessed from all the pepper photos in this blog post, this one has absolutely nothing to do with Finland.  Other than the fact that my Finnish husband loves to eat pimento cheese, that is.

Pimento cheese is something I grew up eating, and didn't realize what a delicacy it was until I moved away from the Ozarks and was unable to buy it at the nearest Wal-Mart.  Trader Joe's carried it once, but it tasted really strange and not at all like what we were expecting.

First, I roasted some sweet peppers under the broiler.  These are the little sweet peppers that are popular right now, but the bigger sweet ones work just as well.  Note that these peppers are not spicy at all.  You could also buy the peppers in a little jar already roasted, labeled "pimento peppers," but it is so easy to roast them.  I just sprayed them with a little cooking spray (you could also just put a little oil all over them) and put them under a hot broiler for a few minutes.  I salted them because I have other plans for the yellow ones, but you don't have to.  Watch them closely, they blacken in just a few minutes!

I sorted out the red ones to use for the cheese, only because they are prettier with the yellow cheese.  I pulled out the stems, de-seeded them, and diced them.  If you use larger sweet peppers, you may want to pull off the blackened skin.  These little ones have such thin skin that I didn't need to.

I used two cups of shredded cheese and about half a cup of diced peppers.  The cheese in this photo is a colby and monterey jack blend that was already finely shredded, but any kind of cheddar cheese will work.  Experiment with the kind of cheese you like best.

I stirred in about three tablespoons of mayonnaise, just enough to hold it together.  In this photo I used  fat free mayonnaise.

Enjoy the pimento cheese on crackers, or use it to make a delicious ham and cheese sandwich.  The flavor gets even better after a couple of days in the refrigerator.

I'm wondering how this would work as a filling for a Finnish sandwich cake...

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