Monday, March 26, 2018

Magazine Monday #13: Pimento Grilled Cheese

I did something the other day I've never done in my life, something I swore I'd never do.

I bought olives at the grocery store.

Olives are the bane of my existence.  I hate green olives, I hate black olives, and I resent that space is taken up in grocery stores for these so-called Olive Bars, when you could just put a respectable salad bar there instead.

I've hated olives since I was a kid.  The paternal side of my family would have two dishes of olives out at every family gathering -- one dish of green and one dish of black.  I let them pass by me on their way around the table, and every time, someone would ask, "Sarah, don't you want any olives?"

Because they are the grossest food on the planet.  Olives are the worst.

(Side note, actually:  When we got our second cat, I asked my step-kid, Kelly, what we should name him.  Since he's a black cat, Kelly suggested Olive.  I hate olives so much, I could never name an animal after them, but Kelly's suggestion gave birth to the cat's actual name, which is Oliver.  I was going for a literary theme with my cats' names, and that worked out beautifully.)

But I bought this jar of olives because I was planning to make pimento cheese (actually, the real spelling is pimiento, which blew my mind, but I'm going to keep spelling it the way I always have, and the way a lot of people do.)  I went to three different stores looking for pimentos and came up with nothing.  Then I had the bright idea to just buy olives stuffed with pimentos, remove said pimentos, discard the olives, and go on my merry way.  I suspected this might not be the best plan, but I was running out of options.

I told Dennis my genius plan.  To say he looked skeptical would be the understatement of the century.

"It's going to taste like olives.  You hate olives," he said.

"No," I insisted.  "I'm going to rinse them really well, and they'll be fine.  I have to make this recipe today, and that's what I came up with."

Without a word, Dennis popped open the jar of olives, extracted the pimento from one of them, ran cold water over it for about 30 seconds, then handed it to me. 

I put it in my mouth, then promptly gagged and spit it out.

"That might not work," I said.

Dennis nodded.

I gagged some more.

I realized I hadn't checked Sprouts, and that seemed like a place that might have pimentos, so we ran down there, and Dennis bought me a jar of non-olive-flavored pimentos, and saved the day.  (Again...and again.)

Pimento cheese is a very Southern thing, and making it into a grilled cheese sandwich is something that wouldn't have occurred to me, but that I am very happy with.  And unless you like olives (but, like, why?), hold out for a jar of pimentos on their own.  Virgin pimentos, if you will.

(Oh, and this recipe is good.  Like, really really good.  I don't know why people buy pimento cheese.  Even if you don't think you'll like it, you will.  The photos are ugly, but the sandwich is excellent.)

Pimento Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches
From Cuisine at Home Magazine, June 2017


2 cups shredded extra-sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
6 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 4 oz. jar sliced pimentos, drained
Salt to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
8 slices bread
4 tbsp butter, softened

Puree cheese, cream cheese, and mayo in a food processor.  Pulse in pimentos until coarse.  Season with salt and cayenne.

Brush one side of the bread slices with butter, then place on a cutting board, buttered side down.  Spread 1/3 cup pimento cheese on half of the slices.  Top with remaining slices, buttered side up.

Fry sandwiches in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.  

Remove from heat and let rest for 2 minutes before cutting in half.

Enjoy remaining cheese on crackers.  Or more sandwiches.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Magazine Monday #12 -- Hot Chicken Tacos with White Sauce Slaw

So, despite the fact that these were amazing, ridiculous, insanely good tacos, I'm not going to give you this recipe.  (Well, I mean, I will.  It's here.)

The reason I can't really blog about this one is that the recipe didn't go as according to plan.  I had to improvise.

I had to make some changes and I don't even exactly know what I did.

What I can say is that the flavors in this recipe are AMAZING.  But the amount of oil used made the coating soggy, so I dumped some out, and when I dumped it out, there wasn't enough liquid left to make the chicken coating.

But if you make this recipe work, it's amazing.  So good.  Dennis and I stood around the kitchen eating these for a good long time.

Also, I set a tortilla on fire.

I'd love to hear from someone who tries this and the actual recipe is successful.

Me, I'll be in the kitchen, eating delicious leftovers.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Magazine Monday #11: Sweet Corn Risotto with Jalapeno Pesto

Happy Magazine Monday!

Have you ever looked at a recipe, thought parts of it were ridiculous, and just decided to go rogue?

That's what happened with this one.

There was a whole bunch of stuff about boiling corn cobs and corn stock and blenders and...the recipe sounded good, and I've always liked risotto, but a lot of it seemed...extraneous.  So I made it into my own thing (sorry, Rachael Ray), and it turned out really, really good.  

If you want to follow the original recipe, the original link is below, but this one is pretty stellar; the pesto brings it to a whole other level I wouldn't have expected.

Also, it made a TON; I would recommend cutting down the rice by a cup unless you're hosting your family reunion for 20 people and they're all hungry.

Sweet Corn Risotto with Jalapeno Pesto
Makes 4-6 servings


6 cups vegetable stock (if you care about it being vegetarian...I used chicken stock.)
2 cans sweet corn
3 green onions, green and white sections separated, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 tsp. lime zest
1 Tbsp. lime juice
6 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups Arborio (or jasmine) rice (if you don't want to make a ton, 2 cups is fine.)
3 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, combine the stock and the juice from the cans of corn plus as much water as it takes to make a total of 2 cups and bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, puree the green onion greens, basil, jalapeno, lime juice, and 5 Tbsp. olive oil.  Put the pesto in a bowl and salt and pepper to taste. 

In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add green onion whites and rice, stirring for about 2 minutes, until coated.  Add the hot stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly to allow the rice to absorb the liquid between each addition until the rice is tender (but firm), and the risotto is creamy.  This will take about 20 minutes.

Stir in the lime zest, butter, and 1 1/2 cans corn.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle with pesto and serve.  

Monday, March 5, 2018

Magazine Monday #10: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble

Does anyone else have an issue with buying hamburger buns and then having several of them sit around, waiting to be used, and having them go stale?

Since there are only two adult people in my house, we generally only use two hamburger buns at a time (if we both even use buns with whatever we're eating.  Sometimes, it's a lettuce wrap day!), and then it's a stretch to figure out what to do with the other ones.

This recipe helps get rid of the leftover buns and also jazzes up yogurt, ice cream, pudding...whatever.

(Also, even though I generally don't trust recipes that say they taste like something else, this stuff tastes exactly like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.)

Happy Magazine Monday!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble 
Makes about 1 cup
From Every Day with Rachael Ray, October 2016


2 cups coarsely torn hot dog or hamburger buns
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300°F.

On a baking sheet, bake the buns until dry, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

In a food processor, pulse the bread, sugar, and cinnamon until coarsely crumbled.

Bake on a baking sheet until crunchy, about 7 minutes.

Serve over yogurt or ice cream.