Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm feeling a bit southern this morning

Don't know exactly why, but I have been craving some Southern food lately. This doesn't mean that I'm making fried chicken every night, although I did make it on Wednesday, but actually has borne itself out with me making a big batch of pimento cheese & my Jalapeno-Bacon Cornbread. I know, heart healthy cooking right? My response: I eat healthy most of the time so that I can enjoy a pimento grilled cheese & a bowl of chili with cornbread on the side during the first weekend of football season guilt free. And enjoy it I will.

Pimento cheese gets a bad rap because there are so many bad versions out there in pre-made supermarket tubs. These use cheese "product", not cheese, and are little more than mayo and whatever you call the aforementioned "product". The real deal is actually delicious if you make it with good quality ingredients and take a little time to do it. Noush, I bet Miguel would actually really enjoy a good quality Pimento Cheese made with a good quality Irish cheddar. You can cook Southern food in Ireland with local ingredients and come out a winner. I don't think I need to defend cornbread, so I won't, but this recipe is a particularly delicious one, if not the healthiest.


1 lb extra sharp chedda
r cheese, grated (not too finely grated)
1/4 lb cream cheese, softened

1/2 c mayo - I like to make my own, but it's not necessary (Maybe I'll post a mayo recipe next)
2 large red or orange bell peppers
2 large jalapeno peppers
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp hot sauce, whatever your fave is
1 tblps chives (optional, I like this, but some pimento purists do NOT)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper to tast

1)First, you have to roast the peppers and chiles. The easiest way to do this is to turn on your flame on your stove (if you don't have a gas stove, do this on the grill, with a brulee torch, or if you must, under the broiler in your oven), and char the skin of the pepper. Once this is done, place peppers in a ziplock bag for 20 minutes. This will soften the pepper itself, and make it so the skin just sloughs off. Once you have removed the skin, take out the seeds, and dice the peppers up in fairly small pieces
2)After that, just combine everything in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. Serve on toast, celery, as a sandwich, or my favorite, as a grilled cheese sandwich. inner fatass just woke up.


First, we have to make cracklins, then cornbread.


1 lb bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1)Place the bacon into heavy bottomed sauce pan, and cover with water.
2)Cook over medium heat until the water is gone, the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. This is going to take roughly half an hour.
3)Place cracklins on paper towel, and reserve the rendered bacon fat for the cornbread.

2 cups self rising cornmeal (or 2 cups normal cornmeal with 1 tsp each baking powder and soda)
1 ear of corn, cleaned, removed from ear, and blanched for 5 minutes in salty water
1/2 c bacon fat, if you don't have quite enough from the cracklins, add melted butter
2 jalapeno, diced small
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 c milk (no less than 2%)
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c AP flour
all the cracklins, chopped into rough pieces of porky goodness

1)Preheat oven to 450 and place a medium sized cast iron pan in to get hot.
2)Place cornmeal and flour in bowl and mix
3)Add corn, jalapeno, & cracklins, then add milks gradually, mixing constantly. The result will be a slightly loose batter
4)Heat bacon fat it preheated pan, then add all but 1 tblsp into the batter. Mix thoroughly, then do the same with the egg.
5)Pour the batter into the hot pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until nice and golden brown.
6)Remove from pan immediately and enjoy. It should be easy to remove do to the pan being lubricated with the 1 remaining tblsp of bacon fat that you left in there.

This is great with chili, but honestly can be eaten just smeared with butter.

I know I usually do wine picks, but that just doesn't seem right with this one, so grab a beer and enjoy.

“The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it.”- Mark Twain

“If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Kool Whip on the side, you might be a redneck.” Jeff Foxworthy

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