Monday, December 1, 2008


I had a fun e-mail from my friend Lili, who tried the Paminna Cheese recipe for the first time. I opened the mail after Chris had gone to bed, and as I read, I started to laugh. I was giggling so loud by the time I got to the list of go-withs improvised by the work crew, Chris opened the door to see why I was making so much noise in the midnight hours of the silent house.

I hope Lili doesn't mind my sharing the fun---this letter and Paminna Cheese are both WORTH sharing.


Well, I must say, you've revolutionized a NJ household! On Saturday, as planned, I whipped up a batch of pamina cheese, and yes, I say it exactly that way. Maybe there's a soft t in there, somewhere, but I'm sure I'm close. After all, I do have about a hundred relatives from southern Georgia... I digress. So, I made it up, sort of around dinner prep, packed it into a container, and fridged it. We don't have any Durkee sauce here, I've never heard of it, but I looked it up online, and thought it might be like a tart mayonnaisey concoction, with sadness, I left it out. I tasted the cheese as I was making it, and thought "hmm, this is decent." I fed a blob on a cracker to the mister, and he had the same reaction. It sat in the fridge, and the next afternoon, in between leaf-clean ups, he hauled the tub out, and the three men ate it with celery, bread, pretzels, pickles, fingers, and anything not nailed down.

I saw some get spread on wheat toast, and popped into the toaster. I saw the concoction get eaten spread on a piece of ham. They finished my cheese. It was completely gone by Sunday night. Pamina Cheese is definitely more than a sum of its parts, and it definitely benefits from reposing in the fridge for the night. This is the perfect between-jobs heavy snack almost lunch, something that they can eat standing up, chow that they're looking for. Especially when they come in from working. I love it too, broiled on toast, or on cucumber slices, or multigrain crackers.

I had to take a few minutes out of this insane week, and thank you for the inspiration, thank you for this wonderful gift from the South, and for a new heavily requested addition to my repertoire.

Kinda reminds me of that episode of Gilmore Girls---the Thanksgiving night that Loralei, staggering from all the food she's had to eat at all the places whose dinner invitations she accepted so as not to hurt their feelings, finds Sukie sitting at a picnic table on the lawn, feeling no pain and quite buzzed from her umpteenth Margarita. Though Sukie is the best chef in the history of TV, her husband Jackson had the bright idea that HE would cook the turkey---he'd deep-fry it. On the front lawn. With a great big gaggle of bystanders---mostly guys with beer.

They got so carried away they raided the fridge to find other things to fry---bacon, I think, and onions and potatoes and maybe some pork chops. Then, their frying frenzy not sated, they went on to throw inanimate objects into the bubbling fryer---napkins, some of the shrubbery, a shoe.

I just love the listing of it.

Moire non re our own Thanksgiving,



Keetha said...

Again, this makes me crave pimento cheese. I need to make some.

Anonymous said...

I want to try making some too!

What should I use if I can't get Durkee's? I've never even heard of it... And how much pimento? How large a jar?

I'll give it my best shot. :)


racheld said...

Today, I put two medium roasted peppers, (Trader Joe's, right out of the jar) minced, into an eight-ounce package of Kraft Extra Sharp shreds, serendipitously discovered when I was searching for some Brussels Sprouts. The little pile made a nice handful---probably about as much as you'd get in the little yellow-topped jar of pimiento on the top shelf at Kroger. And that's about the size of a jar of baby food---only a little shorter and fatter, so it evens out.

And I beg you to give it a chance---it's kinda like olives---it takes a time or two for the taste to grow on you. It's definitely tangy at first.

All the usual suspects into the bowl, and it tasted pretty fine at supper, when I scooped a little bit onto my plate with the soy/sesame/hoisin-glazed chicken thighs, ultra-gooey mac & cheese, and sprouts. Tomorrow will tell the tale.

I also made a half-dozen eggs into egg salad, with about equal amount of chopped pimiento-stuffed olives. So I've got THINGS IN DISHES awaitin' in the fridge!!

The Durkee's sauce is a tangy concoction, kind of a pale yellow paste in the jar, the consistency of an almost-ready mayonnaise, with the tongue-tingle of horseradish (though none is listed) and the sinus-flare of wasabi (ditto, none).

There's dry mustard, eggs and a flour-paste, I think. It's made its way in the world of Southern cooking for lo, these many years, just by being itself. Maybe we all like it because we've been cooking with dry mustard for so many decades, and nary a kitchen cupboard, bare though it may be of all those exotics and fancies and gourmets of the spice world, would be worth its salt and pepper without that little yellow can of Coleman's.