Tuesday, September 7, 2010


One of the very special things in the big cooler from Lil and Ben was this gorgeous home-grown pimiento---isn't he just the handsomest fellow? And of all the cooking I've done, I have never once made Paminna Cheese starting with roasting and peeling the pimiento myself.

But I've made a lot of it.

We got a few pictures out in the sunshine, to commemorate the beauty of the color and the curves and the shine---a kind of We-Who-Are-About-To-Die-For-Paminna-Cheese sendoff.
A little face-front shot, to show off his vibrant personality.

Just off the grill---then it went into a plastic bag inside a paper bag folded down to keep in the heat, and the skin just steamed loose enough to pull off. Not to worry about the char---just think of it as a facial mask, about to reveal the perfect complexion:

Messy work, as I gently removed the loosened peel; our kitchen lighting leaves a lot to be desired---it's two old long fluorescents, and I'm not fond of it at all, especially what it does to photos.

Just keep peeling, and all the blackened part will part ways with the plump flesh within:

Then, pop out the stem, tear gently down one side, and turn inside out to remove all the seeds. Do all the peeling and seeding over a bowl or plate, for you want to save all the lovely juices.

Seeds almost all gone:

See all the debris with that little spoonful of juice? Squeeze out the peel and lid, then scrape every drop into a little bowl with the pepper---mine was a tiny Tupperware, for storing the pepper in the fridge til it was cold.

When it's no longer warm, kinda smush-chop the pimiento on the cutting board with a good pinch of salt.
The cheese is usually a couple of packs of Kraft Extra Sharp, but with a mixed crowd last night, I used one pack and an equal amount of just-grated Medium. I used one of the microplanes to get it really fine-grated, and it made such delicate little curls I knew I'd best toss the cheeses gently with two forks, so that the heavier Sharp pieces would keep the long ribbons of the Medium from clumping into clods. (That's refined chef talk).

MEEZ: Worcestershire---coupla glugs. Durkee's---small spoonclop; Mustard---larger clop. Mayo---equal to Mustard. Several good grinds of pepper.

The salt is for cutting and smooshing the pimiento.

Okay---a Pet Peeve with cooking shows: I don't like to see a chef measure out a teaspoon of pepper and just clump it down upon the food in one place. Salt and pepper need to be scattered, as do spices. Putting any and all of them into any liquid or dressing before putting it in or on the dish is much more likely to give even distribution, and no "one-bite" surprises. And don't mention scraping out a vanilla bean and just scraping the hunk off the knife onto the side of the pan---that stuff needs stirring or shaking into a teensy amount of the liquid, before adding.
All the clops and shakes, ready for stirring:

Like us all, it looks MUCH better in person:

It was DEEE-licious---our Dear Neighbor especially enjoyed it on what we both called a "Soda Cracker"---plain old square Premiums, doing their job for decades before the flurry of Gucci crackers reared their fancy heads. The old nothing-but-crunch-and-salt crackers are the age-old perfect accompaniment, and if you can get one neatly into your mouth, with a teaspoon or two of Paminna Cheese riding along--- well, just chew for a bit and contemplate Life.
It will look better and better.

And what is YOUR method for Paminna Cheese?


Kouign Aman said...

MY method for Paminna Cheese is to get myself invited to YOUR house. ;P

I now move myself to the kitchen to make artichoke dip, as its the closest thing I can think of to the balance of rich, creamy, salty, tangy etc of Paminna Cheese, without actually going to the store for pimientos and durkees.

Kat said...

Oh.My.Word! That looks soooo good. Guess what I'm craving now? Yep.


Chesapeake said...

Just looks and sounds wonderful, and I hope I can make it sorta like you do!

Have some almost ripe pimiento peppers now; Thursday is shopping day for the Durkees and cheese!

Tonja said...

You were right when you looked at my last pics...there was Paminna Cheese! That is a request every time we are together. Some will eat a sandwich, but they like it on tortilla chips and crackers. Here's what mine has...

8 0z. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sharp cheddar...grated
2 cups monterey jack...grated
1 small jar of pimientos, chopped
sweet pickle relish
Beat cream cheese till fluffy, add the cheeses, mix. Add pickle relish and pimientos and mix...then mayo, and mix all together. Add some onion if you like...we don't like.
That's it!

Southern Lady said...

Between your recipe and Tonja's, my mouth is watering ... and I just made MY version of Paminna Cheese over the weekend. Next time, though, I'm going to try adding a shake of Worcestershire and a "clop" of sweet relish to mine, which is basically just plain ole' paminna cheese. I use Kroger's sharp shredded cheese and a large jar of paminnas, and add salt, pepper, and a bit of mayo ... nothing fancy, but good.

I loved hearing about how you make yours, Rachel ... and loved seeing those hands that have created such wonderful stories for us.

Jeanne said...

Hello Rachel, this past weekend was lost as far as blogging was concerned. Wow, what fun and how exhausting too. We visited and played and enjoyed the rare moments with so much family together.

I read your iron man story and dearly loved the whole exciting event. I am visualizing you ringing the bell for all the entrants and losing your voice to the gleeful day. I loved the photo of the finisher.

I also lived your pimento event and the delicious final reward for all that work. Yummmmm!

Time to get ready for duplicate bridge every Weds. afternoon. My dh and I have learned to love the challenge of it all. We played party bridge for years and this is far more fun and challenging. I always said I would never have my dh as a partner and never say never. We are a good team. Smile.

Love and hugs and keep the great stories coming.

sparrowgrass said...

I am not a big cheese eater, but I do love 'soda crackers'. Plain, or with a bit of butter, or a nice tomato-y sardine, or some tuna salad or a chunk of ham.

I try not to buy them, because I can go thru a box in just a couple of days.

But now that I am thinking about them, I do believe I will stop and buy some on my way home.

Maggie McArthur said...

OK, Rachel -- that looks so amazing that I'll visit the cheese guy and the red pepper lady at the farmer's market today.

(Another Saltine lover.)

racheld said...

Wow!!! So much Paminna Cheese, so much WOW!

I hope everybody will try it, just once. The Durkee's is a good part, but not deal-breaker essential, and the whole thing is a FAR cry (as my Mammaw used to say---guess that's even farther away than a hoot and a holler) from that pink PlayDoh sold in deli depts. of grocery stores. That Stuff Is AWFUL---like mooshed Velveeta with some pink mayo stirred in.

And Maggie, you DID see that I've never roasted my own Pimiento before, but I HAVE frequently dug a big ole dripping red roasted pepper out of a TRADER JOE'S jar and chopped it up. (never the ones with vinegar---that's pickled peppers).

Jeanne, I wish we enjoyed cards like that---I have no head AT ALL for games in which you have to take someone else's toys. I CAN trump whatever you throw down, then haven't a clue what to lead next. Scrabble, anyone?

Sparrow: PREMIUMS. As in, crumbled for topping casseroles, and serve with a sleeve a' Premiums.

Janie, I was hoping nobody would notice the hands---it was bad enough planting my purple self out there with that big ole hat and cowbell.

Keetha said...

Yummy yum yum! We grew pimentos this year and they were itty bitty things!

Beverly said...

Umm, we love homemade pimiento cheese. I remember my mother grating her cheese with a Mouli grater when I was a child.

I prepare mine very similar to the way you do. Do you ever put some on your hamburger bun?

racheld said...

We had such big gardens---several acres---on the farm, that I cannot imagine that we DIDN'T grow pimientos. I just didn't know about roasting peppers then,---nobody seemd to---and that little pesky flick of skin was totally gone from those tiny cubes in the nice jar.

And YESSSSS!!! to Beverly---I showed our Dear Neighbor all about it at supper on Labor Day---she's all for any new thing I'm cooking or sharing. (yesterday it was a little dish of not-quite-ripe papaya "conserve" done with a lot of sugar, strips of lemon peel cooked in, and vanilla. She said today that she ate the whole thing on her toast at 5 a.m.).

Co-incidentally, I had a little glop of the Paminna Cheese on my plate tonight at supper, WITH a similar glop of the papaya, and it was super-licious together---that sharp, tangy richness offset with the very sweet cubes of cooked fruit.

Kim Shook said...

I LOVED the hand shot. One of the things that I miss most about the late lamented eGullet foodblogs is seeing my 'friends' hands slicing, molding and lovingly nudging the food into shape.

I'm lucky enough to have actually tasted Rachel's paminna cheese and, since she is so generous in sharing the recipe, that is now my pammina cheese - duly credited, of course.

Rachel - get a box of Cracker Barrel saltines next Sunday and try the pammina cheese on them. They are a little thicker and crunchier than Premium and are really nice with it.

racheld said...

OK, we will! I know they're in a box, but I can pretend they're straight from Unca Hershel's famous Barrel.