February is my Mom’s birthday month. When I think of the best of Southern tradition and style, and sometimes sassiness, that was my Mom. She was filled with a joy for life and good food. One of her favorite dishes was Southern-style pimento cheese. Perhaps that’s why it is one of my favorites as well.
Test Results & Commentary
I’ve been using this adapted recipe for many years now. The purpose of this test kitchen event was to document the process while honoring my Mom on her birthday. – Once again, this recipe distinguished itself, as you can see by my smile of satisfaction
As is our standard operating procedure (SOP), I adhered to Persnickety Pierre’s Test Kitchen Philosophy. Also, I want to thank Hubby for his admirable assist in this test.
1. Level of the challenge:
This recipe confronts even the most stouthearted of chefs with a great challenge. What might that be? A chef can turn to the wisdom of practical experience to resolve most cooking dilemmas. However, there is not a one of us who dares to solve the riddle of proper spelling in the English language. After all, English has adopted so many foreign words and there is no authority in existence that can competently standardize two competing spellings.
And, Peeps, so it is with this simple recipe. I dare say that there is not a person among you, who can say for sure whether the proper spelling for those minced red bits in this dish is ‘pimento cheese’ or ‘pimiento cheese’. If you really think you can, please feel free to make a comment at the end of this post. – For now, I am taking Mr. Monte’s word and using ‘pimento cheese’ throughout this post.
2. Selection of good-quality ingredients:
Hubby forgot to add the salt and pepper shakers to this staging of ingredients. There’s nothing required for this recipe that can’t be found in your local grocery store. Many substitutions will work just fine with this recipe, with one huge exception. My Mom told us girls: “Never use anything except Hellman’s Mayo!”
3. Use of cooking techniques:
This is not cooking. This is just mixing of ingredients once they are prepped. My trusty Proctor-Silex 3 hand mixer was more than adequate for the job. Things can get a little messy, so I put the mixing bowl in the sink to keep the mess to a minimum.
4. Development of superior taste and flavor:
Don’t be afraid to use two or more jalapeños in this dish. The cream cheese tends to reduce the overall spiciness. The use of extra-sharp, sharp ,or mild cheddar cheese is up to you. It’s good to know your guests’ preferences beforehand. Although the recipe calls for garlic powder, to me, fresh, minced garlic is superior.
If the occasion is a high tea, this dish can be presented in many delightful ways. Nothing is too fancy for a high tea!
Pimento cheese is so easy to prepare, you can serve it almost anytime with crackers for a light lunch. Even better, you can store it in the fridge and it can make an encore performance two or three days later.
I must extend my thanks and appreciation to Mr. Monte for his assistance in the SFH Test Kitchen and in drafting this post. He is a font of wisdom when selecting the best ingredients. He can sniff out a bad garlic clove at 30 feet. Also, he has no peers when it comes to English language spelling rules.
Southern Pimento Cheese
- 1 Stand mixer – We used an electric hand mixer
- 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese – We use mild cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup mayonnaise – We recommend Hellman's
- 1 4 ounce jar diced pimento, drained
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and minced (Optional) – We use 2 peppers
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder – We use fresh, minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper – Optional
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Place Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimento, minced jalapeño, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder in a large bowl.
- Mix until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.