Looking for a different appetizer for Easter? Here are two delicious dips/spreads which are easy to make and absolutely delicious.
My beloved mother L.J. was a fantastic Southern cook. Growing up in Louisville, my brothers and I had the best packed lunches in town. Two of her specialities were Pimiento Cheese and Benedictine.
In the 1900s during the Great Depression, the pimiento pepper grew in abundance in Southern states. The state of Georgia was even known as the ‘Pimiento Capital of the World’.
It was the abundance of the pimiento peppers that sealed the deal for pimiento cheese to become a Southern staple. The basic recipe is extremely inexpensive using only grated sharp cheddar, mayo and pimiento peppers, which is why it was so utilized during those tough Depression years.
But now the spread is so popular that restaurants all over the country have come up with gourmet versions to put on burgers, use as fritters, in grits and stuff into a great summer tomato.
They even serve pimiento cheese sandwiches wrapped in green wax paper at the Master’s Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
4 oz. extra-sharp Vermont white or yellow cheddar finely grated (1 1/2 cups)
half a jar of pimento (3 oz.), drained, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
salt to taste
4 slices of good whole-wheat bread, crusts discarded (optional)
4 thin slices Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 cup watercress sprigs, tough stems discarded
1. Mash cheese, pimento, mayonnaise, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl with a fork until well combined.
2. Season with salt to taste.
3. Cover and chill 1 hour for flavors to blend.
4. Spread pimento cheese evenly on bread.
5. Top with onions and watercress sprigs.
Cut each sandwich into triangles and serve.
This famous cucumber spread was created by one of Louisville’s most famous residents, Jennie C. Benedict. Setting the highest of culinary standards, “Miss Jennie” was also a successful businesswoman, a writer who for a time served as editor of The Courier-Journal’s Household section, and an important community volunteer.
Miss Jennie was a wonderful cook and busy caterer. Her most famous recipe is the one that keeps Miss Jennie’s name on Louisville lips. Benedictine.
· 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
· 3 tablespoons cucumber juice
· 1 tablespoon onion juice
· 1 teaspoon salt
· a few grains of cayenne pepper
· 2 drops green food coloring
To get the juice, peel and grate a cucumber, then wrap in a clean dish towel and squeeze juice into a dish. Discard pulp. Do the same for the onion. Mix all ingredients with a fork until well blended. Using a blender will make the spread too runny.”