Posts Tagged ‘cornbread’

Bacon + Pimiento Cheese = Happy Fourth!

July 2, 2013

Are you there, Kitchen Mischief? It’s me, Josh. Sorry I’ve been away. My new job at Taste of the South magazine has kept me pretty busy! Between dashing downstairs to the Test Kitchen, editing recipes, and trying to not eat myself into a support group, I haven’t had a ton of time for mischief making. But our July-August issue’s Fried Green Tomato and Pimiento Cheese BLT (take a peek here) inspired me to get my mischief on. And so Cornbread Bites with Pimiento Cheese and Bacon were born.

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I’m not one to toot my own horn, but these little darlings are ridiculously delicious! Nothing earth-shattering here, folks…just three classic Southern flavors, all packed into one addictive bite. They’re actually pretty easy…and you can even cheat with store-bought pimiento cheese and cornbread. But why do that when homemade is so easy? Read on and decide for yourself.

Cornbread Bites with Pimiento Cheese and Bacon

8 to 10 appetizer servings

Here’s the gameplan. Tackle the cornbread first. After it’s cooked and toasted, you can make the Pimiento Cheese while it cools. Microwave the bacon while the cornbread cooks.

Cornbread Bites

Martha White “Hot Rize” Yellow Cornmeal Mix
2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob (optional)

In a large bowl, mix cornbread according to directions on the back of the bag (I cut the sugar down to 1 tablespoon). Stir in corn. I split the mixture between one mini-muffin tin and 1 8×8-inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, 10 to 15 minutes…watch those tiny muffins; they cook fast!

After the cornbread has cooled, use a knife to hollow out the tops of the mini muffins (you’ll be removing about a teaspoon of cornbread). Cut the 8×8 cornbread into cubes; split cubes in half horizontally.

Place cooked cornbread on a baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.

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Pimiento Cheese is a personal decision. Some folks like it spicy, some like it mayonnaisy, others pack it full of some crazy stuff. Here’s where I started; take it where you like and make it your own.

Homemade Pimiento Cheese

6 to 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (orange)
6 to 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese (white)
4 to 6 ounces diced pimientos, drained
¼ cup finely minced onion
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)

For starters, grate your own cheese, please. It really makes a huge difference. I used the grating blade on my food processor. Combine cheese and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to combine.

Tip: To give your pimiento cheese a creamy texture without adding a ton of mayo that drowns out the cheese flavor, put half of the pimiento cheese in the food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulsing a few times. Stir it back into the reserved pimiento cheese.

Assembly: Cook 4 slices of bacon; let cool, and crumble. Spoon or spread about 2 teaspoons Pimento Cheese atop each Cornbread Bite. Crown each little darling with a bacon-crumb crown, and proceed to stuff yo face. 😉

SUPERFAST VERSION:

Grab a loaf of store-bought cornbread; cube and toast as described earlier. Spread with store-bought pimiento cheese, and top with crumbled bacon. D-O-N-E. It won’t be as good as homemade, but it’ll do in a pinch!

Please have a wonderfully Happy Fourth, and grill carefully!

And now, as Jon Stewart would say if he were a culinary blogger and could enjoy bacon, here is your moment of Zen:

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Inspired by “The Help”

August 26, 2011

After all of the hype, to be honest, I was a little concerned about watching “The Help.” I read the book and LOVED it, but we all know that Hollywood has a bad habit of butchering big-screen adaptations.

To my surprise and delight, the movie was delightful — funny, poignant, and suspenseful in its own Southern-Gothic way. Every actor was spot-on, from Cicely Tyson’s frail tenderness (tears rolling down my cheeks!)  to Viola Davis’ stern resilience. And just like everyone is saying, Bryce Dallas Howard was great, but I was most pleased that Emma Stone really pulled off Skeeter without being trite or too earnest.

Anyway, so you may be asking, what the hell does this have to do with Kitchen Mischief? Well, as I was sitting in the theater, scarffing down pawfuls of popcorn, when I became entranced by the images on the screen before me.

I’m not talking about Allison Janney or Octavia Spencer here — I’m talking about larger-than life, screen-spanning platters of fried chicken, black-eyed peas, fresh tomatoes, and cornbread. David said he knew it when he saw that dish of peas — I was cooking soul food for supper!

This is David looking over at me in the movie.

Everyone does soul food in their own way. Basically, I start all of mine the same way — with PIG. I get bacon started sautéing, then when it starts to brown, I add diced onions and pepper. From there, you just add the goodness. Peas in one pot, greens in the other, followed by a quick heat-through and a hefty douse with chicken stock. Season and simmer until done.

I replaced the fried chicken with a buttermilk-marinated, oven-baked chicken recipe from Cooking Light. It’s not quite as good as fried, but it gets the flavor across.

We finished it off with a sliced summer tomato (salted and peppered, please!) and a little Farmers’ Market hot pepper relish for the greens.

So — here’s a great plan for the weekend. Go to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday and grab some lady peas and fresh tomatoes … maybe even a jar of pepper relish, perhaps some fresh corn! Then, hit up a Sunday matinee of “The Help,” go home, and treat yourself to a little plate of Heaven.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to go back for seconds! 😉

Oh, and by the way, we did NOT have “Chocolate” Pie for dessert!