Lee Brothers’ Pimento Cheese

My friend served delicious pimento cheese sandwiches recently- reminding me how much I enjoy them. 🙂 Eating them also reminded me that I wanted to try this version from Charleston, South Carolina.

The recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by the Lee Brothers. I used Cabot 3-year sharp cheddar cheese. I served it on the Fourth of July as a dip with crackers and pita chips. Alternatively, it could be used to fill about 4 sandwiches. Easy and fabulous.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated with a food processor or hand grater (not pre-grated)
  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese (2 ounces), pulled into several pieces
  • scant 1/2 cup jarred pimento or other roasted red peppers (from a 7-ounce jar), finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons Duke’s, Hellmann’s or other high-quality store-bought mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chile flakes
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large mixing bowl, place the cheddar cheese in an even layer.
  2. Scatter the cream cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise and chile flakes over the cheddar cheese.
  3. Using a spatula, mix the pimento cheese until it is smooth and spreadable, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pimento cheese to a plastic container or bowl, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve as a sandwich spread or as a dip.

Note: Pimento cheese keeps in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Rigatoni with Eggplant Caponata

IMG_7901

We ate most of this tangy relish over pasta and plan to eat the leftovers as a crostini topping (with basil) or as a sandwich spread (with mozzarella) – YUM! Pasta water can be added to the caponata to make a thinner sauce for pasta, but I prefer a chunky and thick sauce. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more if needed, to taste
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/4 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • freshly grated Parmesan, for serving, if desired
  • fresh basil, for garnish, if desired
  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, cocoa powder, and sugar; cook, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and 2/3 cup water.
  3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and more sugar (up to 2 tablespoons), as desired.
  4. Cook the rigatoni according to the package directions in salted, boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Combine cooked pasta with approximately 3 cups of the sauce, or as desired. Gradually add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.

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