I'm not much of a golfer, but this time of year, my thoughts turn to The Masters. I've been able to attend this tournament of champions at Augusta National Golf Club many times. The course is incredibly gorgeous, with blooming azaleas, magnificent pines and magnolias, and meticulously manicured greens. I even saw Ian Poulter sink a hole in one on the 16th green in 2008.
But memories of the course and the game are not all that stick with me. I also have to praise the food.
Five concession buildings, serving sandwiches, chips, sodas and beer, are situated in strategic areas around the 18 holes. Though there are thousands walking the course during the weeklong tournament, organizers have food service down to a science. The lines move with amazing speed. I've never had to stand in place for more than five minutes to pick up my favorite sandwich.
My husband and I always bypass the barbecue, turkey, egg salad and ham and head straight for the pimento cheese. This sandwich has built a reputation as one of the best in the land.
When I make it at home, I use a recipe my friend Sandy Zitkus gave me a few years back. I've shared it with readers a couple of times, but I always get more requests for it this time of year. Emily Nelson even emailed from Birmingham to ask for a repeat.
"I've made it many times and was shocked to find that I'd lost the recipe," she wrote. "I want to make it for a Masters party on Masters Sunday and desperately need it."
So here it is again. I've made this recipe for small groups and large gatherings. At my youngest daughter's college graduation party, there were more than 50 students and teachers in attendance, and all loved it. Making it for that many took some time, but it was well worth it.
Low-fat mayonnaise and cream cheese, along with Splenda, work fine as substitutes in this recipe. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to let cream cheese set up. Double or triple for crowds.
3 ounces cream cheese
1 (7-ounce) jar pimentos (juice)
1 tablespoon sugar or 6 packets Splenda
1 cup mayonnaise
Fresh pepper, to taste
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
Combine cream cheese, pimentos with some juice, sugar, mayonnaise and pepper in food processor. Mix well. Add 3 cups grated cheddar and blend for a few seconds. Stir in remaining cheddar cheese, adding more pimento juice if too dry.
Remember waking up and finding out about Japan's earthquake weeks ago? If you still want to help - and the country does need help - The Chattanoogan's Broad Street Grille is raising money to help those affected in Japan, as well as those harmed by the accompanying tsunami throughout the Pacific. This month, a percentage of sales from each Wednesday night in the restaurant will be donated to the Red Cross to help with the relief effort. In addition, Benchmark Hospitality International, the company that manages The Chattanoogan, will match all funds raised in the restaurant.
Wednesdays at Broad Street Grille are already popular, according to a recent news release, as guests enjoy Pasta Night and Wine Down Wednesday with half-price bottles of wine during dinner. Pasta Night includes an incredible offering of antipasto, several small appetizers, an assortment of house-made pasta with made-from-scratch sauces and delectable desserts to conclude the meal. The dinner is only $16 per person. What a bargain! And think about the fact that when you pay your bill, it will include a donation to the Red Cross.
Broad Street Grille's Pasta Night is served 6-10 p.m. every Wednesday. For dinner reservations, contact the restaurant at 424-3700.