Usually around the week of The Masters golf tournament, I get requests for a recipe I ran years ago for Sandy Zitkus' pimento cheese. This year, the tournament, originally scheduled April 9-12, has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, but I've still gotten several recipe requests. Readers have said it tastes so much like that served at The Masters. Even without the tournament, spring and summer are pimento cheese seasons.
This is such a versatile mixture that goes beyond a spreading for sandwiches. Now that we're stuck inside, and many cooks are spending their days experimenting with different recipes, here are some ideas to try with your pimento cheese:
* Try some mixed in grits for an even creamier consistency full of cheesy flavor.
* Combine it with pasta for a different take on mac and cheese.
* Use it as a burger topping.
* Bake it and serve it warm with crackers for an appetizer.
* Add some to a BLT for a tasty change of pace.
At The Masters, pimento cheese sandwiches have always been the first to sell out in past years. It's common to see throngs of people walking around or sitting in their portable golf chairs around the fairway eating these yummy sandwiches — pimento cheese smeared on white bread and jacketed in green wrappers.
It's remarkable how a simple mixture of cheeses, pimentos and mayonnaise can become a thing of legend.
So in salute to this year's tournament that might have been, here is Sandy's recipe. It's perfect for spring — and a recipe to have on hand if and when The Masters is rescheduled.
Sandy's Pimento Cheese
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 (reserve 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.
Carry out safely
Restaurants are now closed due to the coronavirus, but many are keeping their drive-thru windows open and takeout service going. Some restaurants are trying out ideas beyond traditional takeout.
Texas Roadhouse, with locations at Hamilton Place and on Highway 153 in Hixson, is now offering steak kits to go so that you can take their steaks home and grill them yourself. You can order a ribeye, New York strip or sirloin, and they range in price from $4.50 to $18. Call ahead for availability, and your order will be ready for you upon arrival.
If you're worried about germs on bags and takeout containers, there are ways to prevent transmission if you just take a few minutes once you get it home. The same goes for food that you have delivered to your door, but remember to have the delivery person leave the food at your doorstep, not greet you at the door. Don't forget to tip online, though.
Once you get the food home:
* Throw the bag away.
* Put the food in your own containers and throw the takeout containers away.
* Wash your hands — twice.
It's that simple. Stay safe, and please support our local eateries with your takeout orders until this virus is past us. I'm already thinking about the day we can dine in again ... a nice glass of wine, a good meal, great service and a nice big tip to my server. It will happen.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.