Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pimiento Cheese on Spoon Crackers

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Twice, in as many weeks, people have inquired about a spoon cookie cutter.  An odd request, and then both customers proceeded to tell about an appetizer from Southern Living.  Pimiento Cheese on a cracker spoon.  Of course I was intrigued.  How fun, savory cookies with cheese instead of sweet with icing!

So I Googled and found this link for the picture and recipes.  I see no reason to follow a recipe for Pimiento Cheese, after 20+ years in the South, you just gotta wing it!   So I did my own version, and I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the results!  They are a little silly.  But everyone loved them!

The cookie cutters were found at Fancy Flours, and I don't think this is the last time I make something savory with them.

The spoons are made simply by cutting them out of pie dough.  Of course I cheated and bought the kind already rolled out in a box!  The did get a little misshapen when they baked, but as far as quick, this was great.   I also happened to have some puff pastry, however, they didn't work well.  They puffed (as the name implies), and were deemed a failure.  

Then came the Pimiento Cheese.  I rarely make the same Pimiento Cheese twice.  I am forever tossing things in it.  But here's my basic recipe.

 Susie's Pimiento Cheese

3 pounds sharp cheddar
1 block cream cheese
1 large jar pimientos
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1/2 teaspoon Black and Red Pepper by Penzeys
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

You can start with shredded cheese, I did for this batch.  But ideally I buy a block and run it through the meat grinder.  The grinder gives it a little chunkier texture.  So with the shredded, basically add all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix thoroughly.  It is best made a day or so ahead, then taste and see if it needs a little more zest.

I took half the batch and added a jalepeno/feta sauce I buy at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant.  It was hot, but the kind of hot that you can't stop eating!  You can also add pickled jalepenos, chopped onions even pickle relish.  Sometimes I add a white cheddar too.  But we like it basic and zesty.  Also the cream cheese will get me in trouble with my Southern friends, but I prefer it to make it smooth, and cream cheese is tastier than adding more mayo.  Experiment and see what you like!  What are you waiting for?!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Susie Homemaker

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 It's an old term, that Susie Homemaker business, but it fits me.  I have a lot in common with that iconic 50's housewife moniker.  Like June Cleaver.  I cook, clean, bake, mix a stiff drink for my man (and one for me!) and take care of the kids (although that job requires very little now). I am also often seen putting around the kitchen in an apron! (Pearls are optional!)  Some time ago I admitted my dirty little secret and cleaned the daylights out of my copper.  But I have other little dirty issues.  Not in my kitchen, mind you.  The first is a toilet.  Just one, that seems to get a ring within days.  I tried everything.  I drained it and filled it with bleach water, I tried Comet, Bon Ami, and Magic Eraser.  Nothing would take that ring away, although it faded a little.  So at Home Depot, my second favorite store, I found this little guy.  

No chemicals and a whopping $2.49, what could I lose?  Ha!  I lost the ring!!!  This pumice stone basically makes a gritty paste when wet and takes the ring away in seconds.  Porcelain is fired at a very high temperature so it is not scratched by the pumice.  I keep one in my cleaning bucket at all times.

So fast forward to summer.  Now that the gardens are planted, the mulch is laid, the birds are well fed, my sights turned to the pool.  Our pool is nothing special, a hole full of water basically.  It was put in in 1987, and has had little done to it since.  When we moved in 12 years ago, we knew we would enjoy it on these miserable summer days.  Like today, 98F and 98%'s hot!  I tried that first summer to polish up the tile with something we bought at the pool store.  It wasn't great, and it was shiny for a few days.  Summers have passed where I pretty much ignored the tile.  And this sumer as I paddled around I thought about that stone...  After retrieving it from my bucket I went to town on the tile at the steps.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  Once the stone is wet and you rub it makes a paste that takes away 15 years of haze on this gorgeous tile.  Who knew how pretty it really is!  I quickly scrubbed through that one pumice stone, got out of the pool and headed to Home Depot in a swimsuit cover up and bought 9 more!  It looks like I'll need a few more, but wow, the results are pretty spectacular.  Then I rubbed the vinyl coping with a Magic Eraser and cleaned that up too!

We've debated over the years about a pool redo, but with the housing market where it's been, we decided that our money was better spent other ways.  As long as the water is sparkly and cooler than the air, it works for me!  So, what are you waiting for?  Certainly something needs a scrubbing!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Land of The Free

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I love the Fourth.  And cookies with the patriotic theme are some of my favorite to make.  I love the black it a coloring book look, I think.  So here are the first of the season, and a look back at others I have made!  Happy Fourth!  What are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cookies For My Favorite Store

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I love my job.  If you read my blog, ever, you know that I am an employee at Williams Sonoma.  I have been puttering around there for 16 years.  I know.  It is the best place for a foodie like me.  I love the merchandise, the people I work with and the customers, many who stop me at the grocery, at church and even at the movies!  I do a little bit of everything there, and I love that too.  Visuals, truck, teaching and is new every day!  So this week we had "a visit".  You know, suits.  So in addition to the store looking like a million bucks, really, gorgeous, I offered some cute little cookies. One of the mixer cookies was made using a template that Sweet SugarBelle offered.  You can find it here.  So here's the platter.  What are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another Sweet Week of Cookies for Grads!

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Heading to Auburn!
Ahhh, graduation in the South has finally passed.  Whew!  I was busy honoring those grads with, what else, cookies!!   So here are 4 grads (one platter is for the 8th graders "Stepping Up" into high school), all great accomplishments.  I love making logos of schools that I am not all that familiar with.  Auburn, Dartmouth and U of Vermont, awesome schools all.  And then of course this fall, Greek cookies!

For the 8th Graders Stepping Up!
Class of 2017!  Wow!  That seems a long ways away!

Going to Vermont to play Lacrosse!

Heading to Dartmouth!