Tag Archives: cheddar

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsRemember those Cornmeal Biscuits I made earlier this year? They’re the perfect solution for when you can’t decide between biscuits and cornbread—the absolute best of both worlds! They’re super-tender too, thanks to the addition of naturally gluten-free cornmeal. If you haven’t checked them out, go do so, and then click back over here to see what happens when biscuits meet cornbread meets pimento cheese!

Hint: it’s this 👇 Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsFor those of you wondering what the heck pimento cheese is, it’s a creamy spread made of shredded cheddar, mayonnaise, sweet pimento peppers, and freshly-cracked black pepper. It’s incredibly popular in the southern U.S.—you’ll see it at every baby shower, cookout and picnic. You can buy the stuff in tubs in the grocery stores down there, but it’s next to impossible to find here, so I make my own and eat copious amounts with celery. You know, for balance 😉Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsHere, I’ve taken the basic ingredients of that southern staple (minus the mayo) and folded them into a batch of cornmeal biscuit dough. The results are cheesy, spicy, sweet-pepper studded magic!Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsThese are the cheese biscuits of my summertime dreams, and soon, yours. And those of your family and friends too, permitting you take a batch to your Fourth of July festivities tomorrow. You can serve them plain or with butter…Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits…but maybe crisp up some bacon and grab some tomatoes and arugula because these happen to make the best BLT on the planet.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsCAN. NOT. BE. BEAT.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsOh, and these aren’t pictured, but if you dice your leftover biscuits and sauté them in butter and olive oil, you’ll get some insane croutons. I ate these on salads for five days after I took these photos and I still want more.

You should probably go ahead and make a double batch.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsHappy Fourth of July, y’all! If you’re looking for cookout appropriate beverages, see here and here. For snacks, here and here. And for dessert…here, here, here, here, and here.

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits
makes about 14 biscuits

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2 4-ounce jars pimentos, well-drained and minced
2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold

For finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For serving:
butter
bacon, lettuce & tomato

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, black pepper, optional cayenne, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender (or two forks or very clean fingertips) to break it down until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in cheddar and pimentos, followed by buttermilk. Dough will be soft.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and pat until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Make sure to cut directly down—do not twist. Place cut biscuits a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Chill dough/baking sheet if anything becomes too warm/sticky at anytime in this process.

Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Let biscuits cool until you can handle them. Serve with butter, or make yourself a BLT, if desired.

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits

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Spicy Cheddar Shortbread

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadI figure you’ve all got your Thanksgiving menus nailed down by now, but can I just suggest one more thing? Just one?

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadOkay, good.

You don’t want to miss these Spicy Cheddar Shortbread. They’re the slice-and-bake cheese plate addition that you didn’t know you needed. But make no mistake, you do.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadYou may not need them on Thursday (because you probably have it all together and have already started making your cornbread and rough puff–you’re totally killing this Thanksgiving business 🙌🏻), but sometime between now and January 2nd, you’re going to be very happy you have this recipe in your back pocket.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadI mean, these savory shortbread are basically cheese crackers for adults. They’re crispy and light-textured with a full-bodied cheddar flavor because, unlike the cheese crackers you can buy at the grocery store, these guys are made with real cheese. Oh, and on top of all that, the dough comes together in five minutes in the food processor.

You’re welcome.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadThis dough really couldn’t be simpler. Start by grating half a pound of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadPut some flour, black pepper, cayenne, and salt in a food processor.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadThrow the cheese in there and pulse everything into a rubble.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadSpicy Cheddar ShortbreadAdd some cold butter and a teaspoon of mustard…

Spicy Cheddar Shortbreadand process it until it’s dough.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadForm it into logs, wrap it in plastic, and give it a chill. Then slice…

Spicy Cheddar Shortbreadand bake.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadMaybe serve them next to a big pile of apple slices, just to be extra seasonal. Or maybe put them on a cheese plate. I’m gonna do that for aaaallllllll the holiday parties.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadBut I’m also going to pile them in a jar and eat them by their lonesome because they’re so good, they don’t need any accoutrements. I suggest you do the same.

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadHappy Thanksgiving, dear readers 💗

Spicy Cheddar ShortbreadSpicy Cheddar Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen shortbread

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
8 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard

Combine flour, cayenne, black pepper, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter, cheddar, and mustard, and process until a dough ball forms. Divide dough in half and form into two 8-inch logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices and place at least an inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden at the edges. Let cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Shortbread are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to two days.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

  Well, I know I just vowed to make some healthier recipes this month, but things have changed. Namely, the temperature. November and December were positively spring-like. It was 71 degrees on Christmas Eve! But now, winter has reared its ugly head, and it’s a frigid 18 degrees. It’s supposed to get up to a balmy 30 this afternoon though😁 There is a time and place for super healthy dinners, but my kitchen on a day when the temperature never creeps above freezing is. not. it. Weather like this calls for Baked Macaroni & Cheese: al dente macaroni covered in a velvety cheese sauce, then topped with crispy panko bread crumbs and baked ’til bubbly. With a salad or some roasted vegetables, it’s a perfect meal for these frigid days.

Macaroni & Cheese needs no introduction, of course. It’s everyone’s favorite comfort food. It’s super simple to make, taking less than an hour from putting the water on to boil to taking the final product out of the oven. It’s nearly as fast as the boxed stuff (and way more delicious). Also, this recipe makes enough for an army, so it’s perfect for freezing. It also halves easily. If you’ve never taken the time to make macaroni & cheese from scratch, this is a great recipe to start with–it may just keep you from ever buying the box again!

Baked Macaroni & Cheese starts with boiling water for pasta. Cook the macaroni for 4.5-5 minutes, until it’s just barely al dente. If it is fully cooked, it might be too soft after baking in the cheese sauce. The last thing we want is gummy mac & cheese. Drain the pasta and put it back in its cooking pot while you make the sauce.
  The sauce is the key to making really spectacular mac & cheese. It’s very simple to put together, but requires your full attention while it’s cooking. Start by heating 3 cups of whole milk, just until it’s warm to the touch. Make a roux by melting butter in a large saucepan and then adding an equal amount of flour. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, until it’s a golden yellow paste. Stir in one teaspoon of prepared Dijon mustard. This will offset the richness of all the dairy–I promise it will not make your mac & cheese taste like Grey Poupon! Slowly whisk the warm milk into the roux. Do not stop whisking until it thickens a bit. You want to be able to see faint whisk “tracks” before you start adding the cheese. Whisk in cheese by the handful, making sure that everything melts completely. Once the sauce has a smooth, even consistency, stir in salt and pepper. This will seem like a ton of sauce for the amount of macaroni, but as baked mac & cheese tends to dry out a bit in the oven, we need a lot of sauce to keep everything nice and creamy. 

Pour the sauce into the pot with the cooked pasta and fold it all together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer the coated pasta into a buttered pan (I used two pie plates, but this also fits in a 9×13″ casserole dish). Top with panko breadcrumbs and dot with butter before baking for 15 minutes at 400F. Once the breadcrumbs are starting to turn brown, it’s ready! Let the full pan(s) cool for a few minutes before serving.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese involves a lot of steps, but none of them are difficult. The most tasking part is making the sauce, and that really isn’t hard at all! So, now that it’s cold out, ditch the box and make something way, way better. Your family and friends will thank you for it.
 Baked Macaroni & Cheese
makes one 9×13″ pan or two 9″ pie plates
serves 10-12

1 pound (16 ounces) dried macaroni*
3 cups whole milk*
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard*
2 1/2 cups grated melting cheese, like extra-sharp cheddar*
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs*

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter one 9×13″ pan or two 9″ pie plates. Set aside.

Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add dried macaroni and cook until barely al dente, about 4.5-5 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot it cooked in.

Warm whole milk over low heat* until it’s just warm to the touch. Remove from heat.

Put a large saucepan over medium heat. Melt six tablespoons of butter. Add flour and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the roux is a golden yellow color, about two minutes. Whisk in Dijon mustard. Slowly add warmed milk to the pan, whisking constantly. Once the mixture has started to thicken,* add grated cheese by the handful, making sure it all melts before adding more. Once the sauce has an even consistency, whisk in the salt and black pepper before removing the pan from the heat.

Pour the sauce into the pot with the drained pasta. Fold pasta and sauce together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Pour mixture into prepared pan(s).* Top with panko and dot with two tablespoons of butter. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let cool five minutes before serving.

Notes:

1. Use any small pasta you like. Shells or cavatappi are good choices here.
2. You may use 1% or 2% milk, but I do not recommend using skim or fat free.
3. This may be substituted with 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder, or left out entirely.
4. I prefer Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar in my mac & cheese, but any combination of melting cheeses will work.
5. Regular plain breadcrumbs may be substituted.
6. Milk may also be heated in the microwave.
7. If sauce gets too thick, add milk until it has thinned to your liking.
8. At this point, macaroni & cheese may be frozen in a pan for up to two months. Bake from frozen for one hour, adding panko topping at the 45 minute mark.