Tag Archives: pimento cheese

Restaurant Review: Beaufort Grocery, a Gem on the North Carolina Coastline (with video)

Sometimes, Gentle Readers, you can teach an old dog a new trick. Just when The Practical Cook thought her love of pimento cheese could NOT be any greater, along comes a new twist, in the form of being topped by pickled Granny Smith apples and red onions.  Welcome to the Beaufort Grocery Company in Beaufort, NC (not SC). I almost wept into the canapes it was so delicious.

Beaufort Grocery Pimento Cheese Plate with Marinated Granny Smith Apples and Onions and Spicy Candied Pecans

Beaufort Grocery Pimento Cheese Plate with Pickled Granny Smith Apples and Onions and Spicy Candied Pecans

Let’s roll the tape, shall we?

A note about the plate above. In the video I call it walnut brittle, as that is what the menu said, but further munching and crunching determined that it was pecan, and for more like a candied, spiced number than a brittle. It was delish, regardless.

Hello my precious new favorite pimento cheese.

Hello my precious new favorite pimento cheese.

Back to lunch, we had the appetizer, followed by a Blackened Grouper sandwich with feta, mango salsa, and greens. I tried to order the sweet potato chips, because that is what I do, but they were out.

The catch of the day: Blackened Grouper on Foccacia with mango salsa, feta, and greens.

The catch of the day: Blackened Grouper on Foccacia with mango salsa, feta, and greens.

To make up for it, they gave me some Texas caviar, and I fell in love. Seriously, I’ve been working to perfect it. They have a cookbook, and I’m strongly considering it for the caviar alone. I really heart black-eyed peas, and this was outstanding.

The Beaufort Grocery Sammie Menu: I love the names!

The Beaufort Grocery Sammie Menu: I love the names!

I was dining with Complicated Vegetarian, and her veggie wrap was good, but not off the charts. We’ve brunched at Beaufort Grocery before, and there were more veggie-friendly options then. We finished strong with pecan pie. It was deep, sweet, and almost overwhelming. I liked it a lot, but probably liked the spicy candied pecans a little more. The depth of pie meant not quite as many salty pecans to balance the sweet. However, I did lick the plate, I’m not going to lie.

This is one deep-dish pecan pie.

This is one deep-dish pecan pie.

If you go for brunch, just start ordering things, and don’t look up until you’re done. There is nothing bad on the brunch menu. For someone like me, who is allergic to shellfish and can get pretty tired of the “fried seafood joints,” Beaufort Grocery is like a siren song. Special thanks to my MIL by Choice (we are related not by blood, but by her being awesome) and my SIL for the recommendation and accommodations!

The Beaufort Grocery is worth the drive and the wait!

The Beaufort Grocery is worth the drive and the wait!

Do you have a favorite restaurant on the NC coast? Post a comment here, or Tweet!

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Tomorrow, it’s time for Weekly Menus again!

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Pate of the South: Pimento Cheese

For all of the emergency canapes in the world today, pimento cheese is a staple in the Practical Cook’s household, and a key punt ingredient.  Number one, it’s cheese, number two, it’s a dip, a spread, and a topping, and number three, it’s delicious.

Pimento Cheese in Its Natural Setting, Atop Celery

Pimento Cheese in Its Natural Setting, Atop Celery

There are many fine commercial renditions available, from the Whole Foods high-end to the Velveeta and Duke’s mayo for the purists, with and without jalepeños, and even made with pepperjack. For the non-Southerners here, it’s pronounced without any real hard consonants, all run together: pimenacheese.

But wait, do you hate mayo? This is a common issue, and though I would question how you survive tomato season (do you butter those tomato sandwiches?), the recipe that follows is more cheese spread than mayo-fest.

Pate of the South: Pimento Cheese Recipe

Adapted from Louis Osteen’s  Charleston Cuisine, best made with Tillam0ok or similarly sharp cheddar

1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated sweet onion
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 ounces whole peeled pimentos, drained and quartered
freshly cracked pepper to taste

1. Mix everything but pimentos together by hand—blend well, but don’t overmix.

2. Add the pimentos and stir until fully incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings according to preference.

3. Store in the fridge overnight so flavors meld. Let it warm up before serving for full flavor.

**Tips: This recipe doubles and quadruples well. It’s a great hostess gift, packed in a small jam jar or ramekin. Because this recipe relies on cream cheese instead of mayo, it is more akin to “pub cheese” or a cheese ball in texture. It makes a phenomenal topping for bagels, if you like fusion cuisine.

Pimento Cheese Party Plate

Pimento Cheese Party Plate

5 Quick Ideas for Pimento Cheese Application

  • Grilled pimento cheese sandwich with tomato, bacon, and baby spinach
  • On a toasted baguette round as a fancy canape
  • Spread on celery, a classic for a reason
  • In a whole wheat tortilla with romaine or iceberg lettuce, cut into 1 inch pieces, Southern Sushi
  • Top a tomato with it

Or perhaps my sentimental favorite, spread thick on the squishiest, whitest bread the grocery store has to offer, in the dead of night, when no one is looking (this works best with the more mayonnaisey varietals). Some childhood habits die hard, and I’m not going to kill this one without a good reason.

This concludes another week of Practical Cooking. Join us tomorrow for Weekly Menus.

Until then, do you have a favorite Pimento Cheese recipe? Send it in, the Practical Cook test kitchen is open: practical cook at gmail dot com

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