Whether you enjoy it as a side dish or a main course, there’s one recipe that’s an essential for the southern foodie – pimiento cheese!
Ironically my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook didn’t contain a pimiento cheese recipe… likely because making the stuff was a culinary instinct for my Texas born and bred Mom – the recipe was memorized.
I interviewed my family (Jennifer!) and friends and curated the recipe below which makes a nice staple for your kitchen or as a gift for friends. Whether you serve pimiento cheese from a china plate or at a tailgate, “P.C.” is one dish that’s an undisputed crowd pleaser.
Pimento vs. Pimiento?
Pretty much my entire adult foodie life I’ve been plagued with how pimiento is spelled. I’ve often heard it referred to as “pimento” (3 syllables) or “pimiento” (4 syllables). Pimiento appears to be the correct spelling according to the Southern’s Bible, Southern Living, as well as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. While either pronunciation will work, I prefer “pimiento” to “pimento.” Just pronounce it with confidence and don’t second guess the raised eyebrows you may receive. :)
I encourage you to explore the numerous ways to enjoy pimiento cheese including:
- Pimiento cheese-bacon cheeseburgers (score Bobby Flay’s recipe here)
- Pimiento cheese grits
- Pimiento cheese dip (see the bonus recipe below)
- Grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches
- Macaroni and pimiento cheese
- Pimiento cheese deviled eggs
- Pimiento cheese sausage balls
- Pimiento cheese ravioli
- Pimiento cheese schmeared on celery (my long-standing favorite)
Growing up my Mom would simply spread ¾ – ½ inch of the Texas gold between some sliced ButterKrust bread and that was that. Heaven!
❤ In a pinch for a few of the ingredients? There is an actual difference between pimientos and red bell peppers. So if you don’t use true pimientos, you can use a jar of roasted red bell peppers (drained and chopped) or red bell peppers, (roasted, seeded, and chopped). You can substitute white wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar.
❤ There are several alternate ingredients for making pimiento cheese including paprika or cayenne spices, yellow onion, finely chopped green onion tops – even toasted and chopped Texas pecans. Try your hand at finding the ones you like best!
❤ There are also several options to pair with your pimiento cheese – Triscuit crackers, naan, artisan breads, toasted breads, pita chips, vegetables… or as my Cousin Jennifer suggests “amply by spoon.”
Total prep: Same day or longer… depending on your patience. And your palette.
½ pound | cream cheese, softened
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | goya brand jarred pimientos, chopped (see substitute above)
1 teaspoon | lea and perrin’s worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon | sherry vinegar (see substitute above)
¼ teaspoon | cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon | kosher salt
½ pound | monterrey jack cheese, grated
¾ pound | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
handful | green onion tops, chopped (optional, but wildly suggested)
iii. What to do
0. Set out the cream cheese to soften (about 45 minutes to an hour).
1. In a medium-sized bowl stir the first seven ingredients with a spatula or spoon.
2. With a spatula, fold in the Monterrey and Cheddar cheeses and mix well. If you prefer a smoother (vs. chunkier) cheese you can continue to mash the cheese with a fork. If desired add the green onions inside the pimiento cheese and or sprinkle them on top for some color.
3. Transfer the cheese into storage/serving containers. Spreads easiest fresh; if you store it in the fridge until you’re ready to devour, you’ll likely want to let it rest, uncovered, until it’s creamy and pliable.
Cheers to the gold and red!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
*** BONUS RECIPE > PIMIENTO CHEESE DIP ***
My cousin Julie emailed me a recipe she said she saw in Southern Living for their spin on a melty Pimiento Cheese Dip. I couldn’t find the recipe online so this is extra special:
4 ounces | velveeta
¼ cup | whole milk
3 tablespoons | pimientos
½ teaspoon | paprika
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
what to do:
1. Microwave the Velveeta for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Microwave a few more seconds until the cheese is melted.
2. Whisk in the milk, pimentos, paprika, and pepper.
Serve while it’s warm with your favorite pairings (pita, celery, etc. per above).
Tucked in the very back of Mom’s cookbook is a tiny accordion-folded recipe booklet called “How to use your Treat-Time Toaster.” You can enjoy a scan of it below.
I had thumbed passed this booklet many times before but in late January 2017 I finally took my curiosity online to try and find out what a “Treat-Time Toaster” might actually be.
In just a few clicks I found myself at eBay where I discovered these toasters were in fact vintage grilled sandwich makers. These were the same things I remember being in our kitchen at Trailend Drive – Mom used them to fashion some of the coolest grilled cheese sandwiches ever!
After quickly checking with my older brothers about the whereabouts of our toasters, I sadly realized they were long, long gone.
Gone, too, was the company who made them – NuRod, Inc., based out of Monrovia California. So since I couldn’t score one of my own new Treat-Time Toasters, I found a set of two vintage toasters that I scored on eBay for about $30, including shipping.
A few days later a bountiful box arrived at my home and boy, was I excited! Soon my kitchen would be turning out delicious sandwich snacks. The possibilities were endless, thanks to the recipe booklet that contained 13 ideas for transforming mere bread into a myriad of mouthwatering delights filled with awe-inspiring ingredients like cocktail sausages, bologna, baked beans, raisin bread, marmalade, fried eggs and more.
Are you salivating yet?
The Treat-Time Toaster looked part flying saucer and part clamshell. Placing the toaster over campfire or stove in mere seconds you can create panini, grilled sandwiches, pocket sandwiches … anything your mind and appetite can conjure!
The toaster churns out culinary delights that remind me of those from the raclette tabletop grill, which has been a favorite kitchen accessory of mine for many years.
The adman in me appreciated reading the recipe booklet that appears to have been written by Donna Reade, who was Director of Consumer Service at Nu-Rod. I cracked a few smiles when I read passages like “You’ll find family and friends runnin’ back for more,” “Not only delicious but filling” and “M-M-M-boy!”
The folks at Nu-Rod also knew a little something about target marketing back in the early 1960s. I found evidence of ads for their Treat-Time Sandwich Maker in Popular Science, Boys’ Life, Mobile Home Journal, and V.F.W. Journal.
where did it all go wrong?
So if the Treat-Time Toaster is so awesome, why did it disappear from America’s kitchens almost as fast as it arrived?!
Based on my online research Nu-Rod was in existence from 1960-1970 and then their digital footprint is no more. Perhaps they were intent on connecting the Treat-Time Toaster with men more so than women? Or perhaps the name “Treat-Time Toaster” was too innovative at the time.
Whatever the case all I know is I’m glad I’ve reconnected my appetite with this fond foodie kitchen gizmo.
❤ While supplies last you can likely find vintage Treat-Time Toasters on Ebay or similar machines like these on Amazon or like these. I ordered two so that I didn’t have to share my toaster with anyone else! Hey, twice the fun!
❤ The ingredients list below is for the most basic – and delicious – grilled cheese sandwich. But don’t let your imagination and appetite stop here – try any of the original recipes in the Treat-Time Toaster recipe book (below)… or you let your imagination go wild. My top three favorite sandwiches are grilled cheese, PB&J, and our own creation – a grilled caprese sandwich (shown above), crafted from mozzarella, fresh basil leaves from the garden and a few slices of red tomato.
i. ingredients (per serving)
2 slices | white bread (or artisan bread if you’re feeling très gourmet)
schmears | falfurrias brand butter
assorted | ingredients for your sandwich (melting cheese, crisp bacon, sliced tomato, etc.)
no-stick cooking spray or butter | to grease your toaster
(optional) to serve | your favorite condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, honey, etc.)
ii. what to do
1. Butter the outside of two slices of bread and set aside. Hey, if you’re feeling adventurous you can also butter the inside, if butter complements your chosen ingredients.
2. Top one inside with your chosen ingredients, making sure to keep things mingling toward the center of the bread.
5. Hold/Place the Treat-Time Toaster over campfire or medium-fired kitchen stovetop for 1-2 minutes on each side. I used my toaster inside over a gas range. I experimented a few times to find the right combination of flame and time to deliver the perfect oozy, gooey, buttery treat.
Serve warm with your favorite sides!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
A word about bread…
One of my favorite childhood memories happened when our elementary school (go, Northwood Unicorns) made an outing to San Antonio’s ButterKrust Bakery that graciously rested alongside 2251 Broadway Street.
I’m confident my love of carbs was born that day. In fact, every time I drove past the bakery (passenger or driver), the window somehow found itself miraculously resting so I could enjoy the waft of butter and bread while the wind whipped through my hair. Never underestimate the power of bread!
Yup. I scored this vintage spot for you!
This stroganoff steak sandwich recipe is a continuation of the ultimate holiday meal which begins with this tomato bisque recipe, which you’ve gotta check out if you want your holiday meal to be complete. ;)
You’ll also be able to read a little more about how this recipe was selected for Betty’s Cook Nook plus learn about the photographer who took the picture of the 1970s Christmas family below.
foodie tips ~
♥ I was a little bummed when I started this recipe then discovered the meat needed to marinate overnight. Turns out it was well worth the wait. The flavor was delicious. I hope you agree!
♥ I’m a Texan. So in the ingredient ranges noted below, I always round UP.
♥ The bread. At the store I was in a flurry and forgot to pick up some french bread. I used some thin sliced white I had loitering in the pantry and still loved this sandwich. Use your favorite sliced bread and you’ll be AOK. I promise.
♥ I prefer these sandwiches warm. If you follow the original recipe they are likely to be room temperature cool. Either way, you win.
♥ Some people cry over spilled milk. When I later realized I forgot to butter my bread I have to admit a few sniffles were born.
⅔ cup | beer
⅓ cup | vegetable oil
1 – 2 teaspoons | salt
¼ – ½ teaspoon | garlic powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
all the rest:
2 pounds (1” thick) | flank steak
2 tablespoons | falfurrias brand butter
½ teaspoon | paprika
to taste | salt
2 cups | white onion, sliced
6 slices | buttered french bread, toasted
1 cup | sour cream (I’m crazy for Daisy)
½ – 1 teaspoon | prepared horseradish
ii. what to do
1. Place the steak in a shallow dish. Combine the first 5 ingredients above and pour this marinade over the steak. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day … drain the steak and broil it 3 inches from the heat for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare in an electric oven (gas boiling tips here) or until its the desired degree of doneness. Slice across the grain in thin slices and set aside. Keep warm if you can.
4. Combine the sour cream and horseradish in a saucepan. Place over low heat, stirring until warm.
5. Place some onions on the buttered bread, top with a few steak slices then a dollop of your sour cream mixture. You can smear your dollop on top of your sandwich. I left mine a dollop for photo-taking purposes. Add a dash more paprika on top and you’re ready to dive in!
Yield: About 4-6 servings
Here’s a scan of the original recipe! Note the missing Apple Cider recipe (how could they?!). No worries – I have a substitute recipe coming soon.