After drifting in my memory back to the tea parties I shared with my aunt Margaret as a small child, I wondered what I might serve to that little girl with big blue eyes and pigtails if, by some miracle of time travel and spatial manipulation, she was to drop by my kitchen today. Of course we'd have Ruffles, Coke and mini powdered donuts, but what else?
~ the Barefoot Contessa's pan-fried onion dip
~ tea sandwiches on white bread, the crusts cut off, smeared with homemade pimiento cheese, or goat cheese and artichokes, or mayonnaise with cucumbers
~ bread and butter sandwiches
~ whichever gorgeous chocolate treats from Cocoa Bella suit my mood
~ Krispy Kreme donuts in original glazed and dulce de leche filled
~ champagne or ginger ale cocktails with fizzy cherry soda and maraschino cherries (thanks to Little Star for the idea)
Catherine's Pimiento Cheese
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
This recipe is a mix of one I tore out of Everyday Food and my grandmother's tried and true. I realized with a shock a few months ago that many people, namely those who grew up west and north of the Mason-Dixon line, have never had it. You're missing out. The semi-spreadable cheddary cheese is spiced up with a hit of sweet red pepper and cayenne. It's best on crackers or bread and makes a killer grilled cheese sammidge.
3 TBSP mayonnaise (low-fat is okay)
2 oz. cream cheese (low-fat is okay here too)
2 TBSP chopped roasted red peppers (you can buy them or make them yourself)
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp for the faint at heart, 1/4 tsp for the moderately experimental and 1/2 tsp or more for the bold)
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a food processor (or a big bowl, using a spoon) blend together mayo, cream cheese and red peppers until combined.
2. Add cheddar cheese, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Pulse (or mix) again till spreadable and slightly chunky.