Hey! You guys remember me? I used to write these articles about food and booze (and one time I put booze IN food). I also used a lot of parentheticals (that’s a ridiculously long word meaning I put WAY too much stuff inside of parenthesis [well, it doesn’t ACTUALLY mean that, but let’s be honest, I use these things A LOT!]). Well, just like John Goodman’s Rex from the 199 3animated masterwork We’re Back!….I’m back! My jokes have obviously suffered during this hiatus.
But my food hasn’t!
You know when you’re a kid and you just despise certain foods? When I was younger, the IDEA of eating tomatoes was just appalling to me.They were really gross and overly juicy, and they made what I was eating too soggy. The thing is, as you grow up, your taste buds begin to change. I still don’t really enjoy huge, thick slices of the fruit (THAT’S RIGHT IT’S A FRUIT!), but I have learned to appreciate what tomatoes can bring to a burger, a taco or a delicious salsa. I don’t feel the same about bananas. I hate bananas. Bananas will never be ok. Bananas are evil. Bad, bad bananas.
One such food that I’ve currently let out of the doghouse (the first person that makes a Baha Men reference gets punched) is pimento cheese. When I was younger, the orange goop with bits of red sprinkled throughout used to disgust me. It just didn’t look very appetizing. If anyone had really taken the time to tell me the actual ingredients, I feel I would have been more prone to like the southern staple, but alas, my eyes told my mouth that pimento cheese was gross. That change came when I started making what I call “Food Year Resolutions”. Every New Year, I don’t make any lofty goals like losing ten pounds or stopping drinking or bettering myself in any way, shape or form. No no! I resolve to teach myself to make one new food thing I’ve always wanted to learn. I’ve learned to make grits delicious. I’ve taught myself how to make truffles. And last year, I taught myself pimento cheese, or as I always find myself calling it: Puhmennah Cheese.
Hunter’s Southern Puhmennah Cheese
1 Red Bell Pepper
16 ounces of grated Cheddar Cheese
2 ounces of softened Cream Cheese
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
That’s all that’s in pimento cheese! That’s it! There isn’t some awful life threatening symbiote in the concoction. There isn’t a gypsy curse that you sprinkle on at the end. Nope. Just a red bell pepper, cheddar cheese, cream cheese and mayonnaise. You can also add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper will need to be added to taste, but none of those ingredients are evil soul sucking spices that made pimento cheese horrify me as a child.
Start by doing a very fine dice on your red bell pepper. I simply used the jarred variety (it makes the whole process go by much quicker). The jar should contain around two peppers, so use half of the jar. Once you’ve diced the pepper, cut your cream cheese into pieces and toss it into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Using your handy dandy plastic spoon, blend the ingredients together until everything is thoroughly mixed. Not only is pimento cheese not a silent killer, it’s also one of the easiest recipes I’ve made on this website.
Another beautiful aspect of my puhmennah cheese is that it’s versatile. You can throw it on a plate and have people attack it with crackers (Cracker attacker…that’s fun to say! Everyone say it! Cracker Attacker Cracker Attacker Cracker Attacker), or you can toast two slices of bread and put a nice portion of the spread in between for a puhmennah cheese sandwich. Either way,the cheese is the star. There’s a wonderfully creamy texture from the mayonnaise and the cream cheese (duh. Cream cheese…creamy texture), but the sharpness of the cheddar cheese also gives it substance. Then, you hit the subtle spice and sweetness of the red bell pepper. It’s such a unique flavor experience that I got angry with myself for hating it for so long. I’ve since grown up and evolved, but f*&# bananas. F*&# bananas to death!