Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pimento Cheese Dip

This time each year I get very excited for the Masters tournament for two reasons: 1) obviously, watching some good golf on the tube, and 2) maybe even more importantly, justified indulgence of Pimento Cheese.

Pimentos were first imported to the U.S. from Spain, until farmers down South were smart enough to grow the peppers in-house.  Thus from its roots (literally), Pimento cheese is a southern tradition.  So, with the Masters held each year in the southern city of Augusta, Georgia, it's no surprise to find Pimento Cheese sandwiches as a signature dish of the tourney.  It also makes for a convenient picnic-type food for both the grazing players and spectators.

Everyone has their own Pimento Cheese recipe, and Augusta National Golf Club's specific blend remains a mystery to this day, but I like mine this way:

2 cups Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (orange color is more traditional)
2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese
4 oz. Cream Cheese *
1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 4 oz. jar of pimentos
1 teaspoon of finely grated Onion,with juices

* Fully loaded has the most flavor. If you are trying to go healthier, you can get the Light version, but I wouldn't recommend Fat Free because it loses the flavor altogether.

In a medium sized bowl, combine together all of the ingredients (use that muscle).

 Let chill for at least 2 hours (best after 1-2 days). Keeps for 7-10 days.

Serve it up with crackers and chips, or carrots and celery. My favorite is to make little sandwiches, white bread being the most traditional.