Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Theme and Variation: Kimchi Pimento Cheese

Contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food makes a truly impressive pimento cheese spread, one of those gotta-have-it signature recipes that qualifies as legendary. I'm planning on taking this new variation to our upcoming Fourth of July Free-for-All trip to the Gifford Pinchot.

I spent the weekend camping on a beach on the Columbia with a bunch of fathers I’ve known for more than 40 years. Beach bocce, boating adventure, too many mosquitoes and lots of good food made for fun-filled days.

Here’s one of the things I made for the trip.

Kimchi Pimento Cheese

I made my usual batch of pimento cheese, but added about half cup of the kimchi I made at a Portland Culinary Alliance workshop a few weeks ago.

1.25-1.5 lbs cheddar, roughly even mix of yellow medium and white sharp
4 roasted, peeled, seeded red bell peppers (about 2 cups worth after the peeling, etc., or the equivalent amount of roasted red peppers from a jar, either red, pimento or piquillo)
2-3 Tbsp. mayonnaise (homemade or Best Foods, aka Hellman’s east of the Mississippi; Duke’s in the south)
1 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. good bourbon
Crystal hot sauce to taste
1/2 c. kimchi (Choi's, a local company, is wonderful if you don't have your own)

Grate the cheese with a box grater or with a food processor (I prefer hand grating since you need the processor bowl with the steel blade for the next step and I don’t want to have to clean it). Combine the peppers and other ingredients (here’s where you add the kimchi, but not the cheese) in the processor and pulse a few times. Add the cheese and pulse until well mixed, but not so much that you can’t detect little bits of red pepper. You want everything chopped and mixed but not pureed.

Eat with bread, crackers, raw vegetables, or, like we did, on chorizo and egg breakfast tacos with a little shredded cabbage and extra Crystal hot sauce.

Get my recipe for incorporating his basic pimento cheese spread into a truly unique mac'n'cheese. Bet this kimchi version would work as well!

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