Palmetto Cheese and Stuff

I am back in the South. Christmas break went too fast and now I need to refocus and reorganize for the semester.  I picked up a third part time job as a work study assistant in the dance department at USC, plus my other jobs and babysitting…TMI; add that to my academics and dancing… get ready for a roller coaster semester again. I really look forward to the day when can have just one job and it pay the bills… but I am too spastic and like to have spread interests, so that will probably never happen. I hope that at least means I’ll never be boring.

Well, I am sitting in my living room waiting for baked potatoes to come out of the oven and trying to remember what I put into this pseudo-pimento cheese dip I made so I can write it down, and I keep getting side-tracked. (What was the name of the waltz in the Edward Scissor hands film score again?) Anyway, in my attempt to get back on track with my new year’s resolution (yes I know it’s only January 8 and I screwed it already. So what?!), I am cooking and planning “real food” to have in my kitchen this coming week so I don’t eat any sugar-laden crap. At the grocery store the other day I bought some very tasty and very expensive pimento cheese as a treat, since it is, after all, the only South Carolina food item I actually like. It’s pretty good stuff, and that’s because it laden with all sorts of secret fat stuffs. Mmm… so I set out to make my own tonight in the empty container labeled, appropriately, “Palmetto Cheese” (because Palmetto is the state tree and you would have a sticker of one on the back of your car if you lived here if you were one of the cool people). I love to attempt to create or recreate lighter versions of my favorite foods, or make them vegetarian, although the below is not vegan. As my sister will attest, my “creations” don’t always work out so well, but they’re always edible. There’s pretty much no way you could mess up something with this much cheese in it, so go ahead, give it a try, and feel free to amend my recipe as you wish. (If I had a camera I would upload pictures of each recipe I post, but alas, mine died in Spain last year and I haven’t been able to replace it, so Google images will have to do.)


My “Palmetto Cheese”

  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup full fat plain yogurt or sour cream
  • ¼ cup diced roasted red bell peppers or pimentos
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Splash of white vinegar
  • Some garlic powder
  • A little paprika to give it color
  • Salt to taste
  • Plenty of crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 boiled egg (special ingredient)

Peel the egg and set aside white (it will taste good later filled with a little of the dip). Mash egg yoke and all ingredients with a fork. Eat it with crackers or chips, as a topping on scrambled eggs, in grilled cheese sandwhich, or as the Southerners do, over grits (I haven’t tried this last one, so don’t take my word for it).

Easy-peasy Spinach Quiche

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or leftover creamy soup
  • 1-2 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • Little white cooking wine if you have some
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Optional: crushed pita chips or crackers
  • Garlic
  • Frozen spinach

Beat eggs with milk, mustard, cheese and pepper. Stir partially thawed spinach. Pour into greased glass pan, or if you want a crust, layer bottom of pan with chips/crackers and garlic powder and pour egg mixture over it. Sprinkle with a little more parmesan. Bake at 400 F until browned on top, about 15-20 minutes.


Pink Tights Count Down Day 26

Well it’s Monday again. I was surprised to find I lost 2 lb after all the festivities of the weekend. It was so good to spend time with Rachel Monigan and her new husband Ethan – well, new to me. Once I ever settle down and buy a house, I would like to get some art work from the two of them to hang on my walls…and paintings from my own mother too, of course.

I love this time of year: cooler weather, the colors of the changing leaves, gatherings with friends, playing Scrabble inside with a hot cup of coffee and Bailey’s, flannel shirts and sweaters coming out of the closet, a glass of good brandy, orange pumpkins and squashes, golden apples baking with cinnamon… and the quickly approaching holiday season. I love any food with the color orange, and they’re good for you too- all that carotene and vitamin C. This snack/trail mix is my most recent attempt to pacify the health-nut with the candy-whore in me:

(Great for using those seeds from the jack-o-lantern and left-over Halloween candy)

Roasted Pepita Energy Mix

  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt
  • mini M&M’s candies
  • dried, sweetened cranberries

Heat oil in a large stainless-steel skillet over medium heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds, turning to coat. Sprinkle with salt and continue to turn constantly until pepitas began to pop. remove from heat and let cool (or mix in chocolate now to melt). Transfer to a bowl and mix in M&M’s and cranberries if desired. Try to limit yourself to 1/4 cup serving if you’re working on weight control!