Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pimiento cheese (p. 179) and Sweet-and-sour pork (p. 504)

Pimiento cheese (p. 179) spread is something that I've seen at the grocery counter a thousand times but never actually eaten, likely because I don't like pimientos. Every grocery store from Kroger to Whole Foods has a version of it. So what interested me in making it today? Two things. First, my mom likes spreads and I was pretty sure she would like this one. Second, I had been reading the Jane Jameson (Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men, and Nice Girls Don't Live Forever) books by Molly Harper and Jane encounters a lot of pimiento spread, which intrigued me. I read a lot and Harper's books are the only really good chick-lit I've ever read--I can't recommend them enough. They were laugh out loud funny and I kept dog-earring pages to read to Josh later.

I thought TJOC would be likely to have a pretty solid pimiento cheese spread and I wanted to know what it tasted like.

I mixed chopped pimientos, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, dry mustard (which I must have bought for my mom before because she actually had it), Worcestershire sauce, and ground red pepper:

I then mixed in finely grated cheddar and colby cheese:

It was really simple and good! I still don't like pimientos, so I doubt I would whip this up for myself, but both Josh and mom liked it and said it was good on crackers or bread. It was nice and creamy with just the right amount of cheese. I think this would make a perfect dish for a potluck. It's funny that I find so many potluck recipes in TJOC when I never go to potlucks...

I don't like green peppers and I'm allergic to pineapple, so I had been holding off on Sweet-and-sour pork (p. 504). My mom always used to tell me that she used to make a really good sweet and sour pork, so I thought she'd be the perfect test subject for the TJOC version.

I mixed pineapple juice, chicken stock, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. I thought the recipe called for an awful lot of salty ingredients so I looked it over again--I mistook teaspoons for tablespoons and had used way too much Worcestershire sauce. I threw it out and started again. It was a good thing that I had plenty of everything!

I added browned pork and simmered it for an hour:

I then added pineapple chunks, green pepper, and sliced onion:

And cooked it for a little longer. Mom said it was really good, although she would like the pepper cut more into chunks than slices. I wanted it to be that horrible red color it is at Panda Express but it was a boring brown. It didn't have much sugar in it, though, and the pork wasn't deep fried, so I'm guessing it's considerably healthier than the sweet-and-sour pork in most Chinese restaurants.

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