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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sandwich Stuff - Olive and Pimento Cheese

All dressed up and ready to go!

I'm kind of a sucker for pimento cheese. It's always been a favorite of mine, but the tubs the commercial stuff comes in are either too small or too expensive, although I have been guilty of buying the giant size Prices' Pimento Cheese when I could get it. Hardly anyone sells it or understands pimento cheese up here in the Pacific Northwest, so I have been reduced to making it myself. This is one of my experimental version with which I am pleased.

It's kind of an "all-in" / clean off the cheese shelf kind of versions of this popular (at least in my neck of the woods it's popular) sandwich spread.  Every wedding has to have little triangular tuna sandwiches and little triangular pimento cheese sandwiches, so if you're doing a sandwich supper for the potluck gang, here's the first of several really good sandwich fillers.  I've already given you Sheila's vege-chicken salad. This goes great as a partner on the buffet board.

Ingredients:
  • Medium Cheddar Cheese (more of this than the others - you need that cheddary flavor)
  • Velveeta Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Swiss or American Cheese or whatever other cheesy oddments you have left on the cheese shelf in the fridge. The more the merrier I think.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Green olives (stuffed with pimento)
  • Black Olives
  • More Pimento if you like lots of pimento
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Pineapple (alternative to olives and pimento)
Directions:
  1. Cut up the cheeses into cubes and place them into a food processor with the chopper blade set. Don't fool with the grater attachment. It's messy and unnecessary.
  2. Chop the cheese into chunky bits.
  3. Add a spoon or two of sweet pickle relish and bump the "pulse" button
  4. Add pimento and olives and bump the pulse button until everything is chopped. .
  5. Add Mayonnaise and bump the food processor a few times till it's blended in.
  6. Scrape it all into a nice Tupperware bowl (I like the glass ones best), put the lid on it and you're ready to take it to potluck with your vege-chicken salad.
  7. You can pretty much leave the rest of the recipe the same only leave out the olives, pimentos and pickle relish and substitute pineapple chunks and you have Pineapple Cheese. It is a little more sweet than your usual pimento cheese spread. It's a little different taste, but I really like the pineapple variant of this recipe. Warning! Don't mix pineapple and olives. The chemistry of the two doesn't mix well. I tried it. It's kind of bitter.
Serving Suggestions:

This is really good on those triangular sandwiches all made up in advance or you can just take the tub along and let folks make their own sandwiches with it.  It also makes a nice dip kind of spread to put in the center of your vegetable and chips tray next to the French onion dip. I personally use Wheat Thins or tortilla chips to steal bites of pimento cheese out of the fridge even before we get to potluck.

As soon as I get me a can of Vege-links, I'll post my Vege-Weenie Sandwich Spread. It's really good stuff and makes a nice companion sandwich spread to pimento cheese. Meanwhile fool around with the recipe till it works just the way you wanted to. I knew a lady once who bulked her pimento cheese up with some kind of Jello. Not sure what flavor or whether it was unflavored gelatin, however she did it, it was really good stuff! So experiment yourself and come up with your own secret recipe.

Then don't forget to share it with me.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Vege Chicken Wings



This was an experimental dish I tried with some Morningstar Farms Chicken Strips. It's pretty simple and my head chef tasted it and approved, so you know it's good. The MSF strips are pretty small, but you could adapt the recipe to use cut up strips of Fri-Chik or pretty much any other vege-chicken substitutes including both canned or frozen types. The trick is how you prepare it.

Ingredients:
  • Vege-chicken strips or cut into strips
  • Two eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Martha White cornbread mix (no lard in that one)
  • 1/8 cup flour 
  • Pinch of salt (to taste)
  • Vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. If frozen, thaw the chicken strips
  2. In Fry-Daddy or deep pan, heat vegetable oil - enough to cover the strips
  3. Set out two wide flat bowls 
  4. In the first bowl mix two eggs and the milk - stir with a whisk
  5. In the second bowl, pour the box of cornbread mix and flour and salt if desired
  6. Lay out the vege-chicken strips or cut up the vege-chicken pieces into strips 
  7. Set the vege-chicken strips into the egg wash bowl. Coat the pieces evenly with the egg wash. I cover the bowl with a plate and shake it so everything gets covered.
  8. Put the strips into the cornmeal mix and flour mixture and coat the strips evenly.
  9. Place the strips into the hot oil and fry them till they are golden brown. 
  10. Drain the cooked pieces on layers of paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Serving suggestions:

Eat them like you would chicken wings. They make a nice appetizer or part of a snack tray or as a main course. I even got to try out an odd bottle of wing sauce somebody gave me. Hot but tasty. You can also make dipping sauces with those little cups like they give you at the Mexican restaurant. You can buy them four for a buck at the Dollar Store.  They go great with ranch dressing, barbecue sauce (Bull's Eye or KC Masterpiece is the best), sweet and sour sauce or wing sauce.

See, even vegetarians can have fun foods!

© 2017 by Tom King







Monday, June 12, 2017

Vegeburger Marzetti




Vegeburger Marzetti


This recipe comes from Sandy Hancock Weir who comes from my little Adventist college home town - the home of many an excellent vegetarian recipe. I'm going to make this one soon and I'll get back to you on my personal opinion, but in reviewing the ingredients and preparation techniques, I see no way this won't taste absolutely wonderful. Sandy says this one is a family favorite and you can hardly go wrong with someone's family's favorite Adventist potluck recipe. Sandy thoughtfully sent along photos of the stages of the Marzetti-making process. I love Adventists cooks. No one prepares food with more love and enthusiasm. Don't you just love living in America where a Texas Adventist gal of English lineage is an expert cook with an Italian dish as her specialty? Now THAT is how the melting pot works!

Ingredients:
  • 1 Medium onion (finely chopped)
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 can Worthington® Burger
  • 2-14.5 oz can Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with
  • Rosemary & Oregano or Basil, Garlic & Oregano (I use one of each)
  • 1-2.25 oz can Black Olives - sliced
  • 1-6 oz jar Mushrooms - sliced
  • 3 cups Cooked Barilla® Thin Spaghetti
  • 1-32 oz bag Grated yellow cheese
Directions:
  1. Use a Dutch oven to cook the spaghetti. When done drain and set aside. 
  2. Using the same pan, add the onion and celery and simmer in oil until soft. 
  3. Add burger, tomatoes (and juice), mushrooms, black olives and spaghetti. 
  4. Fold mixture together until well mixed. 
  5. Spoon ½ of mixture in a large baking dish and cover with a layer of grated yellow cheese. 
  6. Pour remaining mixture over cheese and top with another layer of cheese. 
  7. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. 
  8. Let sit for 5-10 minutes after you take it out of the oven to let the cheese harden. It is hard to get out of the dish otherwise.
Serving Suggestion:

Serve with a salad, Italian dressing, garlic toast or French bread, and a drink.
Serves 12-15 at potluck - (Less if served at home, and using larger portions)

©  2017 by and with thanks to Sandy Wier, San Antonio, TX for the recipe.