To paraphrase the weatherman announcing icy mix, half-inch layer of Pimento Cheese is ready to fall on Super Bowl table courtesy of this recipe from Heritage (Artisan Books, October 2014) by Sean Brock.
Makes 2½ to 3 cups
I’ve seen people almost get into fistfights over who has a better pimento cheese recipe. Southerners don’t mess around when it comes to their cherished “pâté de Sud.” We slather the stuff on everything from celery stalks to saltine crackers, and some people won’t even consider eating a hamburger without a half-inch layer of pimento cheese in the stack.
Everyone has his or her own way of making pimento cheese, but the biggest debate always revolves around what kind of mayo is used. I prefer Duke’s; it happens to be my favorite. But you can use your favorite brand—that’s what making a signature pimento cheese is all about. Of course this is best made with pimento peppers you roast yourself, but if you can’t get the fresh peppers, substitute 12 ounces jarred whole pimentos, drained and diced (don’t use jarred chopped pimentos—they have no flavor).
3 large pimento peppers (about 12 ounces) 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature ½ cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s ½ teaspoon Husk Hot Sauce (page 238) ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon sugar ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika (see Resources, page 326) ¼ cup Pickled Ramps (page 233), chopped, plus ½ cup of the brine 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
1. Roast the peppers over an open flame on a gas stovetop, one pepper at a time, on the prongs of a carving fork. Or place on a baking sheet and roast under a hot broiler. In either case, turn the peppers to blister all sides. Then transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to let the peppers steam until cool enough to handle.
2. Carefully peel the blackened skin off each pepper. Cut the peppers lengthwise in half, open out flat on a cutting board, and carefully scrape away all the seeds and membrane. Dice the peppers.
3. Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until softened. Add the mayonnaise and mix well. Add the hot sauce, salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and smoked paprika and stir to blend. Add the ramps, ramp brine, and cheddar cheese and stir again. Fold in the diced pimentos.
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Tightly covered, the pimento cheese will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Note: For creamer pimento cheese, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Why stop the monster parade on October 31 (Halloween), keep it going with Obake Family Day at Japan Society in New York on Sunday, November 2.
"In this day-long adventure, families are transported to a magical world where Japan's ghosts, goblins and mystical creatures await you. Kids will meet babbling obake, humorous yokai and other curious creatures from Japan's fantastical body of folklore through storytelling, crafts, film, a haunted house and more! Unlimited access is available to the Japan Society Gallery exhibition Garden of Unearthly Delights and food and drink will be available for purchase. Come dressed in your favorite costume and see how many creatures you can conjure up!"
Advance tickets: Adults $12/$10 Japan Society members; kids (ages 3-12) $6/$5 Japan Society members
Day of tickets: Adults $15/$12 Japan Society members; kids (ages 3-12) $8/$6 Japan Society members
This is my kind of apple pie: no rolling, no fussing, no pastry making, and shockingly few dishes to clean up afterward. I always find the bottom crust on apple pie disappointingly mushy anyway, so eliminating it seems like an inspired solution. The trade-off is that when you serve it, it doesn’t hold together so well, but who cares; it isn’t going to last that long anyway. Essentially, this is a tarte Tatin that you don’t flip (so you don’t have to be too worried about what your apple slices look like underneath)—although you can flip it if you want. A lot of tarte Tatin recipes call for puff pastry, but I find that the pastry gets too soggy and condensed once flipped; with this one, the pastry stays high and puffy and crisp and crackly. Named in honor of the Belgian boy reporter who was forever getting flipped when he didn’t want to be.
Makes 8 servings
With so few ingredients, the apples really need to carry this. Tarte Tatin is Calville Blanc’s whole raison d’être, but any firm, tart apple will do, and a mix is even better. GoldRush is fantastic, as are Esopus Spitzenberg, Rhode Island Greening, Roxbury Russet, Newtown Pippin, Winesap, Mutsu, and Granny Smith.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter 1 cup sugar 6–8 large apples, cored, halved, and sliced 1 14-ounce package puff pastry
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring regularly, until the caramel turns golden, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the apples and cook, stirring frequently, until they have absorbed the caramel and everything has turned dark amber, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry and nestle it over the apples in the cast-iron skillet, tucking it down around the sides if possible.
5. Bake about 25 minutes, until the top has turned brown and puffy. Let cool completely, so the insides can gel, before serving.
(* Recipe excerpted from Apples of Uncommon Character, 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little Known Wonders - Bloomsbury, September 2014- by Rowan Jacobsen with photographs by Clare Barboza)