Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Southern Comfort Food from Foster's Market

Foster’s Pimiento Cheese Spread
Katherine’s mother who lives in Roanoke, Virginia always has a deli tub of this spread awaiting us in the fridge. The one she buys at her favorite place is really good. This one is even better.

1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Note: You can grate the cheeses in a food processor if you wish.
1½ cups (6 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated smoked or regular Gouda cheese
2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped
     See note below for roasting instructions
1 cup mayonnaise
1 jalapeno, red is preferable but green is OK too, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon smoky sweet or regular paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Mix together the cheeses and the roasted peppers in a large bowl.
2. Combine the mayonnaise, jalapeno, vinegar, honey, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to blend well.
3. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the cheese mixture and mix well. Taste for salt, adding more if necessary. Refrigerate in an airtight contained until ready to use or up to 1 week.

There are lots of uses: on crackers, toasted bread, biscuits, English muffins, or chips; as a sandwich spread, a topping for baked potatoes, or an omelet filling. Great for breakfast, lunch, or a pre-dinner snack.

To roast the peppers: Place them on a shallow rimmed pan lined with aluminum foil. Place the pan under the broiler on the second shelf down from the top of the oven. Keep turning the peppers until they are blackened on all sides. Remove from the oven. Place them in a bowl and cover; when they are cool enough to handle, remove all the blackened skin, the seeds, and the stem. Refrain, if you can, from rinsing under water. I save the liquid that the peppers release for use in any situation calling for stock.

Makes about 4 cups
Adapted from Sara Foster’s The Foster’s Market Cookbook

Chilaquiles and Andouille Sausage Scramble with Salsa Verde

This makes a great dinner but it can also be served for breakfast.

4 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1½ cups slightly crushed tortilla chips
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the tortillas
Salt and pepper
1 andouille sausage link (about 8 ounces), thinly sliced into rounds
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar or a combination of the two (about ½ cup)
Salsa Verde, see recipe below, or you can purchase tomatillo salsa

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Scatter the tortilla strips on a rimmed baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally and turning over the strips, until they’re golden brown on both sides and crisp.
3. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage slices and cook and stir them for 4 to 5 minutes, until brown and cooked through.
4. Pour the eggs into the skillet and cook, gently folding the eggs as they cook, until just done but still wet looking. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and turn off the heat.
5. Add the cheese and tortilla strips or chips to the skillet and fold them into the eggs until the cheese melts and the tortilla strips or chips soften slightly.
6. Drizzle the chilaquiles with ½ cup of the Salsa Verde and serve warm with the remaining salsa on the side.

4-6 servings
Adapted from Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking

Salsa Verde

4 medium tomatillos, paper covering removed, chopped
1 cup pureed canned tomatillos (with their juices)
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

1. Combine the tomatillos, cilantro, scallions, garlic and lime juice in a blender and purée until smooth.
2. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight contained until ready to serve.
3. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 1½ cups
Adapted from Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking

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