Thursday, 26 May 2011

Other blogger's dishes: so much cheesy goodness!

Once again, I want to give a shout-out to the many hard-working bloggers who are providing me with many of my most delicious and satisfying meals.

Kevin, at Closet Cooking, was my source for this utterly gorgeous jalapeno popper dip. I find it hard to go past a jalapeno popper on a menu, even though I know the breading is nearly always soggy, they are underfilled and if I don't burn the roof of my mouth I will be left with a mouthful of cold, claggy cheese. Even so, the very notion of hot, creamy cheese spiked with pickled jalapenos and a crispy coating is so addictive. This dip manages to reconcile the ideal with the reality. Lots of creamy, thick melted cheese, lots of crunchy, piquant jalapeno slices, a little bit of crispy gratin topping. And you can dunk veggies (and veggie crisps) in it, so it has to be healthy, right?

It caused me to muse on the American (Kevin is in Canada - I am using America to denote both the northern and southern American continents) gift for snack foods. Is it because televised sport has become so central to the lifestyle? Is it the marijuana consumption? Is it a continent-wide impatience over waiting for a proper meal? For whatever reason, from empanadas to poutine via buffalo wings the Americas have produced some of the world's most outstanding munchies.

Pimento cheese is another one of these amazing snackfoods, little known outside its homeland. I'd read about it years ago in James Villas' excellent book Stalking the Green Fairy, but it wasn't until I read Deb and Grace's posts on the subject that I became utterly determined to try this luscious (and very controversial) combination of cheeses, seasonings and pimentos (aside from the stuffing in an olive, I don't think I have ever seen an actual pimento; I used preserved roasted red peppers). Totally addictive. I can see why every Southerner apparently swears by the stuff.

Woman cannot live by cheese alone, so Heather's fried eggs on garlic fried rice has become a go-to fast food meal for me. I either make a bit of extra rice when I know I am going to be eating alone the following day, or (I bring shame to my house...) I buy a tub of steamed rice at the supermarket on the way home from work. With a sprinkle of my homemade smoked chilli sauce, this is a delicious, quick and nourishing meal.

I never drift too far from cheese though. I think it may be the one food I never tire of. It's certainly the only thing where I say to Paul "we haven't eaten enough cheese lately".

After one such declaration, I turned to Peter Minakis for salvation. His feta and herb pull-aparts saved the day. Unfortunately they also ruined our dinner, because we ate so many of the warm, cheesy breads that we couldn't face the rest of the meal. I didn't have a cake tin big enough, so I made them in a large saute pan that fits in the oven. They are gorgeous, with a soft, fluffy crumb and intensely flavoured filling and I urge you to give them a go for your next barbecue, or with a bowl of veggie soup.

Equally delicious, and with a definite air of luxury, is Mary's scrambled egg and smoked salmon pizza. In a wonderful turn of phrase she describes it as "a study in wretched excess" and it certainly is that, even without the luxurious red caviar garnish. We had it for brunch with glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice, spiked with homemade 44 liqueur. As Sally Bowles would say, "Divine decadence".

26 comments:

Peter M said...

All cheese menu - all looking good! Sorry the pull-aparts sated you and prevented you from enjoying the rest your meal. :)

Gemma said...

That fried rice dish sounds great - definitely heading over to check out the recipe.

Foodycat said...

Peter - your pull-aparts can't really take the blame for our gluttony!

Gemma - it's so good. Actually, with brown rice it could be a candidate for a pre-Moonwalk meal for you.

highplainsdrifters said...

"Cheesy goodness" is redundant. Cheesiness is next to godliness, yeah?

Cheers!

kat said...

I'm not sure it's just the Americas the excel at snack food, look at the tapas of Spain, street foods of Asia, etc....

Foodycat said...

HPD - I may have that on my headstone

Kat - oh there are certainly others, but the American ones have a particular moreishness.

ARLENE said...

Ah, cheese. This is one food I could never give up and you have quite a delectable assortment here.

Pierce said...

That is quite a roundup - yum!

Kevin said...

Your jalapeno popper dip looks great! I am going to have to try that pimento cheese as well!

Foodycat said...

Arlene - I admire vegans for giving up cheese.

Pierce - thanks!

Kevin - thank you for the recipe! You'll love the pimento cheese.

Foodjunkie said...

Great array of dishes Alicia! I was alarmed by the ingredients in that pimento cheese, but I guess it will be ok in moderation.

azélia said...

couldn't believe when I saw the fried eggs on top of rice..that is my childhood dish...with the yolk breaking into the rice making it even more delicious.

I make it for me for quick lunch with leftover rice and add peas...they go well too!

~~louise~~ said...

LOVED this post! I've been meaning to do something similar. There are so many inspiring food blogs I didn't know where to begin. Cheese is just perfect, it always brings a "smile."

Thanks for sharing, Foodycat, I'm off to check things out!!!

Deb in Hawaii said...

There is indeed so much cheesy goodness here! That pimento cheese is kind of addicting isn't it--more so than I thought it would be. ;-)

Foodycat said...

Jo - well that is one of the other things about some American snacks, better not to look at the ingredients!

Azelia - I've done it with peas as well, just lovely!

Louise - It's my way of recognising all the blogs I love. Where would we be without them?

Deb - and would you believe I didn't even get a pimento cheese sandwich?

Maria♥ said...

Everything looks so delish!

Maria
x

hungryandfrozen said...

Oh my gosh. Cheese is alarmingly expensive here in New Zealand but these recipes all sound amazing, I don't even know where to start (except to head bravely towards the cheese aisle)...

girlichef said...

Oh yes...everything looks awesome! I have a huge fondness for pimento cheese...it's kind of addicting. The jalapeño dip sounds like a great one, too. Of course I love the garlic fried rice (thanks for the love!)...and need I mention my addiction to bread? Oh, and the pizza!! Oi. Everything looks amazing. And I think that perhaps the mary jane could be one reason... ;P Cheesesluts Unite.

Eliotseats said...

Thanks for turning me on to the jalapeno popper dip. I, too, have the same dilemmas with these things and mostly get 3rd degree burns on the roof of my mouth. I think I will add this to my 4th of July menu.

Foodycat said...

Maria - thank you!

Laura - I think everything in New Zealand is very expensive. It's crazy!

Heather - where would we be without cheese? Several pounds lighter, I suspect.

Eliot - you will LOVE it!

mscrankypants said...

It's healthy as I saw a piece of vegetable in one of the pics.

The dips look luscious.

Ben said...

Oh I agree completely. This continent has some of the best munchies in the world. I can spend a lifetime in Mexico just researching the ones that are down here. I love this roundup!

Foodycat said...

Cranky - you just like all the cheese!

Ben - I look forward to trying more of the Mexican oneass, but yeah, the variations on quesadilla alone would take a stoner lifetime to get through.

grace said...

glad you enjoyed the pimento cheese! clearly, anything with that much cheese and zip involved has to be tasty. nice eats! :)

Dharm said...

Its always nice to try recipes from fellow bloggers!! Thanks for the good luck wishes!

Foodycat said...

Grace - thank you for encouraging me to make it!

Dharm - the blogosphere is a wonderful place to live.

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