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    The Ultimate Southern Brunch Board

    Homemade pimiento cheese, grits waffles with peach-bourbon syrup, and buttermilk biscuits are just a few offerings on this bountiful southern style brunch board.

    Holy smokes, will you look at that?! I am obsessed with beautifully styled, bountiful brunch boards in general, but this one is special. Making this Ultimate Southern Brunch Board was pretty much my dream come true. As a born and raised southern girl I can tell you this. Everything here reflects the place where I’m from. My East Tennessee home is within the Appalachian Mountains, where food traditions have deep roots. And ‘there’s always room for one more at the table’ is practically our family motto.
    I wish I could invite every single person reading this over for a taste of this feast. But for now, the best I can do is share some of my favorite heirloom recipes. Some of which already live here on the blog. First up – my favorite pimiento cheese recipe, which is a combination of Southern Living’s and The Lee Bros. recipes.

    Pimiento cheese serves us well as a sandwich spread, appetizer, or beside a pile of pickled okra on this brunch board. Forget the pre-shredded stuff. The secret to really great pimiento cheese is a block of extra-sharp cheddar.

    Simple is best!
    The best pimiento spread has few ingredients. A box grater and an 8 oz. block of extra sharp won’t take long to break down into feathery shreds. Add the cheese to a bowl, along with some jarred pimiento patted dry on paper towels. Add a little cream cheese, JFG mayo (or other, if you must) and a coarse grind of black pepper. Stir it up and enjoy!
    You’ll find the recipe in greater detail at the end of this blog post.

    Next – eggs. What would brunch be without eggs? You can’t go wrong with boiled eggs from the deli section at the supermarket (no peeling!). A few folded up crepe/omelet-style eggs can be neatly tucked in here and there.

    Buttermilk is a magic ingredient!
    Tangy buttermilk biscuits can be made into sandwiches with salty country ham (it’s like the Appalachian version of prosciutto) or spread with another southern favorite – tomato jam. If you find yourself with a bumper tomato harvest this year, make jam!
    Buttermilk Grits Waffles is another favorite that has buttermilk tang and uses up leftover grits as an ingredient. I usually don’t have any leftover grits when I make them, so my first step is whipping up instant grits, which takes just 5 minutes.

    In addition to maple syrup, peach-bourbon syrup is a must for waffles. Make it with fresh peaches for the tastiest results. You can find out how to make it in the Grits Waffles recipe notes.

    Most importantly? Cornbread. Get my all-time favorite buttermilk cornbread recipe right here. Southern cornbread is unsweet, but that just makes it more perfect to stuff with butter and drizzle with sorghum or honey. My grandmother would crumble cornbread into beaten eggs for a hearty scramble. It’s good, especially with lots of freshly ground black pepper.
    Grandma’s silver pitcher makes a fine vase for pretty flowers!

    Get the whole run-down of everything seen here in the list below. The recipes are linked, along with some things you can pick up at the store or easily throw together, like a pot of grits!
    Homemade Pimiento Cheese with crackers (recipe is at the bottom of this blog post)Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Southern Cornbread with honey or sorghum syrupButtermilk Grits Waffles (with Peach-Bourbon Sauce in recipe notes)Cherry Tomato JamBoiled eggs and scrambled (crepe/omelet style) eggsCountry ham, bacon, and sausage linksPickled okraMaple syrupGrits with butter and black pepperSalted butter, for serving on biscuits, cornbread, and waffles

    Homemade Pimiento Cheese

    Heather Baird

    Pimiento cheese is a simple mix of Cheddar, jarred pimiento (cherry pepper) and mayonnaise. However, this spread’s ingredients are as varied as the southerners that make it. Purists only use mayonnaise as a binder, but I find that cream cheese makes it heartier and extra-creamy. Spread it on crackers or between soft or toasted white bread. This recipe serves about 8 as an appetizer or makes 4 sandwiches (1 1/2 cups of spread).

    .wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 15 minsTotal Time 15 mins

    Course AppetizerCuisine American, Southern United States

    Servings 8

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 8 oz. block extra-sharp cheddar cheese3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature4 oz. jar pimento peppers patted dry on paper towels3 tablespoons JFG mayonnaise or other high-quality store-bought mayonnaise1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauceFreshly ground black pepper to taste
    Instructions Grate the cheese on the large holes of a box grater.Place the grated cheddar in a large mixing bowl. Pull apart the cream cheese and scatter over the cheddar along with the pimentos, and mayo. Add Worcestershire and a few grinds of black pepper. Using a spatula, mix the ingredients together until well incorporated. The mixture will be thick. Add more black pepper to taste. Add salt if desired, but I never need to because the cheddar adds enough salt for my taste.Transfer the pimento cheese to a jar or plastic lidded container. Store the pimiento cheese in the refrigerator. This will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.

    Keyword cream cheese, extra-sharp cheddar, JFG mayonnaise

    You may also enjoy: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Classic Cheese Fondue

    Cozy up to a warm bowl of gooey cheese fondue accompanied by plenty of fruit and vegetable dippers. It’s easy to make at home for a special night in. 

    This is a bit of a departure from the mostly sweet menu here on the blog, but I’ve always loved a good fondue and this is my all-time favorite cheesy recipe. The melted wine and cheese concoction along with the right other ingredients (dippers!) makes a lovely, intimate meal. It is easily made at home for a fraction of the cost that you’d pay at a fancy fondue restaurant.

    If the lack of a fondue pot is keeping you away from this heavenly indulgence, then I’m happy to say you don’t really need one to start. A regular saucepot and dinner forks will do just fine. And if you find that you enjoy fondue-ing as much as I do, then that’s when you should shop for your own dedicated fondue pot with a burner. I couldn’t resist using my most beloved fondue pot for this post, which was given to me as an anniversary gift from my husband years ago.

    For me, the magic combination is 1:1 ratio of Gruyere to Swiss. Don’t go for the pre-shredded stuff, because those have added stabilizers which hinder melting, and anti-caking agents such as cellulose to keep the cheese from clumping together. They won’t bubble up properly in this recipe and those fillers are not very appetizing! 

    If your grocery store has a cheese counter (most large US stores do) then purchase blocks there, and ask for them to shred it for you at the deli. Or, if you have a food processor, then the shredder attachment will make short work breaking down the blocks into feathery shreds.

    I’m including a few tips on serving and safety when firing up a fondue pot. I have several books on the topic and this seems the right place to share what I’ve gleaned from them, along with some of my own experience. These all pertain to cheese-based fondues.

    It’s best to make the cheese fondue on the stovetop in a saucepan, and not directly in your fondue pot. Transfer the mixture to the fondue pot after it’s mixed. If you’re without a fondue pot, simply serve the fondue in the saucepan placed on a trivet, or transfer it to a pre-warmed bowl. The best way to pre-warm a bowl is to fill it with hot water, when the fondue is ready, pour out the water and wipe it dry before filling.
    An overfilled fondue pot is a recipe for disaster. Fill it no more than halfway full.
    Fondue forks should be regarded as cooking implements and not dining tools. Don’t eat directly from the fondue fork. Instead, place the dipped, cheese-covered food on a plate and use a standard fork for eating. If you’re without fondue forks, use large dinner forks as your mode of dipping, and salad forks for eating.
    If you’re fondue-ing for family night, small children should be watched closely near an open flame. Provide them separate small ramekins of melted cheese away from the pot. They are also enthusiastic dunkers, so I don’t recommend using your best table linens.
    Cheesy fondues need to be stirred intermittently. This is a pleasant babysitting job, and you can help keep the cheese mixed by swirling your fondue fork in a figure 8, stirring the cheese as you dip.
    Don’t keep the burner on the entire time. Unless your fondue pot is electric, it could make the cheese too hot to enjoy. Re-light the burner when the cheese cools and bring back to melty consistency. When you’re almost done eating the fondue, turn the burner to low and allow the remaining cheese to form a browned crust. Remove and break it into pieces to eat for a crusty cheese delicacy.

    What to dip? More like what not to dip! My favorite dippers tend to be fresh fruit and vegetables, although my new favorite dipper is roasted fingerling potatoes. I love cheesy potatoes of all sorts, and this was a revelation. I also feel that no cheese fondue is complete without French bread cubes – so good! 

    Most of our fondue nights are for a party of two, which means there will be leftovers for lunch the next day. Instead of re-melting the leftover fondue, we simply cut the chilled fondue into pieces and serve it alongside crudités and light charcuterie meats. Even chilled it holds the wonderful wine notes that make fondue so delicious.

    It is always a risk to call any recipe “classic” since popular dishes like this can be made in a variety of ways and can differ across the geography of where it originated. However you slice it, this recipe uses two great cheeses of Switzerland, and makes a fine fondue. 

    [click to print]
    Classic Cheese Fondue
    Yields 6 servingsEmmental cheese is Swiss cheese with buttery notes and fruity flavor, it is traditionally used in this recipe. American style Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace) can also be used and is milder with nutty flavor. Purists may object, but a small amount of cornstarch is added to this recipe. It keeps the wine and cheese from separating when heated, and no one will know it’s there.1 garlic clove, halved
    1 1/2 cups sauvignon blanc wine
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 tablespoon water
    1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, coarsely grated
    1/2 lb. Gruyere, coarsely gratedAssorted dippers: grape tomatoes, fresh celery and carrot sticks, roasted fingerling potatoes, French bread cubes, tart apple slices, small whole radishes.Rub the interior of a 4-quart saucepot with the cut sides of the garlic (discard garlic).Pour the wine into the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small condiment cup, stir the cornstarch and water together to form a slurry. Set aside. Add the cheeses to the pot of simmering wine gradually. Stir in a figure-8 and zigzag pattern to prevent the cheese from balling up. Avoid using a circular motion. Cook until the cheese is melted and creamy (do not boil).Re-stir the cornstarch slurry if it has settled; add it to the fondue and stir in figure-8/zigzag motions to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened about 5-8 minutes. Transfer the cheese to a fondue pot set over a flame and serve immediately.Notes:
    Two tablespoons of kirsch (cherry eau-de-vie) may be added to this fondue for a truly authentic Swiss Fondue. Kirsch can be hard to locate but can often be found in pastry supply stores.Almost any dry white wine can be used in this recipe, but for my personal taste only sauvignon blanc will do.

    link Classic Cheese Fondue By Heather Baird Published: Monday, February 08, 2021Monday, February 08, 2021Classic Cheese Fondue Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Triple Cheese Omelet Bake for Christmas Breakfast

    This dish is ready when you are! Layers of potatoes, cheese, eggs, and bacon make this a hearty breakfast. Prepare ahead and refrigerate it overnight for a fuss-free Christmas morning.

    Today I’m posting something savory to balance out all the sweet things I’ve been making. I’m a huge fan of breakfast casseroles (see this fave) and I’m always on the lookout for a worthwhile recipe that will make Christmas or New Year’s morning easy. 
    This cheesy omelet bake scored high marks during recipe testing and ended up being lunch for about 3 days in a row. So, if you’re a breakfast every hour person like I am, you’ll probably love this for any meal. And what’s not to love about bacon, eggs, and cheese that sits atop a layer of hash browns? It’s all good. 

    I decided to create a breakfast buffet for this post, because these Panettone Muffins are not to be missed! I’ve made them a few holidays in a row, and they are always a crowd-pleaser. 

    And for something special to sip, I mixed up a batch of Sparkling Pomegranate Punch. Here it’s made just the same as the recipe I’ve linked, except this time I topped it with some pineapple sherbet. Turns out, this was a really good idea. 

    The omelet bake is already pretty easy to put together, but I have a shortcut to recommend anyway. Pre-cooked bacon will remove the step of cooking raw bacon and it crisps up wonderfully as it bakes on top of this casserole. It requires nothing more than a quick chop.

    This will serve 6-8 hungry people, or if your Christmas morning is more intimate, then leftovers keep well and reheat easily in the microwave. It’s great for lunch with an arugula salad on the side, or even a little cup of mandarin orange segments, which I serve with breakfast often.

    [click to print]
    Triple Cheese Omelet Bake
    Yields about 8 servings2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup (75 grams) chopped onion
    1/4 cup (40 grams) chopped green bell pepper
    26 oz. (1 large bag) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
    2 cups (226 grams) shredded Swiss cheese
    12 slices of bacon, cooked
    8 oz. (1 package) cream cheese, softened
    6 large eggs
    1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
    1/2 cup (56 grams) freshly grated parmesan cheese
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1/3 cup chopped scallions, optionalPreheat oven to 350°F. Evenly spray the inside of a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook chopped onion and green pepper in the butter, stirring constantly until tender and the onions turn translucent. Set aside.Evenly spread the hash browns in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with Swiss cheese. Chop the cooked bacon and sprinkle half of it over the cheese, and top with the cooked vegetable mixture.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until softened. Add eggs and milk; beat until smooth. Scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl to make sure ingredients are thoroughly blended. Add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; beat until just blended. Pour the egg mixture over ingredients in the dish and sprinkle with remaining half of the bacon.Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes and top with chopped scallions, if using. Serve immediately.Make ahead: This dish can be assembled, covered, and chilled overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking, or add 10 minutes to the bake time if the dish is still chilled.
    link Triple Cheese Omelet Bake for Christmas Breakfast By Heather Baird Published: Monday, December 21, 2020Monday, December 21, 2020Triple Cheese Omelet Bake Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Cherry Tomato Jam

    This sweet spread is an easy way to enjoy summer’s tomato harvest long after the season has ended. Add it to a charcuterie board for a gourmet touch, or gift a jar to your favorite epicure.I first tasted cherry tomato jam many years ago at a local brasserie, where they served it alongside grilled calamari and an array of house cured meats on a charcuterie board. What a revelation! It was so wonderfully sweet and summery, and its flavor harmonized with everything on my plate. Each time I dined there I made sure to order something that had tomato jam as an accompaniment.This year I planted cherry tomatoes in my little 6′ x 11′ garden outside the workshop with designs to replicate my favorite tomato jam. And boy, did I ever have a bumper crop!
    The variety of cherry tomato I planted is called “Sweet Millions”. I’ve planted “Sweet 100s” before, which yielded a good crop of tomatoes, but I’ve never seen anything like the grape-like clusters on the Sweet Millions plant. I counted about 32 tomatoes on just one cluster!If anyone is interested in growing this variety next year, I purchased my live plant from Grow Joy, right here. Back in March when I was planning my garden, I wasn’t doing any shopping at local nurseries or home and garden centers, so I was happy to find a company that would ship live plants. They have some unusual offerings that aren’t available to me locally, and a unique way of packing the plants so they don’t get damaged.
    My best friend also loves the brasserie’s tomato jam, and so together we worked to get the closest flavor approximation. Lots of tomato jam recipes add strong spices such as cloves or they incorporate hot peppers. This is not our jam. The jam we know and love has unadulterated sweet tomato flavor, so our recipe has very few ingredients – but each one is important!A note about canning jars – I can’t find any at the grocery store right now! This makes me think eeeeverybody is currently canning their summer harvest. Luckily I had some jars squirreled away from last year, but if you’re coming up empty handed, then consider upcycling. Used jam jars and pasta sauce jars with screw-top lids can be washed and sterilized in hot water. You won’t be able to process these in a water bath, but this jam keeps for 6 months in the refrigerator.
    If you’re like me and have cherry tomatoes coming out of your ears, then THIS! This is what to do with them! The jam is wonderful with savory fare, but it’s also good as a simple smear on a buttered baguette.Our current obsession is eating it on wheat crackers with goat cheese and a leaf of fresh basil on top, but the possibilities are endless!

    Cherry Tomato JamYields about four 4 oz. jars2 1/2 lbs. organic vine-ripened cherry tomatoes2 cups (400g) granulated sugar1 teaspoon coarse black pepper1 tablespoon lemon juice3 tablespoons water1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 teaspoon coarse black pepperWash tomatoes thoroughly and remove stems. Gently pat dry with a soft tea towel.Place the tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large stock pot. Place over medium heat and stir until tomatoes are coated with sugar. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, mashing the tomatoes with a large wooden spoon or spatula as you stir. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the salt and pepper. The mixture may foam as it cooks; when foam rises to the top, skim it off with a large spoon.Stir frequently to ensure the tomatoes are cooking evenly, until most of the liquid has cooked off. The mixture is ready when it has a glossy appearance, the tomato skins are translucent, and it has a slightly sticky consistency.Ladle the jam into sterilized canning jars and lid. Let rest at room temperature until cool. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to six months.If canning these for long-term storage, process the jars in a water bath canner with boiling water that covers the tops of the jars. Time the jars at 15 minutes when the water starts boiling again after adding them to the canning pot. Remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to stand until the lids seal (with a satisfying ‘pop’!).Serve tomato jam over goat cheese with crackers, or alongside a charcuterie board. Serve with seafood, or use it to fancy-up fried potatoes of all kinds!
    link Cherry Tomato Jam By Heather Baird Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2020Wednesday, August 26, 2020Cherry Tomato Jam Recipe LEGGI TUTTO