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Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

This orange spread is ubiquitous in the South, but offer it to someone who’s never been below the Mason-Dixon line and you’re sure to get a little side-eye. Known as “the caviar of the South,” but resembling nothing of the sort in mere appearances, pimento cheese is a mixture of shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimento peppers and salt and pepper. Southerners swoon over the stuff and nearly faint when they find out their consummate loyalties don’t exist outside the region.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

But what is pimento cheese? How do you serve it? How do you make pimento cheese? What are its origins? And does it really taste as good as everyone says? How did cheese, mayo and these weird jarred peppers cause such a stir? There are, as it goes with pimento cheese, many answers to each of these questions and some of them are hotly debated.

Pimento cheese is most often served as a spread alongside crackers. Some people prefer chips or celery, but some of us (the good ones) will fight for buttery Ritz crackers as the optimal accompaniment. It’s no surprise to see crustless pimento cheese sandwiches served at tea time or bridal showers, and it’s equally at home slathered on top of a hotdog or hamburger for a greasy indulgence. One can easily find it mixed into grits, mashed potatoes or deviled egg filling.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

Depending on what region you visit or in whose home you dine, you can find anything from cayenne pepper to cream cheese to onions in your spread. In supermarkets, the list of potential additives is endless. In fact, there are as many possible additions as there are people to disagree, so you may want to try a few styles before declaring your favorite (if you haven’t done so already).

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

The best way to prepare pimento cheese is one thing on which most Southern chefs and cooks agree. At least so far as that homemade is better than store bought and freshly shredded is better than pre-packaged cheese shreds. Reasoning differs, but every chef I questioned about pimento cheese dutifully shreds their own cheese from large blocks of their favorite cheddar. Some still shred by hand, but most use a food processor. Freshness is key; pre-packaged shredded cheese isn’t as pliable as fresh and doesn’t mix as easily into spread. It doesn’t get as sticky, and the seasoned chefs swear they can tell the difference in blind taste tests. Pride in the prep work seems to be a popular reason, too, but you truly can tell the difference in the end product when you shred the cheese yourself.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

The origins of pimento cheese are a bit murky, but it’s actually rumored to have gotten its roots in New York in the late 1800s from the introduction of the mass manufacturing of cheese and Spanish pimento peppers. They were combined in the early 1900s in Eva Green Fuller’s Up-to-Date Sandwich Book where she suggests combining pimentos with Neufchatel and seasoning it with salt before spreading the mixture onto a sandwich. Eventually, manufacturers produced this blend themselves and marketed it as “pimento cheese,” making it available from Minnesota to Oregon to Alabama.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

Pimento cheese grew to become associated with Southern cuisine after the manufactured spread fell out of favor and disappeared from the supermarket shelves. Southern cooks decided to start recreating what originated as a manufactured food product in their home kitchens and somehow created the delicious spread we know today. It didn’t hurt that Duke’s mayonnaise was being made by C.F. Sauer’s (out of Richmond, Virginia) and farmers grew pimiento peppers in the South. And it took years, of course, for the spread to evolve into what it is now.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches

But is pimento cheese as good as everyone claims it to be? Well, that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Head to the market and grab yourself a block of cheese, good mayonnaise and a jar of pimentos. All it takes is a few turns of the food processor and a stir of the spoon; soon you’ll know for yourself just what all the fuss is about. They didn’t make a documentary about it for nothing.

Perfect Southern Pimento Cheese Spread from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach - perfect for sandwiches, snacks, bridal showers, baby showers and quick lunches


Pimento Cheese
SERVES: 8

Ingredients
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 jar (4 oz.) chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package (8 oz.) block Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese
4 ounce piece sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
Using shredding blade with processor running, add cheeses through the food chute until shredded.
In a large bowl, stir mayonnaise, pimentos, salt and pepper until combined.
Stir in cheeses until well blended.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Stack & Snap Food Processor - Hamilton Beach

Whether you are cooking for two or prepping a large family meal, the Hamilton Beach® Stack & Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor takes the guesswork out of food processing with a simple function guide that shows you which blade to use and which button to press. Designed to be uniquely simple – there’s no twisting, turning or locking required when assembling the food processor.

 

References:
“Pimento Cheese: It’s A Southern Thing”. NPR, Wright Brian, January 17, 2007.
Pimento Cheese, Please!”. Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, Nicole Lang and Cristophile Konstas, 2011.
“From Scientific Cuisine to Southern Icon: The Real History of Pimento Cheese”. Serious Eats, Moss Robert, Sept 4, 2014.
Special thanks to Travis Milton of Comfort in Richmond, VA and all the chefs and home cooks who shared their stories for this article.



Center Stage: Slow Cooker Chocolate Fudge Brownies from Completely Delicious on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @HamiltonBeachAnnalise Sandberg writes the blog Completely Delicious from her home in Utah, where she lives with her husband Steve, son John and dog Pi. Like us, she believes that life is usually a little better with sugar and butter. You can find Annalise on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Walnut Snowball Cookies from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without the smorgasbord of cookies and treats that accompany it. My kitchen is currently overflowing with homemade goodies for friends and family (and myself), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Walnut Snowball Cookies from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

While it’s hard to pick one favorite holiday treat, I will say that with each passing year I crave more simple and classic recipes, like these snowball cookies. In previous years I might have passed them over for something flashier, but now my older and wiser self knows better.

Walnut Snowball Cookies from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

These buttery, crumbly, and sugar-dusted cookies have become one of my favorites and we enjoy them every holiday season.

Walnut Snowball Cookies from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

I’ve used walnuts in this version, but you can certainly get creative with other nuts you prefer. Just make sure they are very finely chopped, or you’ll lose that wonderful texture. Use a food processor for best results with minimal effort.

Walnut Snowball Cookies from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

If you’re already a fan of snowball cookies, then you know why I love them so much. And if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying them, well what are you waiting for?

Walnut Snowball Cookies from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach


Walnut Snowball Cookies
YIELDS: 18 servings

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, cinnamon, salt and walnuts and mix just until combined.
Roll dough into rounded tablespoons and place on prepared sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Let cookies cool until they are no longer too hot to handle, about 4-5 minutes. Then roll cookies in powdered sugar and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, roll again in powdered sugar.
Notes
For best results, use a food processor to finely chop the walnuts.
These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Center Stage: Mountain Mama Cooks with on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @HamiltonBeach

Kelley Epstein of Mountain Mama Cooks is a blogger, personal chef, wife and mother. She lives in Park City, Utah and enjoys her high-altitude living surrounded by the outdoors. Kelley is not only a fantastic chef, but a fun-loving person who loves butter and mayonnaise as much as we do. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Savory tarts, often called crostadas, look sophisticated and fancy but are quite easy to make.

Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

I think they make the perfect dish to serve to guests as a large part can be made ahead and there is always a wow factor when I serve one.

Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

This tart is an homage to what’s in season right now: cabbage, fennel and apples.

Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeachv Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

The apples lend just enough sweet to a savory and rich tart. The thyme in the crust is earthy and subtle but not to be left out.

Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Serve this with a simple mixed greens salad and a fancy cocktail.

Center Stage: Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada with @mtnmamacooks on Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach


Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Fennel Crostada
SERVES: 6

For the crust
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
3 Tablespoons ice cold water
1 heaping teaspoon, chopped fresh thyme leaves
For the crostada (tart) filling
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cups packed, thinly sliced cabbage
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small apple, cored and sliced (about 1 cup)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
For the egg wash
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water
Instructions
To make crust, place flour and salt in the bowl of Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor. Pulse briefly to combine.
Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse quickly about 10-15 times until the butter is pea-like in size. Add the ice water and thyme. Pulse again 5-6 times until the mixture begins to come off the sides of the bowl and clump together. The mixture will be somewhat crumbly but that's okay.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently (and briefly) knead the mixture into a dough. Shape the dough into a disk about 1 1/2-inches thick, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour and up to two days. Note that you'll need to bring the dough to room temperature (about 45 minutes) before baking.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F.
To make the filling, heat olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add sliced onions and cook about 5 minutes until they start to soften. Next add sliced cabbage and fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes until the veggies are limp and starting to brown. Add the apple and cook 8-10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper and then remove from heat to let cool completely.
To assemble the tart, sprinkle a dry work surface lightly with flour. Gently roll the dough out into roughly a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese in the center of the tart dough. Layer that with the cabbage-fennel filling and then top that with the rest of the cheese. Pleat and fold the edges of the dough up and over the outer edge of the filling all the way around the tart.
Make the egg wash by mixing the egg and water in a small bowl. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the tart with some extra thyme leaves if desired. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes until nicely golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

We know canned pumpkin is easy to use and tastes fine, but in our eyes, nothing beats homemade. Pumpkin puree is actually quite easy to make at home, especially in a slow cooker. Use your finished puree in soups, breads and pies all season long. Freeze any leftovers in plastic bags or store it in jars in the fridge. All it takes is a couple pie pumpkins, a slow cooker and a food processor or blender.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Start by prepping the pumpkins with a good rinse. Then, use a knife to cut out the stem of each pumpkin.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Remove the stems and discard. You won’t need them anymore.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Slice each pumpkin in half.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibrous insides. Reserve the seeds if you want to make toasted pumpkin seeds later. (Highly recommended by us, of course!)

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Place the pumpkin pieces and water in the slow cooker crock. The water isn’t absolutely necessary, but it helps the pumpkin steam faster.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Set the timer on your slow cooker and check on the pumpkins when it goes off, about 2 hours. The outer skin should be easily pricked by a fork, and the flesh should be soft.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Use a large spoon to scoop out the pumpkin flesh, then toss the pumpkin skins. Add the pumpkin flesh to a food processor or blender (or large container if using a hand blender).

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Process the pumpkin until it becomes a smooth puree. This won’t take long, since the pumpkin is so soft.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Store the puree in jars in the refrigerator or use plastic bags to freeze it. Now you can make tasty soups, delicious pies, smoothies, bread pudding or even pumpkin butter. Check back soon for our favorite recipes using homemade pumpkin puree.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach


Slow Cooker Pumpkin Puree

Ingredients
2 pie pumpkins (about 2 pounds each)
1 cup water
Instructions
Cut pumpkins in half and remove seeds.
Pour water in bottom of slow cooker crock. Add pumpkin pieces.
Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours or LOW for 3 to 4 hours until pumpkin is soft.
Let pumpkin cool. Use a spoon to scrape pumpkin into blender or food processor.
Blend until smooth. Use pumpkin in recipes for soup, breads, muffins or desserts. Pumpkin can be placed in containers and frozen for 1 to 2 months.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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33464

For the cook who is busy all day but wants a home-cooked dinner at night, a slow cooker is the answer. And with the Set & Forget® Programmable Slow Cooker, technology takes a big leap forward from the outdated slow cookers found in yesterday’s kitchens.

 



Spicy Summer Vegetable Pasta makes good use of zucchini, squash and tomatoes this time of year! Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Although summer’s end is slowly approaching, I do love the bounty of late summer vegetables stacked high in the markets right now. The bright greens, reds, yellows and purples are calling my name every time I go shopping. I can’t help but center more meals around zucchini, squash, tomatoes and herbs while I still have the chance.

Spicy Summer Vegetable Pasta makes good use of zucchini, squash and tomatoes this time of year! Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

The love for these gorgeous veggies is what inspired this spicy pasta. I love that it lets me eat tons of delicious healthy foods – without feeling like I didn’t get enough to eat. The warm pasta, the bright cheese and the colorful vegetables are filling but not heavy, so it’s perfect for dinner on a summer evening.

Spicy Summer Vegetable Pasta makes good use of zucchini, squash and tomatoes this time of year! Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

In fact, this pasta works great for potlucks and parties, or when you have so much zucchini and squash you almost feel buried by it. (Just me?) I’m always looking for new ways to use zucchini since it’s so inexpensive this time of year. This recipe makes a lot of pasta. Take leftovers for lunch or send them to school with your kids.

Spicy Summer Vegetable Pasta makes good use of zucchini, squash and tomatoes this time of year! Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeachSpicy Summer Vegetable Pasta makes good use of zucchini, squash and tomatoes this time of year! Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach


Spicy Summer Vegetable Pasta
SERVES: 6

Ingredients
1 package (16 oz.) ruffle pasta
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 package (6 oz.) crumbled feta, divided
2 cups arugula
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 package (0.75 oz.) fresh basil, sliced
Instructions
Cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions. Drain.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Add yellow squash and zucchini and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place pasta, 3/4 of the crumbled feta, arugula, kalamata olives and basil in a large serving bowl.
Add vegetable mixture to bowl and toss until well blended.
Garnish pasta with remaining feta.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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