Dear Heloise: I'm looking for your mother's pimiento cheese spread. Would you please print it for me? -- Donna DeC., via email
Donna, this was one of my mother's favorite recipes:
Pimiento cheese spread
1 pound boxed soft cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup super-finely chopped sweet or sour pickles
4 ounces pimientos
Juice from 1 jar of pimientos
4 ounces chopped stuffed salad olives
Chopped onions to taste
Grate the cheese coarsely using the large opening of a grater or a food processor. Layer the ingredients as if you were making lasagna. Place a large piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on the counter. Put down a layer of grated cheese, then mayonnaise, pimientos and a handful of pickles. Use a spatula to fold it over and over, starting from the bottom. Repeat the process, folding again and again, until you have used all the ingredients. I divide this up into two batches. Put the mixture in jars, seal well and pop into the fridge.
Options: If you want a thinner, gooey spread, add the juice from one jar of pimientos and mix well. Vary the spread by adding chopped salad olives and/or onions.
The brief on Brie
Dear Heloise: My sister-in-law says Brie is different in France, and has refused to eat it over here in this country. Is that true? -- Laura K., Steubenville, Ohio
Yes, but Brie in France is made with unpasteurized milk. Our laws prevent the importation of Brie made from unpasteurized milk unless it has been aged for 60 days. Brie aged that long would have a very unpleasant taste and texture.
Dear Heloise: For adding a tangy taste to meats and vegetables that are going to be deep-fried, dip them first in buttermilk before breading. This works so well for folks who can't eat eggs, which is what we usually use before breading. -- Cathy W., Vicksburg, Miss.
Dear Heloise: What does it mean when someone talks about "empty calories"? -- Rita S., Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Rita, "empty calories" are calories that are nutritionally worthless. Sugars and fats add calories (and inches to your waistline), but they contain few, if any, nutrients for your body. Fruit contains some sugar, but it also has vitamins and minerals, while a doughnut is filled with empty calories.
Dear Heloise: I have a recipe that calls for "white pepper." I have never heard of such a thing. What is white pepper, and does it have a different name? -- Abby H., Alpena, Mich.
Abby, yes, there is such a thing as white pepper. It's soaked in water until the black outer shell comes off. It has a hotter flavor than black pepper, and is used in Southeastern Asian and Eastern European dishes such as grilled meats, soups and light-colored dishes.
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