Let’s straighten something out right quick…
I do eat real food.
Real in the sense that it involves sustenance without sugar, butter or chocolate– i.e. food that’s not technically dessert.
It’s come to my attention that the above is not always overwhelmingly clear. So I just thought I should probably clarify.
Not gonna lie, I love the sweet stuffs. I love to make sweet stuffs and I love eat sweet stuffs. Really, I love the smell of sweet stuffs… and the way it looks too. Yes,on occasion, I definitely replace meals with sweet stuffs. That’s just how it is. Not like this is a news flash or anything.
But it’s not like I brown bag peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches for lunch. I don’t pour chocolate syrup over my tossed salads. I do, in fact, eat apples outside of a flaky pie crust matrix.
Eat ’em every day, I do.
Point being, I cook real food and eat solid meals, but there’s a darn good reason as to why 90% of the food I talk about is dessert-ish in nature…
Cause I like it like that.
Sweets excite me, they make me happy. I get wicked crazy ideas when it comes to sweets… and I have wicked crazy fun experimenting those ideas out.
Plus, sweets feel all the even sweeter when you share them. People find you to be a sweeter person when you share your sweets with them.
It’s true. People are way more likely to call you sweet pea when you have brownies in your hand.
And when it comes to savory… like I said, I dig savory. I really dig savory with sweet. Mhmm.
But there are more darned good reasons that you don’t see much savory from me. We can boil them down to three–
- There are never any good photo opps when I savory cook. It all happens so fast. Rarely do I think to pause and whip out the camera. Admittedly, a shortcoming on my own part, but a detriment all the same.
- A good chunk of what I cook is vegetables. Do other people find vegetables as exciting as I do? Me thinks people would rather see carrots baked in a cake coated with cream cheese rather than roasted in olive oil. I could be wrong though.
- When all is said and done, I generally don’t have a reliable recipe at the end of the meal anyway. As I suspect it does for many, cooking for me goes by a pinch of this and a dash of that till it feels right. And if my scattered-brain self doesn’t remember to pick up my camera, you best believe I’m not remembering pick up a pen for note-taking.
That said, I am trying. Trying to be more versatile. More dynamic, ya know? Dynamics are important. I’m not trying to live my life in a comfortable rut.
Even if your comfortable rut is really comfortable and delicious, you don’t want to find yourself in one. A rut is a rut.
So for now, I have myself a little guiding tool– a recently James Beard Award-winning cookbook I purchased months ago from one of Athens’ own recent James Beard Award winners. I figure that if I determinedly cook my way through Hugh Acheson’s stellar book abound with fresh takes on southern classics (pardon my PR spiel, I just like the book a whole lot), I’ll be more consciously cooking savory stuffs from recipes I can share. That’s the plan, Stan. Huzah!
I’m presently in the appetizer chapter, if you couldn’t tell.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… this doesn’t count as real food either. It’s just cheese on bread. And to that I say, false.
There’s avocado and peppers up in there too.
I could understand where you’re coming from though. But what you gotta understand is that cheese is a good place for me to start into this journey of growth. I’m a major fan of cheese. Ask anyone who has to listen to my jokes or has ever edited my writing… I’m an incredibly cheesy person.
Which is fine. Cheese is the bomb.
More than anything, I just wanted to prove that I do indeed eat stuff other than sugar. And hey, next to a nice salad, a couple of these little open faced sandwiches spread with southern style cheddar love and a dollop of cool creamy green make a totally lovely meal.
Not to mention, in context of a wine and cheese party, these definitely count as real food.
I guess all I’m really getting at right now is that I’m going to attempt more savoriness, there’s positively nothing wrong with being kinda cheesy, we should all attend more wine and cheese parties. Story over.
Open Face Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Avocado Cream
For the avocado cream
- 1 ripe hass avocado
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 1/2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 small handful fresh cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Peel the avocado and remove the pit, cut into cubes and place into the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic and cream. Pulse to break down the garlic and avocado. Add the buttermilk and juices and run until smooth. Add the cilantro, then salt and pepper to taste. Chill until needed.
For the pimento cheese sandiwches
- 1 fresh loaf French bread, sliced to desired thickness
- 1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large red bell pepper–roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (alternatively, you can use jarred roasted red peppers)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3/4 tsp smoked sweet Spanish paprika
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
Grate the cheddar by hand into a large bowl. Mix in the peppers, mayo, mustard, paprika, salt and cayenne with a wooden spoon until evenly combined.
Spread the pimento cheese evenly over the bread slices and arrange on a large platter. Dollop a tablespoon of the avocado cream over each (ideally in a more visually appealing manner than I did)