Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pimento Cheese and Bacon Jam Toast Points | Friday Night Bites



I am captivated by the South.  Not sure if it is the southern charm or history that draws me.  It is perhaps a bit of both plus my curiosity to explore the area.  Included in my bucket list, is to visit all fifty states.  I am hovering around the 28 mark and it should tick up to 29 when hubby and I visit Chicago soon.  Speaking of Chicago, if you have any great restaurant recommendations, let me know.

With my ever growing inquisitiveness about the wonders that lie in the south, I was inspired to create this week’s Friday Night Bites.  In the Bay Area, Pimento Cheese is not prevalent yet not extinct.  However, I understand it is commonplace in the south.  This just fueled my need to create a batch of the cheesy wonder.  I thought to myself, how could I elevate it to the next level?  Why not add bacon jam, of course.  Now throw this combination on a toast point and you have a southern inspired Friday Night Bite.

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I used the Bacon Jam recipe from Lindsay Landis & Taylor Hackbarth’s new book – Breakfast for Dinner.  It does take some time to make, but the result is worth the wait.  It definitely has some southern roots planted in the flavor profile.  With the Pimento Cheese, I researched the web to understand the ingredients and formulated the recipe below. 

Next was to "de-crust" white bread.  Okay, not sure if “de-crust” is a real word in the dictionary, but I kind of like it.  I think you all understand what I mean.  Smile.  I simply toasted it in the oven until golden brown and crisp.  I would suggest adorning the toasts with about a teaspoon of the bacon jam, otherwise it is tad overwhelming.  The simple dollop just elevates it to the next level. 

You could enjoy this delight with a cold beer quite frankly or a chilled glass of Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Chardonnay.  Cheers to a great upcoming weekend!


Bacon Jam

Makes about 2 cups

1 pound sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup bourbon

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until it starts to brown, 10-12 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plat. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in a skillet.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. (very important not to burn the garlic!) Return bacon to skillet and add coffee, vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, brown sugar, ginger and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse briefly until finely chopped. Return mixture to pan and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add bourbon and gently simmer for 30 minutes more, or until jam is thick, syrupy and dark in color; if at any point the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan and starts to look more like paste than jam, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Refrigerated in an airtight container, bacon jam will keep for 3-4 weeks.

Pimento Cheese

1 Pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 ½ Tablespoon finely grated white onion
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Red Hot Sauce
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 (4 oz) jar of diced pimentos, drained and use 1 Tablespoon of juice
4 to 5 grinds fresh ground pepper
¼ Cup Mayonnaise + 2 Tablespoons

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mashing with a fork to form a thick spreadable past: if it’s a bit loose, add more mayonnaise until it holds together.  Season to taste. Refrigerate a couple hours before using and best overnight. Makes about 3 cups.


11 comments:

  1. I didn't know pimento cheese hailed from the south. (No wonder it's so irresistible!)

    Lisa, I literally gawked at your photos for several minutes! *Love* their rustic ambiance...and I'm quite taken by your vintage serving tray.

    The bacon jam looks fabulous too!

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  2. You never cease to amaze me--you come up with one awesome appetizer after another. Gotta make both the bacon jam and this pimiento cheese!

    Have a great weekend!!

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  3. Your toast points are so fun, this looks absolutely perfect for bacon lovers!

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  4. Recently tried bacon jam and loved it.. Must try this soon

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  5. I have a special place in my heart for pimiento cheese, because it was one of my mother's favorite things to make. It wasn't until adulthood that I learned that it was popular in the south, I always assumed until then it was either a Spanish or Filipino thing. Funny right?

    But now you've taken it to the next level with bacon jam. I KNOW I would eat a whole tray-ful.

    Have a great weekend! xo

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  6. Seeing all the states is on my bucket list too. So is making pimento cheese. Can you believe I've never even tried it. Must change that, huh. I think the bacon jam brings it to a new level of yumminess. Hope you have a great weekend Lisa, I'll be out foraging for fruit. Let me know if you come out this way, I'd love to meet up.
    -Gina-

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  7. This sounds (and looks) absolutely divine. I have every ingredient for these recipes. Guess what I am making tomorrow? We have a very busy Sunday and I can think of no other way to come home and relax with this simple, mouthwatering bite. I even have a bottle of Sancerre. Great suggestion. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. I have absolutely no idea what pimiento cheese is. Going to google right after this! It's kind of crazy how unknowledgeable I am about savory food. That's that's what a life of chicken fingers, pizza and pasta has done to me, I suppose. ;)

    These look super fun and love the jam!

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  9. OMG I found your site on Pinterest and can't wait to make these recipes. But I live in Chicago and I have TONS of recommendations. Email me breitcl [at] gmail.com and I'll be happy to suggest some places for you based on your interests!

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  10. The appetizer queen strikes again!!! I love pimento cheese, my only problem..I can't stop eating it!!! Love these flavors-so decadent and delightful Lisa ;-)

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  11. Can I not live closer to you so that I can drop by Friday nights at your place and taste test all your Friday Night Bites dishes? This one sounds so good that it is making me hungry!

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It simply makes me smile when I receive a new comment and I look forward to hearing from you!

 
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