For the longest time I've been the complete opposite of a homebody. Just ask my mother...My poor mother, bless her heart, who was neither delighted nor reassured that I would ever come home safely all those years she put up with my habit of eating lunch, then disappearing until dinner time, only to repeat it all over again. Such was my typical pattern as a little girl. Happily, yet naively, wandering the streets of Buenos Aires without a care. I thought I could change my bent as I grew older in the States, where laws for "wandering" children are meticulously monitored and actually enforced, but nothing could help me shake off the feeling of uneasiness.
Truth be told, my family never knew such thing as a stage of rebellion coming from me. Well, unless we count those months during high school when I dared roll my eyes at my parents, but no, they didn't have to monitor the crowd I hung out with on a daily basis because in all honesty, I had absolutely no desire to do the wrong thing in terms of society's standards, but they did for a fact, worry about my state of emotional uneasiness that manifested in the form of being gone all day, every day. For years.
In my defense, I did have plenty of responsibilities and events I had volunteered myself to since middle school up to college, but that didn't change the fact that deep inside, a certain restlessness was looming underneath it all. I was simply scared to be with myself for more than two hours, if that. The only time I allowed myself to unwind was always during merienda, which is what we come to know as snack time here in the States, or more precisely high noon tea for some of you British folk. To be okay with the reality of nothing needing to happen at a given moment was terrifying to my younger self, and so as soon as tea was gulped to the last drop and snacks were polished off my plate, I was already out in pursuit of the next activity with friends or a lengthy stroll at the park.
They say marriage and motherhood unexpectedly change a person's perspective. And while some may disagree in such case, in my personal experience I've practiced the "art", if you will, of being still and actually being comfortable with myself every now and then. Perhaps I'm consoled by the knowledge that the present only lasts for a moment--ephemeral as can be and begging to be appreciated here and now. Especially true when Selah's about to wake up from her afternoon nap. I no longer need merienda or a fancy reason to be alone, or as alone as I can be at least, because again, I only get to experience alone-ness when Selah is in bed. As my faith grows deeper and my capacity as a wife and mom grows wider, I finally have come to terms with the art of stillness and in a way, nothingness. Unless of course, there is a glorious amount of cheese to be had, then yes. I'll take the latter option and gladly use it as an excuse to do something.
I chuckled slightly when I had finished preparing this utterly delicious pimento (or pimiento) cheese spread last week. Partly because my taste buds couldn't handle the explosive mixture of flavors, and partly because, here I was. Just having a cheese party by myself and feeling completely fine with it.
I hope you try this incredible recipe for your next afternoon snack, or if you're looking to throw a luxurious hors d'ouvres party with your friends you don't need to look any further. Pimento cheese is extremely easy to put together and quadruple in size. It's really one of those dishes that don't need precise measurements because your taste buds will do all the work.
I do suggest though, to find some dry powdered milk at your local store (any store) because it will enhance the taste and texture of your pimento cheese. It will also cancel out the need to use almost a whole cup of mayo and cream cheese, making this just as tasty yet lower in calories. And come to think of it now, I could have used this recipe for Snixy Kitchen's #cheesebabyshower! Until next time.
Pimento Cheese with Dry Milk Powder, Lower in Fat
Makes a little over 2 cups
Time: 10 minutes
Equipment: large mixing bowl, spatula or wooden spoon, small bowl or cup, box grater if you're not using pre-shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp shredded cheddar
1/4 cup havarti cheese, chopped or pieced
1-oz jar of diced pimiento, reserve water
1/4 cup mayo (I used Kewpie mayo)
1/4 cup dry milk powder (I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 tbsp water from pimiento jar
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground paprika
cayenne pepper for sprinkling (optional)
toasted slices of rye bread, veggies (preference)
Mix the cheddar shreds, pieces of havarti, pimiento, and mayo. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon or spatula so as to get the flavors melding thoroughly. In a separate cup, mix dry milk powder with the 3 tbsp of water from the pimiento jar and dissolve. Add into the cheese mixture, sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika, and mix until creamy and it resembles a dip. Spread on toast, sprinkle with a bit of cayenne if you like the spicy kick, or pair with cruciferous vegetables, celery, or carrot sticks. Pimento cheese can even be added into cold sandwiches or as the sole ingredient in grilled cheese!