Our spring/summer garden 2010 is making its debut. From early observations it seems to be shaping up to be our most prolific in years--certainly since the Texas Deluge of 2007 practically wiped it out and stripped the soil of nutrients.
(My new book, Way Back in the Country Garden, contains a chapter, "Peach Trees and the Wedding Plywood", that details exactly why that garden was so memorable.)
My hubby was determined that this year, he would get back in the full swing of things for the first time in those three intervening summers. Early on he applied a high nitrogen fertilizer after he visited with the wise folks at Roach Feed & Seed (an institution in Downtown Garland. They can help with anything!). Already the cornstalks are high and green, the tomatoes look as though they'll be lush, and the okra looks promising. And that's just the beginning.
Anyway, this year, we got so carried away, we decided to grow romaine lettuce--our first attempt at this food item. The first crop arrived a few weeks back. We picked our first bunch and COULD NOT BELIEVE we simply could walk a few steps out our back door and haul in a crunchy head of lettuce that would last us all week. Absolutely NOTHING like fresh romaine on a sandwich.
To celebrate our first romaine pick, we just had to have a special kind of sandwich. I had just read the latest issue of Southern Living and had seen a recipe for Old South Pimiento Cheese. I am a pimiento-cheese addict from the word GO--loved it all my life and am always looking for new ways to prepare it. No one will ever fix pimiento cheese like Betty Ewing, for years the society columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Betty's work cubicle was next to mine during my days as a writer for the Chronicle's Lifestyle section. Probably once a week Betty, who was generous to a fault, brought in a giant jar of pimiento cheese spread and shared it with the rest of the office as we made our lunchtime sandwiches. Again and again she would disclose to her co-workers what was in her magic recipe, but her ingredient list always varied a little each time she described the mixture. I would try to write it down, but the next time she would recite it slightly differently than she had the previous time.
This recipe in Southern Living (it appears below) seems the closest to Betty's that I've run across. It was absolutely perfect with my fresh-beyond-fresh romaine from our very own garden.
If you want a gardening treat that will REALLY make you feel as though you accomplished something, put a little romaine in your gardening life. We did and are thrilled with our romaine crop!
Old South Pimiento Cheese
1 cup chopped/broken pecans
1 (8-ounce) block extra sharp cheese (grate on small side of cheese grater)
1 (8-ounce) block sharp cheese (grate on large side of cheese grater)
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Set oven to 350 degrees. Toast the 1 cup pecans for 8-10 minutes. Stir halfway through the toasting. Mix the grated cheese, mayonnaise, pimiento, worcestershire sauce, onion, and red pepper. Add pecans. Spread on bread.