Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reunion Food

   We are definite foodies in our family. When we talk about bringing it on, we are usually talking about food. I spent this past weekend in a walk down memory lane with my two sisters and two first cousins as we gathered together for the first ever Bosom Bottom Buddy Club Reunion. We arrived from far-flung locations at my younger sister's beautiful Gulf-side beachhouse on Friday. Our time together included a trip to the bay house on Cinco Bayou where we spent every summer until we each went to college or were gainfully employed. However, before we arrived at my sister's we were instructed to bring our beverage of choice and both a salty food and sweet food to share. It looked like we had emptied the neighborhood Publix when we unloaded all of the food; there were some variations on tried and true family recipes and the introduction of some new cuisine as well. I gained no less than FIVE pounds in a 48 hour period. You can guess if we had a good time.

Lou Lou's Pimento (pronounced puh-men-ah) Cheese
My grandmother was famous for this recipe which is best slathered on whatever you happen to have on hand, whether it be humble saltines, Wheat Thins, sourdough bread or thickly sliced homemade bread, but even a few slices of the good ol standby, white bread, will do in a pinch. This past weekend I am sure I saw one of my beloved family members using her finger as a scoop on this family favorite when she thought no one was looking. Even southern bred novelist Reynolds Price understood the importance of pimento cheese in the southern food pyramid as he ranked it up there with fried chicken and deviled eggs. I wholeheartedly concur. In addition to using it as lunch food, I frequently put it out at parties and serve it as a dip.

Lou Lou always made sure that the flavors in her pimento cheese had time to meld together, and she kept it on the counter in a bowl covered with cheesecloth (in the olden days) so that it would be soft and spreadable at all times.
       2 cups finely grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (You MUST grate your own.)
       Medium size jar of red pimentos
       3/4 cup or more of real mayonnaise (no diet or low fat will work)
       Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
    Grate cheese into bowl and lightly drain pimentos and mash with a fork on a plate; add mayo and pimentos to cheese. Season to taste.

Belly Buttons     
My baby sister brought this intriguing and cute snack that was a huge hit with each of us. Besides being delicious, this treat packs easily and kids of all ages are sure to enjoy.
Recipe: 1 package medium size pretzels
            1 package Wilton vanilla white chocolate disks
            1 package assorted M&M's
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Lay out the pretzels on a large jelly roll pan
Place the white Wilton disks in the center of each pretzel
Heat for 5 minutes maximum
Remove from oven and immediately press an M&M in the center of each softened disk.
Let cool and then pack in a sealable plastic container.

Babs' Lavash Pizza
This was a new food for all of us and and is a great twist on a old favorite. Try your own variations until you are satisfied. The lavash bread is thin and crispy and oh so delicious! I even think it qualifies as low fat but by the time you put on all of the cheese and assorted toppings, the whole diet idea goes out the window.
Recipe:  1 package lavash bread from Whole Foods (other brands don't work as well)
              olive oil
              small jar marinara sauce (optional)
              assorted grated and crumbled cheese
              toppings: artichoke hearts, turkey pepperoni, roasted red peppers, olives, fresh basil (you get the idea; be really creative here!)
              pizza pan with holes ( A MUST)
(photo courtesy of ravenouscouple blog)
Lay out the lavash bread on the pizza pan. Coat lightly with olive oil. Toast in 375 degree oven until golden brown. Immediately top with marinara sauce if you want red pizza and then add grated cheese and assorted toppings. If you prefer white pizza, you may also omit the marinara sauce and just use the cheese and assorted toppings. Return to the oven if necessary for a few minutes to melt the cheese and ingredients together. Slice with pizza wheel into small to medium squares. Serve at once!

BaBa's Pecan Pie
(Okay, I cheated. I bought my pecan pie at The Puffy Muffin bakery here in Nashville, a great place that uses family recipes.) But if I had made my pie, this is the ONLY recipe that I use. My Momma got it out of the 1986 Southern Living Best Recipe book, and we have been enjoying it in our family for over 20 years. I guess that makes it tried and true. I like to take the time to lay out my pecans in concentric circles on the top of the pie. It makes for an elegant looking dessert, but once you taste it, the idea of elegance goes out the window. You want to dig in and savor every is lip-smacking good.
      1 cup light corn syrup
      1 cup brown sugar (packed)
      1/2 cup melted butter
      3 large eggs, lightly beaten
      1/4 tsp salt
      1 tbsp vanilla
      1 cup unbroken pecans (may need a few more or less)
      1 unbaked pie shell
  In medium saucepan melt together light corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter. Remove from heat when sugar has dissolved and butter has melted; stir in remaining ingredients (being careful to temper eggs so that the yolks will not curdle). Pour into unbaked pie shell and top with whole pecans in concentric circles. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 mins to an hour or until pie is set. Serve warm with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Do not refrigerate the leftovers, just leave 'em on the counter 'till they disappear.


  1. I was with you until the Pecan Pie. Southern though I am, I just can't eat it. (Maybe it's a genetic defect - sort of like the way my own 5 year old refuses to eat sweet potatoes, even though I've reminded her that her mama is from Alabama and it's required by law that she like them.) And have you had Mitchell Deli's jalapeno pimento cheese? I love this new twist on an old dish!

  2. I think I gained another couple of pounds just reading. Oh yum. Pimento cheese is my over-the-top fave. Maybe because I hadn't had the real deal in years. Until I ate the whole bowl. : )


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