Pimento cheese, a common item found in the south has made its entrance into Milwaukee!

Bon Appétit named pimento cheese one of the top food trends of 2011 and has been cropping up on  menus at some of New York’s trendiest restaurants, in everything from scalloped potatoes to sushi. And now, just in time to spice up holiday hors d’oeuvres or leftover turkey sandwiches, a taste of the South has migrated into the Wisconsin dairy case: Martha’s Pimento Cheese.

Martha’s Pimento Cheese is a fresh take on the iconic Southern staple, combining aged Wisconsin Cheddar, peppers, a dash of seasoning and a touch of mayonnaise. The cook behind the curtain is Martha Davis Kipcak, a phenomenal local food force and community food organizer in Milwaukee. She is the Regional Governor of Slow Food USA, the Food Program Manager with the Center for Resilient Cities, integral in starting the Milwaukee Food Council and has been an invaluable resource as an advisory committee member with the Wisconsin Local Food Network.

Martha’s Pimento Cheese can be purchased in Milwaukee at Clock Shadow Creamery, Larry’s Market, Glorioso’s and Beans & Barley. As more retail outlets are added weekly, up-to-date information can be found online.

Read the full OnMilwaukee article by Lori Fredrich at: http://onmilwaukee.com/dining/articles/marthaspimentocheese.html

Looking to try pimento cheese for the first time? Here are a few suggestions for putting it to good use.

  1. Eat by the spoonful, straight from the refrigerator.
  2. Spread it on crisp, hot toast for a decidedly Wisconsin breakfast.
  3. Fill celery stalks with pimento cheese for a quick snack.
  4. Pimento cheese makes great jalapeno poppers. For a quick and easy appetizer, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut eight large jalapeno peppers in half and scoop out the seeds. Fill the jalapenos with pimento cheese and wrap each piece in a half strip of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick and place the jalapenos on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake the poppers for 20-30 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and cooked through.
  5. Use as a stuffing for mushroom caps.
  6. For a punched-up grilled cheese sandwich, spread a thick layer of pimento cheese between two slices of buttered bread. Add crisp bacon and grill to perfection.
  7. Spread some on your next burger or hot dog.
  8. Try adding it to your next batch of homemade macaroni and cheese for a peppery, almost smoky effect.
  9. Use as a topping for hot broccoli or cauliflower.
  10. When summer returns, take Martha’s advice and use the cheese for a homegrown tomato and pimento cheese pie.

Adapted from the OnMilwaukee article by Lori Fredrich

Do you have any food success stories you would like to have the Wisconsin Local Food Network showcase? If so, email Andrew Bernhardt at andrew.bernhardt@ces.uwex.edu with your ideas and suggestions! THANKS!