I'm not sure if y'all remember me talking about how, for years, I didn't really care for Pimiento Cheese. I tried it several times as a kid and later as an adult and it never really appealed to me a whole lot. Then I tried Callie's Pimiento Cheese. And it was life changing. Life changing, I tell ya! This stuff was amazing. It wasn't gloopy with a ton of mayo or seasoned with bizarre spices. I felt like Goldielocks from the Three Little Bears. It was just right. That was it. Just like that, I was hooked. I have been spoiled. And did I mention that Callie's makes some pretty darn amazing biscuits too? They are small, square, little bites of tenderness. All made by hand at Callie's Charleston Biscuits. In fact, that is what Callie's is known for, their biscuits. But you gotta trust me on that Pimiento Cheese too. It will rock your socks. If you are ever down that way, you gotta stop in and pick you some up (or you can order it, and the biscuits, online).
So, I got pretty giddy when I got my hands on a new cookbook called 'Callie's Biscuits and Southern Traditions' from Carrie Morey (the owner of Callie's Charleston Biscuits in Charleston, South Carolina). I have been dying to know how she makes her pimiento cheese, y'all. I mean, it didn't taste like any of the other thousands I had tried before. It's special, ya know. Well, it's definitely a top secret recipe because Carrie doesn't share it in her new cookbook. Well, shoot. BUT, she does give away her mother's special biscuit recipe! The biscuit recipe Carrie shares is the same recipe that put Callie's (named after Carrie's Momma) on the map! You'll have to check out her cookbook though to get that heirloom recipe. Carrie only uses White Lily flour. Y'all know how I feel about White Lily flour when making biscuits. Remember those 2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits I shared? Mmmm Hmmm. It is just the BEST flour for biscuit making.
Carrie is definitely a true southern cook. But I like how she has put her own spin on southern classics. This cookbook not only has southern favorites like fried chicken, squash casserole and banana pudding but it also has Carrie's unique twist to other southern dishes like collard greens and deviled eggs. She nicely mixes the comforting classics we know and love with a few modern twists while still keeping it simple. And the pictures in this book (holy cow) they are drool-worthy. Hang on, let me wipe my chin.
This would make a great cookbook for new cooks as well as seasoned cooks. Carrie's recipes are a fresh take on old favorites while still paying tribute to her Mom's and Grandma's family-favorite recipes. So, I thought I'd share a recipe today that Carrie says is inspired by her Grandma's original dish. It is for ham salad. It caught my attention because I've always had ham salad with relish not onions and celery (like I traditionally use in a chicken salad). So I thought I needed to give this one a spin. It had a great range of flavors while still being fairly simple to make!
1 pound ham (leftover or purchased thick slab), trimmed of fat and diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 dill "sandwich-sliced" pickles, chopped
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pickle juice
Note: I used a couple of dill spears since I didn't have any of the "sandwich-sliced" pickles on hand. Also, I used a sweet onion (like a Vidalia).
Put the ham, onion, and celery in a food processor. (season with a bit of black pepper)
Pulse (short, quick pulses) 20-25 times to mince.
Combine remaining ingredients (chopped pickles, mayo, mustard brown sugar and pickle juice).
Then stir in minced ham mixture
Cover and chill. (I chilled it for several hours, it definitely gets better as it chills for a while).
Note: give it a taste test before serving. I didn't add any additional salt to mine because my ham was salty enough so additional salt would have been too much. But adjust it to your taste.
Serve on rolls, biscuits or as a spread for crackers!