Christmas Eve I was in charge of dinner, but I also came down with a bug. It was definitely not my cooking, as I made a mess of (fresh/frozen) white acre peas to go alongside my Carolina rice, turnip greens right off the farm truck, smoked ham, and the best hot cornbread made with Benton bacon grease, served with butter slathered in the middle. I even pulled my mothers retro mint green Tupperware Jello Mold out of the cupboard to create a throwback recipe, our favorite Southern Cheese Ring topped with local crushed pecans. I told mother that I was “pulling a Charlotte.” She was known to head to bed to “rest her eyes” on occasion after preparing for a big party, only to never to return. The next morning was Christmas and I found most of the food had been eaten, with the peas being the biggest hit. Good sign. I was feeling better, and Christmas over at my parents home was most memorable. Our family was all together in South Walton which is rare, we ate our yearly beef tenderloin prepared by Dad, but the next day the red tide caused everyone of us to cough and itch. In the two decades that I have lived in South Walton, I had not experienced anything quite so bad. We drove over to Seaside to stay for a few days and the folks bussing the tables had their shirts pulled over their faces at Pickles because the red tide was so thick in the air. Just when I thought things were turning around for the better, I ruptured a disc in my neck. Granted c 5,6 and 7 are in horrible condition, and I would like to say I was doing something exciting, but it happened while sitting on the sofa watching a movie. I think all of the coughing may have jolted something loose. Needless to say I had the dreaded shots at 5-6 , 6-7, and am currently in traction daily. I’m also still eating, drinking, and have busy bees helping me with cooking, so you can’t keep me down as 30AEats.com heads into 2016. There are some great things in store! Stay tuned for my Le Creuset Cooking Demo’s with local chefs (the next one is Jan. 27th), judging the Sandestin Gumbo Fest, the 30A Eats Cookbook release, and The Food, Film Festival South Walton to name a few! Happy New Year!
Southern Cheese Ring
Perfect for holiday parties, family gatherings, or tailgating, I hope you enjoy one of our family favorite appetizers. Just make sure to run the Jello Mold under hot water before popping off the bottom and the top of the mold. and setting the ring on a platter. Top the cheese ring with pecans, fill with strawberry preserves, and serve with your favorite crackers. I find the Ritz brand works best with this particular recipe. (That’s just a Rosemary Sprig from my garden on top for garnish).
2 (16 ounce) packages sharp cheddar cheese at room temperature, grated
1 cup pecans, toasted, salted and chopped
3/4 -1 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic clove, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1 cup strawberry preserves
butter to lightly grease the Tupperware Jello mold
Combine all the ingredients and mix well, except the strawberry preserves and chopped pecans. Place the mixture into a lightly buttered Tupperware Jello Mold. Chill for 3 hours. Run warm water over mold and remove the top and bottom. Sprinkle with chopped pecans
Fill the center with the good strawberry preserves. Serve with your favorite crackers.
Option: Shape the mixture into a ring on attractive serving dish, cover and chill.