When I first met Jess, my stepmom, she wasn’t that into cooking. But, she’s the kind of detail-oriented and organized person that was destined to be good in the kitchen. Now, she is a meticulous reader and researcher of restaurants in every city she’s traveled so she always has a solid recommendation, and she’s a great cook. This is her recipe for pimento cheese dip, which she always makes around Christmastime for parties, and just to have on hand when family’s around. 100 percent of people who eat it ask her for the recipe. It’s a perfect mix of sweet and spicy and creamy and I have a really hard time stopping if there’s a jar out. Don’t skip the candied jalapeños on top, they really bring it home. —Emily Johnson
- 1/2 lb extra-sharp Vermont white Cheddar block, grated
- 1/2 lb extra-sharp aged New York (orange) Cheddar block, grated
- 1/2 jar Mezetta Pickled Sweet Cherry Peppers, drained and finely chopped
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1/2 C mayonnaise
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 C candied jalapenos, chopped or whole, for garnish
Whip cream cheese in stand mixer.* Add all other ingredients and mix until just combined. Best served close to room temperature, topped with the candied jalapeños.
*May be mixed by hand if looking for a workout.