It is finally that Goldilocks time of year here in Nashville: not too hot, not too cold, just right for a fall picnic. Here at Flavor Catering we believe in keeping it simple, and as a local business ourselves, keeping it local. So we headed to the nearby Turnip Truck to grab the ingredients for our favorite southern style spread, the ever-classic pimento cheese, (recipe below) and a few other tasty morsels to enjoy on our day out.
If you are from the south, then you already know all about pimento cheese. If you aren’t, then you are probably thinking that only a Southerner would mix extra sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and sweet peppers together and call it a meal!
But its beauty is in its simplicity. Most of the ingredients you likely have in your refrigerator. The preparation is quick and easy, and can be served as decadent lunch or a last minute hors d’oeuvres for guests.
Lovingly referred to as “the caviar of the South,” the pimento cheese sandwich is most famously featured every year at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. More commonly, it is spread between two pieces of Bunny bread and pressed into the hands of hungry children as they rush out the door to play. It can be served with crackers or celery sticks, as it has been for decades, to party-goers. Personally, we like to place a dollop on our sweet potato biscuits and feature it as a seriously southern appetizer option.
No matter how you choose to enjoy, take heart in knowing that you are participating in a much loved culinary tradition here in the American South.
PIMENTO CHEESE RECIPE
serves 8 – 10
1 cup mayonnaise (you can’t get more southern than Duke’s!)
4 oz. diced pimento, drained
1 tbs. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. granulated garlic
pinch of salt
an 8 oz. block of extra sharp cheddar cheese
smoked paprika, to taste
buttermilk, for consistency (optional)
To start, finely shred your cheese. Mix mayonnaise and pimento in a large mixing bowl. Add in onion, garlic, and salt. Slowly add in cheddar until the mixture is good and thick. Add some smoked paprika, to taste, and enjoy!
You have two options here: you can blend all the ingredients in a food processor for a more consistent texture. Or you can go old-school on it (as we personally prefer) and mix it by hand. It’s a bit more labor intensive, but results in the chunky texture pimento cheese is often known for.
Chef’s Note: This is one of those per your preference dishes. . . more onion, less garlic? Go for it!!
Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves. – Humbert Wolfe
There are times when it feels as though summer’s end may never come — but with this first crisp in the Nashville air, we are finally feeling that fall is upon us. Sweaters and changing leaves and football and … smoked pork tenderloin with cherry apple chutney: that’s what we are really thinking of here at the Flavor kitchen. It is one of our favorite dishes to serve, and ever-popular for September and October weddings. But most importantly, it makes for a great dish to serve at home on these cool autumnal evenings…
CHERRY APPLE CHUTNEY RECIPE
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 large gala apples
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup bourbon (your favorite regional variety!)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
To prepare, dice apples into 1/4 inch cubes.
Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Once butter is hot, add diced apples and cook on high heat until apples are fully caramelized. Take pan off of heat and add bourbon. Replace on heat for the fun (and fantastically photogenic!) part: the flambéing of the apples!
Once flames die down, add dried cherries and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add brown sugar and vinegar and cook on medium heat until apples are soft. Mix in rosemary and salt at the last, and your chutney is ready to serve!
SMOKED PORK TENDERLOIN RECIPE
1 large pork tenderloin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
cherry wood chips, soaked for 4 hours
Add soaked wood chips to smoker, and turn on.
Mix smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, sugar and salt in small mixing bowl.
Trim fat and silver skin off of the pork tenderloin. (Note: the “silver skin” is the thin white layer of fat on top of the loin. It is important to trim this off, because it contracts when cooking as opposed to melting away as regular fat does.)
Once the tenderloin is ready, rub spices onto meat and smoke for 15 minutes. Finish cooking pork in the oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, or until meat reaches 150 degrees. Let pork stand for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing. Cut meat at a bias and top with chutney, to serve.
It takes a special pair of eyes to see the beauty in something faded. In this case, it took three pairs. Chandra and Leigh Watson and Nealy Glenn instantly saw the potential when they discovered the beautiful but abandoned Rutledge Hill home now known as The Cordelle.
Built in 1871, the home at 45 Lindsley Avenue was originally owned by a steamer: located within walking distance of the famed Cumberland River, it was his job to help guide the steamboats safely into harbor. This is, in fact, where the venue name originates: a cordelle is the kind of rope used to pull the boats in to the banks of the river. For Chandra, Leigh, and Nealy, this rope is rich in symbolism:
“Like that unifying rope, The Cordelle brings people together: it’s an event space for weddings, corporate parties, fashion and art shows, music, community gatherings and much, much more. It’s a place that connects us to friends, family and the memories we create… a place in history… a place where new stories begin.”
With that in mind, the Victorian home was lovingly gutted and renovated: the earliest portion of the home was restored to its original beauty; a “Great Hall” was added; the second story was converted into a loft to be used as a bridal suite, green room, or for more intimate parties; and the veranda and gardens extend the interior beauty with a lush landscape.
Their attention to detail is unparalleled. Older features of the home were reworked into the new venue in surprising ways: the table in the loft was made with wood from the original flooring, and the mirror in the bridal suite comes from the crown molding. The use of local artisans and builders was also integral to the reanimating of The Cordelle. The loft boasts barn doors created by Holler Designs out of Lascassas , Tennessee. The floors, taken from an old tobacco barn, were done by Good Wood in Nashville. The walls are adorned with Emily Leonard’s paintings depicting the middle Tennessee landscape, as well as Nealy’s own photography.
And our favorite detail? The original cordelle rope tucked reverently away in a corner of the loft.