Jalapeno-Pimiento Cheese can run the option at tailgating time

By Ann Thrash

Saturday’s matchup with Furman is the first noon game of the season, and the kickoff time might change up your tailgating menu. While some people stick with burgers, ribs and other night-game classics, others opt to take advantage of the late-morning/midday setting and let bloody Marys, dips and brunch fare take over the table.

This week’s recipe – Jalapeno-Pimiento Cheese – is a dual threat because it can be used with either kind of menu you have in mind. You can spread it on crackers, use it as a dip for celery sticks, use it in hot ham biscuits and make sandwiches (full size or finger size) out of it for a lighter menu – but you can also layer it on a burger for a fantastic pimiento cheeseburger or spread it on a hot dog with some chili for a killer chili cheese dog.

The heat from the jalapenos is easy to adjust, depending on your tastes – just like this spread itself can adjust to any tailgating setting you prefer.

Jalapeno-Pimiento Cheese

1 pound (16 ounces) extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers (from a jar is fine)
2 (4-ounce) jars diced pimientos, drained
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/4 cups mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the cheese in a food processor or by hand. Put the cheese in a large mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients (just 1 tablespoon jalapenos to start), and stir to combine well. If desired, add more minced jalapenos until the heat level is where you like it. Makes about 2 cups.

PHOTO: ANN THRASH