Ten Days of Pimento Cheese: The Paula, An Over The Top Indulgence

Pimento cheese transformed. A #tuesdaytransformation that doesn't count calories

She wrote the Southern Cooking Bible and insists she's never met a stick of butter she didn't love, so who better than Paula Deen to come up with a pimento cheese recipe that takes the quentiscential Southern classic way beyond a humble sandwich spread. 

In this recipe the pimento, and a couple of different cheeses, wind up in a creamy sauce... a sauce based on butter and bacon fat, thank you very much. Macaroni and sliced bacon join the fray and the mix is lightly broiled. What emerges is a brown and bubbling Bacon Pimento Mac and Cheese.  

And that's how we go from a Masters classic to classic Paula Deen.


Ten Days of Pimento Cheese: The DeLite, A No-Mayo P.C.

Monday, arguably the weekday the most willpower, is probably the right one for this recipe

Pimento cheese is, by its very nature, an indulgence... and for the most part that's just fine with fans of the creamy concoction.  Otherwise it wouldn't be known as "The Cavier of the South", would it? So imagine my surprise, when I encountered an impressive array of recipes for "PC Light". 

Some cooks decided to add all manner of vegtable matter to the mix, while others suggest simply substituting "light cheese" and "light mayonaise" for the real things, and saving some calories that way.

The one I selected does neither. Instead, it replaces the mayo with yogurt, adding a dash of vinegar for the necessary tang.  This recipe comes from Bran Appetit, a delightful cooking blog that celebrates a deliciously healthy life... without ever sacrificing the charm of the dishes we love. 


Ten Days of Pimento Cheese: The Original, A Singular Sandwich

With just ten days till the start of our 2017 Masters Golf Road Trip, I've started thinking about pimento cheese... with increasing frequency. 

This may seem odd for a New Englander, whose first exposure to "the caviar of the South" was rather recent, but the feeling is not unlike the one I have for gingerbread and eggnog in the run-up to Christmas. It's actually a kind of longing, based on memories of special, once-a-year, limited-time-only foods rather than any real affinity for their taste or texture. 

Be that as it may, thanks to my Masters memories, I'm currently obsessed with thoughts of Pimento Cheese. So much so, that earlier today I succumbed to an urge to google "pimento cheese" ...the way you'd google an unrequited love from high school. Or something. 

My hopes were to find a few photos of the sacred sandwich with which to wet my appetite. Instead I found a treasure trove of unexpected recipes.  I've curated my favorites and will present one a day till our departure.

I'm starting where my obsession began, with the original Masters Pimento Cheese sandwich.


Golf Travel: Onward from Augusta, A Masters Golf Road Trip - Part 1

The Singular Beauty of The Masters

The Masters is a singular experience. For golfers and golf fans it's always going to be a top-of-bucket-list event, but even for those with little or no interest in the game, a day at The Masters will bring with it a rare sense of wonder.  My first experience... all four days of the tournament in 2011... was so sublime, so transcendent, that I promised myself I'd go again, and that this time I'd bring along the man I share my golf cart... and my life... with.

Once a world class globetrotter, Nicholas has, over the years, developed a perplexing aversion to planes, trains and automobiles. However, in the spring of 2015 I managed to strongarm gently coax him into hitting the road with me. Our first stop was Augusta and a Tuesday practice round at The Masters.  As I suspected, Nick was as susceptible as anyone to the otherworldly aura inside the gates of Augusta National and spent the day smiling through the dreamy haze of verdant civility. He sipped pink lemonade, admired azaleas and had his first ever pimento cheese sandwich. And at the end of the day called the experience tout a fait inoubliable. He's French, BTW.

Admiring Amen Corner... In Real Life 

His euphoria was fortuitous, because Augusta was just the beginning. We had our clubs and a rental car, and I (sort of) had a plan: we'd use this opportunity to discover a bit of what makes golf in the Southern US such a singular experience.  So we left Augusta in the late afternoon and headed on up I20 into South Carolina, driving through a sudden thunderstorm that ended, fittingly, with a rainbow.

Out of Augusta, I22 Rainbow

The only small problem was that unbeknownst to my less-than-adventurous partner, I didn't actually have reservations anywhere till Charlotte, two nights later. I just figured I'd find something along the way that would work for us.  The thing is though, Masters Week means very few vacant hotel rooms anywhere within 100 miles of Augusta. I sort of knew this, but chose to ignore it, and after stopping at several motels in Columbia and finding nothing, Nick began to panic. Night was descending, and the once welcoming highway was starting to seem somewhat sinister. 

Fortunately, my many years of solo travel in some of the world's most far flung outposts (thank you Timbuktu) had me more than ready for this type of thing. So while Nick nervously drove on I was able to remain calm, and with a bit of research... plus a healthy dose of creative licence... suggested Chester, SC as the quintessential Southern town, just an hour away, and a perfect place to stay for the next couple of nights. Nick looked skeptical, but chilled a bit when I told him I'd just secured tomorrow's tee time at Chester Golf Club (thank you on-line booking).  

70's Statuary at Chester Golf Club, Chester, SC

We pushed on up I77 towards the Chester area and eventually came upon a section, just off the interstate, that boasted a couple of humble strip malls, the ubiquitous gas and fast food purveyors and a few generic motels. Whereupon, Nick made a beeline for the homogeneous familiarity of a clean, well-lighted Quality Inn. Exhausted... and overly cautious by nature... he was not about to venture to the rural darkness in search of an unvetted country auberge.

A simple Southern Shack Houses An Interesting Array of Oddities 

So we checked in at the standard check-in desk, had a standard good night's sleep with waffles for breakfast and drove 15 minutes to the golf course.

Chester Golf Club was something of a time warp. We found the course to be refreshingly rural... not a house or condo to be seen. The layout is open and forgiving, with wide fairways that allow average players (us) to entertain the possibility of numerous pars and perhaps a few birdies. 
The clubhouse is modest, but welcoming, and for the space of 18 holes we felt transported to a simpler time... circa 1975... before everything became so ostentatious

After our round we ventured into the city of Chester which did, in fact, seem quintessentially quaint and utterly Southern, at least to our New England eyes. Set on a hill, the former mill town features a confederate monument, and a Civil War cannon. The historic district has been restored and the surrounding neighborhoods are lined with stately victorian homes. Were I to make this trip again I'd plan ahead and stay at one of the grand old inns. An Inn on York Street, which actually offers a selection of golf packages, and the Inn Upon Moon River Plantation, where accommodations are inspired by legendary blues, jazz and gospel artists are two we heard good things about.
On the road again, with something to look forward to 

As the sun set we meandered back to our humble highway hideaway for one more night. 
Our next stop... just an hour north, in Charlotte, NC... would be The Ballantyne Hotel with its exceptional championship golf course, and we were definitely looking forward to it.

Follow our Masters Golf Road Trip series here over the next couple of weeks, and if you're looking to attend The Masters this year, our sponsor Ticket City will help you find the perfect tickets --> TICKET CITY GOLF TICKETS 


I've Got Perfect Shoes For The Master's. Now For The Rest Of The Outfit

Vintage leather applique shoes with a golf theme by Zalo
With The Masters just a month away, and Tuesday practice round tickets secured, I can barely contain my excitement. 

The verdant beauty of Augusta National, the quaint, somewhat quirky adherence to tradition and the omnipresent ambiance of collective wonderment are just a few of the things that make The Masters so amazing and unique.

Not surprisingly, fabulous golf fashion is de rigueur at the season's first major, and I'm hoping to put together a distinctive outfit; something worthy of this iconic event. 
Fortunately, I've found some much needed inspiration in the form of an ultra-whimsical pair of shoes. They're vintage, crafted in two different shades of green leather, and appliqued with endearing images of golfers and golf equipment. 

Of course, my husband hates them. You see, he's French and has this thing called le sens du ridicule, which basically means he has little tolerance for unusual, costumey type clothing. Especially when worn by his wife. I sort of knew he'd dislike the decorative pumps... intensely... when I discovered them on Ebay, but that didn't deter me at all, because I know I'll be able to style these shoes into the most... um...enchanting... Master's outfit ever. Well, that's my plan, anyway. And I've got to get working on it immediately. Will keep you posted.

Looking to attend The Masters this year? Our sponsor, TicketCity, will help you find the perfect tickets --> TICKETCITY GOLF TICKETS. 

The Masters: An Historic Event, An Iconic Course, A Coveted Ticket

This post is in partnership with Ticket City.

Tickets to The Masters are, by their very nature, elusive.

Though certainly one of the world's best known sporting events and most loved golf tournaments, there's a persistent element of mystery surrounding T
he Masters.

Augusta National, the cloistered course that hosts the tournament each year,  is a real life Brigadoon; an enchanted place with a frozen-in-time feeling, that opens itself for just a few fleeting days a year to the outside world.  

The fact that only a select few manage to gain entry during each annual ouverture, makes a visit to the Masters a wildly sought after experience for both golfers and non-golfers alike. Not surprisingly this collective longing has only deepened the mystery... and enhanced the mythology... surrounding the coveted tickets.  How then, does one manage to get in?

Since I started writing about golf nearly a decade ago, I've been asked that question more times than I can remember, and to be honest it took me a couple of years of sifting through fact and folklore to arrive at an understanding of the process and its possibilities. So here's the deal.  -------> READ MORE ->


Waste Management Phoenix Open - How to Ace The Green Out

Peep Toe Perfection - Originally conceived for The Masters, I'm saving this look for "Green Out" at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. - -  TheGolfGirl at Polyvore

Golf is green. As counterintuitive as that may seem, it's true. Across the country and around the world, golf provides a critical sanctuary for creatures large and small. Don't believe me? Just watch this... please.

Of course, the sanctuary aspect is only one piece of golf's sustainability puzzle.  In order to grow and thrive into the future, golf... more than many sports... must embrace environmental initiatives whenever possible, and raise awareness as to the importance of adherence to sustainable water usage and agronomy standards. 

And that's where the "Green Out" at this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open comes in. It's a special day set aside by the event's sponsors, where attendees and players are encouraged to wear green, in support of sustainability. Now in it's seventh year, the "Green Out" has raised more than $390,000 for environmental organizations... and inspired a myriad of verdant style statements.  

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is not only the highest-attended tournament on the PGA TOUR, it is also the most sustainable sporting event in the world. Read more about it... and the environmental organizations it supports... here. 

Meanwhile, though I've never attended this amazing event, it's on high on my list. And I've already got my outfit picked out.