Monday, April 23, 2012

Laptop Lunches #83

I'm back! Without leftovers (yet).

Strawberries, baby carrots, pretzel thins, and a cup of Jarlsberg cheese spread for dipping (recipe below).

I have been fed some of the most delightful free food over the past few weeks--one of the great delights of academia--but I did miss my Laptop Lunchbox. I've also been kind of stressed out. I went on a search for comfort food, which would normally involve cheese (what can I say). A while ago, on the road, I discovered a cheese spread at Kroger (not at all the sort of grocery store for my region of the country) that I felt would be easy enough to recreate--and it was. The thing is, I have close to zero self control with it, so it's got to be a rare treat. I dipped both carrots and pretzels in it, but I prefer the pretzels, and I will confess that I also ate it for breakfast this morning. What did I tell you? No. Self. Control.

Jarlsberg cheese spread is something like a slightly more sophisticated pimento cheese. A pimento cheese-and-bologna sandwich on white bread was one of my favorite packed lunches when I was a child, although I never pack sandwiches now. I loved the way the bread stuck to the roof of my mouth and got stuck between my teeth (was I an odd child?) and the way the cheese oozed out in a creamy goodness. But pimento cheese is not northeastern fare. Jarlsberg cheese spread may pass for respectable around here. (I'm still not sure. I tried to describe this to a friend and she flared her nostrils and said it sounded hideous.)

Jarlsberg is a swiss cheese from Norway, incidentally. If you can't find it, a part-skim swiss of any sort would probably work, but I love Jarlsberg. It's not as pricey as most imported cheeses; on the low end of fancy at about $6/pound here.

Here we go:

Jarlsberg Cheese Spread (about 8 servings)

8-10 oz. Jarlsburg swiss
1/4 large red onion, chopped
About 1/2 cup light mayo, more or less as needed

Shred cheese and put into mixing bowl. Add chopped onion and enough mayo to bring things up to a spreadable or dippable consistency. If you want to be fancy you can add some freshly ground black pepper.

And viola! Easy, and so good. An indulgence, perhaps, but worth every creamy bite. You can make sandwiches with it, or use it to dip veggies into, or crackers, or whatever you like, but I still stand by the pretzel thins as my favorite.

Since the photo of the lunch itself didn't do justice to the cheese, here's a close up:

I don't know if it looks as good as it tastes, but in my opinion it's a pretty attractive dip.

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