DEAR HELOISE: I often see pimentos used in recipes and, of course, stuffed in olives, but what exactly are they?
Kevin H., via email
DEAR KEVIN: They are little, heart-shaped red peppers! But they are not hot like a chili pepper. They are seeded, peeled, cored and cooked before being diced/sliced and packaged in jars. They have a sweet flavor and can be added to salads (potato and coleslaw are favorites), sandwiches and, of course, cheese. The "pimento" in olives is made from the same red pepper, but is processed into uniform pieces.
One of my favorite recipes that uses pimentos is my mother's (the original Heloise, 1919-77) Heloise's Pimento Cheese Spread. To make it, you need the following ingredients:
1 pound boxed soft cheese (or any style cheese that can be grated)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped pickles (your favorite kind)
4 ounces pimentos
Grate the cheese (if necessary) using a food processor or the large side of a cheese grater. Place a large piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on the counter. Now you are going to layer your ingredients, starting with the grated cheese/soft cheese, followed by the mayonnaise, pimentos and pickles.
Use a spatula to fold the ingredients over and over from the bottom to the top. Repeat the process until all the ingredients are gone.
Next, store the spread in jars, making sure they are sealed tight, and place in the refrigerator. For other favorite recipes, order my Heloise All-Time Favorite Recipes pamphlet by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/All-Time, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Keep a jar of pimentos in the pantry to add to egg salad, deviled eggs, potato salad or a side salad. They add a touch of red to the plate.
DEAR HELOISE: To remove oven drips or spills more easily, carefully sprinkle salt on the spots as soon as possible and while they are still hot. After they cool, they usually can be popped off.
N.R. in Pennsylvania
DEAR N.R.: If the spill is stubborn and doesn't come off easily, then once the oven cools, remove the spill with a sturdy brush or plastic spatula (NOT a metal spatula, which may scrape the oven surface coating).
DEAR HELOISE: Regarding the hint about whether the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty: I turn the dishwasher on at night after the kitchen is "closed." I leave the dishwasher-detergent bottle on the counter above the dishwasher. When the dishes are put away, so is the bottle so simple!
Gladys B. in California
Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. 79500, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.