Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Open Faced Pimento Cheese BLTs

One Monday Thatbaby's daycare provider and I were trading weekend stories.  She told us about this great botanical garden she had been to with her grandkids, a park she thought Thatbaby would love.  Of course we had to check it out. 

The garden is divided into 15 different "themes" or areas.  The prehistoric garden features dinosaur sculptures and one of the world's oldest trees.

The Pan-Asian garden features bamboo, and a gazebo with hanging cranes.

And the Mediterranean garden features a rose covered gazebo, pond, culinary and medicinal herb gardens, and the Mouth of Truth.

Roman Holiday anyone?

We also spent a lot of time in the Children's Garden.  They have a "sensory garden" there, and while the kids weren't impressed, Thatboy and I couldn't get enough of the cotton plants!

The boys were more interested in crawling through the giant tunnel.

But what really won them over was the musical portion of the garden.

We didn't get to every part of the garden.  Which means there will definitely be another trip.  It is a great way to spend the afternoon, and since it's dog friendly, the whole family can enjoy it.  There were also little vistas and tables set all over the gardens, which makes picnicking a must.   Especially if you love picnicking as much as I do.

For this trip, I packed pimento cheese sandwiches.  If you're not from the south, this may be an unheard of concept.  They are impossible to find here in California.  It's a cheesy spread, and given the name, that's probably not a surprise.  Neither is the fact that the other main ingredient is pimento.  It's served either cold, egg-salad like, or warm, in an amazing grilled cheese.

This version is cold, over thick, juicy tomatoes, under thick, crispy bacon.  It has everything.

Open Faced Pimento Cheese BLTs (From Cooking Light)
1 cup reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp bottled diced pimentos, drained
1 Tbsp grated peeled shallots
2 Tbsp canola mayonnaise
1 tsp cider vinegar
4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
12 tomato slices
4 center cut bacon slices, cooked and halved
1 cup arugula

  1. Combine cheese, pimentos, shallots, mayonnaise, vinegar and some ground black pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Top each toast slice with 3 tomato slices.
  3. Sprinkle tomato slices evenly with salt.
  4. Spread 3 Tbsp cheese mixture over tomatoes.
  5. Top each sandwich with 2 bacon halves and 1/4 cup arugula.

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