I would like to thank each and every one of you who read my (somewhat long) account of what is going on with my son Graham. I would really like to thank those of you who left lovely and thoughtful comments. I am blown away by your kindness. So, am I thanking you all by calling you cheeseballs? No, I’m thanking you by making cheeseballs.
Now, banish the thoughts of those processed, artificially colored, pre-rolled in stale nuts cheese balls you probably have seen in the cheese section of your local grocery store. This recipe comes to you by way of Martha Stewart, so you know there is nothing processed, artificial, or stale here. This is actually an ingenious recipe.
First, you make a base of cream cheese and butter with some seasonings and then you take that base and make it into three different flavored balls. One has cheddar cheese and chutney and is rolled in dried cranberries, one has blue cheese and brandy and is rolled in chopped walnuts, and one has goat cheese and scallions and is rolled in chopped parsley. It is a bit of work and you make a huge mess (or, at least I did) but you get a lot for your effort.
The first time I made this appetizer I was stunned by how gi-normous each cheese ball was. So, I divided each one in half to make two balls of each flavor, six balls in all. I served one of each and froze the rest for another time. It was great to be able to pull out something so special for impromptu dinners and one of the smaller balls will still easily feed 8 people or more. That method is how I have done it every time since and is how I recommend you do it, unless you are planning a party for 100. I love having things like this in the freezer.
Again friends, thank you. It is a less lonely journey with friends to accompany you.
One Year Ago: Pasta with Cauliflower, Peppers, and Walnut Pesto
Cheese Balls Three Ways
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s The New Classics
Makes three – 4 inch balls (or six – 2 inch balls if you split each in half as I describe above)
You may not know this, and you may not care, but Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian. It contains anchovies. You can find a vegan version at Whole Foods and it comes in handy when making Caesar Salad.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), softened
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
5 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Cheddar and Cranberry
8 ounces sharp orange Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tbsp. store-bought chutney
3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
Roquefort and Walnut
6 ounces Roquefort cheese
1 shallot, minced
2 tsp. brandy (optional)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Goat Cheese and Scallions
8 ounces goat cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped scallions
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Put the butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined. Divide equally among 3 medium bowls.
2. Stir the Cheddar and chutney with the base mixture in the first bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Roll the cheese ball in the cranberries to coat before serving.
3. Stir the Roquefort and shallot with the base mixture in the second bowl; add brandy, if desired. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Roll in the walnuts to coat before serving.
4. Stir the goat cheese and scallions with the base in the remaining bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Roll in the parsley before serving.