Tag Archives: finger food

Ballin’ retro

The cheese ball is back!

The cheese ball is back!

I know what’s been in missing in your life. At every party you’ve gone too. You’ve stared at the cut-up veggies, cubed cheese, ranch dip…. and sighed. Every time, you scan that table one more time, secretly hoping that something better might appear.

Ok, so maybe you aren’t dreaming about cheese balls. Maybe you lived through the last cheese ball phase, and you’re so.over.them.

Hear me out… this is Cheeseball 2.0. Not your mama’s cheeseball. It’s been updated with fresh herbs, roasted spices, and rolled in toasted nuts, seeds, or herbs.

toasting fennel

Toasty fennel

I took this to a birthday party and judging by the remnants, it was a hit.

I made 2 different ones out of a copy of Bon Appetit. (And is it just me, or does the magazine inspire you as much as it overwhlems you? So many dishes! So many beautiful pictures! So few hours and so few parties to bring it all too!)

capers, zest, fennel seeds, cream cheese

Pre-Whirl: capers, zest, fennel seeds, cream cheese, oregano

I digress. (Although I will digress further by saying that when you only live with the two of you, it’s hard to eat all you want to make. I still have frozen pie dough waiting for just the right time to make that cherry pie. Time for a dinner party!)

Right, back to the cheeseball.

Feta Cheeseball with Pine Nuts
Recipe via Bon Appetit

This guy is easy to make. Just whirl everything together and scrape into a bowl. Pay attention to the ounces. It’s easy to accidentally double the cream cheese. Not that I would know.

Also, for both these balls…. go easy on the salt. The feta is already salty and the accidental doubling actually helped it be less so.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • salt*
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

*I use a variety of sea salts. Usually Himalayan pink salt, but also grey salt from France and flaky Maldon. They all vary in saltiness levels. Adapt  to taste, depending on what’s in your cupboards.

Method:

  • Process cream cheese, feta, and butter in a food processor until smooth.
  • Add capers, oregano, fennel seeds, and lemon zest; pulse until combined, season to taste with salt.
  • Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, and scrape mixture into it with a spatula.
  • Gather up plastic around cheese, forming into a ball.
  • Refrigerate to firm up. (3-12 hours is suggested)
  • When ready to serve, unwrap cheese ball and roll in pine nuts.

 

Delicious delicious bacon

Delicious delicious bacon from Roast Butcher

Seeded Cheddar Cheese Ball
Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

The original recipe called for a couple strips of pancetta, cooked and chopped up. It can be left out. I cooked some bacon instead, before realizing there would be veg-heads at the party, so I left it out of the recipe. It wasn’t missed.  Then I made a bacon sandwich to dispose of the evidence.

The original also called for sliced garlic and shallots to be fried up and mixed with the seeds prior to rolling the ball in it. Since I was bringing these to a party, I thought I would fry everything there. I didn’t. It was still delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1⅓ cups grated  cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons  black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

 Method:

  • Process cream cheese, cheddar, and butter in a food processor until smooth.
  • Add green onion, black pepper, Worcestershire.
  • Pulse until combined, season to taste with salt.
  • Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, and scrape mixture into it with a spatula.
  • Gather up plastic around cheese, forming into a ball.
  • Refrigerate to firm up. (3-12 hours is suggested)
  • When ready to serve, unwrap cheese ball and roll in a mixture of sesame and poppy seeds.

 

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