This post was going to be called “may the cheese ball be with you…” because as I type this up I’m in bed with a bad cold snuggling with my kiddo and watching Star Wars Episode V. But Cheese Ball and Star Wars in a blog post title, frankly seems like overkill. How much goodness can one title really handle?
Not that much. No. Not that much. Besides the point of this post is the Cheese Ball. Yes that classic, for lack of a better word, cheesy Cheese Ball. It has a bad wrap. It’s thought of as a throw back to the 70’s with horrible rust and avocado colored kitchen themes. Or worse yet, it’s thought of along the same lines as a fruit cake.
I need to tell you that a Cheese Ball can be a thing of beauty. Unless you’re lactose intolerant or vegan. Because there? I cannot help you.
So… the cheese ball. Let’s get on with the recipe. I don’t know where it comes from in its original form but it has since changed. It started as the one my mom used when I was a kid. It’s probably off the side of some cream cheese package from 40 years ago, who knows.
– (2) 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
– 10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 Tablespoon chopped green bell pepper
– 1 Tablespoon chopped pimento*
– Tablespoon chopped green olives*
– Tablespoon chopped onion**
– Finely chopped pecans or walnuts. Set aside.***
* Can’t find pimento? You can substitute the pimentos and green olives for green olives stuffed with pimentos. I always have these on hand so it’s tempting to use them and I often do use them for the green olives, but if you can find a jar of pimentos I recommend you take the extra trouble.
** I always use yellow onion. White would be fine. I recommend against red or green.
*** I used salted mixed nuts. And I should note that you really want these to be finely chopped. You don’t want big chunks of nuts. They ruin the cheese ball experience making it hard to spread and poking at the roof of your mouth in unpleasant ways.
**** Psst. You there. Keep it down. This is the secret part that has nothing to do with the recipe my mom got off some package in some backwoods little town 40 years ago. This is just something I like to add. And since I’m bad at measuring you’re just going to have to use your noggin and be very careful. I like to add a little liquid smoke. Yes. Liquid smoke IS TOO a thing. It’s a real thing you can purchase at the store. Usually I find it in a little dark bottle with a blue label and a yellow lid. You know. Near the worcestershire or the ketchup or something. I think I put about 1/8th of a teaspoon in. Maybe it’s a 1/4 teaspoon. I’m not sure. I don’t use a teaspoon. I just put a little in the cap and then pour it in when it says to add the remaining ingredients.
Make the damn thing
Combine cream cheese (which you should have brought to room temperature… did I mention that?) and cheddar cheese. Mix until well blended. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE NUTS. THEY DO NOT GO IN THE BALL. Okay. So add all those other ingredients (the chopped bell pepper, pimento, olives and onions) and mix it all up until it is, well, all mixed up.
Yes. That’s right, Chill. Both you and the blob of cheesy goodness. For how long? Well, for a while. A while being at least 30 minutes I would guess. Longer is fine. Whatever. You know your schedule better than I do. When it’s done chilling shape it into a ball. Or you can get crazy and shape it into two smaller balls. One of which you could freeze if you want to. They freeze well. Did I mention that? Or you could get super crazy and shape it into a log. Of course then I would have to rename this post examining the cheese log… but I leave that up to you.
Now take that cheese shape you just made and roll it in the nuts. Um. The finely chopped nuts I told you to set aside. Yep. Those. When it’s covered put it on a platter and serve with assorted crackers. Or hunker down on the couch and keep the whole damn thing to yourself. I won’t tell.
And that, babies, is the cheese ball. If I can stop coughing long enough I’ll run to the store for ingredients so I can make one of my very own.
Also? This post is being blamed on @ahockley for slamming the cheese ball. Shame on you Hockley. Shame shame.