The other night we went to dinner at a local establishment called Of Love and Regret. Weird name, I know, but they do have good food.
We were there during happy hour which on the surface may make us sound like hip 20 somethings out to be social, but in reality is because I prefer to dine with the blue hairs.
The perk of eating dinner out at 5PM is that they often have happy hour specials, and on this particular evening a cheese ball was one of them. So we ordered it along with some charcuterie meats as a nice little appetizer. It was quite delicious and I commented that it would probably be easy to replicate.
The GS agreed, but noted that he could skip the dried apricots and brandy mixed in. So basically he just wanted cream cheese on toasted bread.
A cheese ball is literally idiot proof and therefore I thought it was more than appropriate to share this time of year when you might be responsible for bringing an appetizer somewhere! It can be made ahead, looks pretty, and is generally a crowd pleaser. Here’s how I made mine:
4 oz cream cheese
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
handful of fresh basil, chopped (or any other herbs you might have)
Mix the cheeses together using a hand mixer to make sure they are fully combined and fluffy. Scoop it onto some plastic wrap and form into a ball, and refrigerate for about an hour.
Chop the walnuts (or any nuts you have) and the basil, and toss together with a little bit of garlic powder.
Roll the cheese ball through it. You may have to stick some pieces of the nuts in any open spots but most of it should stick. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. You can customize this any way you want- swap the cheeses, the nuts, the herbs. You can add dried fruit into it. If you want to really impress people you can coat the outside in pomegranate seeds to make it look like a big jewel but I didn’t have the patience for that. Basically the only requirement is that one of the cheeses be cream cheese, because that’s the glue that holds it all together.
The GS and I do not exchange Christmas gifts (or gifts ever, for that matter) but this year we did treat each other to the decision that a cheese board would constitute dinner last night.
Not as stunningly beautiful as some holiday cheese boards you’ve seen on the internet, mainly because we skipped the figs and grapes or whatever else you put on there to make it seem sort of balanced. We’ve got toasty bread, Ritz crackers (the “everything” flavor omg so good), a triple creme cheese, prosciutto, baked pancetta rounds, and of course the star- the cheese ball.
Now I’m probably going to MacGyver some kind of breakfast out of the leftovers. Happy Holidays!