Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pot Lucks and Cheese Balls

I love a good pot luck.  They're a great time with friends, and people tend to bring either their favorite or their best dishes; it can be a good way to gain exposure to new foods. Tonight, we had an evening finger food potluck with a group from church.

The only thing about potlucks is that I am very indecisive, and so have a hard time choosing my favorite dish to take.  I also like to try out new recipes; while there's no reason not to do this at home, there's something exciting about sending an untried dish out to the world!  The other thing that makes it hard to decide is that I currently have a bunch of home-canned jams and jellies to use and choose from.  I like to incorporate them into pot-luck dishes as much as possible.

Tonight, I decided to make a cheese ball as inspired by of one of my new cookbooks: Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible. It made it possible for me to use some of my apricot habanero jelly AND to keep one of my resolutions- cooking out my new cookbooks!

I made some proportion changes to the original recipe, and I substituted walnuts for pecans. All in all, it was delicious.  Without sounding like a braggart (hopefully), I wasn't the only one who thought it was delicious: The whole plate was demolished before everyone got through the line!

Here's the ingredients-except the walnuts which I forgot to frame!

Here's what I did:

Chop finely 5 or 6 green onions, 2 large cloves of garlic, and half a cup of walnuts.

 Mix the chopped stuff in a bowl with 3 cups of shredded cheddar, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and a half block of cream cheese at room temperature.

Also add 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.  Mix this all together in a food processor or with a mixer.  Shape the mix into a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it chill for a couple hours.

Take it out of the fridge and cut it in almost half- I made the top half a bit smaller- maybe a 1/3 to 2/3 proportion.  Make a divot in the bottom half.

 Fill the divot with 1/4-1/2 cup of  spicy pepper jelly.
This is one of the jellies I made last autumn. Its not terribly spicy, so I added about 1/8 tsp of cayenne to half the jar before filling the cheese ball!

Put the top half back on top and use your finger to blend the edges together.  Press another half cup or so of chopped walnuts over the top and sides of the ball.  Serve with crackers.
This makes a pretty large cheese ball- 3 cups of cheese and about 2 1/2 cups of other stuff.

As you can see- nothing left.  If you make it, I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and I did!

The remains of the... evening.
What's cooking in your kitchen?

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