Today is National Cheese Ball Day - who knew? We tend to eat cheese balls and spreads during the Christmas holidays...but, they are really great year-round! Here is a great crowd-pleaser for your festivities this weekend!
Southern Pecan Green Olive Cheese Ball
•1 8-ounce package cream cheese -- softened
•8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese (2 cups) -- shredded, room temperature
•1/2 cup chopped stuffed green olives
•3 tablespoons minced parsley
•2 tablespoons minced green onion
•1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•1/2 cup finely chopped pecan pieces
1.In a large bowl, cream together the cream and sharp cheeses. Stir in olives, parsley, green onion and cayenne pepper until well mixed. Shape into a ball and roll in the chopped pecans. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours. Serve with crackers of your choice
Below is a recipe for a cheese "spread" with similar ingredients to the recipe above, but, it is topped with pepper jelly - giving it a sweet hot kick!! I fine-tuned this recipe when I was at the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Pepper Cheese Spread
•2 cups Cheddar cheese -- shredded
•2 cups Florida pecans -- chopped
•6 Florida green onions -- chopped (6 to 8)
•2 tablespoons Florida parsley -- chopped
•8 ounces light cream cheese
•1 teaspoon reduced fat mayonnaise
•10 ounces Florida pepper jelly -- red or green
1. Mix together Cheddar cheese, pecans, green onions, parsley, cream cheese and mayonnaise. Spread in glass pie plate or quiche dish. Cover and let stand in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. When ready to serve, cover cheese mixture with pepper jelly. Serve with crackers. Keeps well in refrigerator two to 3 days. Serves 10 - 12.
If you don't do dairy or are vegan, try some of the delicious nut cheeses from Shakti Life Kitchen including pumpkin seed cheese and cashew cheese. Yummy and good for you!!
Shakti has moved into the wholesale realm and their food selections can now be found at the Native Sun on Baymeadows Rd, the Native Sun in Mandarin, the Grassroots in San Marco, BioMax at the beach, and the Health Shoppe on Beach and Kernan.
Look for local fresh ingredients at the Beaches Green Market in Neptune Beach every Saturday from 2-5 p.m.
Get creative with your own cheese ball recipes - mixing combinations of your favorite cheeses, spices, nuts and herbs. Roll it in chopped nuts, seeds, fresh herbs or spices! You can even make bite-sized cheese balls with a variety of fillings and coatings!!
Happy Cheese Ball Day beaches!!