Our good friends, Kevin and Matt, are heading out of town for the Big Apple. Even though I’ll miss them, this is a great career move for Kevin and I applaud his success. To celebrate this next chapter of their lives in New York, we hosted a cocktail party on Saturday night.
Several years ago, I would have been a basket case on party day, cooking all day and expending all my energy during the party replenishing drinks and food for everyone. Not any more…I decided a long time ago that if i was throwing a party I should enjoy it. Plus, after a glass of wine or two, all my organizational skills go right out the door!
I now employ Ina Garten’s philosophy that if you’re entertaining you should make some things and buy some things. I like her philosophy a lot! It really takes some of the pressure off of the cook (i.e., me). Additionally, making some of the food a day ahead makes for a more relaxed party day.
For this gathering, I made two different types of cheese balls. I’m a Mississippi boy and I learned to make pimento cheese almost as soon as I could reach the kitchen counter. It’s a staple snack in my neck of the woods. For this recipe, I rolled the pimento cheese into balls and coated them with chopped pecans.
The other cheese balls are a variation on a recipe I posted several months ago for Pistachio and Cranberry Crusted Goat Cheese. As with the pimento cheese balls, I rolled the goat cheese into balls and coated them with chopped pistachios and dried cherries. Both types of cheese balls can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
I’m excited about Kevin’s and Matt’s move to the Big Apple because now we’ll have a good excuse to visit!
1 1/4 pounds extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated, room temperature
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Tabasco sauce to taste
2 4 ounce jars of pimento peppers
2 cups pecan halves, finely chopped
20 ounces goat cheese, chilled
1 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
1 cup dried cherries, finely chopped (dried cranberries can be used alternatively)
1. Combine cheese, goat cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, salt, sugar, Tabasco sauce, and pimento peppers in a bowl. Using a fork, mash all ingredients together until well combined. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
2. Roll mixture into one inch balls in the palms of your hands. Place chopped pecans on a plate and roll balls in the pecans to completely cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
1. Roll the goat cheese into one inch balls.
2. Mix chopped pistachios and cherries on a plate. Roll the goat cheese balls in the pistachio and cherry mixture to completely cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.