And so it was. I needed an hors d'oeurve-type dish for a small gathering on New Year's Eve and I happened to come across two different recipes for this dish in my pile of recipe clippings. Apparently, the idea of a cheese ball had been percolating for some time. Well over a year, in fact--I first discovered the delights of this cheese ball phenomenon before a Thanksgiving dinner in 2008, compliments of my dear friend Jesse Kaminski. It was savory and addicting. And better than a dip any day. I'm pretty sure I asked for the recipe back then, but Jesse made me wait.
As I was perusing my recipe cut outs (from The Oregonian and Bon Appetit), I decided what I really wanted to serve was Jesse Kaminski's cheese ball. So I asked for the recipe--and voila! In five minutes time, it was in my inbox. Jesse Kaminski saved the day, or at least my cheese ball. Thank you, Jesse!
What follows is my interpretation of the Original Jesse Kaminski Cheese Ball, allowing for some adjustments around ingredient availablity and other sources' suggestions:
- 1 cup packed finely shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 8oz. package of cream cheese
- 1 12 oz. package of Alouette Soft Spreadable Cheese (I used the garlic and artichoke flavor. Jesse Kaminski calls for 1 jar of Old English pimento cheese, which alas, Fred Meyer does not carry.)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 of a medium white onion, finely diced
- 4 pequillo peppers, from a jar, finely diced (available at Trader Joe's. Roasted bell peppers would also work.)
- 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- Mix all three cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, onion and pepper in a large bowl, until fully incorporated.
- Chill mixture in the fridge or freezer if it is too soft to form into a ball. Spread pecans on a plate.
- Form the chilled cheese mixture into a ball with your hands or a spatula. Roll the cheese ball in the pecans until completely coated.
- Serve with crackers.