Tag Archives: pepper

Recipe: Pepper Cheese Ball

21 Nov

I am a vair vair bad food blogger. Keeping up with posting really shouldn’t be as difficult as I make it. I cook EVERY day. Yesterday I made some nom-tastic eggplant parm, without a recipe (which I’m still sort of amazed I can do). Today I’ll probably make some butternut squash soup. I should take pictures, but I probably won’t start until it’s dark and then the pics will be crap (I prefer to use natural light) and I’ll be annoyed. To be perfectly honest, I’m probably only getting around to posting today because I have a paper due tomorrow and I am diligently procrastinating. La de da!

A few years ago my friend Nisi got me a copy of I Like You by Amy Sedaris. It’s one of the most perfect gifts I’ve ever been given. I heart Amy Sedaris, and I heart cooking, and I heart weird humor. Perfecto. There are many different recipes in this book and lots of different ideas for party themes and for party food. (Not to mention a recipe contributed by Stephen Colbert! Squee!) One of the items that is usually always included in a party menu is a cheese ball. First reading the book, I’d never seen a homemade cheese ball before. It was one of those weird retro items I’d only seen strangely prepackaged and sad looking, like fruitcake, and it had never occurred to me that a cheese ball could actually be good. You probably know why. You’ve seen the shrink wrapped monstrosities sold in supermarket deli departments and lurking in holiday gift baskets.

I decided to try making one for a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house, and the lucky cheese ball was Cluster Haven’s Pepper Mill Cheese Ball, chosen because of a friend’s nut allergy. I didn’t want him to be denied the cheese-y delicious. All went exceptionally well, and hey, turns out cheese balls are AMAZING. Since then (NYE 2006) I’ve made the same cheese ball for almost every party I’m invited to. Once I bring it that first time, people request it! Basically, you want to make this cheese ball. It makes you popular and everyone wants you at their parties. In fact, I am doing myself a great disservice by giving you the recipe at all, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Because I Like You.

Cluster Haven’s Pepper Mill Cheese Ball

1 stick of butter

1 8 oz package of cream cheese

1.5 C grated cheddar cheese (though really, you could use anything)

2 T grated onion (I usually use 1 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

2 T coarsely ground pepper

The pics in this post are of a cheese ball I made for a Halloween party, so I tried to make it scary. He’s supposed to be some sort of Cthulhu/Octopus hybrid. Mostly he just looks cute. If you want to give you cheese ball a face like I did here, you need some pimiento olives and some carrot shavings.

Make sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, or you’re going to hate your life.

Combine the butter and cream cheese.

Add the grated cheese and the onion (and garlic, if using). Mix thoroughly.

Pop the whole mess back into the fridge to firm up a bit, maybe 20-30 minutes, then take it out and form into a ball. The original recipe says to roll it in the pepper, but that’s never worked exceptionally well for me because I always end up with one side coated in pepper and the other bare. I’ve started just using my regular pepper mill and cracking pepper on one side of the ball, turning, cracking some more, until the whole thing is coated. It really helps if you have someone help you with this, but I live alone and I usually manage so I have faith in you.

Awwww!

If you want to give your cheese ball a face, use two whole pimiento olives for eyes (I used a teeny knife to make two hollows before I inserted the olives) and three olives for the tentacle things. Cut three olives in half and use three halves for each side of the cheese ball. Then, use carrot shavings for the nose and mouth.

I think he looks hilarious in the fridge.

Serve at room temperature with crackers.

❤ stef

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Recipe: Crab Like Dad Makes

11 Jan

In case you haven’t guessed, this is crab the way my dad makes it. It’s not much of a recipe, more of a “throw everything in there and mix well” sort of deal, but I’ve never had crab this way unless it’s with my dad.

Here in San Francisco (back home for winter break, woo!) it’s dungeness crab season. Dungeness is the most delicious of all of the crabs (even the ichthyologists think so, as its latin name is cancer magister, ie, master crab), and yes I’ve had soft shell and blue and even king but dungies are still the tastiest, thanks. Unfortunately, you can only get them on the pacific coast and only from Alaska down to Santa Cruz, CA, so the majority of people probably don’t eat them. Which is just tragic.

Dungeness crab season is always really exciting, because the price lowers to almost nothing. I decided to have a crab feast with my friend Jake because:

1. It was $5.99/lb at Whole Foods.

and

2. Anders doesn’t eat crab.

So I went off and got myself 2 crabs at about a pound each (pre cooked). The lovely fish monger at Whole Foods even cleaned and cracked the crab for me, so I had almost nothing to do by the time I got home. Aside from eat some delicious crab, that is.

Dad’s Crab

2 lbs of cleaned and cracked crab (If you go to a decent fish monger they’ll do it for you. Otherwise you should probably go here.)

2 lemons

olive oil

salt

cracked black pepper

french bread, for serving

Put the crab pieces in a strainer and rinse for a few minutes under cold water.

Put the crab in a big bowl. Drizzle heavily with olive oil. Add the juice from both lemons, plenty of cracked pepper, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Don’t freak out too much about proportion here. Let loose. I’d advise you not to go too crazy on the salt, though, because it’s difficult to repair overdoing it on the salt.

Let everything hang out in the fridge for about 15 minutes while you grab the french bread and cut it into pieces.

I just serve it as is, in the giant bowl accompanied by french bread. The trick is that you have to suck the lemon-olive oil deliciousness off of the crab pieces before you go crazy cracking the crab for the meat inside.

So, pick up your crab piece.

Suck.

Eat.

Mop up juice from the bowl with the french bread.

I never said this was going to be neat.

❤ stef