Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cheese Ball - Two Ways

Today I needed to make some food to take to our County's Extension Office Open House. What to make? Knowing that many people take cookies and other sweets, I decided to go the savory route. So I pulled out my cookbook (really, I wrote it) and got out the ingredients for our family's cheese ball recipe. Somewhere along the way I remembered that one of the Extension Agents is a vegetarian, so I decided to split the recipe to accommodate vegetarians.

The recipe calls for two 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon Accent (msg), two 2 ounce packages of sliced beef (we use Buddig Beef) and two green onions.

If you don't wish to use msg, you can experiment with adding more Worcestershire sauce, or you can add some salt or soy sauce to add that elusive umami to the recipe.

The honey roasted pecans are for the vegetarian version. Since I split the recipe, I only used one package of the beef. Heh, Buddig Beef used to come in 2.5 ounce packages. Guess that's why the price hasn't 'seemed' to go up. Sneaky.

I had pulled the cream cheese out of the refrigerator earlier this morning so they could soften. Add the garlic salt, Accent and Worcestershire sauce. Stir with a fork. This takes a while to incorporate. It is much easier to do with softened cream cheese, so do yourself a favor and remember to allow the cream cheese to sit out for a bit beforehand.

Now we're ready to move on.

Thinly slice the green onions before chopping finely.

Stir to thoroughly mix in the green onion.
At this point I took out roughly 1/3 of the mixture and set that aside.

Now it's time to finely chop the meat.

I mixed in about 2/3 of the meat. The rest will coat the cheese ball.

This is the 'fun' part: trying to sculpt a blob of cream cheese into something resembling a pretty ball. Once that is done, gently press the remaining beef onto the surface.

And here's our vegetarian version.

Once again I try to sculpt a ball on the center of the plate. The finely chopped pecans will coat this cheese ball.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Well, it's time to drive these beauties and some crackers downtown. Let's just hope I can find a parking spot somewhere close to the Extension Office as it's raining here today.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Looks good, but I have a problem with beef-in-a-bag.
What does that stuff taste like?

Marilyn said...

Like processed, pressed beef. I don't recommend it for any other use but cheese ball.