Thursday, December 3, 2009

128 Cheeseballs . . . and counting!

Who needs 128 cheeseballs? Someone having a party, of course. You may be thinking someone having a really large party . . . but the cheeseballs in question are individual-sized. The party in question was last night (at the house of friends) and here are some of my favorite things from the evening:

These beautiful napkins and ornament napkin rings. The rings on top soon held a lovely place card.

The dining room almost ready for guests. I love this dining room - it's elegant, yet warm and welcoming. For a large party, the furniture is re-arranged just a bit so the table can be extended. The sideboard usually sits beneath the mirror - what a good way to make the most of the room. By placing the table on the diagonal and moving a few other pieces, all the leaves can be added to the table. This really appeals to me because so often we only think of our rooms in one way . . . and there may be lots of possibilities for special occasions or even every day.

I also really appreciate the open, clean table setting. While I like elaborate tablescapes, they are usually designed for the designer and not the diner. It's very uncomfortable to dine on a cluttered table with barely enough room for the placesettings. Also, centerpieces that cover the whole center of the table and extend to within inches of the glassware are just too much - in my opinion. So when a table is actually in use, I find this type of setting just perfect.

These aprons always make me smile. There are three of us who have these (one is missing from the photo) and we've worn them for four years now and they still look like new! Perhaps because they're not worn for the real cooking . . .

And finally, these individual cheeseballs. These are leftovers, photographed a few minutes ago in a not-so-artistic arrangement. I wanted you to see how cute they are so I hope you'll overlook the presentation. These little cheeseballs are perfect in so many ways - for one thing they are great as leftovers - even as good as new (these are freshly rolled in parsley and paprika), whereas a big cheeseball may taste okay the next day, but it lacks something in visual appeal. I'm not going to tell you the other ways in which they're perfect - you'll have to make some for your next party and then you'll know! Half of these are white (rolled in parsley) and half yellow (rolled in paprika), but you could make them all the same and simply vary the coatings. Any cheeseball recipe will work; if you have a stainless kitchen scoop you can make the mini balls quickly. (As a side note, this is one of the most-used tools in my kitchen - I have three different sizes and love them all!)

There are so many yummy cheeseball variations and one of the easiest is simply goat cheese rolled in herbs. Here's the basic recipe for the cheeseballs above: 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (at room temperature), 8 to 10 ounces sharp white or yellow cheddar (much tastier if you shred it yourself, and easier to shred/grate if cold). Mix these together with a fork or pastry blender and add: 1) 1-2 T. Worcestershire, or 2) 2-3 T. chutney or hot pepper jelly, or 3) 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or4) whatever seems tasty to you! Remember the flavors may become stronger as the mixture chills. Yield: about 60 small cheeseballs. Coat with paprika, parsley, etc. just before serving.

Hope your week brings a bit of the holiday spirit and some yummy treats! I'm off to deal with the leftovers . . . one way or another!


  1. How funny...we had exactly the same thing for Thanksgiving appetizers. These are fabulous, and you're right, they hold up very well. We had so many leftovers and they were good for several days...and a very handy snack. Yum.

  2. What a cute idea! You're right...the leftover and remolded (is that a word?) cheeseball never works. I'll have to give these a try on Christmas. And I, too, love the table on the diagonal. I recently changed mine to this position, and the room just grew before my eyes. In doing so, I've got room for my bar and a chest in the dining room. Plus it gives the room a bit more movement, for lack of a better word. Sometimes you just have to go against the grain a bit.

  3. Christine and Jenn - thanks for stopping by! Perhaps mini cheeseballs are going to be the 'it' appetizer this year? And Jenn - I think diagonal furniture often gives rooms a real designer feel (in addition to sometimes being the most practical). Have a great Friday!

  4. I never thought to roll cheese balls into minis - very clever!!


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