the Bacon Blue Cheese Ball for the holidays.
not sure the cheese ball ever fell out of favor, but it’s
certainly back at the center of the table this holiday
was Kinston chef Vivian Howard on a recent episode of her
PBS series, "A Chef’s Life," making a spiced
pecan cheese ball rolled in country ham chips. On the show,
Howard said, "The cheese ball is so cliché at this
point I think it almost stands a chance of being cool
recent Huffington Post headline screamed: "Make These
Cheese Balls If You Want to Throw a Killer Holiday
Party," with links to 16 recipes. Daytime television
star Rachael Ray offered a two-page spread on the
"retro-cool party snack" in the November issue of
the cheese ball’s enduring popularity, Bon Appetit food
writer Andrew Knowlton wrote in his magazine’s October
issue: "Everyone loves a cheese ball. Because it’s
cheese! And nuts! In ball form! Best of all, it’s
is right. The cheese ball is a blank slate. I came up with a
simple bacon blue cheese ball, inspired by my favorite
burger toppings. I keep thinking my recipe would be even
better with chopped caramelized onions.
Regan Stachler, who owns Little Hen restaurant in Apex,
N.C., comes by his cheese ball chops honestly. No family
celebration is without a cheese ball. His parents came to
visit for three days in October for his youngest daughter’s
first birthday. They traveled from Florida and his mother,
Marsha, packed a cheese ball.
has two pieces of advice for making a cheese ball. First, it
needs to taste like cheese. It cannot just be a ball of
cream cheese. Add your favorite soft cheese or shredded
cheese. Second, Stachler says, it has to have texture.
can go the traditional route and cover it with chopped nuts.
You can move beyond pecans and walnuts and try crumbled
bacon, pistachios, pine nuts or an "everything
bagel" seed and spice mix. If you coat the outside with
finely chopped herbs, add nuts or chopped red onion to the
must be doing something right: the one dish he cannot take
off the menu is charred pickled beets with a deep-fried,
breaded goat cheese ball.
are some more ideas:
Bon Appetit offers recipes for Pine Nut and Feta Cheese
Ball, Everything Spice-Coated Cheddar Cheese Ball and Green
Goddess, Pistachio and Goat Cheese Ball. To see the recipes,
go to nando.com/pi.
Vivian Howard’s Date, Pecan and Bacon Cheese Ball:
The Huffington Post shares links to 16 recipes, such as
Southwestern Bacon Jalapeno Cheese Ball and Pomegranate
Jeweled Cheese Ball, at nando.com/ph.
Rachael Ray magazine offers six recipes, including a Clam
Bake Ball and Lemon-Pistachio Cheese Ball. See them at
BLUE CHEESE BALL
ounces cream cheese, softened
ounces crumbled blue cheese
slices crisp bacon, crumbled
green onions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
and pepper, to taste
toasted, chopped pecans
cream cheese, blue cheese, crumbled bacon, green onions,
butter, salt and pepper together in the bowl of a standing
mixer or in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Mix until
well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.
toasted, chopped pecans in a pie plate or inside any wide
dish with an edge. Use a spatula to bring cheese ball
together and form a loose ball. Use hands to mold into a
tight ball, roll around in nuts until completely covered.
Refrigerate at least three hours before serving with
crackers or crostini.