14 September 2010

Cheap trick

It seems like at every holiday or special occasion in my family, there's a cheese ball. It usually starts with cream cheese and is served with Wheat Thins. My mom's version includes pineapples, pecans and bell peppers. My mother-in-law's mixes in powdered Ranch dressing and then the whole ball is rolled in cracked pepper. I love both of these and happily shove Wheat Thin after Wheat Thin smeared with cream cheesy goodness in my mouth at Christmastime.

I took this same dish and just dressed it up a touch, substituting goat cheese for the cream cheese and simply mixing it with a handful of finely chopped herbs. Then, I rolled the whole thing in those same, finely chopped herbs. I got the idea from a friend who said it was a Martha Stewart trick -- either making one large cheese ball or delicate, bite-size balls, perfect for smearing on a cracker or crostini.

It was super easy, fairly inexpensive and can be made ahead and makes the perfect appetizer for a crowd. And if you have any herbs in your garden, the only thing you'd need to pick up is the cheese. Any combination would do. I used fresh arugula, parsley, rosemary and sage -- heavy on the parsley. If you're shopping for herbs at the grocery store, parsley is a wise choice because it's so much cheaper than most other herbs there.

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