Friday, December 28, 2007

Cheese-ing Up The New Year

Did you get any of those surprise goodie plates or gifts from neighbors, friends, or people you didn't even think knew you? Are you feeling guilty? Are you wishing there was a way you could return the favor without looking like you are only giving in order to return the favor? Were you left without the time or means to give to them before you were swallowed up in the all-consuming rush of Christmas? Well, worry no more, because the cheese ball is here to rescue you. No, no, no, I'm not talking about me, silly, I'm talking about the real deal.

Last year was our first Christmas in this neighborhood and I was totally unprepared for all the gifts we received from others. Then I remembered my favorite Christmas loophole, New Years. Most people still have their Christmas trees up on New Years Eve, people are still getting Christmas cards and presents that were late in the mail, everyone is still eating Christmas goodies, and therefore most everyone is still in the tail-end euphoria that is Christmas. For this reason I have deemed it legally Christmas until New Years Day. This means I still have 3 more days left to get out Christmas cards and to give goodies to all the people I missed. Now, even though it is "legally" still Christmas, no one is going to be very impressed with another plate of Christmas sugar at this point so I will save them the trial of having to pretend they are so glad to get another one. Instead, I like to make and deliver cheese balls and crackers. It is the perfect New Year's Eve snack, they can be made ahead of time, and I don't have to bake or risk burning myself with molten sugar again. Here are my do's and don'ts about giving cheese balls:

1. Never give a whole cheese ball. No one, not even at a party, actually finishes a whole cheese ball. For this reason I split one cheese ball into thirds (or fourths if giving two to each person) and make small cheese balls.
2. Don't make the usual Cheddar/Worcestershire cheese ball because those are the kind that never get finished. I like to make several different kinds of cheese ball, ones that are unique or not that common. (See bottom of post for recipe links)
3. Do give the recipe with your cheese ball. Not only will it save them from having to ask you for it if they like it, but with allergies these days people really need to know what you've put in it.
4. Do give crackers with your cheese ball. Do keep crackers wrapped in their original packaging because you don't know when they will get around to eating your cheese ball and soggy or stale crackers are never impressive.
5. Avoid using nuts to coat your cheese ball. Many people have allergies to nuts, some people just don't like nuts, and if they wait a few days to eat the cheese ball the nuts can become soggy. For this reason I prefer to roll my cheese balls in fresh herbs (NOT basil, it turns black), grated parmesan cheese, bacon bits (REAL bacon), or sprinkled all over with paprika.

Other good New Year's Eve gifts are spiced nuts, carmel or kettle popcorn, Cinnamon rolls (who wants to make breakfast on New Year's day?), and other silly stuff like that.


White Cheddar Cheese Ball
Roquefort Cheese Ball

Feta Cheese Ball
Spinach Artichoke Cheese Ball
Spicy Cheese Ball
Pineapple Cheese Ball (I add bacon bits to this one and roll it in bacon bits too)


Jen said...

Ha! I laughed out loud at the marketing campaign at the beginning. This is a cute idea! We did hand out Christmas goodies to our neighbors, but the gifts we got from neighbors were mostly from different ones than gifted us.

Cocoa said...

Oh man. The Spinach Artichoke Cheeseball has my name written all over it! Great idea too. You're such a cheesehead. I mean that in a good way.

mom huebert said...

I like the cheese ball idea. When we've been in that situation we've given a basket with port wine cheese, crackers, and a bottle of a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage, usually Spumante or Cold Duck. I feel the same way you do-- it's still the Christmas season, and the snacks are nice for New Years.

Childlife said...

Wow - these are great recipies! Thanks for sharing them : ) Christmas is still legally in full swing at our house too : ) Hope yours was extra merry!

Family Adventure said...

I'm loving your blog...and not just because of your recipes. But they are a definite bonus.

I'm with cocoa on the spinach artichoke cheeseball. My stomach actually rumbled as I wrote that. Argh.

Heidi :)

Anonymous said...

The Dairy Diary, I love it!! I live on cheese when I'm pregnant, string cheese is the greatest.

Cheese ball sounds really good to me right now. I didn't give out too many baked goods before Christmas this year, but this is a great idea!

Liz said...

Love this idea! Three neighbors gave us gifts and I had to scramble to reciprocate.