Sunday, February 12, 2012

Feeling Dippy: Pimento Cheese Ball

When I think of romantic food, I think of fun food. Not serious stuff. Maybe not elegant, either. Food you can nibble on is fun. Finger food is fun. Nibble, nosh, chat, enjoy each other's company ... that's romantic. Too many forks is not romantic.

Cheese and wine is a classic romantic combination. But why not turn that cheese into something a little more fun, like a cheese ball? Just the name is fun. Cheese ball.

This one features one of my favorite ingredients - roasted red peppers.

Way back when I was a little kid, I loved green olives - not so much because of the olives, but I adored the pimentos in the olives. I wished that those pimentos were available in larger quantities. I even asked my mom about them. But no, pimentos were some great secret ingredient that only came inside olives. And olives themselves were a rare treat.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that pimentos are simply red peppers.

Now, I use red peppers in all sorts of things.

In this cheese ball, roasted red peppers add flavor, texture, and color. Not only do you see bright bits of red scattered in the cheese, but the color permeates the mixture, changing it from a rather pale color to something more vibrant.

This cheese ball - which spreads easily on a cracker - combines blue cheese for a burst of flavor with Swiss and Colby longhorn cheeses for a little milder flavor. Cream cheese binds the firmer cheeses together.

This recipe makes quite a lot - plenty for a party. On the other hand, if you love cheese, it won't last all that long. Not only is it great on its own on crackers, but it make a great spread on sandwiches. I'm sure you'll find a lot of uses for it.

Of course, you can cut the recipe in half or double it.

And when it comes to the exact cheeses you choose, you can substitute. This is a great way to get rid of bits on pieces and odd bits of cheese that you have on hand.

Pimento Cheese Ball

16 ounces Swiss cheese
4 ounces Colby or mild cheddar cheese
2 ounces blue cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
2 large pieces roasted red pepper, diced

Cut the Swiss, Colby and blue cheeses into chunks and put them into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until you have small bits - you don't want to obliterate it and turn it into a paste - it's good to have some texture in the product.

Add the cream cheese and pulse until it is incorporated. Add the red peppers and pulse again until they are distributed.

Transfer the mixture to a storage container and chill.

For serving, the easiest way to make a round ball is with an ice cream scoop. But of course, this is for Valentine's Day.

Awww ... it's a heart!

The other participants in today's #SundaySupper #RomanceDinner have even more love-inspired yummy goodies just for you. Want to know more?

  • Renee Dobbs of Magnolia Days  is making a Mediterranean inspired appetizer - Shrimp Arnean.  Aromatics like celery, green onions, and parsley infuse into the shrimp overnight to create an ideal refreshing start for your special evening.
  • Valerie of Val's Food and or Art is following along with a smoky, nutty, and aphrodisiac theme, making Roasted Creamy Mushroom Bisque with Caramelized Onions and Creme Fraiche, and Smoked Oyster Pate.
  • Sunithi Selvraj of Sue's Nutrition Buzz is wooing us towards healthy choices with her Pink Heart Healthy Grapefruit Pomegranate Salad.
  • Rashimi Primlani from The Primlani Kitchen is making Osso Buco with Gremolata and Saffron Risotto.
  • Nicole from Daily Dish Recipes is indulging us with her Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Champagne Frosting - pink, delicate flavor, hint of champagne; do I still need to eat dinner?
  • Isabel from Family Foodie is making her smooth and silky Portuguese-Style Chocolate Mousse.
  • Eileen Gross of Wine Everyday is showcasing her mixologist skills by creating champagne cocktails using Biltmore's Pas de Deux, Methode Champenoise - Sec. 
Check them all out and get your own menu ready for Valentine's Day. What will you be serving?