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Don’t try this pumpkin cheeseball at home

Today’s Special

Who doesn’t love a good cheeseball! One time when DW and I hosted our church group’s holiday party we ended up with 12 of them. I had not put up a menu sign-up list and evidently it was the year of the cheeseball

We laughed and enjoyed all the ways you can make a cheeseball followed by a rather rowdy Dirty Santa game.

So last week while studying my Thanksgiving file recipes, menus, grocery lists and to-do lists…I found a cheeseball recipe I had clipped years ago. This one was rather novel, shaped up like a small pumpkin with the bottom half of a stalk of broccoli for the stem.  It looked quite tasty in the picture with green and red apple slices ,and I thought I should make this and share with family and you faithful readers.

I shredded the 16 ounces of cheddar cheese because pre-shredded cheese is coated to prevent it from clumping, not the best choice for a cheeseball. To make short order of it I used the food processor but, in the process, finished wearing out the trusty, but busted, 40 plus year old appliance.

After cleaning shreds of cheese from the backsplash, the coffeemaker, under the cabinets, off my shirt and face, the floor, and even finding pieces in the living room I resumed making the cheeseball.

The two kinds of cream cheese the recipe called for had ample time to soften so I began blending it all together, adding the paprika which gave it the rich pumpkin color and red pepper for a little heat. This was going to be good.  I had never served a cheeseball at Thanksgiving, and I imagined my family standing around in the kitchen enjoying this appetizer while sipping hot apple cider (my holiday fantasy).

But I thought to test it out first. After 4 hours of chilling, I shaped it as much like a little pie pumpkin as I could.  I added the broccoli stalk, having to shorten it a couple of times to get it all in the right proportion. And, there it was, picture perfect and I was wondering if editor Jeremy would replace my old unattractive mug shot with a picture of this fine-looking cheeseball. That was Friday.

Mack spent the night with us. He and DW built a fire and we roasted hot dogs for supper and I pulled out the glorious cheeseball.  Mack was impressed, he recognized the clever use of the broccoli stalk and proclaimed that he had never seen a pumpkin cheeseball.

It was the perfect side for Friday night hotdogs.  DW and I took the first bites with the prescribed apple slices and then another two or three. It tasted like, well…. cheese. Mack said it was too hot (while fanning his mouth) but he tends to get slightly melodramatic sometimes.

So, I put it back in the fridge to try again on Saturday after it had more time for the flavors to meld.  We finished off the apple slices and went back outside to roast marshmallows and enjoy the starry night.

Saturday DW and I tried it on crackers, but it still tasted like cheese, extra-sharp cheddar to be specific. Mack reluctantly tried another bite too, but his face told it all. I was disappointed, the cheeseball was a dud, plus I had to come up with another article idea.

Later that afternoon we took Mack home. Laura had made baked spaghetti and invited us to stay for supper.  Her new dish was delish, but Mack balked.  She described the ingredients to him…nothing green in it to pick out and it has three kinds of cheese layered in.  She knew he’d love it, but he said he didn’t like cheese.  “Since when?” she asked him, “you usually love cheese.”

“Not anymore”, he replied, “not since I had to eat a pumpkin cheeseball.”

So, there’s no pumpkin cheeseball recipe to share this week.  Sorry.

Recipe of the Week

Marinated Pretzels

Another gift from the kitchen to share…

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 envelope ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

2 large bags pretzel twists

Whip together oil, mix and spices in a mixing bowl. Pour pretzels into a 2-gallon or larger plastic bag. Slowly pour the oil mixture over the pretzels, a little at a time, gently shaking, rotating to coat. Let stand for a couple of hours, turning bag over every 15 minutes or so to make sure pretzels are well coated.  Separate into smaller bags or tins to share or enjoy nibbling on while watching football, Christmas movies, putting up holiday decorations or sipping hot apple cider with the family.