Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cheese Logs – an easy appetizer to have on hand for drop-in guests


Have you ever eaten something at an office party that you thought was great, asked for the recipe, then never got around to actually making it? Well, these cheese logs are one of those recipes. Years ago Mr. Collins, a gentleman in our office, brought his wife’s cheese logs to our Christmas party. They were a hit and of course I asked him if Mrs. Collins would share her recipe. She confided hers came from an old Southern Living magazine.

Last year I featured a friend’s cheese ball on my blog that was rich, creamy and delicious. This year I searched for something similar to have on hand during the holidays. On the Food Network the Barefoot Contessa made Cheese Straws with purchased puff pastry. Parmesan and Gruyere cheese that looked tempting, especially considering cheese straws are one of my all time favorites. Giada de Laurentiis, also on the Food Network, whipped up a quick batch of Prosciutto Bread Sticks with Parmesan cheese and wrapped in prosciutto in minutes that also looked good. But what I was really looking for was something I could make in advance, keep in the refrigerator to have on hand for drop-in guests. I always keep a bottle of champagne in the wine refrigerator and some Crème de Cassis in the cabinet so we could quickly fix a French Kir Royale by adding a teaspoon or so of Cassis in a flute and top it with champagne for a festive drink. Add a bowl of grapes and voila, you have a spur-of-the-moment appetizer.

That’s when I remembered Mrs. Collin’s Cheese Logs. I flipped through my files and, after a little searching, found her recipe. It appeared easy, no baking was involved, could be kept in the refrigerator wrapped for up to a week, so I decided to give them a try. Her cheese logs call for chopped pecans, so for fun I mixed the nuts into one of the cheese logs as the original recipe called for and, for a change of pace, I rolled the other log in the nuts to form a crunchy exterior. Mrs. Collins used a yellow cheddar cheese, but I wanted a sharper flavor and chose a New York State sharp white Cheddar. In retrospect, next time I think I’ll use the yellow cheddar called for in the original recipe for appearance sake more than taste. As you can see, these are rather white. I also felt the paprika added an extra bit of taste that was missing from the one I rolled in nuts. Spanish smoked sweet paprika (Pimenton) would also be nice. Here’s Mrs. Collins original recipe.


Mrs. Collin's Cheese Logs
It’s important to grate the cheese by hand. I find that the pre-grated kind doesn’t blend well with the other ingredients.

1 pound medium to sharp cheddar cheese, hand grated, then brought to room temperature
3 – 6 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
3 large cloves of garlic, pressed
1 cup chopped pecans
Hungarian paprika

Mix the two cheeses, garlic and pecans either by hand or gently in a food processor. Form into three balls, then roll into logs. Roll the logs in paprika and chill well before serving with crackers of your choice. Makes three logs.

31 comments:

  1. These are a great idea for the holidays. I know I would park myself right next to them and not move from my spot! The possibilities are endless with these.

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  2. These sound great and very easy. Thanks for sharing. Wish I could drop in for a Kir Royale. I could think of something we could celebrate.

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  3. Cheese logs do make a great appetizer. This recipe sounds simple enough, so I am going to give it a try.

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  4. Nothing say Christmas like a cheese log and this one has all the bells and whistles. GREG

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  5. Perfect for the holidays. I will have to take your idea and make one of these up for guests. Actually, I could have used this last week when my parents came into town unannounced, lol!

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  6. I still hold the port cheese ball in my memories, and hope I get to attend more party and enjoy goodies like yours :)

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  7. Thanks for this elegant, no bake, prepare ahead appetizer....the possibilities are endless!

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  8. Yummy! What a delicious looking platter- perfect for the holidays!

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  9. Gosh! I used to make these all of the time. Hubby loves them. I can't believe that I had practically forgotten all about them. Thanks so much for the reminder. You should come link it to Merry Merry Munchies. Hope your holidays are going well.

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  10. This is a great idea to have on hand for the busy holiday season. It's always nice to be able to serve something quick and fancy for surprise guests.

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  11. I think your white cheddar looks quite lovely (and delicious). I know what you mean about the importance of hand grating the cheese--it really does make a huge difference.

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  12. You can never go wrong w. cheese in my book! Lovely logs!

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  13. You're absolitley right Sam, these are perfect to have on hand at all times.

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  14. It's funny, I was thinking about making three different cheese balls for Christmas Day appetizers. These look wonderful, and now I'm convinced that cheese balls or logs are the right choice!

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  15. They looks so good, I wished I had a few slices right now! :-)

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  16. Fabulous idea for a holiday appetizer, I love those cheese logs!

    You're the winner of my truffle sample giveaway! Please send me your address - natasha@5starfoodie.com

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  17. Sounds yummy-and easy to make too.

    I loved the bay wreath post-it made me laugh out loud : )

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  18. I know what you mean about holding on "to try soon" recipes forever before trying them finally. I decided last night my "to try soon" queue is going to be my "bucket list" :)

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  19. This is a great idea for a delicious prepare-ahead entertaining platter. And too yummy!

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  20. oh these are great love the garlic and paprika

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  21. Sounds so YUMMY!!! and EASY!!! to make. THANKS!!!
    Geri

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  22. I am definitely going to try this soon. Love all the flavors and when do you think of doing this stuff - except around the holidays? I'm currently trying to recreate a goat cheese log with cranberries. Would be fun to have a host of these!

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  23. I have to confess to a real weakness for cheese logs, but it never occurred to me to make them. Thanks for an easy recipe. I have all the ingredients on hand and company coming this weekend.

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  24. We're cheese fanatics in my family and would love your cheese logs. It is so nice to have something like this in the fridge when guests drop by during the holidays.

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  25. Sam,
    Great idea!
    Rarely have I liked something at an office party, it's usually Costco junk! but these look delicious! I made a cheese ball last year covered in nuts, and I agree with the hand grating the cheese, always works better.
    Happy Holidays.
    Stacey

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  26. Funny I should be reading this today~I was just searching for a dish to take to a party tomorrow evening. I guess I do not need to look any further!

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  27. Great recipe, Sam. I like your idea of keeping these on hand for holiday company.

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  28. Sa, I knew I would love this and as I was mixing it up today (literally by hand as you stated), I knew the minute the garlic hit the cheese that I would love this. Then the pecans, and then rolled in smoked paprika...WOW. Thank you...so easy and so very, very good.

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  29. Found you on Petichef, the cheeselogs look great for something quick ton keep on hand. We've had a revolving door since before Thanksgiving. I wish I had thought of these earlier. Have a very Merry Christmas! - LeslieMichele

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  30. I've never mader a cheese ball before. I don't have a particular reason. I just might have to venture into the stores today and get some stuff to make cheese balls. I have people coming over tomorrow night and I love trying something new every year.

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Sam