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
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.