So I think this year, I might subject friends and family to my odd sense of nostalgia and hope I, the one who has this in my memory, am not disappointed.
For some reason, known only to herself (she never did explain it), my mother left me in charge of deciding the food for Christmas Eve. Not the making in all, or even most, cases, but the deciding. In our family which was rather large even though is was just my 3 siblings, me, my parents, and our older siblings kids, we opened presents from each other on Christmas Eve, so it was a night of perpetual snacking and in my case eating enough vanilla taffy to almost (almost, but not quite), make myself sick. Oh, and fudge too. And I don’t even like fudge (Groundhog Day.)
This was one of the things that I wanted every year and also made myself – not exactly difficult even though we had no food processor or mini chopper. You just did it the old fashioned way, by hand – no harm in that. I have no idea where this came from, but in my made-up back-story for it, it was a contribution to a local newspaper from some woman who would call herself by her husband’s name, you know what I mean. Instead of Mary Smith, she would be Mrs. John Smith, like she didn’t have an existence outside of him – yes, going off the rails here a bit, but that kind of thing just makes me slightly crazy.
Here for posterity’s sake.
8 ozs cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar, room temperature
3 Tbs well-drained horseradish
1/4 cup finely chopped dried beef
Combine cream cheese, cheddar, horseradish until well blended. Make into a ball and chill. Roll in dried beef until covered. Chill several hours. Let sit at room temperature before serving. Serve with Triscuits or whatever crackers you like, but when I was 12, Triscuits is what I did. And everyone else did too.
Several questions arise – the first being do they still make dried beef in those odd little jars (not that I could tell, and I looked), where is it in the store if they do and what are my other options? I’m thinking pan fried proscuitto minced.
Also – only 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar. First, must be Cabot seriously sharp, but needs to be orange for color contrast and it will most certainly be more than 1/2 a measly cup. Please.
I will taste and check the horseradish level, but must be careful not to blow everyone’s palate. I tend to like just a click more horseradish than most people.
What I did make –
8 ozs cream cheese, softened
1 cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded at room temperature
3 Tbs well drained horseradish
1 cup minced dried cranberries
3 scallions minced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbs chives, minced
3 scallions, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, minced
Combine cream cheese, cheddar, and horseradish until well combined. Add in cranberries, scallions, and pecans. Roll into a ball and cover with plastic and chill until firm.
When ready to serve, mix coating ingredients in a wide bowl, and roll cheese ball in to cover, pressing in as necessary. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.
23 December 2017 – for Christmas Eve.
Never hurts to try something new, esp. if it is really good – and um, it was.