|(Photo of a similar cheese log from Taste of Home)|
FESTIVE CHEESE LOGS
2 cups pecan or walnut pieces
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or use a couple tablespoons of dried parsley flakes if you must)
2 tablespoons finely minced onions (the dried will work; use 2 tsp.)
1 or 2 minced garlic cloves (optional)
1/4 cup minced pickled jalapeño peppers (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Toast the nuts: Spread them on an ungreased baking sheet and place them in a 350º oven for 7 to 10 minutes until nicely toasted. Watch them carefully. When they’re done, transfer them onto a large plate and let them cool.
Put the three cheeses in a large mixing bowl and work them with the back of a wooden spoon until blended. Add the remaining ingredients (except the nuts), and mix them with a spoon or your hands until everything is evenly blended.
Chop the nuts with a hand chopper and work 1 cup of them into the cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
When the 15 minutes are up, put a large piece of wax paper on your work counter. Spread the nuts on the wax paper. (If you happen to have more fresh parsley, that also looks pretty mixed in with the nuts, so you might like to chop a bit more and add to the chopped nuts.) Divide the cheese mixture into two portions and place one portion on top of the nut-covered wax paper. Using your hands, shape the cheese mixture into a log, rolling and pressing it into the nuts as you shape. Wrap it in plastic wrap and follow the same procedure to make a second cheese log from the remaining cheese mixture. (If you prefer to make a cheese ball, scoop the entire cheese mixture onto the nut-covered wax paper and shape it into a large ball, again rolling and pressing it into the chopped nuts as you shape. ) Wrap the cheese ball or logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes 2 cheese logs.
This recipe has been a family favorite for years, and it always goes over well at events I take it to. It's nice because you can make it well ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you're almost ready to use it. Just pick up a box or two of crackers and you're all set. I took this to a gathering in early December and took along the snowflake-shaped Ritz® crackers to accompany it. I like to make the logs rather than a cheese ball because they stay neater looking -- just slice and serve.