If you need an appetizer that is easy to make and sure to impress look no further than this humble Chili Cheese Log.
It may not seem like much, but once you try it you will be hooked.
We joke that my mother was not allowed through the door at any family function without two rolls of this in hand. And she always had them. Even though it is quite easy to make, only my cousin and mother-in-law have made it besides me. Most people just ask her to do it.
She used to make a double recipe in November to have enough to make it through all of the holidays and still have some left over for us. One year, I came home from college the day before Thanksgiving to see a huge bowl full of unrolled cheese in the fridge. I told my brother to wash his hands and the two of us had them all rolled up before she got home from work. It took us HOURS AND HOURS! Ok, not really. Probably closer to 30 minutes including clean up, but I figure it is never too late to try to make her feel guilty for it. Ha ha!
A few tips to get it to blend properly: never use packaged pre-grated cheese (it has a coating to prevent it from sticking), make sure the cheeses are at room temperature and do not add the “nut dust” (those little tiny bits that are almost like powder that you get when you chop nuts) – only the bigger pieces. I know she says to use the grater on the food processor, but if you have a meat grinder it works even better. She used an old fashioned hand cranked one for years before food processors readily became available.
A spicy cheese log served rolled in chili powder then sliced on butter crackers.
2lb mild cheddar cheese (room temperature)
8oz cream cheese (room temperature)
3 Large cloves garlic (finely minced)
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2+oz chili powder (for rolling)
Clear off a large counter space. Cut off 6 to 8 strips of aluminum foil 12 to 15 inches long each and stack or spread out individually on the counter. Cut off about 18 inches of waxed paper.
Grate cheddar cheese using grater disk of food processor. (If you do not have a food processor, grate by hand. Do not process cheese using processor blade. Using the normal food processor blade will cause the cheese to over heat and this won’t work. Trust me on this.) Place grated cheese in large bowl and add cream cheese, garlic, nuts and cayenne pepper. Work ingredients by hand until smooth.
Divide into 6 to 8 portions. Form into rolls 1 or 1 ½ inches in diameter. Spread a thick line of chili powder on waxed paper, approximately the length of a roll of cheese. Coat each roll completely in chili powder. Add more chili powder as needed. Place each cheese roll on a piece of foil. Wash hands and wrap each cheese roll tightly in foil; crimp ends of foil to seal.
(This is where your helpers can come in. As one person rolls cheese in chili powder, he can put each roll to a piece of foil and someone else can wrap in foil and seal.) Pour remaining chili powder back into container.
Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. To keep longer, freeze. Cheese will keep for months in the freezer as long as the foil does not get punctured. The tighter the wrap originally, the less chance there is for breaking the foil.
Place all rolls in a single layer on baking sheet and place on freezer shelf over night. After rolls are frozen, remove from baking sheet and stack for storage.
Serve thinly sliced on mild crackers, such as Ritz. Allow frozen rolls to thaw before slicing.
Since it is Valentine’s Day, maybe you could spare a little love and click on that Follow Us tab over on the left side and join the fun on Google, Facebook and Twitter (still trying to figure out how to add Pinterest to that gadget). If you had already been following you would have seen this little goodie yesterday:
I usually post a recipe or food related link, information or joke every day.