Aunt Vicki's Cheese Ball Appetizer
If you know Aunt Vicki---or are my extended family--- then you know exactly what cheese ball I am talking about. We grew up with this appetizer at holiday after holiday party. Christmas primarily. It was its own icon; Aunt Vicki would show up looking splendid, out dressing us all (some have it, some don't.... she does), and with her came THE cheese ball appetizer.
Now when I was 6 or 7 or maybe 13, and all the adults were chit chatting about this or that or the other thing (SO important to be sure), I would busy myself with a precarious pile of crackers and pull up a chair next to THE cheese ball. While the adults went on---blah blah blah---I would take a single cracker and plow right into the edge of this perfectly sculpted half sphere, dressed in its holiday red and green. And with a big scoop I would reconnect with these familiar holiday flavors bursting in my mouth---the sharpness of spring onions, the salt of cured meat, the smooth mouth feel of cream cheese and the elixir of Worcestershire plus a whip-lashing of garlic.
And because the cured meat has that salty, flavorful lure, it really was what you wanted the most of: like digging through the trail mix for the chocolate, finding the peanuts in the cracker jacks or the crust on the bottom of your cheesecake. But scooping the most cured meat into your every bite meant scraping off large portions of the cheese ball's exterior. (To be fair there is some meat mixed into the cream cheese). After I mangled the cheese ball with my crackers (I was a kid, what did I know of polite cheese-ball eating?), I would push away my chair and tend to a rather important game of hide and seek with my cousins.
Aunt Vicki's Cheese Ball AppetizerServes me. And any talkative adult who may not mind a dismantled cheese ball. But If I am not there it would serve 4-6.
2/3 cup MEAT cut in small squares (I used cured meat called SPECK; it was awesome. Aim for a strong, salty dry-aged meat sliced super thin) 12 oz. cream cheese (I used whipped, but either would be fine) 1 T Worcestershire 1/3 cup spring onion, white and green part finely chopped 1-2 cloves garlic minced (OR garlic salt if you must)
Blend 1/3 cup meat and all other ingredients well. Form into a half sphere (I heated a bowl with hot water, emptied it and then filled the bowl with the cream cheese mixture. I then placed the bowl upside down on a plate to unmold it). Place remaining 1/3 cup meat on exterior, to cover. Serve with crackers (I served with these great crackers that looked like rope, and flavored with garlic: yum).
Note: not the greatest picture, but at least it is a 'before' shot. The mangled cheese ball isn't pretty.