I have more ideas and fun recipes to share with you than there are days before Christmas.
More ideas and recipes than Scott and I have time to photo-shoot and blog about. For some reason, my brain has been in overdrive lately in the kitchen and instead of a having a zillion ideas and things I want to try I’ve had about 5 zillion…
I guess some of the really seasonal ones will have to wait till next year but I’m picking out the best of the best to share with you over the next week and a half.
This cheeseball is one of them. Ever since my jaw dropped last month over a “Pomegranate Jeweled” cheeseball on Pinterest, I’ve been thinking about making my own version. I wanted something light, fresh and fun – so I decided to go with a smidgen of garlic, a bit of fine lemon zest and lots of fresh herbs for my flavors.
Being one of those alliteration lovers, I’m calling this my Pomegranate, Parsley and Pecan Cheeseball, but it also includes fresh rosemary and thyme, toasted pecans, lower fat neufchâtel cream cheese and a generous dose of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
Putting together the cheese ball will take you less than 10 minutes, but there’s an hour chill in the fridge. Another 10 minutes to add the pomegranate arils (seeds) and you’re good to go!
This Pomegranate, Parsley and Pecan Cheeseball will feed a crowd, so if you’re not serving a lot of people, just make it into two smaller balls and keep one refrigerated (minus the pomegranates) till your next party. Then all you’ll have to do is add the pretty arils and guess what?
You’ll be the one making the jaws drop!
P.S. Not real familiar with pomegranates? Not sure what to do with them? Here’s a super easy tutorial for a really easy way to remove the beautiful jewel-like seeds. Pomegranates used to scare me, but now I use them all the time!
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- 1 cup pomegranate arils or seeds, drained
- 8 ounces Neufachel cream cheese, softened (You can use regular cream cheese, but I like the lower fat Neufachel variety.)
- 1 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- ¼ cup finely chopped toasted pecans
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, finely chopped or snipped
- 1 teaspoon finely zested lemon peel
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Place several thicknesses of paper toweling on a dinner plate. Place pomegranate arils on toweling in a single layer. Cover with another paper towel and pat gently. Refrigerate on plate, allowing arils to drain while preparing cheeseball.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, Monterey Jack cheese, pecans, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, lemon zest and black pepper. Beat for 1 minute or until well combined.
- Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Scoop cream cheese mixture onto one side of the plastic wrap. Fold other half over the mixture and working with your hands form into a ball. Don't worry if it's not super round at this point. Place in refrigerator and chill for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- Remove from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. With a clean sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a round ball. Remove pomegranate plate from refrigerator and discard paper towels. Place cheese ball in the center of the plate. With your hands, scoop up pomegranate arils and gently, but firmly press them into the cheeseball till most of the white is covered. Once the entire ball is covered with pomegranates, you can gently reshape it one more time, if needed.
- Place on a serving plate, sprinkle with more chopped parsley and serve with crackers or crostini. Can be made 4-5 hours in advance and refrigerated, covered lightly with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 20-24.