Candace Karu

Small Plates & Appetizers

Cheese Balls

Small Plates & AppetizersCandace KaruComment

Prep Time:
5 Min

Cook Time:
5 Min

Yields:
Servings

Ingredients

BASIC CHEESE BALL FORMULA

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups Cabot Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 2 shakes Worcestershire Sauce
  • a dash or two of Tabasco or Sriracha Sauce (optional)
  • Add something fun and delicious to roll the whole thing around in. Preferably not nuts of dubious origin.

 

Directions

  1. Mix the cheeses, Worcestershire Sauce, and hot sauce food processor until smooth and blended.
  2. Let chill in refrigerator for several hours.
  3. Make a big ole cheese ball and surround it with crackers. OR:
  4. Make tiny, bite size balls and mix ’em up a bit. Add interesting tastes to your balls. Roll your balls in different kinds of yumminess. Bottom line? Have fun with your balls.

Here is just a partial list of fun ways to deck your balls for wows and jollies!

Fiesta Balls: Use Cabot Habanero Cheddar and roll in chopped cilantro.

Bunny Balls: Use Cabot Mild Cheddar, add chopped spinach when you process the cheese, and roll in chopped carrots.

Sharp & Sweet Balls: Use Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar and roll in chopped dried fruit.

Seedy Balls: Use Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, add a dash of soy sauce and roll in toasted sesame seeds.

Green Balls: Use Cabot Garlic & Herb Cheddar and roll in chopped pistachio nuts.

Caprese Balls: Use Cabot Tomato Basil Cheddar, add 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves, and roll in sun dried tomatoes.

Sunny Balls: Use Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar and roll in roasted sunflower seeds.

Fancy Balls: Use Cabot Private Stock Cheddar and roll in chopped scallions.

Kickin’ Balls: Use Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar, add 1/2 a mashed avocado, and roll in chopped almonds.

Horsey Balls: Use Cabot Horseradish Cheddar and roll in crumbled bacon.

Cheezy Poof Balls: Use Cabot Sharp Cheddar and roll in crushed cheese puff snacks.

Quick & Easy Pesto

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Prep Time:
5 Min

Cook Time:
5 Min

Yields:
3 Cups

Ingredients

  •  1 cup toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds hazelnuts)
  • 2 packed cups of herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley)
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup hard, aged cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Zest from half a lemon (optional)

 

Directions

  1. I use a generous handful of toasted nuts, my favorite are walnuts and almonds. (I’ve stopped using pine nuts in any dish after having a case of Pine Mouth last year. Read about this weird phenomenon here.) I pulse these, along with three cloves of garlic in the food processor.
  2. Next come the herbs. I made several batches with basil and several more with parsley. I love cilantro pesto, but I didn’t have enough from my garden this time. I fill the food processor bowl with herbs, usually about two packed cups and blend nuts, garlic, and herbs. If I’m using parsley I also use the zest of half a lemon.
  3. Then I add about 1/2 cup of cheese. I usually use a good quality Parmigiano Reggiano, but lately I have loved the addition of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. It has the same earthiness and texture as the Parmigiano, but a depth of flavor that really stands up to the strong taste of the herbs.
  4. Finally I drizzle about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil in the processor as I pulse. That’s about it. Nothing could be easier.

Adobo Salsa

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Prep Time:
10 Min

Cook Time:
30 Min

Yields:
1 Pint

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tbls. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Cook the onions in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until translucent, adding minced garlic halfway through.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, including the juice from the tomatoes and a little of the adobo sauce that the chipotle peppers are packed in.
  3. Simmer over low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. The sauce is ready at that point, but can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours if necessary. Heat before serving, either in the microwave or on the stovetop.

If you want a more protein-packed sauce, add a can of rinsed black beans as you simmer. This sauce is a versitile topping, and is perfect with grilled chicken or pork.

Autumn's Best Risotto

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Prep Time:
10 Min

Cook Time:
45 Min

Yields:
8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 6-8 cups homemade or store-bought vegetable broth
  • 2 local apples, peeled, cored and cut into medium dice
  • 2 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed
  • 3 sprigs thyme, gently bruised with back of knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot or yellow onion
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 ounces Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Optional garnishes: sliced green onions, Cabot Sour Cream, fried sage leaves

Directions

  1. In saucepan, bring vegetable broth to simmer. In saute pan, cook apples in 1 tablespoon butter until tender; set aside.
  2. Place heavy 2-quart stainless steel or other nonreactive pot over medium-low heat; add oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
  3. When butter is just melted add garlic, thyme and bayleaf. Reduce heat to low and stir in shallot or onion.
  4. Cook shallots until translucent but not browned.
  5. Add rice and stir gently with wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed in and warmed. Stir in salt.
  6. Add wine and let barely simmer until almost fully absorbed by rice. Add enough of warm vegetable broth to just cover rice. When nearly absorbed, add another half cup of broth. Continue adding broth until absorbed, slightly reducing amount with each addition. Taste along the way and add more salt if needed.
  7. When rice is creamy and grains are firm (al dente) but not at all crunchy, stop adding broth and remove bay leaf, garlic and thyme sprigs. Stir in cheddar and reserved apples. Serve in warm bowls, topped with garnishes if desired.

I have learned over the years that perfect risotto cannot be rushed. Grab a glass of wine and a good friend who will keep you company while you stir over a very low heat. Don’t be impatient…love your pearly Arborio grains and they will yield their delicious flavor up to you.

I garnished my risotto with fried, salted sage leaves fresh from my garden, and topped with a little chopped parsley, also garden-fresh. This really was a perfect meal to serve as a harbinger of the great cold-weather meals of fall and winter. I’ve never been a big fan of cooked apples, but the combination of the very mild apple taste, the bite of the Extra Sharp Cabot Cheddar, and the divine creaminess of the risotto was irresistible.

Tuscan White Bean Spread

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Prep Time:
5 Min

Cook Time:
5 Min

Yields:
3 Cups

Ingredients

2 cans white kidney beans (cannelini) drained

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

3/4 cup grated Cabot Clothbound or Seriously Sharp Cheddar (optional)

sea salt and ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Zest lemons, taking care only to use the bright yellow skin. Avoid the white layer underneath, which is bitter. Mince garlic and rosemary.
  2. Put beans, cheddar, zest, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse, slowly adding olive oil until thoroughly mixed and not quite creamy. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

The spread can be served immediately or kept for several days in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature to bring out all the flavors.

Cheddar Cookies

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Prep Time:
10 Min

Cook Time:
15 Min

Yields:
12 Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter – room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2cups sharp cheddar cheese – shredded
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º.
  2. Mix cayenne pepper and salt with flour.
  3. Cream butter and add to flour mixture.
  4. Add cheese and, with clean hands, mix to form dough.
  5. Roll dough into balls (grape-sized for cocktail cookies, larger for soups and salads) and flatten.
  6. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet and cook for 15 minutes or until golden. Cookies will be bitter if overcooked.

You can use any kind of cheddar you prefer. For this batch I used half Cabot Clothbound and half Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar for a little extra kick. Let you imagination be your guide.

Potatoes Danforth

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Prep Time:
15 Min

Cook Time:
45 Min

Yields:
8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 oz diced pancetta or 5 strips thick cut bacon
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 32. oz bag frozen shredded potatoes – thawed
  • 2 cups Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar – shredded
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbls dried mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Horseradish Garlic Sour Cream

  • 1 large head garlic
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 2 tbls horseradish from a jar
  • 8 oz sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Cook pancetta or bacon until crisp and drain.
  3. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of of pancetta or bacon grease and cook diced onion until translucent.
  4. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread half the shredded potatoes.
  5. Spread diced pancetta or crumbled bacon and diced onions evenly over potatoes.
  6. Spread one cup of cheese over this mixture.
  7. Add remaining potatoes.
  8. Mix eggs, sour cream, mustard, salt, pepper, and milk thoroughly and pour over the potato mixture.
  9. Top with remaining shredded cheese and bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Serve with Horseradish Sour Cream. (Recipe below.)

 

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350º.
  2. Cut the top off the garlic head, exposing all cloves.
  3. Place on a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Wrap the garlic head in the foil and roast for about an hour.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Squeeze the soft, roasted cloves into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
  7. Add sour cream and horseradish and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
  8. Serve with Potatoes Danforth.

Cauliflower Mash

Small Plates & AppetizersCandace KaruComment

Prep Time:
10 Min

Cook Time:
10 Min

Yields:
4-6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into smallish pieces
  • 1 tbl butter, softened
  • 1 tbl plain Greek yogurt (I used Cabot)
  • 1 tbl chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (I used Cabot Horseradish Cheddar)
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut the cauliflower into smallish pieces.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter, yogurt, and broth (you can also use milk or half & half) and add cut up cauliflower.
  3. Microwave on high for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir the cauliflower, so it is coated with the liquid.
  5. Return to microwave and cook on high for 4-5 more minutes until cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork.
  6. Place grated cheese and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, then add cooked cauliflower.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of mashed potatoes. Serve hot.
  8. Refrigerate leftovers (haha, like there will be any). Reheat in microwave.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

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Prep Time:
20 Min

Cook Time:
4-6 Hrs

Yields:
10 – 12 Servings

Ingredients

For Chili Seasoning Mix:

  • 4 Tbls Chili powder
  • 2 Tbls Chipotle Chili powder
  • 1 Tbls dried cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending on the heat desired)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Mix all together and store in an airtight jar. I often double or triple the recipe to have on hand for chili and tacos. The seasoning will keep for 3 – 6 months.

For Chili:

  • 3 – 5 Tbl Chili Seasoning Mix (see above)
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz tomato) or vegetable juice (I use V-8)
  • 1 cup (more or less) vegetable broth, adjust for thickness of chili desired
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can 4 oz chopped green chili peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bag baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, chopped

Keep in mind that amounts are approximate and you can adapt and substitute depending on your veggie preferences. 

Directions

  1. In the Ninja Cooker I was able to heat the olive oil on the highest setting, adding the chopped onions, pepper, and garlic to sauté until soft and onions translucent. If you are using a regular slow cooker, you can sauté the veggies on the stovetop.
  2. I then turned the setting to low and added the rest of the ingredients along with 4 tablespoons of the chili seasoning (you can use more or less, depending on the depth of heat and flavor you desire). Stir together and cover, cooking low and slow for 4 – 6 hours.