Traditions.  Habits.  Rules.  They can all be one in the same – at times.  Growing up, whether it was simply a family custom or some sort of household “law,” whenever 5 o’clock rolled around and Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt were in town (or we were visiting them), out came the cocktails with cheese and crackers.  Honestly, no matter what, it seemed, Grandma had her whiskey sour in hand and the orange looking “cheese-ish” log – rolled in nuts – with a few crackers magically appeared at cocktail hour.  For a time, as I grew older, I assumed this was an “east coast thing,” being that Dad’s side of the family lived in New York and Connecticut.  I’ve now learned that it was not really a regional custom, but something rather unique to our family.  As a child, this cocktail hour began the eternal wait for dinner time and an awfully hungry tummy.  After all, no cocktails for the kiddos!  As an adult full of memories now, I smile at this tradition.  It makes me remember the Marlboro smell and raspy voice of Grandpa Bill, the bright pink lipstick stained and Wintermint Lifesaver-scented kisses of Grandma Nat, and the wonderfully carefree laugh of Aunt Anne.

The reddish-orange party cheese ball came to mind this week as I created my own “cheese-ish” nibble.  Not really cheese, but certainly reminiscent and definitely delicious.  In fact, although I shared the recipe with all my tasters, they all sent out encouraging words to the sound of, “you should trademark this one!”  Hmm…maybe.

I need a name, though.  I pondered and puzzled and could not develop anything cute or catchy.  There’s no cheese involved, but it sure tastes cheese-like (it’s the pine nuts) and I’m pretty darn cheesy much of the time.  It’s pretty much all nuts and I’m nuts too!  Any ideas?  I’d love to hear them…

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She’s a Nut and She’s Pretty Cheesy Too Spread**

1 1/2 c. cashews, soaked and drained
3/4 c. macadamia nuts
3/4 c. pan-toasted pine nuts
3 cloves raw garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and a heavy duty food processor.  Process until smooth and fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. The “cheese” is done when the oils release and the mixture begins to form into a ball.

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**So versatile!  This can be used as a spread, a dip, thinned as a sauce (I served it with pasta one evening – I’m thinking Mac and Cheese next), and even in tuna fish!! (I despise mayo and used this instead.  It was divine.)

One thought on “Cocktails and Cheese

  1. It sounds like a perfectly normal family to me!
    Not only cocktail time but conversation time too!

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