First of all, I want to wish each and every one of you as safe, healthy and prosperous 2013!
If you’re running late, we still have time to dash off a nice spreadable cheese ball for your New Year’s Eve entertainment, New Year’s buffet, host/hostess gift, pot luck or anytime you want to make something easy, yet special: Crab Cheese Ball, or Spread.
The one below is made with my original recipe, option #1 (and topped rather hastily!)You can make this as a ball or molded, as a spread ;plain or garnished in many ways.
This recipe can take many forms and I’d like you to feel free to improvise, especially on the garnish.
Crab Cheese Ball/Spread …and variations
6 ounces of Neufchatel (low fat) or regular cream cheese
1- 6 ounce can of crab meat, drained (If you have fresh crab meat, good for you! Use about ½ cup)
½- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
½ tsp. dried or snipped parsley
½ tsp. paprika or crushed pepper
½ tsp. ginger (optional)
Garnish (options in recipe)
Drain the crab meat and pick out any cartilage. Soften the cream cheese and add to it the hot pepper sauce, the herb and spices. Taste and adjust seasonings. With a spoon or spatula, gather into a ball and chill.[For a quick spread, place in a small serving bowl or in the middle of a plate, garnish if you’d like and chill, or take right to the table; for safety’s sake, do not let it become warm.]
If making into a shape or ball, after the mixture is chilled, remove and make into a ball and roll in chopped nuts,(walnuts are best), parsley, or dried vegetable flakes, or line a mold with plastic wrap and press the mixture into it, ungarnished. When the ball or molded on is reasonably is firm, serve with butter knives or cheese spreaders and assorted crackers.
(The bell pictured above is the equivalent of about half of the recipe.)
To decorate a shape, use dried or rehydrated vegetable flakes.[To rehydrate, place flakes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain thoroughly to use].You can use pickled peppers or other pickled vegetables, (giardiniera) ,chopped. I even made an angel shape one Christmas and used edible glitter (made from gelatin) for her wings and halo.
The one above I threw together,(again, too hastily), with chopped pickled red and yellow banana peppers and rehydrated pepper and tomato flakes.
Option #1: Reduce the mount of cream cheese to 5 ounces and add 1 ounces of your favorite firm cheese, grated,(Cheddar, Muenster, PepperJack, etc. I used Monterey Jack).
Option #2: Omit hot sauce. Add ¼ tsp. sesame oil to mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Option #3: Omit hot sauce. Add ½ tsp walnut oil and garnish with walnuts
Or hazelnut oil and use hazelnuts. If using almond oil, reduce to ¼ tsp and garnish with …oh, go ahead and guess!)
I know you or your (non-vegan) guests will enjoy this. It is adjustable for any occasion and I often make it in a football shape for a Superbowl Party,(even if it is just me and my husband )
This should be a gluten-free recipe,(check labels on all your ingredients) Be concerned for all of your guests and add gluten-free crackers and /or gluten-free large chips on the side.
Have a Happy New Year!