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Goodness gracious, great ball of cheese

Your New Year’s Eve cocktail party needs a cheese ball.

The appetizer is easy to eat, goes great with a drink and – perhaps even better – requires no actual cooking.

Mix a couple of sharper, more pungent cheeses with a soft, mild cheese, such as cream cheese. Use fresh herbs and alliums – onion, garlic, shallot – for additional seasoning. Include finely chopped peppers such as jalapeno for a little kick. Then roll the ball in chopped nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans, pine nuts – to give it a little texture.

Serve the spread on a charger surrounded by crisp, plain crackers. Decorate it with fresh herbs and dried fruit such as apricots, ginger, cranberries or persimmons.

And get the party started.

Holiday Cheese Ball

From Dorothy Dean and The Spokesman-Review archives, 1957

4-ounce wedge blue cheese

8-ounce package sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

3-ounce package cream cheese

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon grated onion

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup very finely chopped nuts

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or nuts (or both), for rolling

Allow cheeses to stand at room temperature to soften. Mix well with a tablespoon of parsley, onion, Worcestershire and 1/2 cup nuts. Place mixture on waxed paper and shape into ball. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours and then roll ball in 1/4 cup parsley or nuts. Refrigerate until about an hour before serving time, allowing the ball to stand at room temperature. Center cheese ball on tray and surround with assorted crackers.

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