Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pineapple Cheeseball

OK. I am pretty sure that cheeseballs are out. I personally happen to know some cheeseballs that are whacked out. This particular cheeseball is way in. Here’s a totally retro recipe that you can adjust to your liking and have fun decorating. I bet you either have this recipe, ate it, made it, or your mom or grandma or next door neighbor has it, etc. It’s been around for a long time. Just like this author.

Delicious.  Easy.  Adorable. I know it’s fattening, but you don’t have to eat the whole thing and it’s for a party, right? The pecans help add goodness like antioxidants and vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber. That’s how you can justify eating the cheese which contains a mere 80 fat calories for every 100 calories per serving, LOL. Mere. 

Lately, we have been enjoying some sweet and juicy pineapples which apparently triggered the KPK spontaneous need to “theme-up” a lunch and search for all things pineapple. KPK NOTE: Peak pineapple season is March thru July FYI.  So, whilst googling around for pineapple recipes, I happened across a few of these adorable pineapple “cheeseballs” even though I wasn’t looking for dip recipes. So this cutey pops up in a few places on the web,  including, of course, Pinterest. Which means, btw, that this pretty appetizer is gonna be popping up all over the potluck / party circuit. This is my first. Loved it. Sharing it. I did read many versions of pineapple cheese spread recipes and there are many with these very same ingredients with few changes. Make it as shown or vary it according to your personal tastebuds.

Bring it to YOUR next potluck, book club or office party. Everyone will love it AND you, ya cheeseball!

Pineapple "Cheeseball"

2 - 8 ounce packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup of finely chopped bell pepper (I like red and green)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion (I like sweet onion)
1 - 15 ounce can of crushed pineapple, well drained OR about 1 cup of fresh, finely chopped pineapple, well drained
1 cup of finely chopped toasted pecans*
1  teaspoon of seasoned salt (or more, to taste)
Whole toasted pecans* for decorating
1 attractive pineapple top (not to discriminate)

Easy cheesy directions:

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the last two, duh. Chill in the fridge. Mound onto a serving platter in the shape of a pineapple (as shown). Place and lightly press the toasted pecans onto the mound of cheese as shown. If you're like me, eat one, place one, eat one, place one, and so on. It's so fast. Add the pineapple top. You're done. Serve with crackers (another duh, sorry). I recommend making the cheese spread the night before and then assembling your pineapple before your party. Here's one of my favorite pineapple tricks that I learned long ago from my friend Tammy and her daughter, Meghan: Twist off the top!!!!!! That's it! Grab your pineapple and simply twist off the top, as you would a jar lid. It twists right off! Isn't that cool? Here's another picture to help illustrate the mound of cheese, the placement of the pecans and the twisted off pineapple top, before full assembly.

Another tip for you: Start at the bottom. See? I do this stuff FOR YOU so that you don't have to think about the details. Just enjoy the fruits of my labor. In this case, the pineapple. 

*Toast your pecans whole in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool completely. They will be so much more flavorful than NOT toasting. Trust me. No question about toasting vs. non-toasting when it comes to nuts. Do a taste test and you'll agree.

KPK Interesting Pineapple Fact: If you eat a lot of pineapple, you'll taste sweeter. Ponder that, my friends.

Love and Pineapple Passion,

Katie
Oh, and btw, I understand that you can find this recipe in 50 words or less elsewhere on the web, but where else can you get all of this deep pineapple hodgepodge? 

Uh oh, I can't stop. One more thing you need to know . . . During the winter holidays, use whole toasted almonds (don't talk to me if you don't toast them), and make smaller cheeseballs, shaped like PINECONES!  I know, right? You are soooo welcome! 

Recipe Update Bulletin: I just modified the recipe, changing the amount of canned pineapple from 1 8 oz. can to 1 15 oz. can. Reason: More pineapple is better. Period. Now that I've made a few of these, let me give you some KPK insight: For the seasoned salt, try using Essence of Emeril (the original) and then add a generous shake of ground cayenne pepper. The spread is even more delicious after you chill it overnight. I upped the amount of pineapple because 1 cup of finely chopped fresh pineapple (drained) is equivalent to 1 15 oz. can of crushed pineapple (drained). After all, you're presenting it in the shape of a pineapple, right? The pineapple flavor should be pronounced. Using fresh pineapple brings really optimum flavor but it's delicious with canned as well. There you have it. All secrets revealed. OK. Go make one now and don't blame me if you don't toast your pecans, skimp on your pineapple or omit the onion or something. LOL. Enjoy! P.S. The cayenne adds a nice amount of heat that is not overpowering and it does kick it up just perfectly. And. . .enjoy this beautiful spring weather! Ta Ta!

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From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

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