For Christmas, Chase bought me The Bust DIY Guide to Life, which was definitely a great present. In addition to recipes and crafts, it also has practical advice on things like having a natural birth, doing your taxes, and going camping. But you know I paid the most attention to the recipes.
The book included what has come to be known as my signature dish: Amy Sedaris’s Cheese Ball. It’s also in her entertaining book, I Like You, and it’s always a big hit at parties. I used to make this in college, and I don’t want to brag too much, but I did once receive a 2 a.m. drunk dial from a guy demanding I bring a cheese ball to a party the next night (full disclosure: it was not a potential suitor. It was a very nice gay man. Obviously). This also tells you a lot about the sorts of parties I went to; of course I needed to bring a retro party food instead of booze! Anyway, people really love this cheese ball, including my lactose-intolerant boyfriend. Amy Sedaris knows her stuff.
This New Year’s Eve, H. and I had a few friends over for board games and food. I still like to party just as hard as I did in college. Of course I made the cheese ball, as well as some drinks. Here’s the recipe, which I always halve (and it still makes a softball sized cheese ball).
Amy Sedaris’s Cheese Ball
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese
2 cups of shredded smoked gouda (I almost always use something cheaper, but smoked cheese is definitely better if you really like the people you’re feeding)
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 TBSP milk, cream, or half-and-half
2 tsp steak sauce
2 cups crushed nuts
Let the cream cheese, cheese, and butter come to room temperature and beat them together with the milk and steak sauce. Form it into a ball (it helps to refrigerate it a bit first, or at least cover your hands in plastic wrap or maybe latex gloves if you keep those in your kitchen. I don’t because I’m not a big creep). Roll it in the crushed nuts and refrigerate. Let it soften at room temperature for a bit before you serve it or else it will break everyone’s crackers. Eat way too much and keep saying, “WHY DO I KEEP EATING THIS CHEESEBALL?”
But a party is not made of cheese balls alone! A lady needs booze. The Bust DIY book’s guide to cocktail parties told me that you should have beer, wine, and either a signature drink or vodka and some mixers. I bought some (of the cheapest possible) vodka, but I decided to make a drink because I don’t like beer and I only kind of like wine. The book had a recipe for a Pineapple-ito, which is basically a mojito but with less lime and more pineapple. It was pretty delicious.
Pineapple-ito (adapted from the Bust DIY Guide to Life)
Put a handful of mint into a pitcher. Put in equal parts of rum, pineapple juice, and club soda. Stir in the juice of two limes (or put in a few squirts from one of those plastic limes filled with lime juice…whichever’s your style). Drink a lot and don’t pay attention to the game Parcheesi.