What could possibly make cheese better? I would not have thought it possible, but apparently marinating it makes it better! This is great for the holidays due to the color, but we like it at summer parties too.
You will want to use a good quality cheese for this one, as well as high quality vinegar. The type of vinegar you use will definitely impact the flavor.
The other thing I recommend is using a blend of half- olive oil, and half- lighter type oil (canola, or in this instance, I used Thrive. The reason for this is that although olive oil gives a good flavor, it tends to have an oily mouth feel in chilled applications, and loses some of its shine. Blending the two give the best of both worlds.
The original recipe (which is found in many places) calls for an equal amount of oil and vinegar (half cup of each). I prefer to go slightly short on the oil. I find the full amount is just too much.
Most recipes call for fresh parsley. I rarely have that on hand, and have found that dried works just as well. Many recipes also call for some sugar, which I omit (admittedly I like sour things, so the sourness of the vinegar really makes me happy). It typically calls for dried basil, and I usually have on hand mixed Italian seasonings, which I find gives a good flavor.
Here’s where things get difficult. Cutting the cheese (my seven and fifteen year old would laugh themselves silly right now). The cream cheese is much easier to cut after about 45 minutes in the freezer. You want to make equal sizes, but as you can see that’s very difficult. A wire cutter works well for the cream cheese. I just muddle through it.
Then you start stacking it up. Start with the cheddar on the outside so that it doesn’t stick to the container.
So right about now you’re asking, why on earth would I make something SO UGLY, and serve it to my guests. I mean hey I guess maybe you’re much better at stacking cream cheese and cheddar together, and if so, I say congratulations.
I’m not so mine looks like this.
So very very ugly.
But hey it gets better. Add your chopped green onions and pimentos. I was using the tiny jars but for the amount you get they’re super expensive and have almost no flavor. I’ve started using these Roland whole pimentos and chopping them by hand. Although yes it is more labor, they actually HAVE FLAVOR. So that’s a plus. And they freeze beautifully so you can just pull out one of them, and freeze the rest for your next use.
And pour over the cheese. Having the right sized container definitely helps with this. I have one that is the perfect size, and I hide it away so no one else uses it (things that have lunches put in them tend to get lost around our house).
And a close up of the beauty. See I told you it got better.
Now you’re going to want to chill it at least overnight. I turn at least once during the chill (i.e. 12 hours rightside up, 12 hours upside down) so all the cheese can be touched by the marinating magic.
Now it’s time to de-pan this beauty. This is made easier by using an offset spatula, the kind you use for frosting a cake.
Serve with crackers.
So not perfect, but still pretty.
And SO tasty.
- 8 oz block cream cheese
- 8 oz block cheddar cheese, we prefer sharp
- 1/2 cup good white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup oil. I like to use half olive, half canola
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoons dried or fresh minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian mix seasoning
- 2 oz jar pimentos, drained
- 1/ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Prepare as shown above.
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