Robust Cheddar, Feta & Walnut Cheese Log
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
8 ounces cream cheese, ( 1 cup)
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) crumbled feta cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons bottled roasted red peppers, chopped and peeled (or 2 tablespoons chopped pimento)
2 tablespoons gin, or vodka, optional
pinch cayenne pepper
Combine the Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese, garlic, salt and pepper sauce and mix until blended and smooth.
Add 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the capers, the red pepper or pimento, and gin or vodka.
Continue to mix until the ingredients are incorporated and evenly blended.
The mixture will be easier to shape if it is refrigerated at this point for 2-3 hours before forming.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and toss to coat. Spread the nuts on a sheet of waxed paper.
With damp hands,divide the mixture in half. Pat and press each half into a log about 5 inches long or into a ball about 3 inches across and 2 inches wide; don't worry about keeping the shape perfect.
If desired, roll each log or ball in the nuts, patting the coating in firmly. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until serving. Makes 2 cheese balls or cheese logs.
Variation: Feta and Fontina Walnut Cheese Ball. Omit the Cheddar and cream cheeses and substitute 8 ounces (2 cups) grated California Fontina cheese and 4 ounces (1 cup) grated California Mozzarella cheese. Combine with the feta cheese and other ingredients as directed above. If desired, roll the balls or logs in a mixture of 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs or rye cracker crumbs.