1 lb aged, crumbly cheddar cheese, preferably farmhouse-type
1/2 medium-size, mild onion, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
dash cayenne pepper
1-2 Tablespoons port, sherry or brandy
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise or yogurt (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
1. Finely shred or grate the cheese.
Mix together thoroughly with remaining ingredients, adding just enough mayonnaise or yogurt to make the mixture smooth and spreadable. (This is easiest to do in food processor.) Add salt and pepper if needed.
2. Serve room temperature, as a cocktail spread with crackers, or:
3. Mound cheese mixture on substantial crackers (i. e. Carr’s Whole Wheat), or small slices of French bread, pumpernickel, German molasses bread, etc., and broil until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Serve immediately.
This zippy spread is a sophisticated treat, and really easy to put together. Chopped roasted red pepper makes an interesting addition; you can also sprinkle any kind of seeds you like—caraway, sesame, cumin, etc.— on top of the spread. You can make grilled bread-tomato-and-cheese-spread sandwiches with any leftovers you may have (but I bet there won’t be any).
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