I am a huge fan of appetizers. So much so that the Christmas “dinner” I host every year is nuthin’ but appetizers. Might sound weird, but I assure you, it’s not. People love appetizers, and when you don’t have the right house for winter entertaining – a sit down dinner for my xmas posse is out of the question – it’s the only solution for, ahem, crowd control.
I’m always on the lookout for the tastiest dips and salsas and spreads. But somehow, over the years, I lost track of one of my favorite crackers spreads: the beef ball. It had been introduced by an ex-sister-in-law, and was much beloved by our family, but when she exited our lives, the memory (even though a good one) went with it.
And then, years and years and years (decades) later, someone had a birthday at work, in one of those departments that celebrates the living bejeezus out of every event, adorning the counter tops of their little kitchenette with all sorts of edibles. And soon word spreads, and vultures from every floor descend. You know what I’m sayin’.
Anyway, I walked up to this stacked counter, and what did I spy? A Beef Ball. OMG. It looks like I remember it, cream cheese peering like grout through tiles of dried beef. A dreamy, savory mosaic. Salty beef with a hint of onion in a rich, creamy base. Dare I taste it? Would it live up to what is surely an exaggerated memory?
Oh yes … uh huh. That’s it.
The prettiest thing, it ain’t. But once your crowd gets their mitts into it, it’ll be the first thing to go. Just make sure you have enough crackers on hand.
|8||oz||package cream cheese, softened|
|3||oz||dried beef, rinsed, patted dry and chopped or snipped into small squares (set a small portion aside for rolling)|
|2||green onions, chopped (or substitute a sweet onion)|
|1/4||teaspoon||onion powder (or onion salt, but note that the beef is already pretty salty, so you might be better off with the powder)|
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, dried beef, green onions, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into a ball and roll in the reserved dried beef to coat. Refrigerate before serving. (It’s even better the next day.)