While we were in South Florida a few weeks ago we ate lots of yummy things, including several Cuban sandwiches. If you’re unfamiliar with the Cuban sandwich you’re missing out. It’s a pressed sandwich (think panini-ish) made on Cuban bread with roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard.
Heaven in a sandwich pretty much. I make them at home from time to time but Cuban bread is hard to come by in the north so they are never quite the same as eating them in FL. Cuban bread is similar to Italian or French but it’s made with lard. The lard makes it extra yummy and also extra crispy when it’s pressed on a hot grill.
Enjoying a few Cuban sandwiches inspired me to come home and try to make a cheese ball with the same flavors. It is the holiday season and cheese balls are pretty popular during the holidays!
I find the holiday cheese ball to be addicting. (Most of the time.) Cheese ball in my house can be dangerous. I would happily forgo dinner and just eat cheese ball and crackers. Until I popped.
Turns out the Cuban sandwich translates really well into a cheese ball. The only thing missing is the bread. But I used pita chips with it and barely missed the bread.
It was so easy to eat. I’m ashamed (or proud) to say that 4 of us polished off almost 3/4 of it in about 30 minutes. We were either ravenous or (my theory) we were quickly addicted to its crack like similarities.
On an unrelated holiday note. . .Tim and I watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the other night. The one from 1964 with Burl Ives as the snowman. I guess I’ve never really watched it all the way through or payed much attention to that particular holiday special. I’m more of a Grinch and Emmet Otter girl. I was kind of surprised to see that Santa, the majority of the elves and Rudolph’s dad are all jerks! That’s right. . Santa is a JERK! I guess I could understand the elves being a little grumpy since Santa is so mean to them. And I guess Rudolph’s dad is just trying to live up to Santa’s standards, too. But Santa? WOW!
A jerky Santa just doesn’t do it for me. What happened to ‘jolly’? I mean what does he have to be cranky about? The elves wait on him hand and foot, as does Mrs. Claus. The elves even sing him songs. And the reindeer do all the heavy lifting. Oh Santa, your 1964 incarnation disappoints me.
The Grinch is cranky but then his heart grows 3 sizes. Plus Max is adorable. And Emmet and his friends have a sweet jug band. Plus Emmet’s Ma sings like an angel. I’ll stick to those Christmas specials, I guess.
And Nightmare Before Christmas. And Scrooged. And A Christmas Carol (the one with Patrick Stewart). And Christmas Vacation. The holiday list goes on and on. But jerky Santa is not on it.
Cuban Cheese Ball
2 blocks of cream cheese, room temp (I use Neufchatel)
1 cup (plus extra to coat the cheese ball) shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup deli ham, finely diced
1/2 cup dill pickles, finely diced
1 1/2 Tbsps yellow mustard
In a large mixing bowl use a hand mixer and beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the swiss, ham, pickles, mustard. Mix until well combined. Chill for an hour and then shape into a ball and roll in extra shredded cheese to coat. Place on a platter and refrigerate for up to a week.
Serve pita chips or crackers or chunks of bread with it. (Or if you want to be healthy you could use celery.)