And we're off. For many of us, November marks the start of the holiday season.

Some folks like to take one holiday at a time. Not me. I’m ready to party now.

To get the season started, I’ve included one of my favorite cheese ball recipes and a classic cocktail for cool evening events.

This sweet and tangy cheese ball can be made with cheese, honey and pecans you might find at your local farmers market. It’s a great make-ahead dish for a small gathering or to bring as an appetizer to a family dinner.

And, in the holiday season, you'll certainly want to toast a friend, or maybe pat yourself on the back for making it through the past couple of years, with a classic cocktail. This recipe is a solid addition to your bar repertoire. The peels from the satsumas I found at my farmers market were the perfect touch.

I’m optimistic there can be more celebrating this year, assuming everyone takes care to avoid overindulging in germs, booze or both. These pandemic years have been really hard, for some of you, unimaginably hard. I hope you all find something to celebrate as we head into the downhill stretch of 2021.

Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese Ball

Serves 12-15 people. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened

⅔ cup gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles

¼ cup onion minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon granulated garlic

2 tablespoons local honey, divided

⅔ cup chopped pecans plus ½ cup for garnish

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1. With the paddle attachment on your mixer, beat softened cream cheese on medium speed until blended.

2. On low speed, mix in gorgonzola crumbles and minced onion. Season with salt, black pepper and garlic.

3. Slowly mix in 1 tablespoon honey and ⅔ cup chopped nuts. Spoon the cheese mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the cheese up, shaping it into a ball, smoothing with the plastic wrap as needed. Place wrapped cheese in a bowl and chill for one hour or up to overnight.

4. Pour the remaining ½ cup chopped pecans into a shallow bowl. Unwrap the cheese ball and roll it in the pecans in the bowl until the cheese ball is evenly covered with nuts. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of honey and serve with crackers.

Simple Sazerac

Makes one cocktail in a double old-fashioned glass. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

1 teaspoon absinthe

1½ ounces rye whiskey

2-3 dashes bitters

1-2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon orange or satsuma juice

Orange or satsuma peel

1. Pour absinthe in a double old-fashioned glass and roll it around to coat the glass then discard.

2. Pour the whiskey and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice.

3. Add the sugar and orange or satsuma juice. Shake and strain into the absinthe-coated glass.

4. Garnish with citrus peel then serve neat or over more ice, if desired.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.