Cheesus is the Reason for the Season…

It’s Christmas time and my gall bladder hates me.


Every party and get together from Thanksgiving on involves some kind of cheese serving. Dip, slices, chunks with grapes (the only reason you eat the grapes is to justify a fruit serving and alleviate the guilt), cheese in casseroles, cheese samples at Costco, CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE!

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!

And how I love cheese. Last month I went to visit my sister, who lives in Germany, and her husband, a cheese aficionado (Eeff it does not schtink, it eez not gut!) forced me to eat some kind of cheese every day (yeah, right). When I came home I had this suspicious pain in my right side that miraculously disappeared after I stayed off the fromage for about a week.

Cheese Detox. I do not recommend it. I had the DT’s and imagined small mice crawling around my feet for days.

But what amazes me is when and where did someone come up with the idea of pouring a jar of jelly over a hunk of cream cheese and serving it at a party? And pepper jelly at that? Who thought of mixing hot pepper, gelatin, sugar and water in a pan, boiling it and then dumping it on cream cheese?

Presentation is everything....
Presentation is everything….

It’s the closest think to dog hurl on a plate, and yet it is soooo yummy.

Am I right?

Cheese is not pretty. You have to fluff up a plate of cheese to take to a party or it just looks like chunks of orange and yellow stuff slapped out there with Wheat Thins.

Don't break your neck here..
Don’t break your neck here..

And how about cheese balls? My absolute favorite and one of the UGLIEST presentations out there is the Mango Chutney Curried Cheese Ball:

We have a winner! Photo
We have a winner! Photo

So, along with your ugly Christmas sweater, you HAVE to bring an ugly cheese dish.

PEOPLE, blue cheese has MOLD in it! And we eat it? Who thought of THAT?

Oh, I know, some mom, desperately hungry with a bottle of old wine went in her fridge one day, say that hunk of cheese with the blue stuff on it and decided it looked tasty. Uh, huh…..

There’s even award-winning blue cheese weed (frankly worth a try…):



You smoke it, then you want a glass of red with an entire box of Wheat Thins. Brilliant!

Make it pretty if you can-there are lots of overachieving cheese plates on Pinterest, trust me.

So let’s get out there and eat us some cheese this holiday season – even if it does look like vomit.

Or we can smoke it…


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Burnee in, Burnee Out…Kitchen Sink Hatch Pepper Salsa

Once upon a time, in a nice suburb of north Atlanta, I had a nice home with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a beautiful deck and screen porch that overlooked my tree-filled backyard. This backyard is why we picked this home. Beautiful hardwoods, level grassy area where I could watch my daughter frolic with the cat and the birdies, and a nice pool to swim in.

But then came the peppers. (Insert duh duh duuuh music here..)

BC (the hub) travels for a living. And in doing so has discovered many new exotic foods along the way and carries a small bottle of hot sauce with him in his flight kit.  He researched where to find the hottest pepper sauce that you could buy. And he found some-lovely sauces like Fire In the Hole, Kick Ass, Nuclear Hell, Mega Death, Colon Cleaner and Tingling Taint. How lovely.

This is my deck now:

deckI’m thinking he has over 10 different varieties of peppers out here. All in the HOT category. And he doesn’t really eat them, but he does like to give them away to his buddies, challenge the latest potential boyfriend of 17 to eat one, talk about them, sell the seeds of them, chat on internet forums about them, read blogs about them, make them in to hot/sweet pepper jelly, and watch You Tube videos of incredibly stupid people eating them. Hell, they don’t even have boobs. I do not get it.

Ah yes, it’s the new phase of his mid-life comparing the hotness of his peppers with other guys, as opposed to their sexual conquests…

At 55, they still do the I’m a Manly Man thing. It never ends. He’s going to be in the nursing home one day comparing the size of his, ah, dentures…

So what do I do with this phase? Endure, sit back quietly and let it pass? Act like I’m interested?


This girl here decided to take matters in her own hands (make sure to wear gloves when cutting the hot ones, my ass found out the hard way..) and make salsa with them.

When a buddy sends you a box from New Mexico filled with guess what????? more peppers – the Hatch variety – I threatened to finally get busy (or get a divorce) and get rid of these things.

So I invented Kitchen Sink (or counter in this case)Hatch Pepper Salsa. And mine is somewhat mild with a bite.

The harvest of Hatch with a few of BC’s thrown in:

harvestI gathered 4 Hatch chili peppers – 3 mild and one hot along with 3 Guajillo peppers (mild) 1 Ancho (hot) a carton of grape tomatoes I had in the fridge, some extra small tomatoes from the deck, one onion cut in quarters, one whole garlic bulb with the top cut off and put them on cookies sheets in the oven drizzled with olive oil and some seat salt at 325 for about 1 hour-give or take, to roast. After I pulled them out and let them cool down, I then put all of them in a food processor (I discarded the outer layer of the garlic because I was too lazy to peel it in the first place) and pulsed with at least a cup of chopped cilantro, cumin, pepper, the juice of one line and a little salt. I then added one more can of diced tomatoes because I like my salsa with more of a tomato base but you don’t have to do that. And voila-great salsa! salsaLike my food photography-with an iPhone no less.

You can combine any types of peppers you want-it really depends on your taste. I don’t care for green peppers but if I were to make this with store-bought I would use red, yellow, poblano and whatever they offered. I also would make this next time with at the very least Romano tomatoes and then add a can if I needed.

Hatch chili peppers come in a huge variety of heat and colors. They are also great roasted and I am going to use them in a crock pot recipe. They have a distinctive taste as well. Kind of smoky, earthy, I’m not sure but they are well loved in the Southwest this time of year.


  • 6-8 Peppers of your choice and heat index – sliced in half and seeded
  • 4-6 Tomatoes (also your choice) quartered
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic to roast
  • 1 bunch fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt – to taste

Slice and arrange all peppers, onion, garlic, and tomatoes on one or two baking sheets with rims and drizzle with olive oil. Place in 325 oven for 60-90 minutes until tomatoes have little char and release their juice and the peppers also have a little char. Let cold

Place all in food processor with cilantro, lime, salt, pepper and pulse. Serve immediately or cool in fridge. Should last up to 5 days in the fridge.

One day I will reclaim my deck. Remember, it’s just a phase, it’s just a phase.

Now I gotta go and water those freekin peppers……


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