As soon as the words are out of your mouth you want to take them back. “Pop over for a drink during the holidays.” Are you out of your mind? What were you thinking? Pop over??? That basically means: 1) come over anytime, 2) stay for as long as you want, and 3) I’ll make sure there’s plenty to eat and drink. Big mistake.
Picture the scene…you’re watching your favorite shopping channel, just about to order that 44-piece kitchen knife set (only $29.95 and if you order in the next :30 seconds they’ll throw in a set of steak knives FREE!) when ding-dong goes the doorbell. And it’s Bob from Accounting, his kids and that lovely wife of his. So you hide your bag of cheetos, turn off the TV and hope they like your reindeer pj’s.
Now of course, if you’ve planned ahead – stashed a case or two of wine and made some nibbles, it’s really no big deal. I make a batch of Chile Logs and keep them in the fridge, ready for Bob. They’re chile-cheesy and you do want to eat more and more of them. Start with a mix of cream cheese and cheddar cheese and then hot it up with some chile powder and dust with more chile powder (cuz you can’t ever get enough chile) and sprinkle with some nuts (totally optional but definitely good eating).
And if I’m really smart (50-50 chance on that one) I make an extra batch so I can bring some along when I “pop over” to see friends. If I swing by your place this season and you’re in the middle of a big shopping channel order then not to worry. Take your time answering the doorbell. I know that steak knife freebie won’t last forever.
I’d like to make this sound incredibly difficult to make but it’s not. It’s kind of ‘Mad Men’ food – you could even serve it with triscuits for a really retro feel. I like to make it in a food processor because it’s easier and less messy but you decide. The logs definitely improve with age so keep in the fridge for a day or two before serving. I made one with a dusting of chipotle and New Mexico and one with the addition of toasted pine nuts – but create your own combos.
Makes two logs; serves approximately 6-10 people
Toasted pine nuts (or chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds would be good too).
Combine the first six ingredients, divide into two and shape into two logs. Roll the logs in the additional chile powder to coat and then roll in toasted pine nuts if using (make sure the nuts have cooled first). Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least a day – preferably 2 or 3 – before serving with crackers or bread. Any leftovers are great spread on toast or in sandwiches.