I brought this to a cheese-themed potluck. Yes, cheese. I’ve mentioned before that themes are very big with librarians, even when it’s food. There were many avenues I could have taken, this casserole or these, or even this, as it has feta. But, I wanted something that I hadn’t made before, and seriously, how can anything with cheese as the main ingredient be bad? It’s cheese, what’s not to like? As I tend to do, I was musing aloud about what to make while processing some bib records, when my office-mate/friend/coworker Faye suggested something called better cheddar. Better cheddar? What’s better cheddar, I asked. She described it to me, and I wondered what grievous sin I had committed to have been denied the experience that is better cheddar, because it sounded like something I might consider eating for every foreseeable future meal. Apparently, it’s a spread created by a locally-owned New Orleans grocery store. I looked about for a recipe, and I read aloud the one I found, which was close, Faye confirmed. I figured I’d just wing it, and as I said before, how could a spread made with cheese be bad?
It’s probably obvious from my pictures and recipes that I have an unnatural fondness for green onions. Really, I freely admit it. Even as a kid, I’d eat raw green onions alongside a sandwich. So, I used 1/3 cup of green onions in the spread, but if you’re not a fan, you can certainly use less, as the recipe called for only 3 green onions. The recipe I found also used walnuts, which made no sense to me, as pecans are grown locally and readily available in Louisiana, so I subbed pecans for the walnuts. The binder was a spicy homemade mayonnaise; I used store-bought and added cream cheese, along with creole mustard and a pinch of cayenne. The heat increased over time, so be judicious with the cayenne, as it will only get hotter. If you’re going to eat the entire batch in one day, then, yes, I’d add more than a pinch. At the potluck, we ate it with crackers, but I reserved some at home and I ate it with celery; my husband spread it on crackers. Let me tell you, this is beyond delicious, as in “I wonder if I could just eat this with a spoon?” delicious.
Better Cheddar, my way
1 lb sharp white cheddar, shredded
1 lb New York sharp cheddar, shredded
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted & chopped
1/3 generous cup green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
2/3 cup mayonnaise
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.
If you like a creamier spread, add more mayonnaise.
Chill & serve with crackers and crudites