I have always been a sucker for cheese. I really can’t recall a cheese that I have tasted that I didn’t think at least edible. Now granted, some cheeses I prefer to others. I am actually a little bit ashamed to admit that of all the cheeses there are to choose from, if given a choice of only one cheese I could eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be a good sharp cheddar or an extra sharp white cheddar. (I know, if that isn’t plebian, I don’t know what is!) After all, you would think someone with my refined palate would choose a sophisticated blue or a soft young farmer’s cheese. But when you really stop to think about it, as I did when writing this blog post, there is not only the taste of the cheese to consider, but the use of the cheese as an ingredient in the foods you like to eat. When you cook with a sharp cheddar cheese, you don’t need as much of it because of its strong flavor. And for my money, the taste of cheddar cheese all by itself is simply divine. And truly, if you can honestly tell me that nibbling on a piece of Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheese (white cheese, black casing) along with thin slices of a crisp apple like Honeycrisp or Opal  isn’t a little taste (so to speak) of heaven on earth, one of us has a serious problem!

BTW, if you have yet to taste an Opal apple, do yourself a favor and do so at your earliest convenience. Opal apples have a distinctively crunchy texture, a sweet and tangy flavor, and are a beautiful bright yellow color. You should have no trouble locating them in the produce department of your local grocery store, if they are savvy enough to carry them, that is. If they don’t, ask the produce manager if they will soon be carrying this remarkable and delicious new apple varietal. (Nice way to say – get the darned things in – now!)

You know, I just realized that all of the above prose has absolutely nothing to do with this Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Spread recipe, except of course, for the fact that cheddar cheese is one of the ingredients. But if in disclosing my love of plain old cheddar cheese I have dispelled any lingering thoughts you might harbor that I am actually a closet gourmet, so much the better. Plus I got to tell you all about a remarkable new apple variety. Hurray to that!

As an afterthought, I really should tell you that this cheese spread is really, really delicious. Give it a try next time you need an easy before dinner appetizer or as a nice change of pace cheesy “something” at your next cocktail party.

  • 8-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • scant 1/3 c. rough chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1 tsp. finely minced onion
  • 1/8 tsp. granulated garlic
  • pinch kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whirl until smooth. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving at room temperature. Great spread on multi-grain crackers.

Note: always serve cheese or cheese spreads at room temperature. The wonderful creamy texture and complex taste of cheese can’t be fully appreciated if the cheese is still cold.