Help for folks having a party

The Big Book of Appetizers

By Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder


Williams-Sonoma Cocktail Parties

By Georgeanne Brennan


Free Press / 2006 / $24.95

With its eye-catching photos, handy checklists, work plans and food-and-drink pairings, this offering from Williams-Sonoma had us at hello -- until we perused the "Winter Cocktails" section, which we found short on substance for this important entertaining season. While pomegranate sparklers made for a nice, nonalcoholic drink idea, the recipes, including cheese fondue and oysters Rockefeller, lacked zip.

But the "Wine & Cheese Party" section offered a measure of redemption -- a recipe for tasty, fun Cheddar- Cheese-and- Sesame Bites that we know we'll make again and again.

Requiring just a few everyday ingredients and a food processor, this recipe is a no-cooking-necessary answer to the dilemma of what to bring to the party or how to fill it out. Best of all: The sesame seeds that will inevitably fall off the balls are incorporated into the serving presentation.

Cheddar-Cheese-and-Sesame Bites

Makes 36 balls

10 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded


2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted

Line a tray with aluminum foil. In a food processor, combine the cheese, sour cream, butter, shallot and salt and process until smooth, about 1 minute.


Scoop up 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture, roll between your palms to form a bite-sized ball and place on the tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Refrigerate the balls until firm, about 1 hour.

Spread the sesame seeds on a plate. Roll the balls in the seeds, coating them evenly. Once the balls are coated, sprinkle any remaining seeds on a platter. Rest the balls on the seeds and serve.

From "Williams-Sonoma Cocktail Parties"

Per serving (4 balls): 227 calories, 10 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 332 milligrams sodium