Coals to Newcastle


Our family was invited by neighbors to share some New Year’s Eve appetizers and a glass or two of sparkling wine in celebration of the coming year.  Of course I wanted to bring something to share.


Caroline Romano and her husband Skip are long time residents of Honesdale and both friendly and interesting.  Skip works for the local newspaper, The Wayne Independent, and Caroline is a school librarian and first generation Italian American.  She has wonderful stories of her father’s journey from Italy to the U.S.


So why did I decide to make an Italian meatball appetizer?!  I don’t know.  I was embarrassed about it all evening because, of course, I didn’t go for authenticity but just did whatever I felt like.  I’m hoping that they didn’t realize they were supposed to be Italian 😀


Well yes, they ate them and seemed to enjoy them because, authentic or not, I made a fabulous sauce using roasted peppers and Steve DeVeau’s garden tomato marinara sauce. Okay, I did buy seasoned and pre-rolled meatballs but sue me, I couldn’t be bothered 🙂


I used to think that blue was my favorite color but I think red is edging it out.  Purple is good too.


Sharp cheddar is one of the things I miss when in France.  You really can’t make “correct” Mexican food without it.  I have found a white cheddar in Sens at Leclerc but it’s not the same.


From time to time,  I crave a childhood favorite, pimento cheese spread.  This appetizer is the epitome of southern cuisine and easy to make.  I was a little conservative with the jalapeno pepper, afraid of alarming our hosts, but jalapeno peppers are for babies and I could have used a whole instead of a half.


Happy 2015 to everyone 🎊

Italian Meatball Appetizer

24 pre-seasoned and formed meatballs or homemade

2 roasted red bell peppers

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup Italian vinaigrette

1 1/2 -2 cups marinara sauce

Bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet in a 375F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

In a food processor, puree the bell peppers, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve in small plates with garlic bread.


Pimento Cheese Spread

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp piment d’espelette

1/2  jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/2 cup pimento, diced

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, using the plastic dough blade.  Serve with assorted crackers.


About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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22 Responses to Coals to Newcastle

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I was in the Temple of British cheese just before Christmas – Neal’s Yard Dairy. At that time of year it’s a bit like queuing for Father Christmas, but with the added bonus of a cheese tasting in the queue. They gave me some artisanal cheddar to try, from New York, which was exceptional, but very expensive because it had been imported. Double the price of their best Montgomery cheddar. If it hadn’t been pandemonium I would have written down the name, but they did assure me that there are some other brilliant new cheeses being made in America of similar stature 😉

  2. Sounds like you had a fun night with food as well. 🙂 Happy New Year!

  3. Keith says:

    A fun article and I love the cheese spread recipe – next on my list of appetisers to do!

  4. Cecile says:

    Isn’t it funny how, when in one country, we miss the things we can’t get there but can get in another country. And then, when we either move back or are just ‘home’ for a visit, we miss the things we can’t find at home that we could find in another country!!??
    I really like your meatball appetizer recipe AND I was so happy you included your recipe for Pimento Cheese. I never even knew Pimento Cheese existed until about five years ago… I like that your recipe includes some cream cheese and I do want to make it with the jalapeno pepper but I might use only 1/4 at first… (I’m a big baby!)

  5. I want that cheese spread!!!
    Happy new year my friend.

  6. Lucky neighbours – happy new year to you all!

  7. Love the meat balls AND the cheese spread – please send some to France :)!! Happy New Year, Rosemary!

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