November 15, 2012

This Thanksgiving, I’m Grateful for Mr. Willoughby’s Coral Knob. ~ Jennifer Townsend


Mr. Willoughby, a fictional character from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, is the inspiration for a yummy, melt-in-your-mouth, finger-licking-good Thanksgiving-worthy cheese appetizer.

It’s no secret that I’m an Outlander series fanatic; Ms. Gabaldon and her main character, Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser (and his kilt) have pretty much spoiled me for any other author—not that I’m complaining.

…Now I’m thinking about my favorite image of Jamie Fraser

(Cue: dreamy sigh…)

‘Ever searching for my next “Jamie fix,” I find myself looking for ways to weave details from the novels into my everyday life. With Thanksgiving fast approaching and lots of people to cook for, I immediately thought of Outlander Kitchen, a website created by the witty Theresa Carle-Sanders, professional chef and food writer. She does an amazing job of creating recipes inspired from the 18th century food and characters mentioned in the Outlander novels.

Photo: [Theresa Carle-Sanders/OutlanderKitchen.com]Mr. Willoughby’s Coral Knob is the perfect appetizer to serve on Thanksgiving. Not only is it pretty in appearance, but also easily prepared with ingredients you may already have at home, or can easily find at your local grocery store:

  • >> Roasted Red Pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped – 1 medium
  • >> Yogurt or Sour Cream- 2 Tble
  • >> Cream Cheese – 8 oz pkg.
  • >> Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded – 1½ C (4 oz)
  • >> Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded – ⅓ Cup (1 oz)
  • >> Onion, grated – 3 Tble
  • >> Garlic, grated – 1 clove
  • >> Dry Mustard – ½ tsp
  • >> Black Pepper – ¼ tsp
  • >> Cayenne Pepper – pinch

For Garnish:

  • >> Smoked Paprika – 2 Tble
  • >> Black Sesame or Poppy Seeds – 3 Tble
  • >> Cilantro, finely chopped – 2 Tble AND Pistachios, ground – 2 Tble

Puree the roasted red pepper and yogurt/sour cream with a handheld or countertop blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl with all of the remaining ingredients and beat with a hand mixer on low speed until well combined.

Use a spoon or scraper to shape into a rough ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour to firm up.

Spread each of the garnishes on separate plates.

Roll small spoonfuls of the cheese mixture into balls between your palms. Once the balls are complete, roll them in the garnishes to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the finished cheese balls for at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld.

Makes about 20 small balls. Serve with crackers.

Ith gu leòir (eat plenty)!

Thanks for sharing your recipe with us, Theresa! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Jennifer Townsend is Co-Chief of Clan Townsend, noted for its wee heathens and furry beasties. She is fond of saying “verra.” She is verra determined to visit Scotland (particularly Eilean Donan Castle) before too long. Finn Brothers’ music is good for her soul and she can be found most days editing articles for elephantjournal.com or blogging about her obsession with Jamie Fraser on her website www.OutlanderFan.com or its corresponding facebook page here



Ed: Brianna B.


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