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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Late last week, I realized that I had never posted about my improvements to the recipe for Goat Cheese Pops with Herbs, Pecans and Bacon after I began experimenting with it last fall.

The worst part of this realization? The knowledge that the only record I had of said improvements was a marked-up piece of paper residing in either the kitchen (on a very busy cookbook shelf) or in my home office (a treasure trove of unsorted grad school stuff).

Luckily, the printout was right where I had sort of hoped that I left it, on the left corner of my filing cabinet in a short stack of unrelated papers.

Whew. Because these cheese balls drew rave reviews at a party this weekend.

I totally amped up the goat cheese from what the original recipe called for, resulting in a much bolder flavor. Although I also increased the measurements of the coating ingredients to account for more cheese balls (this recipe makes about 50 percent more than the original), I still find myself running short on coating when I have anywhere from five to 10 cheese balls left uncovered.

There are worse things than having five to 10 uncovered goat cheese balls awaiting you in the fridge, however.

Simply Irresistible Goat Cheese Balls
Makes 30-45

  • 9 slices bacon
  • 8 oz. goat cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped basil (divided)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pecans

Cook bacon until crispy. Place cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towel and pat to remove excess grease.

Place the goat cheese, cream cheese, 1.5 tbsp. basil and a few twists of cracked black pepper in the food processor. Process until creamy and well-mixed.

Form the cheese mixture into small balls, about the size of the tip of your thumb. (Use food-safe gloves and avoid cleaning cheese out from under your fingernails later.) Place the cheese balls in the freezer for 10-15 minutes; you want them to firm up, but you don’t want to freeze them all the way.

Clean out the food processor (or use your second, smaller food processor). Crumble in the cooled bacon and add the remaining basil and the pecans. Process until the mixture is very fine and crumbly. Roll the cheese balls in the bacon mixture, pressing to lightly embed the coating into each cheese ball. (Again, break out the gloves unless you enjoy bacon shrapnel under your nails.)

Refrigerate until ready to serve. (I’ve always made these the day before serving due to time constraints — they’re fine, if not a little better, the day after.) Serve alongside toothpicks or stick the toothpicks in before placing the cheese balls on a serving platter.

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I love it when a plan comes together. Or, more specifically, when a half-baked idea actually works.

One of my go-to slow cooker dishes is Pepperoncini Beef, which is pretty much a 2- to 3-pound beef chuck roast stuffed with a few cloves of slivered garlic, topped with a 16-ounce jar of pepperoncini and simmered on low for eight hours. We make roast beef and pepperoncini sandwiches on sub bread; topped with cheese and baked in the toaster oven for about three minutes, these are more than mere sandwiches.

Problem: 2 to 3 pounds of roast beef leaves us with WAY more leftovers than we can possibly stand to eat in one week, and it doesn’t freeze well.

Yesterday, while filling the grocery list with ingredients for another slow cooker recipe, I found the solution. Household fave Cowboy Stew, from the Year of Slow Cooking blog, calls for a pound of browned hamburger meat.

In the end, what’s the difference between a pound of ground beef and a similar amount of shredded roast beef once you mix it all up together and cook it for eight hours?

It was delicious, plus it saved me nearly $5 and the guilt of tossing out perfectly edible food. Kitchen WIN!

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