Tuesday, December 25, 2012

You'll Want To Put These Balls In Your Mouth Two At A Time!

(Title credit: Amy)

Alternate titles:

'My Second Favorite Set Of Balls'

'Now Here's Some Balls You'll Really Love Eating'

It's pretty tough coming up with a decent title for a blog post about cheese balls. You can't just say 'World's Best Cheese Balls,' or even, 'Totally Amazing, Must-Try, Most-Deliciousest-Ever Cheeeese Baaalllsss!!1!' Nobody's going to want to read about that, even though in this case it's probably accurate.
Anyway, the lowly cheese ball- it's just a ball of cheese, usually covered in almonds, that you spread on crackers. How good can it be, right? Well, if you're my friend Heather, who was married to a chef for ten years, then it can be really, really good. We were at a party at a mutual friend's house one night a few weeks back, sitting out on the patio, and she was telling us about this cheese ball that she'd made. Said she'd used Laughing Cow, goat cheese, and that one with garlic and herbs, she couldn't remember the name. (It was Boursin.) Ok, that alone was sounding pretty good, but then she mentioned that she put dried blueberries in it. I must have made a face because then she said, 'Yeah, I know, it sounds weird, right?' I said, 'Hell no, it sounds awesome! You got anymore?' Turns out it was her contribution to the party's food supply and it was sitting right there in the kitchen for the taking! So me and a friend rushed in to get some. I took one bite and right then I knew- I knew - that even if I hadn't been drunk it still would have tasted just as awesome. And it does. The mildness of the Laughing Cow balances out the weirdness of the goat cheese, and the sweetness of the blueberries balance out the savoriness of the Boursin. Sesame seed crackers make for a really nice diversion from the usual Ritz or whatever, and the almonds add more visual appeal as well as extra crunch.

Like I often do when I make stuff, Heather didn't really use a recipe, but she remembered enough about it that I was able to pretty much recreate it. Here's what you'll need:

12 wedges Laughing Cow cheese (regular, not that light crap)

1 package Regular (garlic & herb) Boursin

1/2 lb. goat cheese

~1/3 c mayo 

~1/2 c (packed) dried blueberries

Toasted almonds

Sesame seed crackers

Putting it all together is about as straightforward as it seems. The worst part is unwrapping all those Laughing Cow triangles- kind of a pain in the ass, really, but it's worth it. You'll want the cheese to soften up a little to make it easier to blend, but in my experience, the LC triangles are easier to pop out of the wrapper if they're nice and firm, so I usually just unwrap all the cheese and toss it in a bowl while it's plenty cold, and then leave it out for a little while (or microwave it on low power) to soften up. Then add the mayo, then the blueberries, then mix thoroughly. Put back in the fridge for awhile to firm up so you can form balls with it, then roll in chopped, toasted almonds. The sliced almonds you get in the baking aisle of the grocery store are ok too, but they tend not to have a whole lot of flavor. I wouldn't waste my money on them.

Serve with sesame crackers at your next party, and watch while folks gobble these balls up like porn stars gobble up the other kind!

(I mentioned in my last post about an upcoming special announcement, thinking it'd be up by now, but the holidays, among other things, have caused delays. So, next month sometime for sure. It's really cool, too. Can't. Wait!)

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