Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ultimate Superbowl Cheese Ball

Bacon Beer Cheese Ball
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour

      The BIG Sunday is almost here and everyone should be prepared. Whether you're into watching the game or just there for the commercials the most important aspect is the food. The super bowl spread is filled with giant pots of chili, plates of nachos, and bowls of wings but what happened to the lonely cheese ball?Prepackaged cheese balls are now reserved to the dark corner of the dairy aisle with their red wine swirl and sliced almonds. Why not bring it back to glory? Add some creativity, fresh ingredients, and make this snack the centerpiece of your spread.

4 Slices Bacon, diced
1/4 up Beer
8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
4 o Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chives, minced
1 cup Pretzels, crushed

1. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook until the fat has rendered out and bacon is crisped, about 5 minutes.
2. When the bacon is cooked deglaze the pan by adding the beer. Simmer on low heat for 2 minutes just to cook off the alcohol and concentrate the flavor, Then turn off the heat and allow to cool.
3. In a mixing bowl combine the grated cheddar and cream cheese with a rubber spatula. Add the bacon and beer mixture, Worcestershire sauce, pepper,sugar, and chive and stir to thoroughly combine.
4. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap approximately 12 x 12 inches on the counter. Place the cheese mixture in the center of the plastic and wrap it by bringing all four corners together. Twist the plastic and use your hands to form the cheese into a ball shape.
5. Refrigerate for 1 hour until the cheese has hardened into the shape. Crush 1 cup of pretzels in either a ziploc bag with a rolling pin or a few pulses in a food processor.
6. Remove the plastic from the cheese ball and roll it in the crushed pretzels to create a crust. The wrap in fresh plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Cauliflower Bisque

Roasted Cauliflower and Celeriac Bisque
Yield: 3 quarts, 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

      We've heard that the new "it" vegetable of 2014 is going to be cauliflower, and why not. This versatile vegetable can be steamed, roasted, mashed,or pureed and can act as a replacement in many savory dishes. Since its national soup month the chefs decided to create a creamy soup that anyone can make on a weekday.

1 head Cauliflower
2 cup Celeriac, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups chicken stock or veg stock
1 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prep the cauliflower by removing the core and green leaves, and separating into florets. Peel the skin off of the celeriac and dice it into large chunks.
2. Combine the cauliflower and celeriac in a large bowl and toss with the salt, pepper, and oil. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
3.  When the vegetables are tender heat a tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot, add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
4. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and de-glaze with the white wine.
5. Pour in the chicken stock and heavy cream, simmer on low for 15 minutes.
6. Blend the soup in batches using a blender on high until a smooth consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Chef's Note
      Celeriac is a winter vegetable that is the bulbous root of a variety of celery. It has a low starch level and taste similar to stalk celery but with a little sweetness. If celeriac is not available at your store parsnips are a great replacement or just use all cauliflower.

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