Yes, I did: the turducken of cheese balls

I think I am going to start a new trend of “Yes, I did:” posts on this blog, since I am one of those people who say “I saw that on the internets” and then actually try a few crazy things.  Here is my first.

I was going to add these photos into my “Kitchen Adventures” album on Facebook, but this feat was so gargantuan that it pretty much deserved its own post.  And since “wallowing in excess things that are bad for you” seems to have been the theme of my 2013, what better way to close it than with an excess of cheese?

I came across this on somehow, and it beckoned with its majestic title — the turducken of cheese balls.  Since I am headed to a NYE gathering where the theme is “Southern Comfort Food” (of all southern regions, not just the USA), I figured what could get more southern than a turducken cheese ball?  (Disclaimer:  I am from New England and have mostly always been from New England.  I can’t imagine my life anywhere else other than New England.  So I probably do not have any real idea what it means to be Southern.)

Voila, the final result. What you see on the exterior is a mix of goat cheeses and a coating of sliced almonds and bacon bits:

The Turducken of Cheese Balls, top view

The Turducken of Cheese Balls, top view

Now for a layer-by-layer picture breakdown of its construction.  First layer was the core of Grace’s Choice from Plymouth Artisan Cheeses surrounded by pepper and bits of salami.  The recipe called for chorizo, but the salami in the fridge was calling louder than the recipe.

Grace's Choice & Salami

Grace’s Choice & Salami

Second layer, to surround the core, was a layer of Manchego, covered in chopped figs.  Today I learned that chopping figs is sticky and a PITA.

Manchego & Dried Figs

Manchego & Dried Figs

Layer #3: Emmenthaler, coated with parsley and scallions.  If you don’t currently use the scissors and drinking glass method for mincing herbs, I highly recommend it.  I learned the trick from Chef Paule Caillat when I escaped to Paris for one whole month in 2003.

Emmentaler and Herbs

Emmentaler and Herbs

Layer #4 – wait, but you say a turducken is only THREE layers?  Yes, there’s more!  Now for the good ol’ American Sharp Cheddar Cheese, covered with diced pears.  AMERICA!!

Sharp Cheddar and Pear

Sharp Cheddar and Pear

Layer #5 is the one that nearly broke me.  I used a mixture of Roquefort and Stilton for the blue cheeses, because…that’s what I had in the fridge.  I knew that blue cheese plus neufchatel was NOT going to form a nice “dough” of cheese that I could just lay on top of these herbs.  But I had high hopes and forged ahead…ending up with a nice blue cheese mask for my hands.  Very moisturizing.  I managed to get enough onto the growing cheeseball to cover most of the layer, but my hands definitely ate up a lot of the blue layer.

Blue Cheese and Pecan

Blue Cheese and Pecan

Layer #6 was the final layer – a mix of goat cheeses from the fridge (Drunken Goat, Arina Goat, and Chevre crumbles) plus more neufchatel, which also did not combine to form a dough.  I got wiser after the last layer and made a lot of extra.  My hands are quite cheese-moisturized at this point.

Here’s a lovely pic of the bottom side of the cheese ball, in all its layery goodness.

Cheese Turducken Butt

Cheese Turducken Butt

I’m not sure this is what the host was expecting when I said I’d bring the turducken of cheese balls, but I will be sure to update this post (tomorrow) with pictures of the cheese turducken in action tonight.  Happy New Year, folks!

UPDATE (1/1/14):  Pictures of cheeseball in action – it was 6 layers of pure cheesy conversation goodness!

My friend had the perfect cheeseball presentation plate.

The perfect cheeseball presentation plate.


This cheeseball was the life of the party.

Danger Ahead: Monday, sans To-Do List

My warm view of this Mucky Monday.

Mucky Monday

It is already past noon as I am sitting here and writing this.  I have already ventured out into the first mucky snow of the season, gone to a doctor’s appointment, actually asked all the questions that I had for the doctor, and refilled prescriptions.  I have already returned home, researched and planned posts for EdTech Times, and edited articles that are pending.  And now I am just munching chips and homemade nacho dip, and considering all my options.  This is not as liberating as it sounds.

At some point, I had made the conscious decision to venture into this week with a burgeoning amount of tasks in my mind, and without a to-do list for the very first day.


I have never really been good at the to-do list.  On paper, it always turned into a list of lofty aspirational goals that I had for the day, rather than a reasonable number of actionable items that would set me up for continued productivity.  Every day, I would cross out one thing, and add 5 things, none of which were reasonable to complete in a day or two.

These days, I have turned to Asana to organize my life, and while I am *completely evangelical* about the institutional knowledge that it preserves for small organizations with large turnover, it has turned my life into a disjointed mess of lists that occasionally nag at me through reminders or the bright red “90 notifications” that highlights the corner of my Asana app.  What does one do with 90 notifications??  I’ll tell you:  you skip past the app and tell yourself, “I’ll check it later”.

So these chips are serving as the unhealthy catharsis for the paralyzing decisions I have to make about logistics, tasks, and deadlines for this week, which include such crazy questions as:

  • Do I haul bushels of oranges all around town today while I use my car?  Will my sewing machine fit in with all those oranges?  What if I need more oranges?  (Long story about oranges short: I am the preventer of scurvy among all my office workspaces, and at the same time, a supporter of my high school music program.  Expect oranges in December, those who work with me.)
  • Can I really sew 50 stuffed apples before Thursday?  If so, do I bring my sewing to the office, or leave the sewing at home and sew like an elf in my free stolen evening minutes?  Does the sewing count as tangible work, and is it career-advancing?
  • What DO I know about the Common Core?  And can I articulate that by the end of next week in a post that is sure to get good traction and seem insightful and intelligent?
  • Do I leave my car at home tomorrow, or do I brave Cambridge parking and also pay another $20 to drive it to work?  If I take the car tomorrow, can I bring oranges then?
  • Oh hell, it’s almost 2014 and I have invoices to write so that I can get paid.  Should I do that here?  Should I go to the office?
  • Macarons!  Don’t forget to bring the macarons!  And the banana pudding!  Someone should eat that banana pudding.  It better not be me.
    Macaron Madness

    Macarons, with foie gras buttercream, currently going to waste in my fridge.

    Banana pudding.

    Leftover banana pudding that made an appearance at the holiday party just as people were overly full.

How does one even put that into a to-do list??  This doesn’t even include the personal tasks like gift shopping and Christmas card writing and those friends who I agreed to get a drink with, but didn’t write it down in a calendar, so now I look like the ass who’s avoiding everyone.  Actually, I MAY be avoiding everyone on purpose.

This was a bad way to start a Monday.

What about you?  To-do or not to-do?