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 Chow.com 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:
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!