RECIPE #97, DAY #125
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Have a Ball” from Food Network Magazine, October 2012*
TIMING: 10 minutes
TOOLS: A food processor, preferably small, and plastic wrap
COOK TYPE: None
HEALTH: Well, if you are still way under your dairy and cheese quota for the week, this is fine for you. Except for the crushed tortillas (which I bought natural, of course, but still…). And the tortillas you serve it with. But it’s not terrible.
EXPERIENCE: Wanted to have some Halloween food fun, so I pulled out the last few years’ worth of Food Network Magazine‘s October issues. This recipe looked really cute: exactly the kind of thing most people would find oddly impressive on the buffet table. But there was nothing to it, so I decided to volunteer to bring the appetizer and beverages (Butterbeer) for our Halloween festivities at my mom’s.
Now, I love a creamy dip as much as the next guy. I love cool spinach dip and hot artichoke dip, for starters. But, even though we all snarfed this down before getting to chili, I found it super un-impressive. It just tasted like I was dipping my tortilla chips in cream cheese (and not the promised “nacho-flavored cheese”). And, really, the presentation was much more cute than refined.
Something somewhere in me feels like I would make this again, because it just screams “autumn!,” but I would totally consider finding a different, more flavorful cheese ball recipe before rolling it in crushed nacho chips. Then again, if you are looking for mediocre and cutesy, look no further.
NOTES:I did make some changes to the recipe which will probably heighten the flavor.
You could serve this with various dippers, including crackers, breadsticks, and any number of veggies, like bell pepper, cucumbers, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, etc. I would stick with a southwestern theme, however.
Instead of completely re-writing the recipe, you could work on bumping up the flavor with chili powder, more jalapeno… And you could also go with tomato instead of salsa and taste for salt and pepper and get the sharpest cheddar you can find. In the end, though, you don’t want to mess too much with the ratios and therefore the texture, and so the cream cheese might still overwhelm the thing by necessity.
- In a small food processor, combine 16 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, 2 chopped scallions, 2 tablespoons salsa, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 minced jalapeno.
- Drop the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap (I use Press N Seal). Wrap and form into a ball, then set in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours.
- When ready to serve, unwrap and roll in 1 cup crushed nacho tortilla chips and place a bell pepper stem in the top. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips and red/orange/yellow bell pepper slices.
Serve as an appetizer or a snack.
*Recipe changed from the original.