24 June 2011
Playing House and Herb and Chocolate Cheese Balls
As children pretty much everyone plays house - or some version of it. In France, kids call it "playing Daddy and Mommy" (jouer au papa et à la maman), but it's the same idea: re-creating the domestic environment and trying out new roles or old roles with new names and new personalities. The funny thing is, as we get older, we may stop playing pretend but we still try on new roles and discard old ones as we go through different phases of life: student/adventurer/apprentice/first apartment/first serious relationship/mom/dad/mentor/etc. The list goes on and is different for each of us.
Still, I think our childhood fantasies come along with us. The excitement of little things, of shiny objects, of new toys. For me, that comes out in the kitchen. I was fluttering like a 5-year-old when I unwrapped my new fancy milk and sugar bowls and these romantic cognac glasses bought with the last of our wedding money (which went quite a bit further than it was supposed to because there was a sale when we went to first pick our gifts up and we got them all for a lot less than we thought, so we had money let over to spoil ourselves with both useful and pretty things).
And speaking of childhood delights, in my last post, I made Olive Oil and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes with Parma Ham from this recipe book: Des recettes régressives pour gourmets notstalgiques (Regressive Recipes for Nostalgic Gourmets) and I've continued to experiment, with a culminating trial last week when we invited a friend over for an all-chocolate dinner! It started because I knew I wanted to make a chicken mole inspired recipe from the book and D. wanted to make a white chocolate mousse. It was clear that the theme was chocolate, but now how could I incorporate it into the appetizer?
I'd been wanting to try these herbed cheese ball appetizers and I thought, "why not try them with chocolate!" It was a resounding success.
For 24 balls
240g (about 8.5oz) cream cheese (The recipe calls for Kiri and that's what I used. In the US cream cheese would be perfect.)
Whatever toppings you want; I used:
Form 24 balls of cheese around the 24 raisins. Roll in the toppings of your choice and serve!
Our favorite toppings were (in order) chives, cocoa, sesame, cumin. The curry powder and paprika were both a bit overpowering, but if you like strong/spicy tastes then you could give them a try. Next time I'd try more fresh herbs and sweet spices (ie coriander or garam masala).