Thursday, June 12, 2014

BACON GOAT CHEESE BITES

Hello, dear reader. And happy summer!

We had our first cookout a few weeks ago. The older I get, the more I love cooking out. In our circle of friends lately, we've been really into "bring your own meat" cookouts, which make for really easy prep. Plus they make hosting a large crowd a lot more manageable (especially on a grad student budget, which most of us are on).

My menu was extremely easy (and quick) to prepare, and everything on it keeps well as leftovers. Here's what I did:
     bruschetta
     quinoa salad
     big bowl of edamame
     bacon goat cheese bites (and a basket of crackers)
     cheesecake tartlets

Does anyone have any suggestions for refreshing hot-weather alcoholic drinks that are good for pitchers/large batches? For the party I made this white sangria, but it wasn't much of a hit. I let the fruit soak for 24 hours, and it was still pretty bland. Next time I'll opt for some bourbon iced tea or maybe a some kind of gin drink.

These adorable bite-sized cheese balls were my favorite. (And that's saying something, because I love bruschetta probably too much.) They were a huge hit, and I recommend them highly! They're easy to make and look VERY cute, and they're perfect for parties. This recipe stays at the front of my party book.

BACON GOAT CHEESE BITESadapted from this recipe

8 ounces goat cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons dried herbs (I used oregano, basil, and thyme)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
large pinch salt
12 slices bacon, cooked till crispy
1/2 cup walnuts

*This recipe would be easily halved, but this amount disappeared quickly in a crowd.
**You can easily make these 2 - 3 days ahead. Just store in the fridge on parchment paper in an airtight container.

First cook the bacon. I like to bake mine on a foil-lined baking sheet - about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven when bacon is just crisp, and soak up the grease with a paper towel. Let cool.

Combine goat cheese and softened cream cheese and mix well. Stir in herbs, garlic, pepper, and salt. Put the mixture in the fridge.

Once bacon is cool, chop roughly. Place in a blender or food processor with walnuts, and process until minced. Pour into a bowl.

Remove cheese mixture from fridge. Use your hands to roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls - about 3/4-inch wide. Roll balls in bacon mixture so they are well coated. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

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