Season 2, Episode 8: Obviously, It’s Pecans - PBS Food

Season 2, Episode 8: Obviously, It’s Pecans

 

 

It’s November ya’ll and that means it’s busy at Chef and the Farmer. Vivian is feeling the stress of both work and home as she juggles running the restaurant after suspending her sous chef and preparing for her own Thanksgiving feast. She and Ms. Scarlett head to Ms. Scarlett’s family farm where they source their pecans and have a run in with Uncle Dwight’s wild boar.

Vivian’s Cooking Demo

 

Vivian’s Featured Recipe

Date, Pecan and Bacon Cheese Ball with Curried Peach Preserves

Yes I know the cheese ball is cliche. I believe however that like the pig in a blanket and the baked potato, cheese balls are so cliche they’re cool. Socially acceptable or not, put this thing out before your holiday meal and people will hover over it like a it’s a crystal ball.

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    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (both white and green parts work here)
  • 1/4 cup high quality blue cheese (such as Maytag)
  • 1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans + 2 tsp. butter (melted) and 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

    Directions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Also remove the blue cheese, butter, goat and cream cheeses from the refrigerator to soften them.
  2. Toss together 2 teaspoons of melted butter, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup of pecans on a baking sheet. Spread the pecans out in a single layer and roast for about 8 minutes. Once you begin to smell the pecans, remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool.
  3. Using the method that best suits you, cook your favorite bacon till crisp. Let it cool and crumble it up. You should end up with about 1/4 cup of bacon crumbles.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients, except the bacon and the parsley. Paddle it up till homogenous.
  5. At this point you’re looking at a pretty loose cheese spread. So in order to form this stuff into a ball, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. Once it’s stiff enough to hold up, form your ball and roll it in bacon followed by parsley.

Tips/Techniques

There are a few rules you’ll need to follow in order to have your cheese ball telling folks the future.
  1. Always set your cheese ball out about 30 minutes prior to serving. It will be so much better at room temperature.
  2. If you can’t find the ingredients or the time to make my curried peach preserves, please serve it with some sort of sweet jam or jelly.
  3. Please keep your cracker choice simple. This is not the place for roasted garlic and baked asiago Triscuits. Sea salt, plain jane is the way to go here (possibly everywhere).
  4. One of the beautiful things about the cheese ball is that it can be made up to a week in advance and brought out on a whim. I often double the recipe and freeze one for last minute situations.
Note: This recipe calls for dates. Please do not use pre-chopped dates from a bag. They are covered in sugar and taste like sweet cardboard. Use whole, dried dates, and remove the pits.

Yield: 1 large or two small cheese balls

 

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