To try and get myself over my anti-socialness and just for the fun of it, I threw a party (with assistance from J) this past Saturday. I invited almost 20 people and purchased lots and lots (and lots) of alcohol and prepared quite a bit of food. I made a recent adaptation of Buffalo Chicken Pizza (I was thinking I had posted that on here but it doesn’t seem that I have…I’ll have to get around to that-it’s awesome!), Dirty South Sausage Balls (given the name by the oh-so-talented and risque Chef Blythe Beck), and Spiced Nuts. The balls and nuts were um…huge…hits with all 3 of my guests that bothered to come.
Dirty South Sausage Balls
-2 lbs bulk pork breakfast sausage (half mild and half spicy)
-8 oz softened cream cheese
-1/4 c snipped chives or green onions
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper to taste
-Juice of 1 lemon
-3/4 c panko or unseasoned dried bread crumbs
-2 sheets of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed (1 lb)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine pork sausage, cream cheese, chives, cayenne, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Fold bread crumbs into meat mixture until fully combined (feel free to use your hands!). Roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
3. Wrap a 1.5″ square of puff pastry around each ball, stretching to cover. Pinch seams to seal. Place seam-side down on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Makes about 24 small balls.
This was adapted from a recipe by Chef Blythe Beck .
Oh my gosh were these good. I felt a little naughty (as Ms. Beck intended me to, I’m sure!) eating all that pork + cream cheese. What an evil and awesome combination! My version calls for less bread crumbs than Chef Beck’s does. I would have sworn on my life that I had a big-ass thing of bread crumbs in my pantry-turns out I had a couple tablespoons and had to make up the rest of what I used with crushed crackers. I made two batches after having some technical difficulties with my second sheet of puff pastry, and froze the second one. My first batch resembled funny little meaty pastry purses, but the second batch I made a little more “clean” looking by trimming off the excess puff pastry with my dear kitchen shears and rolling them again in my hand to smooth out the seams. Those are sitting in my freezer right now, waiting to pounce on J’s unsuspecting poker buddies this Thursday evening.
And on to the nuts!
-2/3 c sugar
-2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 1/2 tsp chili(e) powder
-1/2 tsp ground allspice
-1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
-1 large egg white
-4 c mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and/or cashews-I bought a big ol’ container that also had peanuts even though this part of the recipe didn’t say peanuts were okay. I didn’t die)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk sugar, salt and spices in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk egg white until light and frothy (don’t use your mixer-I know it’s tempting-you’ll end up with entirely the wrong texture altogether). Add nuts and toss until evenly coated with egg white.
3. Sprinkle sugar and spice mixture over nuts and toss well.
4. Spread nuts in single layer on baking sheet and bake until dry, 45 to 50 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool to room temperature.
These were also well received. It’s more of a fall flavor, but the hint of spicy mingled in with the sweetness was really refreshing compared to boring old honey roasted nuts.