Recipe: Farmhouse Cheese Spread

We love football in our house.  American football, that is.  Every year we plan activities around it: Opening Day, Draft Night (we're fantasy football fiends), and then every Sunday thereafter.  Adam loves the Pittsburgh Steelers but, generally, we just watch any match that we think will be entertaining.

One of the best parts about football is the food.  Of course.  I've documented football food extensively here in the past (hereherehere...and here too!).  I love that it's almost always a snack-type food and something you can eat with your fingers; likewise, I love that it's always something crunchy and salty.  I do try to keep it a little light so we can snack all day without feeling full or bloated.  And it needs to be easy - you don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen and away from the action on TV.

This year, I made my annual Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Dip; it's become a tradition (see the links above for proof!).  It's so light - for the most part, it's just roasted peppers food-processed with cannellini beans.  Accompanied by pita chips and veggies, it's the perfect Game Day snack.  This year, I was still in a hazy lovefest with my cookbook du jourFarmhouse Kitchen Favorites by Paula S. Croteau (I posted the recipe for Stuffed Croissant French Toast) so I made the Farmhouse Cheese Spread.  I mean, football snacks can't all be healthy, right???

This spread packs some serious punch, flavor-wise.  The cheese is rich and creamy, the tomatoes are sweet, the pine nuts are crunchy - this dish really does have it all.  Paired with baguette slices, it was a welcome addition to my Game Day repertoire.

Inspired by Farmhouse Kitchen Favorites by Paula S. Croteau
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 - 8 oz. container cream cheese
1/4 c. Roquefort or blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. red onion or scallion, finely chopped
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
sprig of rosemary, to garnish

1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients, except nuts, until combined.
2. Transfer into a ramekin or form a ball with dampened hands.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until solid.
4. Top ramekin or roll cheese ball in pine nuts until ready to serve.
5. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
6. Bring to room temperature, serve with a baguette.

NOTE: Croteau added 1 tablespoon of capers to the spread, but capers are one of the few foods I just can't stand so I omitted them. You can feel free to add them back in, of course.

Sports are great, right?  I can't speak for other countries, but don't you love how American sports and specific foods go hand-in-hand?  Hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, nachos, beer...it's all part of the glorious tradition.  And while I didn't serve any of those this year (well, except for the beer), the idea is still the same: I look forward to football every year not because I love the sport so much but because I love the food.

Eat, drink, and cheer on your favorite team.

NOTE: As I've mentioned before, my fantasy football team names often have to do with something food- and wine-related.  Two years ago, it was "Vino Vixens"...last year, it was "Pinot She Daaan't" (some people in my league didn't quite get that one - do you guys?)...and this year, it's "ChamPAIN on You!"  I know, I'm a dork.

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