I arrived home from vacation last weekend to a broken washing machine, three weeks of vacation laundry, no groceries in the house, and houseguests due to arrive on Wednesday. I went into total panic mode and I’m just now catching my breath. Thinking about guests and trying to do things on the fly prompts me to share the wonderful new appetizer that we “invented” when I was faced with the need for NON-dairy hors d’oeuvres.
A quick look in my pantry and fridge told me that I had an odd combination of items to work with. Here’s what I landed on: Toasted Almond crusted cheese ball with goat cheese and dried cherries.
I started by coarsely chopping 3/4 c. dried cherries. I much prefer dried Montmorency cherries to dried Bing cherries because they are so much more flavorful. In a bowl, I mushed together the chopped cherries and about 3 ounces of goat cheese. The goat cheese is pretty soft and I used my hands to mix these two things together. I added a dash of black pepper (but only a dash), formed it all into a ball, and set that aside.
Then I coarsely chopped 1/2 c. almonds and toasted them lightly in a dry skillet. I let those cool.
Then I rolled the cherry/cheese ball all around in the almonds until the entire cheese ball was crusted with almonds. The really sad thing is that I didn’t get a picture of this when it was done. It looked just beautiful.
I set the cheese ball in the center of a pretty plate and arranged the crackers around it.
I wish I could show you a picture of how nice it all looked. Shoot, I wish I could let you taste how delicious it was. But that cheese ball was gone in a flash. The cherries and the goat cheese provided two sharply contrasting and delicious flavors that worked together just spectacularly.
The very best part of this was that it all took me about 4 minutes to do. Okay, toasting the almonds took just a little longer than 4 minutes, but it really was quick and easy…AND delicious!