|Basil Wrapped Goat Cheese Balls|
First of all I must say that I have never had the opportunity to see The Hunger Games. But with all of the media hype of late it is hard to turn a blind eye. Somewhere along the line I read about an appetizer that appeared in the book that intrigued me. With all of the fresh produce appearing in the markets it seemed the time to recreate a version of the recipe that had captured my imagination.
One of the very first mentions of food in The Hunger Games trilogy comes in the form of a gift from Prim. On Reaping Day, Prim presents her beloved big sister with a gift. The gift is goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves. Historically, goats represent sacrifice and giving, and when Prim gives Katniss this goat cheese she foreshadows the many sacrifices the Everdeen family will be forced to make when Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games.
With a good quality creamy goat cheese you could keep it simple and wrap a tasty morsel of goat cheese in a basil leaf and let that be an outstanding appetizer to offer to those you love all on its own. But when have you ever known me to leave well enough alone? I came across a recipe from Food52 that I just had to try. It was simple, requires no cooking time, only a marriage of flavours in the refrigerator for a few hours.
I served these simple, tasty little bites with other cheeses from my recent trip to Pike Place Market in Seattle alongside fig jam, a spicy blend of olives, crackers and crostini. The cheese morsels wrapped in basil were spread onto some toasted crostini brushed with a little olive oil. They are simple and perfect little no bake bites to highlight local goat cheese.
Let's just say these did not stay on the coffee table long and I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that Little Burnt Toast had just driven 5 hours from the coast. This is new "go to" recipe when I need something tasty and exciting for guests. I would serve these over and over again! A peppery bite of basil and a hint of garlic is contrasted with the creamy goat cheese and crunch of a walnut coating.
**Basil Wrapped Goat Cheese Balls**
8 ounces goat cheese
40 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
30 large basil leaves
In a medium bowl, beat together the first three ingredients until smooth. Stir in the garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until firm.
Shape the mixture into 3/4-inch balls and roll in walnuts in a shallow dish. Wrap each ball with a basil leaf and secure with a toothpick. Cover and chill until serving.
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