This is the time of year that we are always looking for inspiration to tempt our palates. The holidays are over and summer’s bounty of fresh veggies is a long way off. So on these long winter days and nights, we peruse our library of cookbooks for ideas that will stave off the ennui of dinner doldrums. Lately we’ve been experimenting with the slow cooker and found two great recipes. The first was for BBQ Beef Brisket, which turned out to be our new favorite way of cooking that particularly flavorful, but tough cut of meat. Last night we tried Crockpot Barbeque Chicken (notice a trend here?) and we were rewarded with a moist, smokey, and very satisfying meal. This morning, however, with the Superbowl fast approaching and Valentine’s Day not far off, I dug out two of my favorite, and decidedly indulgent, recipes.
The first is for Curried Chicken Balls, shared by a fellow innkeeper up north where Rich and I owned our first bed and breakfast inn. Originally published in “Southern Sideboards” by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi, the recipe may have been tweaked a bit over the years, but the results are always a crowd pleaser.
The second is an all-time favorite that we serve as dessert for friends and family at holiday gatherings. Affectionately called Fantasy Fondue, this delicious chocolate fondue is the perfect accompaniment to fresh fruit and buttery pound cake. For Valentine’s Day, we use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the pound cake into small, bite-size pieces and serve the fondue with fresh strawberries and bananas. For an even more festive event, serve with champagne.
Curried Chicken Balls
Yield: 3 dozen balls
- ¼ lb. cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 1 cup chopped chicken
- 1 Tbs. curry powder
- 1 Tbs. chopped chutney
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
- ½ cup grated coconut
Mash cream cheese. Add mayonnaise, chicken, curry, chutney, slat, and almonds. Mix well and roll into walnut size balls. Roll in coconut. Chill. May be prepared a day in advance; freezes well.
- 2/3 cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- ½ teaspoon rum extract
Stir half-and-half and sugar in a medium-size saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in extract. Makes 2 cups. Will keep up to 1 month in a tightly covered glass jar. To reheat, remove lid and place jar in a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until warm.
Prepare chocolate fondue and pour into fondue pot, keeping the pot warm with sterno. Cut up fruit and pound cake into bite-size pieces. Arrange on a glass plate next to the fondue pot. Provide guests with dessert plates and fondue forks, allowing them to select fruit and cake to dip into the fondue using the forks provided.
Let us know if you try either of these recipes, and feel free to share your favorite “go to” recipes with us.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone and Go Pats!