Friday, December 21, 2012
Green Olive Cheese Nuggets
In the meantime, I'm thrilled to share with you all a recipe for green olive cheese nuggets. This past Thanksgiving was the first time I've ever physically participated in making them. Before that, I simply snarfed them down whenever my stepmom made a batch in years past, which is not very often since they're loaded with butter and cheese. Mmmm...
But they're perfect as appetizers for small or large groups of people during the holidays. And if you make them with stone ground whole wheat flour (as pictured above) the nuggets turn out a bit denser and more filling, which means you'll eat less. That's a good thing. Trust me when I say they disappear quickly.
Oh and while you're at it, you might as well double, triple or quadruple this recipe to make a large batch and keep a reserve of uncooked nuggets in the freezer. They keep really well and you can pop them in the oven directly from the freezer. You only need to cook them for an extra 10 minutes or so from the rock solid state. According to my stepmom (I snagged the recipe from her yesterday), she normally uses 4 cups of shredded cheddar, 2 sticks of softened butter and approximately (she eyeballs it and looks for a certain texture) 3 cups of flour, which makes a butt-load, but she freezes part of it.
It's the 21st, so if you make a large batch today, you can divvy out portions to bring along to holiday parties or serve to guests. Little hassle with lots of taste.
Green Olive Cheese Nuggets
A buttery, cheesy and salty appetizer or snack that's perfect for making in large batches ahead of time to freeze and pop in the oven for impromptu gatherings.
Yield: approximately 24 small nuggets (less if you're using larger olives)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and room temperature
1/4 cup of organic, grass-fed salted butter, softened
3/4 cup of unbleached flour (all purpose, white whole wheat or stone ground whole wheat all work perfectly)
Stuffed green olives (from a jar or olive bar), drained
large rimmed baking sheet
Set the cheese and butter out ahead of time until they reach room temperature, then combine in a large mixing bowl. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the flour a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing it into the cheese and butter until it's all been incorporated. When you work it in your hands, the dough should be slightly oily from the butter, so if it's too dry, add a bit more butter. Portion and roll all the dough into uniform-sized balls. The size will depend on whether you're using small or large olives. For small olives, they're generally the width of a quarter. Flatten each ball in the palm of your hand, place an olive in the middle and wrap the mixture around the olive. You may need to roll it around your hand to completely cover the olive. Place the nuggets on a large baking sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes.
Notes & Tips
This recipe is perfect as is, but feel free to adjust it to your taste. Jazz it up by adding in seasonings or swapping the normal pimento stuffed green olive for the fancier almond, garlic or blue cheese stuffed variety that's often found in olive bars at higher end grocery stores or markets.
Real Food Resources
Real Food Survival Guide For Busy Moms
"This e-book is perfect for busy folks who need help maximizing their time in the kitchen so they can fix nutritious, real food snacks and meals to eat at home and on the go. In addition to realistic advice, this book provides recipes for real food staples you can make in bulk ahead of time, which ensures you always have nutrient dense foods at hand. And it’s especially helpful if you’re interested in implementing homemade fermented foods into your diet."
From Scratch: Easy Recipes for Traditionally Prepared Whole-Food Dishes
"If you're looking for a cookbook that is as entertaining as it is delicious, then look no further. From Scratch is a breath of fresh air when it comes to learning how to traditionally prepare and cook nutritious food. Shaye does not disappoint in her recipes and this cookbook reads like a letter from a close friend. These meals are easily prepared and yes, easily devoured."
Question for discussion: What's your favorite addicting appetizer to serve or eat around the holidays?
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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter