We hosted a Star Trek party last weekend! We've done that before, many years ago, and we used some of the recipes from our earlier parties. This is one of them.
It's cream cheese seasoned with garlic and herbs, and then formed into a snake-like slug pattern with a center of thinly sliced spicy roasted red peppers. When you cut into the slug, you expose the peppers, which can be mixed into the cheese or not, depending on each diner's preference.
We served it with sliced watermelon radishes, plantain chips, flax seed crackers, and cassava chips.
We set a stainless tray in the center of a large white plastic sheet pan, formed the slug on the stainless tray, and then surrounded it with the dippers. We also provided several serving knives which are not pictured above.
In the past, I made this with cream cheese, but now I use our farm's Quark cheese which is creamier and looser than cream cheese, so I drained it overnight to make it stiff enough to hold its shape at room temperature. It's winter, so I used the herbs I had frozen last summer.
This is sort-of an un-recipe, because people's tolerance for herbs and garlic varies. If you like highly seasoned food, use the larger quantities. We made our slug with a highly seasoned head, an unseasoned tail, and a medium-seasoned middle. You can see the transition in the photo.
- 4 pounds Quark cheese
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped dill
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 - 1/2 cups chopped scallion tops
- 1-3 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
- 1/2 a small red onion for the 'spines'
- 2 small scallions for the 'eyes'
- 2 peppercorns for the 'eyeballs'
- 8-16 ounces roasted red peppers
- 1-2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 T. honey
- 1-2 t. cayenne pepper
- Himalayan pink salt
- Chips to serve it with.
Drain the cheese. I placed it in a muslin cloth and hung it over a strainer set over a bowl to catch the whey. After 24 hours, about 2 cups of whey had drained out.
|Quark draining - before and after|
Thinly slice the peppers and mix them with the cayenne, balsamic and honey. Taste and adjust seasoning - it should be sweet-sour-spicy. Add salt to taste and set aside. You can keep this in the fridge for a few days for the flavors to penetrate the peppers.
|Roasted red peppers, sliced thinly|
Mix the drained cheese with the garlic, sliced scallions, herbs, and salt to taste.
|Minced dill and parsley|
|Mixing the seasonings into the cheese.|
To form the slug, spread a small amount of the cheese on your serving platter in the shape you want the slug to take. We made the tail narrow and the head wide.
Deposit the sliced peppers in the middle of this shape to form the 'entrails'.
|Arranging the entrails on the slug template!|
Using gloved hands, form the cheese over the peppers into a slug shape.
Cut the root ends off the two scallions, and slice off a 1-2" piece of the white part. I think 1" would look better than the 2" pieces I used! Push a peppercorn into the smaller end, and push the larger ends into the 'head' of your slug.
Cut the red onion into triangular pieces and arrange them down the back of the slug.
|Red onion spines and green onion eyes!|
Stab your slug to expose the entrails, so people know they're there!
Spread your dippers around the slug and serve! We arranged the radish next to the slug so it wouldn't cause the chips to get soggy.
The next morning, when I took photos before starting to clean up, this is all that was left: