We are, in fact, having a ball at Eatocracy today. A dear friend of the blog just confirmed that he's now free of testicular cancer, having caught it via a self-exam early enough to have surgery that kept it from advancing past Stage 1.
So why are we mentioning this on a food site? Because we're talking about it wherever we can in the hopes that the men we love will get over whatever hang-ups they have and perform a simple self-check once a month.
In honor of his diagnosis, we're planning to throw a bit of a ball - a hootenanny where we're considering meatball sliders, smoky whiskey balls (recipe below), cheese balls and other, uh, spherical food - so we have an excuse to celebrate our friends who've beat and/or are fighting cancer and to share information on testing and prevention with the dudes we adore.
How can you help?
First of all, share links to your favorite thematic recipes in the comments below. We're partial to Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez's meatball slider recipe from the dearly departed Gourmet, and her former colleague Ian Knauer's take on a deer's doo-dads as well as Amy Sedaris' gouda-based cheese ball. And you?
Secondly, learn a heck of a lot more about the treatment, care, and, most importantly, prevention and detection of testicular cancer at CNN Health and for goodness sake, spread the word.
And go nuts - you might even consider hosting a party of your own.
Here's our recipe for Smoky Whiskey Balls
1 cup pecans
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa, divided in half
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, divided in half
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon plus more for soaking
1-2 tablespoons smoky Scotch
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. While the oven is heating, place the pecans in a bowl and pour enough bourbon on to cover them.
They should soak up a fair amount of liquid. Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet, and place in the oven until they start to smell toasty. Carefully remove them, and splash with a bit more bourbon. Once they're cool, crush them into small pieces.
While they're in the oven, crumb vanilla wafers in a food processor or by placing them in a sealed plastic bag and breaking down with a rolling pin. Approximately 8 ounces of cookies should make 2 cups.
Pour into a medium bowl and add the cooled pecans and combine them with the crumbs until they are thoroughly combined.
Stir in 1/4 cup of the cocoa and 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar until thoroughly incorporated, then the corn syrup and the 1/4 cup bourbon. Taste, and then add Scotch until there's a hint of smoky flavor throughout.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cups of cocoa and confectioners' sugar and place in a shallow dish. Roll the wet mixture into 3/4 inch balls and dredge in the sugar mixture to coat.
Store the balls in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
What an excellent cause for celebration - and, as Eric says, what an important post.
I like Bridget Albert's variations on the theme of rum ball:
Thanks to Kat and Eatocracy for this important post.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! If I may contribute to the ball celebration, and lord knows I love 'em, here's my take on balls... http://agablack.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/agis-got-balls/
Congrats to the friend with healthy ..., um... Smoky Whiskey Balls!
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