Software Development Tips and Tricks


Classic Christmas Cheeseball

A holiday classic in these here parts, I give you a Christmas Cheeseball. Yes, you can make this any time of the year, but if you’re counting calories, you may want to make it only during the Christmas season. As I’ve said before, this blog is not going to teach you how to cook, so if you can’t figure out how to turn these ingredients into a cheeseball, well, you need help.

You’re going to need:

  • 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound Velveeta, “shredded”
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

The above makes up your cheeseball, and you’re going to roll it in:

  • Chili powder
  • Chopped roasted pecans

In a bowl combine your shredded cheddar cheese and Velveeta. If you’re ever tried to shred Velveeta, well, you know as well as I do that it’s more of a smear, so just treat it like cream cheese. The idea is to combine Velveeta and cheddar cheese together. I prefer extra sharp cheddar, but if you are a wimp (or your guests are) use sharp or mild.

Editor’s note: If you are from foreign lands that have not yet been blessed with Velveeta, look for any locally available processed cheese. For my Uruguayan friends, seek out Claldy GambĂș.

Now, add your minced garlic, and don’t be afraid to use minced garlic from a jar or from a tube – the idea is to give this a garlicky kick and the cheeseball doesn’t care if it came from a tube, trust me. Add your Tabasco or whatever insanity sauce you want, along with a “Cajun seasoning”. All of the following are respectable:

Round things out with some black pepper and mold into a ball.

Then, grab your favorite chili powder and dust the ball with it making sure its nicely covered. Chop some roasted pecans and roll your cheeseball in them, taking liberty to “press” the pecans in a bit.

You should end up with something that looks a bit like this:

This is best served a day later (stored in the refrigerator of course), but can be eaten right away.

To serve, lay out a plate of crackers (not saltines, idiot). My favorites are:

  • the venerable Nabisco Sociables
  • the ever popular Club Cracker
  • a plain Triscuit (don’t bother with the flavored Triscuits, they are crap and will just interfere with the cheeseball flavors)
  • Chickin in a Biskit

or just a plain Ritz.



The Best Fudgy Brownies Ever

This is an experimental blog post, because in the sea of posts about Ansible and Swift is a brownie recipe. To be fair, this is not just any brownie recipe, but the best one ever for fudgy brownies.

Why am I writing this post here on iAchieved.it? Because the world needs to know how to make these brownies, and I’m sick of recipe blogs that are ninety percent rambling (we’re not going to go into the history of the brownie here) and instructions on how to fold. If you don’t know to fold versus whisk, this blog isn’t for you. I’m not even going to bother with fancypants WordPress plugins for recipes. Well, not for now at least.

This recipe makes a 13×9 pan of awesome fudgy brownies. I am not joking.

  • 1/3 cup Dutched cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl (the kind you might, you know, make brownies in) toss in the dutched cocoa powder and chopped unsweetened chocolate. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth. If you’re lucky I might add a picture here.

At this point whisk in the melted butter and vegetable oil, but be prepared for it to look a little weird. The chocolate and the oils will not want to get happy together, but don’t worry, that’s when you whisk in the eggs and extra yolks and everyone comes together like a nice chocolate pudding. By all means, shove your finger in there for a taste, but there’s no sugar yet so it’ll be nasty.

Whisk in the vanilla (I grew up in Texas so it goes without saying my preference is Mexican vanilla), and in 1/2 cup batches whisk in the sugar until thoroughly combined and glossy. Note: If you’ve ever done any baking you know that there’s always cautions regarding over mixing. We will now invoke this caution because you’re going to start adding the flour. Do not overmix after this! We’re making brownies, not bread.

Fold in the flour and salt. I usually do this a half cup at a time and don’t fret if there are some streaks of flour in the batter. It’ll sit a bit and hydrate while you go for that second glass of wine, so relax.

Once you’ve folded in all of the flour and it looks like brownie batter, fold in those bittersweet chocolate chips. Fold, not mix. Remember, boxed brownies have a lot of chemicals that act like guard rails. No rails here, so don’t get crazy.

Pour all of the batter into a greased (PAM, people) 13×9 and bake for about 32 to 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I usually rotate it after 15 minutes, but that’s only because Memaw did.

Let cool for a bit if you have self-control, but if you’re like me, by all means, tear into there and enjoy molten fudgy brownie goodness. Here’s what is you can expect to indulge in!