I had planned on cooking my favorite appetizers. A few nights a week, before my grandmother died, my grandparents would put together a few appetizers and throw a little party of two. I thought with tensions growing on the boat due to some minor cabin fever. What better way to reduce the tension than for everyone I bought the peppers, the cream cheese, goat cheese and bacon. This dish has been a favorite of mine for many years adorning the tables of several celebrations. I’d recommend preparing this plate for imbibe heavy holidays: Cinco de Mayo, New Year’s Eve, Halloween and Superbowl Sunday.
The Superbowl has always been a more of a culinary celebration for me than a chance to watch football. In truth, I hate football. Ever since I was a cheerleader in high school, forced to cheer on the sidelines of overly muscled men tacked each other of a field of fake plastic grass, I have hated the sport. Even when watching the Packers play with my boyfriend, I only find satisfaction in taunting my dear one with praise for the opposing team.
Last year, we were watching the Packers play the Seahawks. Me being from Seattle, I can at least claim a reason for rooting against the Packers. After a dismal first half for the Seahawks, I found no more joy in taunting Craig with the impossible prospects of the Packers’ defeat. A trip to the grocery store to pick up some more beer and post game grillables seemed like a much better use of my time. Perusing the aisles of the local Costco, I came across the flower stand. Sitting in the plastic tubs of water were these chrysanthemums, their long green stems supporting an outburst of petals of white, pale green and yellow. A perfect peace offering. By the time I returned, Craig was so upset. I had no clue what had happened. Apparently, the Seahawks had pulled off a massive upswing in the second half demolishing the gods of the Midwest. I couldn’t help but say, “At least I got you flowers to lay on their grave.” The chrysanthemum does represent death and funerals after all.
In preparing for the Baja Bash, I have been testing out some simple recipes that are easy to serve quickly or prepare in advance. These recipes could work for any long passage or they are perfect for serving to a bunch of rowdy drunken football fans. Either way, I find dude food tends to bring joy to either your guests or you crew. That means carb and meat heavy little bites that are easy to stuff in their mouths without making a mess of their official jerseys. In the recipes below, I give you the perfect dude food.
The Best Jalapeno Popper in Existence
24 jalapenos, big fat ones
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Goat Cheese
12 thin slices of bacon
3 tbsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the stems off the jalapenos off and slice the peppers lengthwise. Remove all of the sides and entrails from the chiles. Mix the cream cheese and the goat cheese into a bowl. Stuff at least a tablespoon into one half of the chile, then connect it with its other half. Secure this connection by wrapping the cheese stuffed chiles in a half a strip of bacon. Dip the assembled popper in the sugar or not. This will cut the spiciness of the chile for those with more delicate sensibilities. Place these poppers either in on a cookie sheet or in the freezer wrapped in parchment paper. Bake the popper for 20 minutes, turning them over every five to prevent burning. Bon appétit!
Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 whole roast chicken, meat picked off the bones and chopped up into wee pieces
8 oz Cream Cheese
12 oz super creamy Bleu Cheese dressing (I recommend Marie’s in the produce aisle)
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce (or more if you prefer it a bit spicier)
Whip up all the ingredients together. It is easiest with a kitchen aid. Serve with a side of carrot sticks, celery, and toasted sliced sourdough. Bon appétit!
1 lb of ahi tuna, cut into perfect cubes a little smaller than an inch
2 tbsp achiote
1 habanero chile, seeds removed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup freshly squeeze lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1 Red onion, cut the same sized square as the cubes and soaked in lime juice
1 Avocado, cubed in the same size
Radishes, squares in the same size
Blend the marinade in a plastic Ziploc. Add the tuna to the Ziploc. Marinate the tuna two hours in the refrigerator. On a toothpick combine the tuna, onion, avocado and radish so that they look like a pillar of different colors. Place the marinade in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer the mixture for 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Chill the liquid. Array the skewers of tuna pibil on a platter with the reduced marinade in a tall thin glass. Bon appétit!
Caprese on a Stick
12 Small Balls of fresh Mozerella, cut in half
12 Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch of basil
For the Reduction:
1 cup balsamic reduction
1 cup red wine
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 inches of rosemary sprig
Skewer the caprese bites on a toothpick in the following order: tomato, basil leaf, mozerella. Place all the ingredients for the reduction in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by 75%. Drizzle the reduction over the caprese on a stick. Bon appétit!