31 January 2007

Something Different

Reader DagoodS has issued me my first challenge. His wife has asked for "something different" for appetizers to be served at their Super Bowl party. That presents me with a problem, because I don't really gravitate toward different things. Almost everything I cook is normal (if not same-old, same-old) to someone out there. I gravitate toward the classics done right, but without too much fuss. There's room to do this even with football party food. Like, for instance, hot wing sauce should be made with Franks Red Hot and margarine, not butter, because that's how you make hot wing sauce. Making it with butter changes it. That said, if you only have butter in the fridge, use that. It's not worth going out to the store just for that one difference. So I'll try to remain true to that ideal.

DagoodS specifically asked for something other than weenies in crescent rolls. So I offer you Sausage Puff Pastry Rolls... OK, all kidding aside, when I need to please some folks at a party, and throwing some cheese and salami on a board is not an option, I go straight to my mom. And this is probably my mom's best party pleaser.

1 package Pepperidge Farms puff pastry, thawed
1 lb Jimmy Dean sage sausage (Gimme Lean for veggies... Hey! I just got that!)

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • I can't remember if the puff pastry comes in one sheet or two. In any case, I know that it comes folded into thirds. Unfold the puff pastry and cut it along the seams so you have three long, thin rectangles.
  • Form the sausage into a long snake, about as thick in diameter as a magic or dry erase marker. Lay this along the length of the pastry.
  • Roll the far edge of the pastry over the sausage toward you and press the two edges together. Then, roll the whole snake back and forth a few times to round it, leaving it seam-side down.
  • Slice into 3/4" rounds. You can freeze these for months to have ready at any time. If you choose to freeze at this point, you might want to turn off your oven.
  • Bake rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet. They will give off some fat, so a rimmed sheet and some baking parchment might be advisable.
  • I don't know how long to bake them for. Will get the timing from my mom's book tonight and edit this post.
OK, my Super Bowliest recipe would probably be Seven Layer Dip. I know, also, that it's not different, but it's demanded by my best friend every year for his Independence Day barbecue, so I figure it demands a place here. Again, small differences, corners not cut, make it "different". First, using interesting variations like green chile refrieds, or roasted garlic sour cream. Second, thinning the beans with the salsa. Third, grate your own cheese. Fourth, seven is too many layers. Six is just fine (see below for seventh layer).
  • 1 can refried beans (I really like Annie's with Green Chile)
  • 1 small tub sour cream. (I found a roasted garlic sour cream that's perfect in this recipe.)
  • 1 jar salsa (got a fire-roasted one this year that made all the difference. Fresh Direct carries it, for all the NYers out there.)
  • 1/2 lb block of cheese. (pre-grated has the shreds coated with nasty stuff to keep them from sticking together)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 can sliced black olives, or whole black olives that you slice. They must be black and canned and not fancy.
  1. Combine a half cup of the salsa with the beans and mix until well-combined, layer on the bottom of the dish.
  2. Stir sour cream in a bowl and spread on top of the beans.
  3. Layer on salsa.
  4. Grate cheese on large holes of a box grater. (Small holes will make it stick together and fall off the chip.) Sprinkle over.
  5. Finely slice all of the white part and about half the green part of the green onions. Sprinkle over.
  6. Top with black olives.
On the Fourth, I usually say the seventh layer is patriotism. I think we all know what the seventh layer is in this case... FOOTBALL! Seriously, though, I've put some thought into this and can't reasonably come up with a seventh layer that's reasonable. Guacamole or avocados go brown over the course of the party, driving people away from the second half of the dip, even though it's still tasty. Diced tomatoes are out because they're made redundant by the salsa, as are any forms of hot sauce, jalapenos or more green chile. Meat's out because chips and dip are a vegetarian's last resort at a party. Plus, if you have a better idea for the seventh layer, let me know, Commie.

You also might want to check out Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts. I saw this recipe in Saveur ages ago. They're awesome. I think there's a misprint in this recipe, though. It's supposed to be for 2 lbs of nuts.

Shrimp is also key party food.

I will look up tonight and post tomorrow my mom's recipe for Shrimp with Delice Sauce, a light curry sauce that makes a great and easy appetizer.

I will also get my friend's recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, if she'll part with it. It's fairly involved, including apple butter and other ingredients, but they're by far the best.

More tomorrow!

1 comment:

Lady D said...

another great dip for cold shrimp is a base of sour cream/yogurt/mayo, mixed with some minced garlic, lots of fresh grated ginger, a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper. you could add a pinch of 5-spice powder if you really want, though not necessary. it's really good as a dip for veggies too. also, great to see you at d&t's wedding. dan turned me on to your blog and it rocks. -dana