Food is at the heart of any kind of get together, reunion, party or roundup. If the food isn’t good you might as well pack it up and go home. When food is mentioned, especially free food, people show up in droves. The party can get especially interesting when people are asked to just bring “whatever they want” and then see what happens. There might be a plethora of salads or desserts and no main courses. If that’s the case just go with the flow and let everyone eat. There’s no need to be distressed over anything. I like it when it is a “let us see what happens” meal. I have discovered that, surprisingly, everything works out. Remember: We’re not expecting perfection.
Artichoke Dip With Roasted Red Peppers: 1 cup mayonnaise; 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese; 1 can or jar (12 to 14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained, not marinated; 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder; 1/8 teaspoon onion powder, optional; 1/4 cup minced roasted red pepper. Directions: Combine all ingredients; spread in a pie plate or shallow 1-quart baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Serve cold or heat in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°. Don’t reheat in the microwave or dip might separate. (courtesy of southernfood.about.com)
Mini Bumsteads: 1 cup cubed cheese; 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped; 3 T. chopped green pepper; 3 T. minced green onions; 3 T. minced green olives; 3 T. minced dill pickles; 1/2 cup Miracle Whip; 1 can tuna; small dinner rolls. Directions: Combine cheese, eggs, green pepper, onion, olives, dill pickles, Miracle Whip and tuna. Fill the dinner rolls with tuna mixture and serve as appetizers.
Baba Ganoush: 1 eggplant; 1/4 cup lemon juice; 1/4 cup tahini; 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds; 2 cloves, garlic; minced; salt and pepper to taste; 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil. Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place eggplant on baking sheet and make holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasioally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and place in a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water and peel. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds and garlic in a blender and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer this mixture to a medium mixing bowl and slowly mix in oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. (courtesy allrecipes.com)
Holiday Cheese Ball: 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened. 8 1/2 oz. can pineapple, drained; 2 cups chopped pecans; 1/4 cup chopped green pepper; 2 tbsp. chopped onion; 1 tbsp. seasoned salt. Directions: Mix all ingredients well. Shape into ball of serve fresh in decorative bowl, platter with crackers, fritos, or fresh veggies.
Liver Pate: 1 1/2 lbs. braunsweiger; 8 oz. cream cheese; 1 stick butter; 1 tsp. curry; 1 tsp. bouquet garni; 1 cup cranberry juice. Directions: Let braunsweiger, cheese and butter come to room temperature. Mix until smooth. Add spices and juice. Pour into mold. Refrigerate.
Pineapple Salsa: 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple; 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper; 1/2 cup diced green pepper; 1 cup frozen corn kernals, thawed; 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed; 1/4 cup chopped onions; 2 green chili peppers, chopped; 1/4 cup orange juice; 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro; 1/2 tsp. cumin; salt and pepper to taste. Favorite crackers. Directions: Mix all ingredients until well mixed. Chill until ready to be served. (allrecipes.com)
Jerk Chicken Wings: 1 medium onion; 3 medium scallions; 2 chiles; 2 cloves garlic; 1 Tbsp. five spice powder; 1 Tbsp. allspice; 1 Tbsp. ground pepper; 1 tsp. chopped thyme; 1 tsp. grated nutmeg; 1 tsp. salt; 1/2 cup soy sauce; 1 Tbsp. oil; 7 – 8 lbs. chicken wings. Directions: Combine all ingredients, except wings, in blender and pulse until pureed. Marinate wings for 4 hours or over night. Bring to room temperature before grilling. Grill wings over medium fire. Do NOT cook inside the house. If you want a smokier flavor, cover the grill. Grill until wings are crisp, turning several times to keep from burning.
Tangy Chicken Drumettes: 1 bag drumettes; 1 Tbsp. soy sauce; 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder; 1/4 cup lemon juice; 1/4 cup honey; 1/4 cup brown sugar; eggs; flour. Directions: Dip drumettes in beaten egg then flour, bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven. Mix rest of ingredients and pour over drumettes. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.