Posts tagged party foods
Ricotta toasts with roasted olives and chili oil

There's a winning combination of spicy sweetness that i've experienced a few times recently with pizza. Each time some iteration of cheese, meat, honey, and heat made the experience difficult to quite nail down and yet good enough to want to never stop eating. I thought I'd try something similar with a slightly different cast of characters, substituting in roasted olives as a briny, bitter agent that pairs so well with ricotta cheese, spicy chili oil, honey, and lemon. These little toasts have such a cool balance of flavors going on—I can't get enough...

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Smoky aioli grilled potato salad

This is a recipe inspired by one by Bobby Flay, one of my favorite chefs. I've now made it countless times, and I've served it warm as for brunch, I've made it ahead of time for picnic style get-togethers, and I've also enjoyed leftovers for lunch over and over again. And while I love potato salad of almost any variety, this one is so dynamic that it's hard to beat...

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The best Bloody Mary bar

In my tiny corner of the world, there’s not much better than a great Bloody Mary. And don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of one, but even more so, I love the Bloody Mary environment and culture, if you will (does that statement make me sound uncultured?).

The hours-long brunch with nothing else to do and nowhere else to be. The long pause and “hmmmmm” and “sure, why not” to the waitress when she sees that your glass is getting low. There’s just nothing else like it—a boozy brunch with friends or lovers or, hell, strangers even. 

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Meatball sub crostini

Remember the no-calorie game that I talked about here? There are days when meatball subs would make it on my list. Because there’s no substitute, and when they’re good, they’re unapologetically good. Just the other night, eating at a local favorite called Rocco (restaurant review to come, someday), we had meatballs as an appetizer (meatballs are a suitable appetizer when you are an actual bottomless pit like we are), and they’re my favorite meatballs ever. Perfect sauce, perfect meat wads, and they’re served on top of a thick piece of charred bread that’s covered in sauce. It’s actually heaven. And in the heat of the moment, I went so far as to say they might be my death row meal. Are you familiar?—my last meal on earth, should I ever be on death row and get to choose the very last meal I’d ever eat. This spurred an ongoing craving for meatballs/meatball subs/spaghetti and meatballs that hasn’t left me yet. This, combined with my love of appetizers and bite-sized morsels and finger foods, and the upcoming Super Bowl where these types of foods are expected, and these meatball sub-inspired crostini came to be.

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Spicy Mexican chicken soup

In what feels like a constant “attempt” to eat healthier (using attempt lightly here because my efforts are limited, at best, most days), the one kind of lighter meal that never makes me feel like I’m skimping is soup. I love soup, and I love nearly every variety. But a spicy Mexican chicken soup with a la carte toppings? I’m in, every time.

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Crudités with green goddess dip

Done right, this is an appetizer that holds its own among the greats. The green goddess dip is key here with its seriously zesty zip from garlic, green onion, lemon juice, and lots and lots of fresh basil. It is a perfect appetizer to throw together at a moment’s notice during this party-filled time of year. Because it is relatively simple in nature, I really like to focus on a pretty presentation, which is no more work but results in a slightly classier finished product.

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Raspberry linzer torte

I couldn’t possibly talk about raspberry linzer torte without using the circumstances to exploit my mom in regards to what was one of the funniest experiences of our lives to date.

Linzer torte has been a specialty of my mom’s for a long, long time. It’s always been her go-to dish for any sort of festivity. I’ve seen her make it countless times, have eaten the leftover raw batter until I felt sick, and have heard people rave about it. 

But all that aside, the best thing that linzer torte has given me is this one story.

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Holiday punch

Punch is such a communal way to drink a cocktail. I love it! It's the ultimate party drink, and it has been since childhood days.

Looking back at chorus concerts and band concerts in 4th grade, the best part (probably for all involved) was the mini reception afterward that undoubtedly served either lemonade or punch the old school way—with sherbet in it. This remained true for birthday parties throughout childhood, as well as in college for my sorority's events: punch was always a no brainer.

And now in adulthood, the idea of punch has had a bit of a rebirth, especially due to the recent cocktail Renaissance that I've been closely exposed to through Jon. His bar/restaurant, Ox & Stone, serves "Punch with friends" which is quite literally a big punch bowl with customized spirits for the group of friends who orders it. It's my favorite way to imbibe at Ox!

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Smoked salmon spread with lemon and dill

As hard as I try to change it, I’m just not a huge fan of salmon. It’d be the last thing I’d order off a menu, and I’ve had too many bad versions of it to leave me very hopeful about having my mind changed. However, I can name a lot of people whose favorite fish is salmon! It’s just a divisive taste, I suppose. I absolutely love, though, all of the flavors that are so often served alongside of it—dill, lemon, creamy yogurt and sour cream, red onion, etc. And I’ve discovered a particular kind of smoked salmon that I really, really enjoy.

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Pulled pork sandwiches, and why I love tailgating

I’m such a sucker for sports culture—the comradery, the excitement, the sportsmanship, the win-big together / lose-big together attitude, the drinking, the tailgating, everything. I’ve never been a diehard sports fan, although I loved playing sports myself, but I love the community surrounding sports. There’s a book by political scientist Robert Putnam from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government called Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. It is about the decline in all forms of social and communal engagement among Americans—and he famously uses the example of how the number of people who bowl has increased in the US, but membership in bowling leagues has steadily declined over the last couple of decades. Putnam is concerned about the education, enrichment, and general sense of civic duty being lost if people choose to do these kinds of activities alone, rather than with other people. (I promise this will eventually be about pulled pork)

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Making a charcuterie board

There are a few man-made sights in this world that are hard to beat. One of those is a crafted charcuterie board. It doesn’t matter whether it’s neat and simple, rustic and hodgepodge, or messy and thrown together, it’s a beautiful sight. It’s probably because a charcuterie board signifies my favorite way to eat food—slowly, in a group, sharing bites (and usually with wine).  I know I’m not the first to profess what is important in a charcuterie plate, but these are a few simple things I like to consider when I’m making one.

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