Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kitchen Nightmares

We all have nightmares about the things we love and hate the most.  Those subjects that stress and inspire us, making up the majority of our consciousness:  school, work, families, skiing, knitting, cooking.  There's the dream I always have where I forget I signed up for a class, and I don't remember it until after the drop date, and get a permanent FAIL on my record.  Any dream involving skiing is a nightmare; heights make me puke.  And for anyone who loves cooking and entertaining, it's throwing a party that no one shows up to.

This spooky scenario happened to me this Halloween.  Okay, I'm exaggerating.  One wonderful, sweet person showed up.  But that was it.  Matt and I spent two worknights cleaning the house, and I took the night before to prep all the food I could.  Not to mention the money I spent on ingredients and such.  The day of, as I was mixing up a pitcher of cocktails, I watched 7:00 roll around and felt an ominous sense of dread.  If no one is here, no one's called... it can't be a good sign.  The doorbell only rang once, and then died. 

I didn't really want to write about it.  I was pissed, and embarrassed.  But I made some great food, and it looked freaking adorable.  So, I'm going to live up to my party disaster.  I had a great conversation with my guest, and a helluvea lotta leftovers that my co-workers devoured at our Workoween celebration.  Sometimes life and circumstances conspire to spoil your best-laid plans.  And it's not about you - probably.  It can't stop you from always preparing for the best. 

These were based on a tradition growing up every Halloween.  Mom would make Pizza Burgers, which were homemade hamburger patties topped with pizza sauce and slices of bright cheddar cheese with jack-o-lantern faces etched into them.  I made them party-ready by turning them into sliders, using turkey, and swapping the jack-o-lantern slices for mini Halloween cookie cutters.  They were served on slider buns, which are kind of hard to find.  Recipes always tell you "you can use dinner rolls!" but dinner rolls do not a hamburger bun make.  Sara Lee has perfect little slider buns that are sold at Safeway (but not Fred Meyer).  Matt ate 6, and I wasn't far behind.  Like any once-a-year tradition, they brought me right back to getting dressed for trick-or-treating. 

And what would a party be without cupcakes?  Or... MACABECAKES???!  It would probably be just fine, and with less cliches.  But not a party thrown by Tabitha Blankenbiller. These were red velvet, so when you pulled out the decorative skeleton hands they had bloody stumps.  Nice. 

But the best, most irresistible dish was the party staple I've spent several years perfecting.  Cheesy Artichoke Dip.  Molten and savory, it's my favorite thing to camp by.  Put it next to the pomegranate cocktail pitcher, and you won't have to move all night. 

Try it out at your next party.  Just get those RSVP's in before you mix it together.  Or put on your full Lady Gaga regalia. 

Cheesy Artichoke Dip
2 packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Romano cheese
1 cup Extra-Sharp White Cheddar
1 1/2 cups marinated artichokes, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 squirt of sriracha, of course

Mix everything together, and bake at 350 for 40ish minutes until the gooeyness is at a rolling bubble and you burn your mouth trying it because it's that irresistible.  Serve with tortilla chips, crostini, or spoons.

1 comment:

  1. It looks amazing. I remember how much you liked the pizza burgers, its nice that you remember those little details from when you were younger.
    At least your co-workers could enjoy your amazing culinary expertise!