I was very excited to hold my first dinner in honor of the Foodbuzz 24×24 yesterday. This is also the first time in quite a while that I’ve gotten to spend some serious time in the kitchen. As bummed as I was that my original plan to share this with Jim’s baseball team after their game didn’t work out, there was something relaxing about spending the day getting ready without having to rush.
Everything turned out quite deliciously, if I do say so myself, and I would look forward to making most of these items again soon. Can’t wait for my next Foodbuzz 24×24 opportunity where I may even consider sharing my efforts with someone other than my boys.
- Spiked Arnold Palmers – Iced tea + Real Lemonade + 1 shot vodka +1 shot triple sec = Heaven in the heat!
- Beer – I found a new beer from one of our favorite local breweries, and we’ll be buying this one again soon.
- Peanuts – Simple, classic, and best eaten outdoors.
- Veggie Platter with Ranch Dip – This might seem out of place, but I’m a fan of veggies thrown into heavy picnics and meals. It helps to break things up and keep guests from becoming bogged down from all of the rich foods. I also find myself using the veggies as dippers for heavier dips, such as the cheese dip below.
- Pretzel Bread with Jalapeno Mustard & Miller Park Beer Cheese Dip – I love this mustard, and am happy to have leftovers. I agree that a little extra honey doesn’t hurt, and blending everything together with an emersion blender helps to incorporate the jalapeño. I also like to add a tablespoon of grainy mustard for color. This cheese dip was okay, I still don’t feel great about buying “processed cheese product”. The first thing I have to say about it that it makes close to a ton, so, unless you have an entire team to feed, I would cut it in half, or in quarters, because I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of the leftovers on this one. I did like it slightly warmed rather than just out of the fridge.
- Garlic Chips – A spin off of Seattle’s Garlic Fries, these were as good as I hoped they’d be, and Jim liked them more than I thought he would.
- Hot Dog Bar: Chicago Style & Chili Cheese – I did a half and half so I could try both versions, and after Jim started sweating on a sport pepper, I decided I would be skipping that part. This was my first chili cheese dog, and, I have to say, I feel like I’ve been missing out. The chili recipe in the toppings list below, without the beans and with double the simmer time, was the perfect consistency to top the dogs.
Condiments & Sides:
- Chili – Jim enjoyed leftovers, topped with cheese, on top of scrambled eggs the morning after.
- Yellow Mustard
- Fresh Chopped Onions
- Sport Peppers
- Celery Salt
- Vanilla Vodka Root Beer Floats – Root beer floats with a shot of vanilla vodka.
- Homemade Cracker Jack – This may have been the highlight of the meal. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and I even skipped using my candy thermometer (I live on the edge!). The result was better than ANYTHING I’ve had out of a box, and the notes of its addictive nature are definitely correct.