Monday, August 10, 2009

4 Ways to Get the Party Started

#1: Magic Potion: In other words, fruit punch with dry ice. I threw a party at my house last night and the fruit punch had all eyes on it. The dry ice isn't just for show; it did well to keep the drink icy cold. I got it from Smart & Final for $1.09 per pound. You can do a lot with dry ice (like make sorbet) so it was definitely worth it. Since it goes directly from its solid state to gas, releasing carbon dioxide (sublimation) there is no mess to clean up. Just fun.

#2: Spinach and Artichoke: Runner-up is the spinach and artichoke dip. I made about three quarts of dip and it was all gone along with two pounds of chips by the end of the party! People loved it.

Here is approximately what you will need:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • chicken broth as needed
  • 1 1/2 c spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts soaked in water
  • 5 oz Parmesan cheese (about one handful)
  • 4 slices of swiss cheese or some white cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • hot sauce, optional
Directions
  1. In a medium-sized pot melt butter and sweat onion until translucent or clear.
  2. Add flour for roux. Stir for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add cream, stir for about 1 minute. If consistency is too thick, add chicken broth as needed. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to adjust the taste. Then the spinach and artichoke. Give it a good stir then add the lemon juice and optional hot sauce. Stir.
  5. Add about 5 oz of Parmesan and swiss/cheddar to taste. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve.
The spinach and artichoke dip is very easy to make and tastes the best when served warm. When it does get cold, just plastic wrap it and warm it up in the microwave.

#3 Salsa works well as a dip for chips as well as a filling for quesadilla! Will expand this section later, but for now... here are the ingredients:

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red or white onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 finely chopped jalepeno


For the quesadilla:

  • Mexican blend cheese OR Monterey Jack & Cheddar
  • Salsa
  • Sauteed mushrooms, sliced
  • Grilled chicken
  • Sour cream to dip
Fold and grill until crispy.
That's my version; you can put in anything you like!

#4 The Finale, setting dessert on fire.
perform at your own discretion
video

Need: rum (40% alcohol), pan to enclose the flames, dessert to set on fire.
Science is great.

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