Friday, February 16, 2007

Blog Party #19: Take Comfort

Ahhh... Comfort Food. It's always fun to cook comfort food. It's not about nutrition (necessarily) or presentation or culinary genius, it's about making a big pile of stuff that tastes great and make you feel good. A big thank you to Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness for organizing this cool event.

The outline for this event can be found here, but the basic idea is to take your favourite comfort foods, and turn them into appetizers. This includes at least one appetizer and one cocktail.

For the purposes of this event, my favourite comfort foods are: Rice-A-Roni, mashed potatoes and hot dogs. In addition, I thought that I would whip up a cocktail that I invented (I'm pretty sure) called a Flux Capacitor. Mmmm... tasty...

Of course, the challenge was to figure out how to convert what I would normally eat out of a really big bowl into bite-sized appetizer-type finger foods. I have to admit that I agonized over this for a while before settling on a couple of ideas.
First of all, for the Rice-A-Roni, I normally add a couple of eggs to the pan when I add the water and the oh-so-tasty flavour packet, and it ends up looking like a rice frittata. So, I thought that I would just cut up the frittata and serve it on small pieces of toast with a piece of smoky bacon, and a little bit of grainy mustard. And thus, the Bacon 'n Egg Rice-A-Roni Canapé was born.

Secondly, I love hot dogs. I especially love to pack everything I can possibly think of on the top. So, I got out my package of handy-dandy bamboo skewers, and proceeded to de-construct the hotdog by skewering a combination of: green bell pepper, wiener pieces, cubes of mozzerella, sliced mushrooms, black olives and red bell peppers. Served with a dip made from grainy mustard, a little mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana Hot Sauce, some lemon juice and some freshly ground pepper. VoilĂ , a Weenie-Kabob!

For the third apetizer, I ran into some problems with the execution of my idea. My original thought was to make up some nice, creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes, roll them into balls, coat with breadcrumbs, and deep-fry them for a couple of minutes. This would theoretically produce crispy golden balls of tasty potato. Hmmmm.... It should have worked... but it didn't. I made up the potato balls and rolled them in breadcrumbs, but when I submerged them into the hot oil, all they did was disintegrate into a sloppy mess. Crap. So, I decided that since the potato was already fully cooked, that I would simply roll the balls in the breadcrumbs and call them done. And call them Potato Poppers. Not bad at all, especially with the (yes, you guessed it) mustard dip.
Now for the beverage portion of evening. As I mentioned before, I made a Flux Capacitor. "But Ian," I hear you say, "what is a Flux Capacitor?"

I'm glad you asked.

The name comes from one of my all-time favourite movies - Back To The Future. The drink is made with one part Ouzo to two parts Sprite. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and some lime peel, and you've got one tasty cocktail. Plus, as an added bonus, when you drop the toothpick with the cherry and lime peel into the drink, it starts to fizz up quite a bit, and the cherry bounces up and down in the glass. Very cool effect. I have two reasons why I call this drink a Flux Capacitor. First, if you drink several of them, it will really Flux you up. Plus, again directly quoting the movie, "the Flux Capacitor... which is what makes time travel possible..." By this I mean, Time Flies When You're Semi-Concious. And it even tastes good. The Ouzo tastes like licorice, and has a pretty intense flavour. But, when mixed with the Sprite, which tastes like lemon-lime, the licorice flavour still comes through, but the intensity is muted somewhat. Now, this can be viewed as either a good or a bad thing. Both for the same reason - because the cocktail goes down real easy.

I will add a link to the event round-up when it's posted on Saturday.....


....and here it is!

After some technical difficulties, the round-up for this event can be found here. Check it out!


Brilynn said...

I love the idea of the deconstructed hotdogs!

Vicki said...

Hi Ian - like your blog, I've added it to my read list. One tip for your fried potato balls - this works really well if you have only mashed potatoes, no butter or milk or sour cream etc. The added fat/liquid is what makes 'em fall apart.

Ian said...

Thanks, they were yummy.

Thanks for the tip - I'll be sure to remember that for next time. It was very disappointing pulling out the basket to find melted lumps of potato detritus.

Cheers, all.