"Just Jack 2006"! or Cheesefest 2006!
|Last night has got to be my most favorite lil soirée I've ever thrown. A friend in need just had to get away from it all before she went insane - she's the semi-new mother to twin 19 month old girls, she works full time for a lawyer who makes Scrooge look like a saint, her hubby is a decent man but he's the type who believes the child rearing, house cleaning, cooking and just about everything else should be taken care of by his wife AND she just got a new puppy.. so yeah she definitely needed a night away. I was happy to be able to provide such a night for her! Originally we just thought she'd come over and we'd play some games and have some nibblers.. but I thought our much needed night together should be a little more special than that. So I called a couple of our dearest friends, Greg, and his partner Bob (who truly is my soul sister) to see if they'd join us. They were happy for the invite and were just as excited as I was to get the old gang back together. We also invited her brother Tim - who came up from Columbus to join in on the festivities.|
We dubbed the evening, "Just Jack 2006!", I jumped on Amazon.com and ordered a couple new games to play and got to thinking about what lil nibblers I would make. I knew I'd have to make those lil cheesy sausage snackers or they'd all end up shootin' me.. and I've fallen in love with homemade jalapeno poppers (yes you heard that right - jalapeno!) but what else? After searching through my books and my usual go-to site on the web, I decided on a Roasted Garlic and Olive Pate that I found on Recipezaar and an amazing Buffalo Wing dip (recipe from Bob) that tastes better than the real thing!
Every lil nibbler turned out beautifully.. but after it was all laid out for us to snack on throughout the night, we realized every single dish had cheese in it. Lots and lots of cheese. Sausage cups have chive & onion cream cheese, the poppers have cream cheese, the pate has brie and fontina, Greg and Bob brought two nibblers - a delicious cheese log made of feta and cheddar and a brick of cream cheese that Bob topped with homemade pepper jelly and finally, the Buffalo wing dip? Yep.. 2 pkgs. of cream cheese. Dear God. Oh wait! I almost forgot.. I made a couple of my pizzas.. yanno, loaded with cheese? har! Needless to say, "Just Jack 2006" quickly turned into Cheesefest 2006.
It was a fantastic night.. after sampling everything we decided to play a few drinking games (God) and then we retired to the living room and played the new games I had purchased.. and lemme just tell you - the Friends edition of Scene-it was fantastic (lots of Chandler Bing questions - yay!) but the highlight was The Price is Right hahahahhaaa! It was like actually standing in contestant's row, people!! The only thing missing was Bob Barker reminding us to spay and neuter our pets! Too funny!
Below are the recipes for the Pate and the Buffalo Wing dip along with pictures of the nibblers Greg and Bob brought to share. So if you're feelin' a lil mousey.. try these! Don't be put off by the looks of the pate.. it was fabulous. I added sun-dried tomatoes to the recipe (imagine that!) which really put it over the top. This is very similar to the olive tappenaude I frequently make, but the addition of the creamy brie and fontina cheeses takes it to a whole new level. And that wing dip? Seriously.. it's like eating excellent buffalo wings from your favorite dive - minus the annoying bones. ;) Perfect on crackers, Tostitos Scoops and/or toasted slices of baguette (my personal favorite). Try! Try!
Cream cheese with homemade pepper jelly - Fantastic! and Feta/Cheddar log - Yum!
Roasted Garlic, Olive and Tomato Pate
8 cloves garlic (skin on)
1/4 lb. Brie cheese, cut into small chunks
1/4 lb. Fontina cheese, cut into small chunks
1 c. Kalamata olives (pitted)
1/4 c. Extra-virgin olive oil
7 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Preheat oven to 350º
Wrap the unskinned garlic cloves tightly in foil and place in oven to roast for 30-45 minutes. Let cool. Once cooled enough to handle, squeeze roasted garlic out of their skins and place in food processor.
In a double boiler, melt the Brie and Fontina.
Add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and the olive oil to the garlic in the processor and process for 10-15 seconds. You want a very fine chop. Once the cheese has melted, add that to the ingredients in the processor and process for 5 seconds or until it's all mixed well.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and transfer the pate to the bowl, covering the top well. Let set up in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. When you are ready to serve, position a serving plate over the bowl and invert, then take the plastic wrap off and serve with toasted, sliced baguette or crackers.
3 chicken breasts, boiled and then shredded or chopped
1 (14-16 oz.) bottle of ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley)
1 c. finely chopped celery
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. of your favorite hot sauce (this measurement will be mild.. add more if you prefer a hotter dip)
Preheat oven to 350º F.
In a mixer, combine the cream cheese and ranch dressing until it's smooth. Add the chicken and celery and mix, then add the hot sauce and mix.
Transfer dip to a baking dish (I've made it in a 9" x 13" x 2" or a 8" x 11" x 2") and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until lightly golden and bubbly.
Serve with crackers or tortilla chips
*Note: Forgive my pictures (as usual! hee!) the dip is a bit blurry because I was told to hurry the hell up so they could dig in. :D