Sunday, 4 February 2018

Superbowl Party Food Tios

Superbowl Party Food Tips even if you aren't a football fan you will love them.

I am not a football fan but there are so many people that will be glued to their TV's watching the Superbowl so I thought I might provide a few tips to make your party a bit easier and you can either watch the game or enjoy the food.

Typical foods eaten at Superbowl parties include:  Pizza, wings, burgers, nachos and chili.  I have a few tips for you to make things easier so you can prep ahead and spend more time with your friends and family.

1.  Prep as much as you can a day or couple of days beforehand or even a week ahead and freeze some things.  

Example 1.
I made Pita dough last week and portioned out the dough and put them in small freezer bags and stored them flat in the freezer.  You can pull them out the day before and either cook them up then and just warm them up before your party or just serve them cold as they will still be pretty fresh if you store them properly.

Example 2.

Chicken Wings are a staple at Superbowl parties because they are handheld and easy to eat but can be a bit messy so make sure you have lots of napkins scattered around.  You want to make chicken wings but you don't want to spend the whole time watching the wings while everyone else is watching the game so you can start this process a week in advance too.  Start by taking a large pack of pre cut wings and pat them dry and then add seasonings,  I added salt, pepper and chipotle powder.  Bake them in an oven at about 375 degrees for at least 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.  My oven is slow so it always takes longer but what you are looking for is for the wings to be just cooked and lightly browned.  You will cook them again when you are ready for the party.  I had a pack of 24 wings and baked them all and then as you can see I split them into 2 freezer bags below.  In one bag I left them just with the seasonings and they will cool in the fridge and then I will place them in the freezer for another time.  You can do this with the whole batch of wings and then defrost the day before and bake until they are warmed either just with your favourite seasonings or you can add a sauce. In the second bag I added some bottled Chipotle BBQ sauce and I also added some Maple Syrup to sweeten it up a bit more.  I will bake these off again later to get them all hot and sticky in the oven.  You can also freeze them this way but I would suggest freezing them plain and then adding the sauce when they are defrosted or warmed up again. This will save you a lot of time the day of your party and baking the wings cuts the frying calories you would normally get with pub style wings or processed wings.

2.  You don't have to make everything yourself.

Example 3. 

There are some things you can buy that will save you a lot of time and you will still be a hero at your party.  You can buy the wings, you can buy the pita and you can pretty much buy it all these days but pick a few things that you want to do your own way and a few that just take up your time and taste the same to buy.

In the case of the photo above I bought the Hummus and Tzatziki from the grocery store because I can make them but the Hummus requires a food processor and the Tzatziki requires a lot of grating and straining to do it properly.  If I had lots of time I would make them myself for sure since I can control the flavour that way if I want more garlic and less salt I can do that.  For this it cost me $3.49 for each of these containers and saved me a whole lot of cleanup time.  

I also picked up this cute Taco Dip and chip container.  Since I am not having a party but wanted to have a taste of the foods eaten at this kind of party this caught my eye.  It would be costly to buy a whole bag of Tortilla chips and the individual ingredients to make the taco dip and hard to do for 1 or 2 servings so for about $4 I got this ready to go so I don't have to spend time chopping, cleaning and there is less wasted food.  And yes I would probably make it if I was having my friends over and it's one of my friends special items to bring to parties.  Costco also has a great layered dip in a large container.  We had that at one of our last potlucks at work and it was a favourite dish.

I made the Baba Ganoush because it doesn't require any machines except your own muscle power and a chefs knife and chopping board.  
Baba Ganoush recipe:
After I roasted the Wings I cranked up the oven to Broil and added a whole eggplant and broiled it until it was charred on all sides.  It steams the inside and it's really easy to make it this way.  
Cut the eggplant open and scoop out the soft eggplant centre and transfer to a cutting board that has about a tablespoon of diced white onion and a smashed garlic clove.  Chop it all up together and if you do it while it's still warm it will soften up the onion and garlic and make the whole thing smooth.   Add salt and pepper to taste and I added a pinch of smoked paprika and a squeeze of a bit of lemon juice.  You can add either a tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed paste) or mayo.  The sesame seed is healthier and you don't have to worry about it staying out as much as mayo.   If you have fresh parsley add some and drizzle the top with olive oil for flavour and creaminess.  No food processors to clean up.  Just the roasting pan, knife and cutting board.  That's not too bad.

Example 4.

You can pick up some great heat and eat appetizers at your local grocery store these days.  I really like these Presidents Choice Chicken Empanadas because they are little bites full of flavour and you don't need to do anything except heat them up in the oven.  Let your oven do the work for you.

3. Make it easy for people to serve themselves.

Invest in a Crockpot or if you like to cook but don't have the time then pick up an Instant Pot if you can find one on sale.  Or you can pick up chafing dishes from party supply stores.
An Instant Pot or Crockpot are amazing for dishes like Chili because you can cook and serve in them and keep the food warm.  Your guests can serve themselves if you set up a Chili Station.  At my work last week we had 3 different chilis and we had a bowl and spoon in front of them to rest so they wouldn't leave a mess on the table and beside the crockpots were the bowls, napkins, cutlery and the fixings for the top like cilantro, cheese and sour cream and bags of chips as you can see in the photo.  My beef chili was so popular there wasn't any left and I even had another container in the fridge that was eaten.  It was a good chili but Chili is a great thing for a party because you can keep it cooking for a long time and it's still good.

4.  Set it up pretty and keep it simple

Set up your dishes in nice containers and place everything needed nearby.  If you are worried about things like double dipping dips you can serve them in shot glasses or have everything in one container like the dip and veggies in a glass or other type of container or add little spoons to every dip so people know to serve it up with the spoons.  What I have learned is that people don't think they just eat so you have to make it easy for them.

5. The dollar store and party supply store is your friend and will kick up your party if you think outside the box.

Everyone at the office knows that I spend a lot of money at my dollar store where I live.  That's because you can really get so many of your celebration items there. 

For a Superbowl party see if your dollar store has some fake grass pieces and you can set that up on your table and place the food on it.  Or maybe they have football mats for kids or mini footballs that you can place around the room.  Sometimes you can find football containers for things like chips and dips and all kinds of sports related items.  If you have the cash go nuts.  I don't have anywhere to store a lot of these things so I try and find things I can repurpose for different events.  I should get some fake grass because that can also be used for Easter or summer time events.  

What ever you decide to do whether it's catering the whole thing or a Potluck or making it all from scratch remember to organize it all around leaving time to spend with your friends and less time in the kitchen.  I keep trying to do this more and more but sometimes I end up in the kitchen anyway.  

Make it fun and spread the tasks out.  If you have some help that's great.  I usually have to do it all myself and sometimes my friends help clean up at the end.  

What I have learned from watching Ina Garten, Martha Stewart and Giada De Laurentis over the years is you don't have to do it all and the point of having people over for parties is to have fun with them.  So find a happy balance and enjoy the game as they say.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Golden Globe Film Picks 2018

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards airs this Sunday January 7th 
I will be hosting a viewing party with my film festival friends so I wanted to post my picks for the FILM portion only since it's more relevant to us and to this blog.
Also,  on the food side I will probably make a Party Size pizza and may spark up my Instant Pot to make some fast chicken wings.
Of course there will be popcorn and munchies.   
What is your favourite movie watching food?
Best Motion Picture - Drama
    "Call Me by Your Name"
    "The Post"  My pick because it's getting huge buzz and because of it's relevance
    "The Shape of Water"
    "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
    "The Disaster Artist"
    "Get Out"
    "The Greatest Showman"
    "I, Tonya" - My pick because it was one of the most talked about films at TIFF this year.  I will see it on Saturday.
    "Lady Bird"
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
    Jessica Chastain, "Molly's Game"
    Sally Hawkins, "The Shape of Water"
    Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    Meryl Streep, "The Post"  My Pick.. Well because it's Meryl.. Da...
    Michelle Williams, "All the Money in the World"
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
    Timothée Chalamet, "Call Me by Your Name"
    Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread"
    Tom Hanks, "The Post"
    Gary Oldman, "Darkest Hour"  My Pick.  This was the film I wanted to see at Tiff the most and have yet to see but highly anticipated performance from Oldman.
    Denzel Washington, "Roman J. Israel, Esq."
    Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
    Judi Dench, "Victoria & Abdul"
    Margot Robbie, "I, Tonya"  My pick because Hollywood loves transormations and she looks nothing like Margot Robbie in this.
    Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird"
    Emma Stone, "Battle of the Sexes"
    Helen Mirren, "The Leisure Seeker"
    Best Director
    Guillermo del Toro, "The Shape of Water"  My pick because of the challenges of filming this type of movie.
    Martin McDonagh, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    Christopher Nolan, "Dunkirk"
    Ridley Scott, "All The Money in the World"
    Steven Spielberg, "The Post"
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
    Steve Carell, "Battle of the Sexes"
    Ansel Elgort, "Baby Driver"
    James Franco, "The Disaster Artist"  My pick because of the huge popularity of Franco and this film.
    Hugh Jackman, "The Greatest Showman"
    Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out"
    Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
    Mary J. Blige, "Mudbound"
    Hong Chau, "Downsizing"
    Allison Janney, "I, Tonya"  My pick,  once again this is career making performance and the transformation from nice Allison Janney to mean mother.
    Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird"
    Octavia Spencer, "The Shape of Water"
    Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
    Willem Dafoe, "The Florida Project"
    Armie Hammer, "Call Me by Your Name"
    Richard Jenkins, "The Shape of Water"
    Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World"  My pick because the buzz is he made the film better than the original Kevin Spacey casting and because he is a legend and deserves it.
    Sam Rockwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    Best Original Score in a Motion Picture
    "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    "The Shape of Water"  My pick and this is just a guess because I don't really know why the others would have a great score.
    "Phantom Thread"
    "The Post"
    Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture
    "The Shape of Water"
    "Lady Bird"
    "The Post"  My pick because of the subject matter it dictates great writing.
    "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    "Molly's Game"
    Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language
    "A Fantastic Woman"
    "First They Killed My Father"  My pick because it's backed by Angelina Jolie so it's gotten more attention than the others.
    "In the Fade"
    "The Square"
    Best Animated Film
    "The Boss Baby"
    "The Breadwinner"
    "Coco"  My pick because a lot of people really seemed to love this film.
    "Loving Vincent"
    I will post an update after the awards to show who actually won and see how close I was to getting them right.
    I will also add pics of the party.