Red/Blue State Party Dishes, On A Budget

By on Monday, 16th May 2011

Whether you live in a red state of a blue state, and no matter which presidential candidate you support, you’ll probably want to nibble on goodies as you watch the returns come in on Election Night.

And if you’re throwing a party, you’re sure to get the votes of your guests with an assist from Gail Simmons, special projects manager of Food & Wine magazine.

As The Early Show‘s “Chef on a Shoestring” Saturday, Simmons served up recipes for simple cocktail party food, all small plates and all bipartisan in nature! We gave Gail a special, but still thrifty budget of $80 to try to stick to for a party menu for eight people.

Menu

  • Red, White, and Blue Potato Cups
  • Swing State Salsa
  • Left & Right Wing Chicken Wings
  • Three Cheese Mini Macs
  • Barack-oli with Cheddar Cheese Dunk
  • Waffles with Bananas and Pecans
  • Bi-Partisan Punch

    Food Facts

    Thai Red Curry Paste:
    Curry paste is a moist blend of ground or pounded herbs and/or spices and other seasonings. Curry paste is primarily known an important ingredient in Thai cuisine. Red curry paste includes red chili peppers (fresh or dried), shallots, garlic, galangal, lemon grass, coriander roots, peppercorns, salt, shrimp paste and kaffir lime zest. The level of heat can be controlled by the amount of chili peppers added.

    Fish Sauce is a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment. It is an essential ingredient in many curries and sauces. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, and Filipino cuisine and is used in other Southeast Asian countries. In addition to being added to dishes during the cooking process, fish sauce can also be used in mixed form as a dipping condiment.

    Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine from the Minho region in the far north of the country. The name literally means “green wine,” referring to its youthful freshness rather than its color. The Vinhos Verdes wines are light, fresh, and intended for drinking within a year.

    RECIPES

    Red, White, and Blue Potato Cups


    INGREDIENTS:

    1 1/2 pounds red, purple and yellow new potatoes, 1/2 inch in diameter
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt
    1/4 cup sour cream
    Cut chives, for garnish

    METHOD:

    Steam the potatoes over boiling water until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Let the potatoes cool slightly on a plate.

    Cut each potato in half and use a small melon baller to scoop out an indentation, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each potato cup so it won’t wobble.

    Preheat the oven to 400бу and line a large baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and season lightly with salt. Arrange the potatoes, scooped side down, on the baking sheet and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the undersides are golden. Let cool slightly.

    Arrange the potatoes on a platter, mound each with sour cream and top with and chives. Serve immediately.


    Three Cheese Mini Macs

    INGREDIENTS:

    1/2 pound elbow macaroni
    1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup milk
    4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
    4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
    1 large egg yolk
    1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

    METHOD:

    Preheat the oven to 425бу.

    In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.

    Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.

    In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.

    Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.

    Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 min?utes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.


    “Barack”olli & Cheddar Cheese Dunk

    INGREDIENTS:

    1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets with about 2 inches of stem attached
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 cups milk
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water
    6 ounces sharp or mild white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
    Kosher salt

    METHOD:

    In a large, deep saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Fill a steamer basket with the broccoli, add it to the saucepan, cover and steam over high heat until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a platter.

    Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the mustard and cheese and cook over moderately low heat until the cheese is melted. Season the sauce with salt, transfer to a bowl and serve with the broccoli.

    For more recipes, go to Page 2.


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