Happy New Year!
So you have secured the privilege to host the largest event in most people’s social calendars all year and you want to hold on to this honor for years to come. This is not an easy task my friend! At least half of your friends and family that are attending your New Year’s Eve party this year have thoughts of forcing a coup d’état, that would make Napoleon Bonaparte blush, leaving your house empty on this festive occasion. The best way to quell this treacherous scheming is to fill your visitors’ bellies with delicious foodie fare that will have them craving your apps like Charlie Sheen desires seven gram rocks. The following is The Blue Collar Foodie’s Top 5 Coup Quashing Appetizers.
1: Candied Bacon with Mixed Nuts
If you read this blog you are well aware of my love of, alright obsession for, bacon, so it should be no surprise that the first appetizer on my list is full of salty smoked swine. I created this recipe for Christmas this year because I had some left over slab bacon that I did not want to go to waste. It was a huge hit, so even though there is no official recipe yet, it is not very difficult to make. Please note that when I made this delightfully spontaneous dish I did not measure the spices so feel free to tweak the recipe to fit your tastes.
First you will need to acquire the following ingredients:
1 Pound of Slab Bacon (preferably from your favorite Pork Store)
1 Table spoon Cinnamon
Maple Syrup (Enough to coat bacon)
2 Jars of Emeralds Sweet and Salty Cinnamon Sugar Mixed Nuts
2 Table spoons of Brown Sugar
- Cut the Bacon into ¼ inch bite sized pieces making to cut against the grain as to preserve the integrity of the fat to meat ratio of the slab bacon.
- Place a ½ pound of the cut bacon into a skillet set to medium high heat.
- Sprinkle ½ tablespoon of cinnamon on Bacon once a layer of grease forms on the bottom of the pan. Mix Well
- Cook bacon until very close to being done and then drizzle maple syrup into the pan coating the bacon evenly.
- Cook Bacon until it is crisp.
- Remove Bacon from pan and place on plate and allow it to cool for approximately 10 minutes.
- Repeat steps 2-6 for the other ½ pound of bacon.
- Fill two serving dishes (I use holiday tins to be festive) with the Emerald’s mixed nuts and top with Candied Bacon.
- Dust with Brown sugar and mix well to incorporate the bacon into the nuts.
This dish is easy to create and even easier to serve to your guests. Simply prepare this crunchy, salty, sweet concoction the night before and set it out shortly before your guests arrive. I assure you this hodgepodge of awesomeness will make at least a few of your guests Tweet the praises of your shindig, like a 14 year old girl who just received her first kiss.
2: Buffalo Chicken Dip
Buffalo Chicken Dip
New Year’s Eve Parties are hard to cook for because people are constantly on the move. Furthermore, everyone is dressed up to ring in the New Year, so unfortunately the gold standard in appetizers, The Chicken Wing, is absolutely out of the question. Right? Wrong! This tangy Buffalo Chicken Dip is the perfect solution to this sticky fingered dilemma.
This is another dish that can easily be made the night before and reheated just prior to your guest’s arrival. Paired with a strong tortilla chip like Tostitos Scoops this magical potion will make your Grandma’s Onion Dip feel like Latoya Jackson at a family reunion.
3: Double Bruschetta
As most of you already know, I am from the Armpit of our fine country, New Jersey! New Jersey is known for a few things; the Mob, thanks to the Sopranos, the New Jersey Turnpike, thanks to the smell of cheese and death that emanates from it, Snookie, thanks to Ulster County, New York, and Jersey Fresh Produce, thanks to being the Garden State. As the Facts of Life theme song once said, “You take the good, you take the bad,” (I just lost a man point there) and that pretty much sums up my love hate relationship with New Jersey. I could do without being associated with the horrid odor of the Turnpike and Snookie invading my shore line like an overweight, orange skinned, vodka laced Godzilla, but then I would have to do without the mouthwatering taste of fresh Jersey Tomatoes and I can’t have that!
In celebration of the only good thing to be associated with New Jersey since the first game of Baseball was played on June 19, 1846, I present to you this jaw dropping bruschetta recipe that will make your guests proud to be from THE GARDEN STATE. Unlike ordinary Bruschetta recipes, this one throws sun dried tomatoes into the mix, and then prompts you to melt cheese on pre-made toast squares. What you end up with is an appetizer that is not only healthy but is also a true crowd pleaser. These crispy slices of heaven will make your guests completely forget that Chris Christie is our governor and their car insurance is higher than most people’s mortgages.
4: Crunchy Swiss Cheese and Ham
Crunchy Ham and Cheese Bites
If you are anything like me you always have some left over Christmas Ham that you are not quite sure what to do with. Sure you can have Ham and Cheese sandwiches for lunch for a month, or you could make some fantastic Split Pea Soup, but why not share the wealth, in the form of a crunchy tasty treat. These crunchy Swiss cheese and Ham patties are a great way to recycle that Holiday Ham in a fun and scrumptious way.
The home style appeal of these flavorful morsels transport me back to a simpler time when instead of Panko or Tempura batter, cornflakes would do just fine as a crunchy coating. I like to serve these delicious nuggets with a variety of mustards, such as Dijon, Spicy Brown, and Yellow.
5: Fried Green Beans with Wasabi Ranch Dipping Sauce
Fried Green Beans
This recipe is one of my all-time favorites for any kind of entertaining. Fried Green Beans can be served to a small dinner party with a refined palette or to a group of booze laden football fans on any given Sunday. Either way these crispy fried tidbits are always a hit.
Kat and I found this recipe when we first got our Deep Fryer and went on frying binge that almost caused a zombified John Candy to rise from his grave and join us. We literally fried everything, French Fries, Tator Tots, Hot Dogs, Twinkies (R.I.P.), Oreos, Snickers, and when we ran out of the normal things to fry, we went rouge and started tossing veggies into the hot oil. After we gained 10 pounds in a month and our cholesterol was twenty points higher we had to retire the fryer for a while but this recipe always remained a staple.
Weather you use all or none of the recipes above, I hope that reading this article inspired you to create some amazing appetizers for your guests. Remember your friends and family came to your house to celebrate the New Year, it is up to your spread to keep them coming back for more. I hope your New Year’s Eve Party will be a complete success and no usurpers are victorious. As Cersei Lannister said, “When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.”
Happy New Years to you all and thanks for a wonderful 2012!