With my pop culture interests ranging from poker to Monty Python to superheroes to the supernatural fanged-set, part of my "research" is logging a number of hours watching related television or films. It's a joy to read a related comic book or graphic novel as well. As far as research goes, I'd say I'm pretty lucky. But during all those hours of research, what do I eat??? The answer got me thinking about you, too--the rest of the pop culture audience. Wouldn't it be great to have foods to match your favorite show???
As a side-bar to my more "serious" blog articles from pop-psych self-help pieces to the latest in astrophysics, I've decided to start a series of recipes to work with the pop culture phenoms we know and love. And part of the reason is that for many of us, money is tight. It would be great to go to a restaurant for take out or a pre-season finale dinner. But half the fun of being at home is hunkering down with family and friends and, well, being at home. And when you devise a list of pop culture-friendly finger-foods, your house is sure to be the number one gathering spot on Sunday nights for True Blood this summer or whatever your favorite show(s) may be.
My first recipes were tested tonight with terrific results. HBO audiences watching Treme or True Blood will love this recipe with coordinating beverage and so will Saints fans come football season. So get ready to get off the couch and make some of the best food this side of Bon Temps! You picking up what I'm putting down??? Cuz here we go!
Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries with Cajun Dipping Sauce
What you'll need for 2-4 servings (if you have a hungry crowd, go ahead and double up on all the ingredients):
-6-8 sweet potatos (you can also substitute store-bought sweet potato fries and just add the seasoning)
-sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
-Chipotle Tabasco sauce
-ground chipotle seasoning
-ground red pepper
-organic lime juice
-1 cup of Miracle Whip
-oven set to 400 degrees
-lined baking sheet
If you don't like the skins, peel your sweet potatoes. Otherwise, cut them lengthwise in half and and cut the halves in quarters. If you like thinner fries, you can use a food processor. Put cut fries in a bowl. Add 5-7 dashes of chipotle Tabasco, four grinds of black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Mix with fries to coat. Spread out the fries on a lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Put your fries in a 400-degree oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on thickness of fries. Halfway through baking, remove tray of fries and turn over with spatula for crispness, placing tray back in the oven to complete cooking. Altitude matters in cooking, so you may want to keep your fries in longer or shorter. When you turn over your fries halfway through cooking cycle, look for a golden brown color. If you like fries crisper, keep in longer.
After you've turned your fries halfway through cooking cycle and popped the tray back in the oven, place 1 cup of miracle whip in small bowl. Add a teaspoon of organic lime juice (unsweetened). Add a 1/2-1 full teaspoon of ground chipotle seasoning; 1/2-1 full teaspoon of cajun seasoning; 2 dashes of ground red pepper; 2 dashes of chipotle Tabasco. Mix ingredients and taste. The lime juice balances out the richness of the miracle whip and marries well with the spices. When you combine it with the fries--well, let's just say you're in for one hot night! Spicy! Very spicy...so if you're not into hot food, you may want to skip this one. The good news is you can adjust any of the spices and flavors listed to suit your own tastes. Put your fries on a pretty tray with a mini-spatula. Place the dip in a bowl with a serving spoon...and serve. You've got instant flavor!
This is an alcoholic drink; a non-alcoholic version will follow.
What you'll need for one glass--to get the effect of the "sunset," make individually or multiply ingredients by number of people and make in a clear glass pitcher):
-Blanco Patron Tequila
-Rose's Pomegranate Twist Mix
-V8 Mango Peach
Using an 8 to 10-ounce glass, pour 1/3 cup of V8 Mango Peach in bottom of glass (you can substitute OJ if you prefer). Add a teaspoon of Cointreau. Add 4-6 ice cubes. Roll lime on counter and let sit. Pour in one shot of Blanco Patron. Top with Pomegranate syrup, about a 1/4 cup to taste (it's very sweet). Roll lime on counter again and cut in half. Squeeze in juice from both halfs, dropping one half into glass. Et voila! You have your Bayou Sunset. The pomegranate sits at the bottom under the mango peach or OJ and it looks like the most beautiful sunset you've ever seen sinking behind the hanging Spanish moss of the Louisiana bayou. Once you've finished admiring the colors, go ahead and mix it up. Enjoy!
Make the same way as above except leave out the Cointreau and Patron, substituting with Polar Springs Lime-flavored tonic water. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe this yummy concoction!
These recipes are great for snacking during a one-hour show. If you like a bit of sweet after your spice, follow with one scoop of store-bought mango sorbet in a martini glass. Drizzle with a little pomegranate syrup and for the adults, a teaspoon of tequila. Put a wedge of lime on the side of the glass. Yum!
Now that's what I call a fang-banging party! Add a little Alcide, a side of Sookie...some Lafayette, maybe a pinch of Eric and let the good times roll! The best part: No pricey restaurants but all the flavor of a five-star...and, you get to enjoy it all with your favorite people from the comfort of your couch!
Until next time, dearest readers....