Nearly a year ago I had my first, and most likely last, experience making cake balls for an annual work party. Annual events have a pesky way of popping back up and once again, I was snookered into being part of the food committee.
The theme for our office booth was Mad Men (and Women), echoing the 1960s style and feel of the television show on AMC featuring the likes of Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks and January Jones. On a side note, I loved dressing up to fit the part and by some amazing feat I wrestled my hair in an up-do thanks to this bun hairstyles for long hair tutorial on YouTube. See the hairstyle pictured below.
Attempting to emulate the tastes of the era, we decided on serving meatballs with a sweet beer sauce, herb cream cheese sandwiches on rye bread, pimento cheese sandwiches on white bread and chocolate wine bundt cake. We nearly went with deviled eggs, cocktail wieners or fondue but had budget and logistical constraints to consider. I did insist on using fancy ruffled cellophane toothpicks and olives for garnish.
The party has come and gone, and although we didn’t win any of the award categories (not a good year for contests), a women returned to our booth asking for the pimento cheese recipe. I count that as a personal victory.
For the pimento cheese sandwiches I used the famed Parlor Market recipe with a few minor alterations. I remembered being pleasantly surprised by my first taste of pimento cheese and figured it would be a crowd pleaser. It is easy to make and what’s not to love about a recipe that includes bacon, cream cheese, cheese and more bacon. Amusingly enough, it does not include pimentos…which is why an olive garnish is perfect.
Parlor Market Pimento Cheese
I used three loaves of bread at 20 slices a loaf, to assemble 30 sandwiches. (60 slices of bread total = 30 sandwiches) They were then cut into four triangles, which resulted in 120 small cocktail sandwiches. I altered the amounts used from the original recipe.
2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
3 c. mayonnaise
5 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. bacon, cooked and diced
4-6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and a good spoonful or two of sauce
2 green onions, minced
Beat the softened cream cheese and mayonnaise together in a medium size bowl. Once combined fold in the cheddar cheese, bacon, chipotle peppers, a couple spoonfuls of adobo sauce and green onions. Refrigerate and spread on bread or toasted crostini rounds.
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In honor of Valentine’s day, my husband and I went to the Dixie National Rodeo last Friday night. Yes, I wanted to go to the rodeo and no, I’ve never been before.
We explored…stables holding cows, horses and goats being vacuumed (grooming?) and had such shiny, soft coats.
We ate…once we entered the coliseum which was a serious misstep. There were fair food stands open outside and next to nothing inside, our options were gloppy pizza, limp foiled wrapped hamburgers and popcorn saltier than the Gulf of Mexico.
We watched…a long welcome presentation, a blonde woman singing karaoke songs, a progression of six American flags throughout history, the national anthem, a prayer, pyrotechnics and then a parade of politicians riding horses.
We learned…that this was an actual competition and now just a show. Okay, so I was surprised to discover these events were scored by judges and they had strict parameters such as – in bronc riding the riders can only use one hand and they needed to hold on for eight seconds.
We sang…up close and personal along with Chris Cagle, well, I did for the two songs I actually knew.
We held out…until the very end, three hours later for the bull riding grand finale.
For Valentine’s day I Got My Country On.
Valentine’s eve is upon us. It’s cold, rainy and all I can think of is Pinkberry. Or as it’s known on the streets, Crackberry.
Pinkberry has no need for one more iota of press or undying confession of admiration. It probably scoffs at my undeterred crush.
For whatever reason I haven’t researched more thoroughly yet, I feel as though their frozen yogurt is a superior quality and if they would let me, I’d position myself with an unhinged jaw directly under the pineapple/coconut flavor levers. One shining difference between them and other mainstream froyo places is that you buy a size and then have the opportunity to fill the space with any of the available toppings (versus paying per ounce). I made my mom eat their glorious frozen yogurt with all the toppings the container could hold twice in one day.
The nearest Pinkberry is in New Orleans or Birmingham and I haven’t decided whether that’s actually a good thing or not. Right now, not. To get your Pinkberry fix, there are two locations in New Orleans – one near the French Quarter on Canal and one on Magazine in the Garden District/Uptown.
300 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
5601 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 7011
Move over New England Patriots.
As it turns out, I didn’t win the $1000 catered Super Bowl party. I didn’t win the office NFL play-off bracket. And, I didn’t win the Apple Pie Thrown Down contest. In light of recent events, I also put off dashing over to Louisiana in hopes of securing my retirement by purchasing fistfuls of lottery tickets.
Nevertheless everything worked out for the best, as life often does.
Prior to this whole Super Bowl contest rigamarole, we had no intentions of hosting a party (unless we won). When my name was not announced Saturday evening, I dodged a fury of last minute cleaning and begging friends to come over who already had plans. No matter, because Friday morning as I reached for the door knob about to leave for work, my husband dashed to the bathroom and threw up. Our weekend was spent recovering on the couch.
Determined to bounce back from defeat, much like Tiquan Underwood after the Patriots cut him the day before the Super Bowl, I refocused my energy on the Apple Pie Throw Down.
Awhile back a friend made a grand sweeping statement, that a particular store bought apple pie was better than any homemade pie she’s ever had. Pshaw. Taking this bold proclamation in stride, another friend and I challenged her to a pie tasting contest. In conjunction with our work Super Bowl party (where we announced the winner of the bracket contest - not me), we held our apple pie throw down.
Yesterday we lined up the two homemade pies next to a store bought version, insisted our co-workers sample each one and vote for their favorite (disregarding presentation).
At the end of the day we peeled back the ballot and to my dismay, the store bought pie had won! It was baked with aspartame, my crust included real butter. What a bust.
Befuddled by three consecutive losses, I reminded myself that it’s not whether you win or lose but rather how you play the game. Tiquan is a Patriot again and there’s always next time.
When life gives you lemons…squeeze a little in some apple filling, top your pie with ice cream and call it a day.
In college I helped lead a co-ed flag football team and am thrilled my alma matter, the University of Missouri, joined the SEC. Each year at work, I organize an NFL play-off bracket contest and celebration pot-luck. Normally I’m the commissioner for a girls only fantasy football league titled Girls Playing the Field (we took a break this year). Imagine my excitement when I heard this.
The Mangia Bene catering company, owners behind Sal and Mookie’s, Broad Street Bakery and Bravo!, is having a contest for $1000 worth of Super Bowl party food. A never-ending sucker for a bargain, awhile back I signed-up to receive their coupons and was automatically registered for this contest. Little did I know until recently, I actually qualified at random as one of ten finalists!
How to Help
Starting today and ending at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, I need as many votes as possible at this survey link. Please vote only once. This is how you can help:
* Click the survey link and vote for me – I’m listed first and my name is Erin
* Spread the word by using one of the Sharing buttons below (Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit)
* Bribe your friends with cookies to do the same (it’s the path I like to take most often, cookie bribery)
To my loyal readers and random internet users, if I prevail in this contest then I will post self-deprecating, chubby childhood photos for your viewing pleasure. People are regularly doubtful that I went through a rather round period from fifth to eighth grade. These photos exist and I’m willing to prove it.
I apologize now for the upcoming promotion of this throughout the week and as always, thank you for reading. In the wise words of Hank Williams, Jr. – let’s get ready for some football!