Waffle? What the hell is a waffle?
But we’re on to other things.
When I asked my wonderful, faithful Foodies for input on future Food Daddy endeavors, so many great ideas came bursting forth. And other friends, off the blog, have said repeatedly in response “whatever the hell you do with the food writing, just make sure we get to eat the results.”
Read: throw a party.
I get hinted at often to host cocktail gatherings. If I have to be known for SOMETHING in this life, I certainly don’t balk at the fact that folks are both comfortable in my home and delighted by my cooking. And I have found that I’ve relieved a major amount of stress in the planning process by eliminating one huge roadblock I never realized could be bypassed:
Not knowing what to serve.
Now, I’m not saying that you say “cocktail party” and I have a knee-jerk reaction whereby, tourettes-like, I suddenly spew a menu and case closed, the party plan is done.
What I AM saying is that, if for any given cocktail or dinner party I know I need six, twelve, or twenty things to offer my guests, I have my go-to collection of tried and true recipes to dive into to provide the basis for my menu.
Cooking as much as I do as often as I do — and constantly expanding my repertoire with new recipes and new ideas — I now have a cornucopia of possibilities every time I set a table, from grand buffet for a birthday celebration to bowls of snacks and (as I like to call them) fabulous nibbly bits to accompany a cocktail or two before going out for dinner or a movie with just a handful of friends.
I also learned that it is much easier to plan a VARIED menu with a big ol’ bag of tricks at my disposal because once (and this led to more planning stress for every future party until I got my shit to its present state of togetherness) I served a lovely variety of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres that turned out to contain, each and every single one, either meat, cheddar cheese, or both.
Now, I can plan a menu that will cover breads and nuts and sweets and meats and veggies and cheeses and spreads and dips and finger and fork foods, and know not only — because there are so many wonderful concoctions from which to choose — that I won’t be duplicating tastes with way-too-similar food creations, but complementing each dish by pairing the components with tasty counterparts.
For instance, if I’m serving something very fragrant in the way of cheese, like a bleu cheese spread, or a whole sliceable chunk of gornonzola, I will readily pair it with closely placed bowls of sliced pears sprinkled with a bit of taragon, lemon zest and black pepper, as well as pitted dates stuffed with whole almonds, and “married figs” sliced and stuffed with a walnut half, and a flower pot filled with endive leaves accompanied by a simple garlic aioli dip. A guest can enjoy any single one of these complimentary foods — all part of one presentation, because Lord knows this is treated as one dish on my table, and gets lost among the ten others anyway — or he can stuff any or all of the components in his mouth at once and find the combination heavenly.
Whereas once upon a time I might inadvertently wind up offering up blue cheese dip with my cruditee, situated right next to bleu cheese and asparagus rolls, bleu stuffed olives and a salad with fruit and crumbled bleu, and stand there wondering why people kept disappearing and coming back with sacks of White Castle burgers.
Part cookie, part cracker, part shortbread, this is so delicious I defy you not to dip into the dough as you’re making them. Try not to do too much of that; depending on how thick you roll them and how thin you slice, the recipe can yield 4 dozen. But if you eat your way through the mixing bowl as I tend to do, you’ll wind up with a dozen finished cookies you won’t want to eat because you’ll already have three batches baking in your belly.
These are great to eat by themselves, or will go nicely with a small slice or cube of a mild cheese or cream cheese-based spread. We’ll get to a ton of ideas for those as time goes on, but my hopes are simply that within a few months, you’ll be planning a party and you’ll be able to turn to our Cocktail Party category and have a host of appy possibilities and small plates to serve to your lucky guests. I’ll even plan some theme menus, Kitschy to Klassy, to jump start your own creativity.
I love only one thing more than having you turn to me for cooking and entertaining ideas: that’s finding inspiration in what I bring to this little party, to tap into your own inner chef. If you can emerge from your kitchen serving up something you find satisfying and delicious and which you had fun making…
Then Food Daddy has done his job. And you’ve done yours. And the world has been made richer for both our efforts, one pleased belly at a time.
1-1/2 Sticks butter, softened
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. Milk
1 Cup grated parmesan
1-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
2 tsps. Dried rosemary, crumbled
1 Tbsp. Dried parsley
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
3 cups Oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
With hand mixer or in a stand mixer, blend softened butter and olive oil. Beat in egg and water until smooth. Blend in grated cheese, and beat thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients except for oats, and hand “sift” with dry whisk or fork. When combined, add oats.
Add wet ingredients to dry oat mixture, and stir to mix thoroughly.
Divide dough into two halves. Form each half into a log about 2″ thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and roll and pat slightly to make each log smooth and uniform. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight, until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 425.
Remove chilled dough from plastic wrap, and using a very sharp knife cut logs into thin slices, about 1/4″. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (these will not spread) and bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp around edges. Remove with a spatula to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly.
Store leftovers (ha!) in an air-tight container or bag.