Subtitled "No fail take along sides that will make you a hero at the next holiday meal!"
Ahh Thanksgiving, the time of year that we all travel to someone else's home and feast with them. How many times have you asked, "can I bring anything," but then secretly feared they would say something crazy and complicated? I mean you don't want to be lame and bring a box of prepackaged doughnuts but you don't want to spend hour in the Kitchen the day of just to have something that doesn't translate well once you drive all the way to grandma's house.
Here is a list of cool ideas for things that can be made ahead and that travel well. We've even included recipes for you so it's all in one spot. They are all excerpts from our family cookbook (The Manly Man Cookbook), so pardon the caveman commentary on some of the recipes. All of them can be made ahead so the day of the big meal you can just sit back and just be the big Kahuna with out sweating the details.
|1| Sweet & Salty Spiced Almonds
Now these Almonds are real manly and they are good for giving to the women, cause spicy stuff makes them fall in love (they can’t help it). Nothing says holiday quite like nuts, and if you have ever visited the big city in the late fall and early winter you may have smelled the amazing aroma of roasted sweet and spiced nuts.
Once they are cool you can put them in a holiday tin or a pretty dish and add a small sign for your friends and family telling them what they are getting ready to fall in love with.
2 ½ cups Almonds
1/4 cup white or bourbon smoked sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP water
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F … Spread nuts in a single layer over a baking sheet.
Roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts start to turn brown and the smell of roasting nuts fills the kitchen, but before the fire alarm goes off.
Stir together sugar, salt, and pepper together and set aside. In a skillet add the honey water and oil together and heat on medium for about 1 minute.
Add almonds to the skillet, and stir to coat well. Put them nuts in the sugar, salt mix and
toss to coat. Cool.
|2| Snowman Cheese Ball
I did this one year at Christmas time and everyone thought it was the greatest cheese
ball ever, not that it really tastes good but it looks so good that nobody cares what it
tastes like. So I keep making it every year!
2 packages of cream cheese
2 TBSP Worcestershire
½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp hot sauce
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
2 small sticks
1 very small baby carrot
½ cup of parmesan cheese
Mix all ball ingredients (if you want to add a finely chopped green pepper it adds some flavor but then there are green spots that sometimes show through the coating, totally optional) and then make three balls each one a little smaller than the one before.
Roll the balls in the parmesan cheese and place on your plate smallest to largest. Use the peppercorns to make the eyes, mouth, and buttons, and add the carrot for your nose (I will carve a regular carrot down to size if there aren’t baby carrots around) … then you can use the sticks for the arms (you can use rosemary twigs if you like).
Once you get it all laid out and ready to serve you need to stick the serving knife in the bottom section … ‘cause it looks so good that nobody ever wants to be the one to make the first cut!!
|3| Kim Bop
Another Korean snack that is great with beer ... but then again what‘s not great with beer?
5 roasted sea laver sheets (nori in Japanese)
1 big carrot
Yellow pickled radish
1/2 cup of ground beef
Rice wine (or a dry white wine)
Rice Seasoning for 2 (sesame seed oil, salt, sesame seeds, soy sauce)
You'll need a bamboo roll mat! (costs less than 3 dollars where I live.) The amount of all the ingredients depends on personal choice. You can add or take out whatever you want.
Cook rice with a little less water than usual.
Whip eggs well with salt & pepper. Fry on a skillet thick, and cut into long strips (1/3 inch thick). Cut carrot and cucumber into thin strips. Cook carrot strips on a skillet with oil.
Soak cucumber in salt and vinegar water for 20 minutes. Cut yellow pickled radish into thin strips. Add 1/2 tsp of soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, 1 tsp of rice wine, sesame seeds & mix.
Stir ground beef on a skillet over high heat with salt, pepper, 1/2 TBSP of rice wine
and sesame seeds until cooked and dried.
Add rice seasoning in rice and mix and leave it at room temperature until warm.
Place a sheet of sea laver over a bamboo mat. Spread rice (thinly, but covering
well) up to 2/3 of the sea laver.
Place strips (carrot, cucumber, egg, yellow pickled radish..) in the middle of the spread rice.
Roll sea laver with the mat firmly. If the sea laver edge is not sticking on the surface, apply water lightly at the edge of the sea laver with your finger.
With a sharp knife, cut roll into 1/2 inch thick kim bop pieces. If you don't have a sharp
knife, make a cut into a lemon of lime every time you cut a slice (it helps the blade to
be clean and adds flavor). Dip gently into soy sauce with vinegar mixture before
|4| Cranberry Jalapeno Surprise Sauce
12 oz. cranberries, fresh or frozen
2 TBSP Tequila (the rest of the bottle is fair game)
1/2 cup sugar
2 medium jalapeno peppers
Rinse the berries and discard any that are brown and soft. Finely grate the zest only of the orange peel, then cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Add enough water to the orange juice to make one cup of liquid. At this point you must do 2 shots of Tequila.
Combine the berries, grated orange peel, juice and water, tequila, and sugar in a large non-reactive pot, and bring it to a slow boil, stirring occasionally as the sugar dissolves. Trim the jalapeno, discard the seeds, and chop it finely. Then you must do 2 more shots of Tequila.
When the berries begin to pop, add the chopped jalapeno and boil everything together for about 5 more minutes, stirring with a long wooden spoon. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more water. Finally you need to finish off the bottle of Tequila and put the worm out as garnish.
Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool, stirring now and again to prevent a skin from forming. Spoon it into a pretty dish, and chill if you’re a sissy, or eat it like a man ... out of the pan while it’s still hot!
|5| Jason's Hot Pepper Fudge
The perfect holiday gift ... a little sweet and a little spice! This is world famous, I used to make several batches each year and ship it around the country and even to some of my friends in other countries. I have some Church Ladies that still ask for it each year. It is really good!
3 cups sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken in pieces
7 oz. Marshmallow Creme (aka Marshmallow Fluff)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cups unsalted butter, in pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, and milk. Place over medium high heat, stir constantly, and until the mixture comes to a full boil.
Boil until the mixture becomes shiny and thick, about 4 minutes, stirring often. When the fudge is ready, it will register 236F to 240F on a candy thermometer. (Or a small amount of fudge dropped into a glass of cold water will form a soft, solid wad on the
bottom of the glass.)
Remove from the heat and stir in the pepper and cinnamon, vanilla and marshmallow crème and chocolate. While still pourable, scrape into a 9”x 13” pan and even the top. Set aside until the fudge is firm.
Cut into squares. Now don’t tell people that it is hot pepper fudge but set a camera near it so you can capture the face of each person as they realize they have gotten a hold of something with a bite!
So there you have it, five simple recipes that will make yo a legend at the next holiday meal.