That liquid cheese from a can isn't impressing anyone at your football watch parties. Come on, sport. You can do better.
Mema's Shrimp are a twist on the ubiquitous chilled shrimp and cocktail sauce platter one finds lurking on every table during football season. The tang of vinegar accompanied with the sharp bite of onions and slight hint of cayenne and paprika pair perfectly with butter crackers and cold beer.
1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined and cleaned
20 bay leaves
½ cup white vinegar
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Several dashes Louisiana hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 cups vegetable oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil until just pink. Set aside to cool. Add 10 bay leaves to vinegar and warm over low heat. Do not boil. Set aside to cool.
In a large jar, layer shrimp, onions and bay leaves. Repeat until all shrimp are used. Whisk together the cooled vinegar, hot sauce, paprika, salt, Worcestershire sauce and oil. Pour vinaigrette over shrimp. Shake gently to combine. Refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours before serving. Serve with butter crackers, more hot sauce and plenty of napkins.
Coach Wilkins' Dip
Nothing says comfort — or football — like a warm dip on a chilly autumn day. Named after former Rocky Mountain College basketball coach Len Wilkins, this dip features bacon and scallion that are perfect companions, while crunchy butter crackers provide texture and depth. Toast wedges, flatbread, vegetables, butter crackers and even tortilla chips are all fine vehicles to get more of this dip into your mouth. Resisting it is a fool's errand, but if you don't eat meat, simply leave out the bacon.
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup Swiss or cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup round butter crackers, smashed
8 slices bacon, cooked until well done
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cheeses, mayonnaise and crackers. Spread evenly in a medium, ovenproof casserole dish. Crumble bacon and sprinkle scallions evenly on top. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly bubbling and serve warm.
Fish Sauce Chicken Wings
Spicy, sweet, savory, sticky, aromatic and deliciously messy, Fish Sauce Chicken Wings satisfy every craving. These wings are highly addictive and can be tampered with to be spicier or milder depending upon personal preference. With a plethora of Asian specialty markets in the area, finding the somewhat exotic ingredients is simple, though most can be found at local grocery stores.
2 pounds chicken wings
Juice of one lime
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 Thai chili, finely chopped
3 tablespoons scallions, chopped
¼ cup sugar
½ cup fish sauce
1 cup rice flour
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup Thai basil, finely chopped
¼ cup mint, finely chopped
Rinse chicken wings with lime juice and water and pat dry with paper towels. Mix together garlic, ginger, Thai chili, scallions, sugar and fish sauce. Toss wings in mixture and refrigerate for up to five hours.
Preheat grill to medium high. Remove wings from marinade. Reserve marinade. Place rice flour in a bowl and toss the wings until lightly coated in flour. Grill wings, turning and basting in a half cup of marinade until cooked through. Remove wings from grill and set aside.
Heat the remaining marinade in a wok or Dutch oven until slightly reduced and thickened. In batches, cook the wings in the bubbling marinade until well coated. Remove wings, toss in fresh herbs and serve promptly. ♦