Kitchen Catastrophe #10 – Snicker-snack

Why hello there! Didn’t see you come in, as I was busy polishing this Vorpal blade in case I should be assaulted by Jabberwocks. Jabberwockys? It’s hard to pin down the proper plural of fictional beings, especially when their own spelling is a little weird. The poem’s name is Jabberwocky, but the creature is called a Jabberwock in the verses…Sorry, I get contemplative when I rub blades built to decapitate mythological beings. It’s a way to burn off excess thought process, which I occasionally build up when I suspend thinking to do simple things that don’t require more than eyes, ears, and a stomach. Such as watch the annual championship BOWL game that takes place in early November in order to resolve which professional American football team is the most…SUPER? There, now the NFL can’t sue me.  

However, if you’re enjoying the Annual Gathering of Excellent Football Athletic Champions, or “AGEFAC”, as I will now call it to avoid the litigation legion of the League, you’re going to need something to eat. And luckily for you, I worked up a list that’s at least 3/4’s effective at pleasing you and your guests. If you want all FOUR recipes without a lot of silly bollocks, click HERE. Otherwise, let’s pile in to the AGEFAC spread to serve your friends. I should put the sword away now, before I hurt myself.

Stuff your Face Hole with Sausage

Our first dish is Sausage Bites, which, in a move that’s super convenient if you’re a forgetful, unorganized dork like myself, can be made up to a MONTH ahead of time. This recipe, made by America’s Test Kitchen, is specifically designed to be frozen so you can cook them later. So if you’ve got a spare 45 minutes one Sunday afternoon, you could drive to the store, buy the ingredients, make the dish, and freeze it, and be ready with a snack appetizer at any point in the next 30 days. And making it is quite simple to boot!

Seriously, the preparation for the dish is: Put all but two ingredients in the food processor, and blend them. Then put the other two ingredients in, and blend them into the rest. Ball it all up, and freeze. It’s the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted, excepting every other recipe in this post. Sure, in the middle stage, things are going to look a little…weird…

It’s like bloody sand. My favorite.

But it’s beautifully simple, and almost impossible to screw up! Which makes the fact that I screwed it up three times all the more impressive. Now, I have the testament of my friends that, while not mind-blowing, the Sausage bites I made were perfectly adequate, so have no worries if you run into any of the following problems like I did. First, the recipe needs, as one could guess, Sausage. My mistake was attempting to be frugal and using an old tube of sausage. This made the sausage flavor muted; which was predictable, given that’s the primary reason for expiration dates: they mark when food will stop tasting its best. So I had reduced sausage flavor. That’s fine. I can work with that. It’ll just taste more like the cheese! Which, I discovered, I didn’t have enough of the sharp cheddar, so I had to go half and half with normal cheddar.

Shown here. Poorly.

So, I muted the sausage flavor, AND the cheese flavor. Smart, me. The third screw-up came when I went to cook the bites for the AGEFAC. (Ha, you thought I’d forget my own bit, didn’t you?!) See, while the idea of making food to throw together in case you’re forgetful and unorganized is great, it also gives you 30 days to lose the cooking instructions. And since I can lose a book I’m currently holding, that’s MORE than enough time.  Bake at how many degrees on what kind of pan? I got the answer mostly right, but forgot there was supposed to be parchment paper on the pan. So, after baking, I had this:

Like food fossils, their carbonated remains imprinted in the geological strata.

Again, my friends ate them all, and, as long-time sufferer of my culinary cruelties JJ pointed out: “If your screw up is to make tiny biscuits, you did pretty good.”

Pi-ro-gi, the Real OG

Of all the recipes I made this AGEFAC, this one I was the most confident with, because I’ve used it as an easy party dish close to a dozen times. Seriously, it’s simple, quick, and just exotic enough to be impressive. It’s Buffalo Pierogi.

Pierogi (also spelt pirogi, related to Pirog and Pirozchi) are an Eastern European form of ravioli, or potsticker: Dough wrapped around a filling and cooked. Now, when I say “Buffalo Pierogi”, some people who know what it is get excited. “Oh, I’ve never had buffalo before!” And you still haven’t! Even though it’s sold in most grocery stores these days, and is pretty much just beef with a different tang. No, these are Buffalo pierogi in the same way that they’re buffalo WINGS: the sauce.

Shown here. In case you forgot what sauce was.

For this dish, what you do is buy frozen pierogi, toss them in sauce, bake on a greased pan. That’s it. Hell, you can rearrange the last two of the three steps, and it’ll still be edible. The most complicated part is remembering that the sauce is one part oil/melted butter to four parts hot sauce.  That’s the most complicated part of the process. I mix and match hot sauces, and which way I make it (bake then sauce, or sauce then bake) depending on my desires of the moment. Saucing and then baking mutes some of the flavors of the sauces, but it makes them much cleaner to eat, while baking then saucing keeps the tastes vibrant (and a little sharp) but messy. I made a batch of each, and the winners were the sauced then baked. I used an intense mixture, including a drop of a 5 million Scoville sauce (for comparison, a Ghost Pepper has 1 million Scoville. A habanero is around 200,000. This sauce is as many times hotter than a ghost pepper as a ghost pepper is hotter than a habanero), knowing the flavors would die off in cooking.

Just like the guests would die off in the EATING!!! HAHAHAHA. Wait. Did I poison these? Shit. I am so forgetful sometimes.

Baile la Salsa

Another easy thing to make for an AGEFAC party? Salsa. Especially Salsa Verde, or Tomatillo Salsa. This recipe boils down to: roast half the ingredients, puree all of them, season to taste. And the star of the show is the tomato’s shy sweater-wearing sister, the Tomatillo!

Tomatillos are tarter than straight tomatoes, and come with a cool little husk. To get them ready for the party, as with any shy girl, you get them out of their sweater, slap some makeup on them, hollow out their souls, and force them to conform to the relentless, unforgiving eye of public culture. At which point every boy at the party will suddenly find them hot, as if sweaters and glasses made a girl hideous. I have seen enough Velma cosplay in my day to know that statement is false. What are we talking about? Shit. Fruit. Right.

This is the best picture I took of them. I don’t know why people let me hold the camera.

Anywho, take half an onion, tomatillos, some garlic, and a jalapeno, and roast it all to get the juice going. (eeewww…) Then throw it in a food processor with lime juice, salt, and cilantro, and puree that shit. Taste it, adding more salt, pepper, or lime juice as needed. Also, make sure you have garlic on hand. SERIOUSLY? We just did this with the Sausage bites! Who doesn’t have garlic? Also, if you decide to roast the other half of the onion, take it out before throwing it in the blender. OR DON’T. SEE IF I CARE.

Anyway, now you have salsa!

Shown here. OR IS IT? DUN DUN DUN!!! Yes. Yes it is.

 “Mississippi Mud Dip” Sounds Like a Euphemism for Anal with a Pig.

Whoa there, title Jon. Ran out of puns? Jumped straight to shock humor, did we? Well…I can’t say you’re wrong.

Now, for those of you without blood sugar or weight concerns, Mississippi Mud Pie is a delightful dish containing chocolate. If that sentence sounded vague, that’s because, it turns out, there’s a ton of variations on the dish. If you asked ME to describe it, I would have said “Umm. There’s like, an oreo crust, a bunch of chocolate filling, and a metric crap ton of whipped cream.” If you had asked me where the cream cheese went, I’d have looked at you suspiciously, opened my mouth, closed it without speaking, furrowed my brow, and otherwise have generally conveyed to you the impression that your question had confused me so totally that I assumed you were trying to prank me.

I ain’t got time to cream.

But yes, there are apparently a wide array of recipes, some using a layer of cake, some with cream cheese, some having an ice cream core with a firm chocolate top, and generally enough variation to make me assume that, at some point, at least three distinctly different dishes were subsumed by this name. In any case, as a finishing dessert, I found a recipe that promised to deliver big chocolate flavor with minimal effort, with a Mississippi Mud Pie Dip. And when I say minimal effort, I mean both on your part, and that of the writer.

The first instructions were easy enough: mix a package of Jello Chocolate Pudding mix with a container of Cool Whip. And thereby came the first issue: Jello packages come in varying size, as do Cool Whip containers. Which size was meant to be matched with which? We could only guess. A guess that, I pray, we made poorly.

If this is success, maybe winning is overrated.

My father has had many experiences with construction in his day. He was a roofer, a pipe-fitter. He built sets, and kennels, and bridges. So when he told me the mixture we had produced looked and felt like chocolate Mortar, I believed him. It was thick, and grainy, and it resisted force applied to it. In my less rugged experiences, I could only relate it to the feel of clay. This was not an appetizing snack or dessert option, this felt like grout for laying tile.

I still ate it, of course. I begrudgingly slathered it onto an oreo, daring health and wellness to oppose my dark creation. Already I was full from the pierogi, salsa and chips, and little sausage biscuits I had made, as well as smoked ribs, guacamole, margaritas, and buffalo chicken dip my parents had made. Yes, it had been a good day, I thought, grinding sugary building supplies in my teeth. A good day for an Annual Gathering of Excellent Football Athletic Champions.  Or really, any get-together. Like…The OSCARS. HOLY SHIT, WHY WAS THIS ENTIRE POST ABOUT BEING LATE FOR A FOOTBALL GAME? I’ll just claim this was all for an Oscar party-…What’s that? This is being posted the day AFTER the Oscars? Jesus.

I am an unorganized, forgetful mess.

JOIN US NEXT TIME, WHEN I ACTUALLY POST SOMETHING BEFORE THE RELEVANT FESTIVAL IS OVER: A St PATRICK’S DAY SHEPARD’S PIE!

As always, feel free to comment down below if you like what we do, or if you have any favorite snack recipes you’d like to share, and feel free to tell your friends about the site, because, seriously, without your help, we’re relying on me to do it. And if you think I’m unorganized and forgetful in normal life, you ain’t seen my digital life.

RECIPE

SAUSAGE BITES

1.5 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp butter (cut it into ½” chunks for better distribution)

8 oz breakfast sausage (I have seen a basically identical version of this recipe with bulk Italian sausage, so I assume it’s about what flavor you’re shooting for)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

¾ cup buttermilk

PREPARATION

1.Mix first 5 ingredients in food processor until combined. Scatter butter on top, pulse about 12 times. Add Sausage and Cheese, pulse another 8-9 times. It should look like weird pink playdoh. Dump into a bowl, and mix with buttermilk until combined.

  1. Roll 1 tbsp balls of dough and space evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (You’ll want wet hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Re wet them every four or five balls. Hehe.) Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap, and freeze. If you want the baking sheet back, once the balls have hardened, you can transfer them to a Ziploc bag, and keep them there.
  2. Bake the frozen balls for 25 minutes at 400 degrees on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Rotate once halfway through baking. Let rest 5-10 minutes.

ROASTED TOMATILLO SALSA

INGREDIENTS

2 lb Tomatillos, husked and washed (they make a sticky coating under their husks, so you want that off)

1 small onion, chopped. (Onion sizes are really weird. My understanding of this instruction is basically “Half a supermarket onion”)

1 jalapeno, seeded (hold onto the seeds, they get added later.

2 garlic clove, minced. (Since we didn’t have any fresh, I used 2 tsp of pre-minced. I threw it in after the roasting, tossed the ingredients, and let them sit for about 10 minutes. )

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 tbsp lime juice. (If you squeeze a whole lime, that’s about 2 tbsp)

Salt

PREPARATION

  1. Move oven rack to the top setting, or about ^” from the broiler, and turn on the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and toss all the ingredients before Cilantro together. Spread the oily veggies on the foil, and broil 15 minutes, until veggies are nicely charred. Shake the pan occasionally to get more char.
  2. Let the veggies cool for 5-10 minutes, and pulse then all in a food processor with the Cilantro,1/2 tsp salt, and the lime juice until the consistency you desire. We stopped around 12-13 pulses. Pour into a bowl, and add salt and lime juice to taste. Refrigerate up to 2 days before serving. (Note, this mix is VERY tart when it comes out of the food processor, so you may want to try it once when it comes out, and again a few hours later, to better judge the flavor profile.)

BUFFALO PIEROGI

INGREDIENTS

1 package frozen pierogi. (I use Mrs T’s brand. I think it’s 10oz or so, so if you use a bigger or smaller bag, scale the rest.)

1tbsp vegetable oil

4 tbsps hot sauce. (I tend to mix something like 2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot, 1 tablespoon something like Pickapeppa, 1 tablespoon wild card. And a dash of the most insanely hot sauce you own)

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Mix together oil and hot sauce. Grease baking sheet.
  2. Toss frozen pierogi in sauce. Lay out on baking sheet, giving some space between them. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

MISSISSIPPI MUD GROUT DIP

1 package Jello Chocolate pudding (for some reason, I found that chocolate fudge blended mildly better.)

1 container Cool Whip (or the off-brand stuff. We don’t judge. I’ve been debating if it’s worth trying to make it again with twice the cool-whip, see if that keeps it lighter.)

1/2 package oreos.

PREPARATION

  1. Crush the Oreos. Mix the Jello and cool whip until combined, and sprinkle half the oreos in, stirring to incorporate. Then top with whipped cream and remaining oreos.