So I’m falling into the same trap that I fall into every year at this point: lack of planning. Not that I’m being a slouch, just that I’m spinning one too many plates. The holidays aren’t even here yet, and already it’s one thing after another.
First issue is a Halloween costume. Every freakin’ year I do this. Put off Halloween ideas until it’s too late to do anything elaborate. And so I’m left scrambling for a last minute costume. Generally speaking I manage to pull it off. I come up with something fun, and Halloween’s always a blast. But this year… this year… man I’m not so sure I’m gonna pull it off. Like, almost a little worried. I might end up as that slacker without a real costume at the Halloween party.
There’s also the complication this year of the Jon Stewart rally, which I and a number of friends will be attending. Here’s to hoping we make it back from DC in time for the evening’s many Halloween parties. I mean, even if I had an elaborate costume, I probably wouldn’t have much time to put it together.
So yeah, there’s that.
And the other thing is food. And here the problem is an overabundance of ideas. I finally set a date for my much belated house-warming party. And now I must plan a menu. If you ever make it to one of my parties, rest assured my friend you will be well fed. And it’s all about the savories: burgers, dogs, cheese, cheese, and more cheese.
Just last night I came home with an armful of cheeses from Eddies. I found this cheddar called Red Dragon, which is an English cheddar with whole grain mustard seed and ale. It’s tasty stuff on its own, but it begs to be melted into a soup or dip. And I’d like to try it on a burger as well. I’m thinking cheeseburger sliders on pretzel rolls–the hearty mustard seed being a perfect compliment for the pretzel dough. Of course, where am I going to get pretzel roll slider buns?
I also brought home a savory, soft taleggio. I’d had an amazing taleggio this weekend at one of Baltimore’s finer restaurants, and it had me craving some more. I’m not entirely sure what to do with it though–eating it over bread and crackers aside. It would provide some delightful gooiness to a risotto or similar, but that’s not exactly party food. I might have to save this cheese for some non-party preparation.
The main thing I’ve been thinking about is dogs—hot dogs! Baltimore has been graced lately with two absolutely amazing hot dog establishments: Stuggy’s and The Haute Dog Cart. The Haute Dog Cart is tucked away in Mt Washington and is very low key–really just a lunchtime hot dog stand. But the dogs are A-MAZ-ING. I stopped by last week or so and had a bbq mustard cheesy dog that blew my mind. I will definitely be attempting to recreate that dog for my party. It’s preparation isn’t that different than a bunch of other BBQ I’ve done before–I’d just never thought to do it with hot dogs.
Stuggy’s on the other hand is fast on its way to becoming one of the city’s venerable savory meccas. It’s on the square in Fells, and it specializes in a number of regional dogs, all of which are amazing. Things like Chicago dogs and Carolina slaw dogs. The kinds of dogs you see here. I find myself raving about this place constantly, and if I lived down in Fells Pt, I swear to you I’d be twenty five pounds heavier by now.
So I’m trying to think of some ideas for dogs. Well, okay, I’m trying to pare down many, many ideas to just a few. I’ve got the BBQ dog that I’d like to do. I’d also like to do what I’d call a Mexican mushroom dog, based off of a recipe for Mexican mushrooms that I kinda whipped up (a variation on a traditional Russian recipe actually). There’s the temptation to do a hot dog bar, with fixins for slaw dogs and Chi-town dogs there for self serve. Just so many freaking hot dog possibilities.
And then of course there’s the sliders. I can’t have people over without sliders. The soy ginger with creamy brie spread slider most definitely will return. Everyone loved those last year. But what of the others? I feel like doing something a little more interesting than bacon cheeseburger sliders this year. But not sure what. I like the mustard cheddar and pretzel roll idea, but not sure how to make all of that work. Plus that cheese ain’t cheap.
And of course I need to plan all of this without overdoing it. I need to pare it down and figure out what’s workable–what can I preprep the day beforehand so that I won’t be busy cooking during my whole party. It would be nice if I allowed myself some time at my own party to enjoy myself, don’t you think.
Anyway, if you’re a friend or acquaintance of mine, don’t be alarmed if I call you over in the coming weeks plying you for opinions on recipes I’m trying.