2 Flatbread for The Golden Globes

Having tried pita for a short rib flatbread-type appetizer recently I wondered why some companies call them ‘pita’ while others say ‘pocket pita’. ALL pita have a pocket. Redundant much? While the pita I bought had very good flavor, cutting them into wedges revealed the double-layers and made eating the appetizer harder than it could have been.

Today I’m using Naan

Flatbread 1: Shrimp ‘scampi’ with white wine poached shrimp, great olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, Manzanilla olives, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and freshly ground black pepper layered on Naan that has been marked on both sides on a gas burner

Flatbread 2: Barbecue chicken with rotisserie chicken pulled and sauced with smoky barbecue sauce, quick pickle red onion, crispy Applewood smoked bacon bits and toasted sesame seeds layered on Naan that has been marked on both sides on a gas burner

Flatbread 2 might get some baby arugula because I have it on hand

Champagne or other favorite sparkling wine is always a good choice when you are serving foods with different flavors that a single wine might not be able to bring together.

Enjoy The Globes, or The Globs which is what they’re called around here!

Party app: Shrimp & clam dip

Anyone having an Oscars party on Sunday? Or any party soon … or later? I will be posting a handful of party-worthy hors d’oeuvres that are delicious and easy to make in the next few days in anticipation of Hollywood’s biggest night

When I’m putting together a party I want to make sure that I have something for everyone, including something vegetarian and something that is gluten-free. Now that doesn’t mean you have to break your neck coming up with something new because typically anything you are serving will probably have some kind of vegetable with it and something may already be gluten-free and you didn’t even know it!

Up first, this delicious pantry-concoction straight out of the orange plaid kitchen of my early youth, a throw-it-together appetizer I have tried to ‘improve’ with some fresh ingredients, but it just never worked. In fact, it wasn’t until even very recently that I learned that one of the ingredients (lemon juice) wasn’t even meant to come from fresh lemons (!) The one thing I DID improve was the texture by leaving the cut of the clams and the shrimp just as they are when they come out of the can instead of chopping them any further (stirring will break down the shrimp a bit, but that is part of the signature texture of the dish). I think it is nice to get different size pieces of both when enjoying this

The one thing I will say about the plastic lemon with the reconstituted lemon juice is that it does work in certain applications, like this one. I am not suggesting that you use it everywhere that you need lemon juice

This appetizer does improve with age but it can be thrown together just before service and it will be just as welcome

Ingredients
2 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams (not minced), chilled, drained
2 4 ounce cans medium shrimp, chilled, drained
6 ounces best-quality bottled cocktail sauce, chilled, then to taste
1 4.5 fluid ounce plastic lemon with reconstituted lemon juice, chilled
Nabisco brand Sociables crackers, for serving

Method
Add the clams, with their juices and the drained shrimp to a medium bowl. Add the cocktail sauce and stir gently to combine. Add half of the contents of the lemon and then taste to see if more is needed (the reconstituted juice is the ‘secret ingredient’ to this dish; do not try to substitute freshly squeezed, it just is not strong enough to match the canned fish) Do not be surprised if you use most of it, it is almost impossible to add ‘too much’

Scrape the dip into a pretty bowl and surround on a platter with Sociables (poppy seed crackers)

Serve Shrimp & clamp dip cold with pâté knives for schmearing onto the crackers

Tom’s Tips: Super Bowl 50

Tom’s Tips are my favorite techniques and tips from the kitchen

Still at a loss as to what to serve at your Super Bowl party? Maybe you’ve grown weary of chili (the national dish for The Super Bowl) but don’t despair your party can still be the hit of the neighborhood (especially since everyone will be at your place!) I have a boatload of party-approved, easy-to prepare dishes and drinks that will make yours the party everyone will remember. You can make it doubly easy on yourself by sharing this list and assigning your friends, family and neighbors the task of preparing them. Now that’s a Super Bowl party worth cheering for!

Main courses
Chili – I’m not leaving this out just because you might be ready for something new. My Texas chili is true of form – meat and spices – and requires overnight refrigeration so you still have time

Pizza – You can achieve pizza dough AND pizza sauce in as much time as it takes to order for delivery and it could very well become your favorite

Calzones – Take pizza to the next level by turning your pizza dough into calzones

Di rigueur – if you serve nothing else, you need to at least have some pickles and some cheese … in the following formats, please. It doesn’t show much in the way of caring if you open some jars and unwrap a block of cheese and call it ‘snacks’

Relish tray

Cheeseboard

Hors d’oeuvres – A little fussier, but I’m into that – individual appetizers to serve on big platters

Potato skins

Deviled eggs

Kettle chips with bacon and blue cheese

Buffalo wings with homemade blue cheese dressing

Bacon wrapped dates

Fried cheese sticks with marinara

Shrimp scampi stuffed mushrooms

Dips – Don’t forget the dip!

Cold spinach dip with pineapple bread

Baba ganoush

Hot artichoke dip

Crab Rangoon dip

Creamy sausage dip

Two sandwiches

Famous Turkey Swiss with olive salad sandwich

Stromboli

Three Salads

Deli mac salad

Deli potato salad

Chopped salad

Drinks – beer is an easy go to, just don’t fall into a false-sense of needs by ordering a keg unless you’re hosting at a college fraternity or have over 100 people imbibing

Homemade ginger ale

Any juice Mimosa

3 way on the beach

Margarita

Dessert – Some guests just won’t forgive you if you don’t have something sweet, especially if their team doesn’t win

Best of class brownies

Chocolate covered pretzel rods

Chocolate chip cookies

Marshmallow cereal bars

Peanut butter balls

Go Team!