Anticipating a visit from Lord Stanley’s Cup

Friday, 20 May 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Vancouver Canucks are getting closer to the Stanley Cup and things are heating up in this town (in as much as they can in such a laid back place). For many people here, that means a lot of get-togethers and a lot of dinner parties, myself included...

Friends, Food, and Hockey

My latest attempt was pulled pork sandwiches. I got up at 5 am the other day to get the pork shoulder in the oven so it would be ready for intermission. Along with it, I served homemade barbecue sauce, garlicky white beans, and sauteed kale. I think the gourmet sandwich idea works well for game watching as they’re easy to eat when balancing a plate on the knees. And of course, for this kind of party, everything is served buffet style.

Kristina had all the girls over for a game the other night and on her menu was her famous spicy ribs, collard greens, tomato salad, and (homemade!) cornbread. Since it was all girls and we didn’t need to be glued to the TV (not that being women has anything to do with it), she made it a sit-down dinner with the game on in the background. We could hear the low din of the play and each of us would check the score from time to time. It was a less stressful way to take in the game. 

Then last week my friends Craig and Jean served up a Mexican theme – crab nachos, ceviche, marinated flank steak, and spicy brownies and ice cream (homemade!) for dessert. We lost that game, but the meal was a shut out. The nachos were particularly brilliant. Bar food taken up a few notches is a definite crowd-pleaser.

Menus for Game Day Get-Togethers

I have faith in our Canucks and I believe we’re going all the way. That means I have to come up with several more menus for the gang.  

So what is the key to a great meal for a big group? I think the most important thing is to keep it casual. Allow people to graze and serve themselves, with dishes like fancy nachos, make-your-own sandwiches, or a big platter of ribs (cut into two or three rib pieces).

Also, things that don’t need to be served piping hot are good, and don’t try to make everything ready at the same time. Grilled pizzas and salad works well – you can just keep the pizza coming. There’s a recipe for spicy prawn sandwiches in Gwyneth’s new cookbook, which would be an excellent choice. And I love serving Klondike bars for dessert – people love it!

Please send your menu suggestions. Go Canucks!!




Join the conversation

On 05 20, 2011 at 10:40:22 AM, Sue B. said:

I’d watch the Canucks more often if it meant eating meals like that! All of those menus sound amazing! I swear watching tight games revs up your metabolism. If you’re eating away from the tv – just open the windows. If the neighbours are Canuck fans – you’ll hear cheers when they score and ughhs/nooos when the other team does. 😉

On 05 22, 2011 at 05:45:15 AM, Patricia B. said:

You’re so right about simple and casual when feeding a large group…. having food that can be served at room temp – so that you’re not a slave to the kitchen is def the way to go. At big get togethers , I like to serve cool & interesting sandwiches….they’ve been nick named “ loafies” my gal pals…..(okay perhaps after Proseco cocktails they were dubbed “ loafies”.) Try a “ loafie” made with kale or collards ( or mix ‘em both together like they do in the south ) that have been sautéed in garlic, onion, butter , wine and a good dose of red chili flakes…..get a long large loaf of Italian bread , slice it lengthwise and spread with butter and toast it either on the BBQ or under the broiler – its got to be crispy to hold up your middle ingredients – and to that add slices of provolone….. as cheesy as you like– then top with your kale/collard mix. Wrap in tin foil and bake at 350 for about 20 min. Let it sit in its tin foil packet for about 10 min – then slice – how ever large you want. Its fab…..guaranteed. You can make several “ loafies” …and get a mix happening. Try portabellos, grilled red onion, roasted red pepps and goat cheese you can even add pesto – or try caramelized onion , bacon and havarti. You can use diff kinds of bread too to mix it up. Also a really tasty sandwich is a muffaletta – not sure if I am able to add a link – but you can Google it – it’s a southern classic, interesting and delish – salty for sure – but off set the salt with a smart vodka and raspberry lemonade topped with a splash of Proseco – it works ! Its really worth the bloat !!! Loafies and muffalettas are wonderful paired with coleslaw. To save time you can purchase coleslaw in pre made bags –and add shaved fennel, thinly sliced red onion and add your fave vinaigrette – top with spicy pumpkin seeds for a crunch – or get all retro and top it with cashews…..totally an ’80’s throw back – serve it in a Chinese style container. I’ve also served it in those small jam jars used for canning – looks cute – and everyone has their own portion. The jars can be used again for Bloody Mary’ s and other drinks at casual BBQ’s and such ! I’ve even put ice cream in them for dessert. An easy dessert( lazy…but fab) toss some peanut butter cups in the freezer – mini ones and mini peppermint patties too…..bite size cool treats ! Sending many, many positive vibes to the Canucks….

On 05 22, 2011 at 09:50:46 PM, Eugen B. said:

Always go for the Canadian team, I always say. It’s been way too long since the Cup’s been in Canada. As for food, you ladies go all out. One thing I do like to make ahead of time for a game is chile. With some great baguettes it’s a great way to fill up the crew. Done right you can even have it as a dip :-). The other thing I’ve done is head over to the Italian deli and get a whack of different cheeses and meats (mortadella, prosciutto, capicola, etc.). Provide some great bread and condiments and it’s a “fend for yourself” affair that everyone loves. Oh, and beer. Lots and lots of beer… Obviously I cater to a mostly male crowd. Fantastic shirt, btw.

On 05 25, 2011 at 09:48:10 AM, Anna Wallner. said:

Thanks Patricia and Eugen! Fabulous menu ideas. Now that we’re in the finals (THE STANLEY CUP FINALS, YES!!!) I’ll be putting your ideas into practice. Go Canucks!! Go go go!!

On 05 25, 2011 at 10:51:40 AM, Tim E. said:

Had the old good news bad news day. First I see that we’re going a new show soon on OWN. Weird that our 1st season 3 show will be the last show you did. Then of course my Sharks lose. Congratulations to the Canucks they we’re the better team. Hope they win it all and yes you look cute in your t-shirt.

On 05 26, 2011 at 07:26:58 PM, Eugen B. said:

Just remembered another favourite I used to make way back when the Sens actually had a hope — yeah, a few years ago. Spiced nuts. I’ve used Michael Chiarello’s recipe (see link below) but used a variety of nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts). I’ve also modified it for oven use by creating a sweet-spicy mixture by using 1/2 a cup of honey, 3 tbsp of olive oil, a teaspoon of cinnamon, one of cayenne pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a dash of salt. I heat the mixture in a sauce pan over medium heat until hot and syrupy. I then add the mixture to a large bowl with about 4 cups of mixed, unsalted nuts. I toss this mixture and then place the nuts onto a parchment lined sheet and pop it a 375F oven for about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. They come out great and the house smells great on game day. You can make them a few days in advance, too. And there’s none of the deep fry oil mess to deal with :-). Fair warning, they won’t last long. Chiarello’s recipe is here: http://www.napastyle.com/recipe/recipe.jsp?productId=2648&parentCategoryId=614&categoryId=721&subCategoryId=715. And, of course, Go Canucks! Here’s to hoping for a parade in Vancouver in a couple of weeks!

On 05 27, 2011 at 01:48:52 PM, Kim R. said:

A big thank you Patricia B. ! I loved your Mason jar canning jar idea. Two years ago my sister and I bought 2 boxes of those jars from Canadian Tire we were going be canning dervishes . It never happened and those jars have been collecting dust in m laundry room . We had a big May “ 24” party over the weekend and after reading your post on Anna’s blog, my mind jumped to those silly jars ! It was such an inspired idea, Patricia. I took 2 of your suggestions, and served ice-cream topped with chopped frozen Reese’s mini cups. The jars kept the ice cream nice and cold and I was able to pre-assemble scoops in the jars and pop them into the freezer on a sheet pan. Thanks again, I really look forward to trying one of your Loafy Sandwiches. Oh needless to say, my sister got a kick out of the serving vessels for dessert ! Also Mr. Eugene….chilie and beer knows no gender ! Go Canucks

On 05 28, 2011 at 09:18:20 PM, Eugen B. said:

Kim, Too true re. beer and chili. Ironically I dislike beer so always have other drinks available, including mixing someone’s favorite or just having a good Scotch or Bourbon handy (Woodford Reserve is the best in my opinion). Thus, regarding beer consumption, I tend to be odd man out. That said I have discovered one beer I do like: Lugtread from Beau’s Brewery just outside Ottawa. Superb beer, and that from someone who generally dislikes beer. Doubt it’s available much outside the Ottawa Valley, though.

On 05 29, 2011 at 09:28:33 AM, Kim R. said:

Eugene there’s nothing wrong with being the “ odd man out” when it comes to beer consumption – some folks just don’t like the taste …I was one of them – but you are I are partners in crime when it comes to Beau’s !!! And here I thought it was such a sophisticated secret !! Have you tried the Lug Tread Lager ? Unsure of where you live – but you can get it the most wonderful Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto – and at the superb Le Select Bistro , I have picked it up too at the Summerhill LCBO….all in TO…… Go Canucks – Bruins, you don’t have a chance !!!! Oh and Anna….you DO look great in your t-shirt !

On 05 29, 2011 at 01:22:37 PM, Patricia B. said:

Yay Canucks !!! Anna, I feel bad that I didn’t mention that you looked great in your T-shirt, like Eugen, Kim & Tim did….you always look gorgeous ( you too Kristina!) ! Will you be sporting a new one – with perhaps “ Bye Bye Bruins” on it??? Just thought that you may need a new idea or 2 for Stanley Cup food. President’s Choice makes a really good puff pastry – its square – and comes with its own parchment paper to cook on. You can make some really fab gourmet pizzas – which are simply delish at room temperature. You can get as fancy as a French inspired pissaladière, and top your puff pastry pizza with caramelized onions, pancetta and sharp asiago cheese. You can do mushrooms with goat cheese drizzled with truffle oil. Also garlic sautéed collards and pulled pork ( there I go with the collards again !) One of my faves , is very plain – heirloom tomatoes with shaved garlic, topped with torn bocconcini – when it comes out of the oven – top with some freshly chopped basil….. or you could try sautéed spinach and spicy chorizo sausage topped with Manchego cheese. You can even do a cold pizza – make the base – after its cooled, arranged ribbons of torn prosciutto on top and to that add a generous handful of spicy arugula and drizzle with olive oil. I also like to mix low fat cream cheese with goat cheese ( half and half) for a base for all of my pizzas, it doesn’t matter what you top it with – the cheese just adds a nice rich note. Toppings like the collards, mushrooms and caramelized onions can be prepared ahead and then assembled the day of your “ You’re Goin’ Down Bruins” party

On 05 29, 2011 at 09:32:32 PM, Eugen B. said:

I’m in Ottawa, hence my comment regarding the Sens. And I do love their beer and yes Lug Tread is wonderful. Many places serve it here. And as it’s just up a ways from me I’m hoping to do a tour one day. Why not, it’s a beer worth drinking. 🙂

On 06 4, 2011 at 10:02:04 AM, Sue B. said:

Here’s a meal idea for game night: home-made pizzas and salad. Have the pizza dough ready to go, along with the sauce and a bunch of toppings. Each person dresses their own pizza.with the toppings of their choice. Conversely you could make 2-3 pizzas with different toppings and everyone just shares.


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