Game Night SnacksPoker Night Eats
Every now and then the urge arises to channel our inner Bond and set up a high stakes poker game, Casino Royale-style. When the usual suspects have gathered, and serious pride (and bucks) is on the line, it’s time to go big or go home. Do the same in the kitchen with this sure-to-impress menu, which blends flash and substance with just the right amount of bling.
High rollers demand quality, and this dish delivers. Ice-cold caviar and crispy, briny oysters are liquid gold and to be treated with respect.
Yield: 4 servings
Add 3 inches of oil to a saucepan on medium-high heat.
In a medium bowl, add flour, cornmeal, and smoked paprika. Mix well. Add oysters, and coat well.
When a candy thermometer reaches 360˚F, carefully add 6 or 7 oysters to oil. Cook until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and season with salt. Fry remaining oysters in batches.
Add a small dollop of caviar to each oyster and serve immediately.
Cards, stogies – need we say more? Fifty years after the missile crisis, this is our ode to the Cuban sandwich gone wrong, but really right. Grilling the tortilla gives it some nice crispness, so don’t fall to temptation and skip a step.
Yield: 4 quesadillas
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Pat pork dry and season with oregano, cumin, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place pork on a roasting rack over a sheet tray. Bake about 25 minutes until meat thermometer registers 145˚F. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut pork into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Add mayonnaise, mustard, and hot sauce to a small bowl. Mix well.
Cook tortillas on a grill or grill pan, about 1 minute per side. Place tortillas flat on work surface. Brush mayonnaise mixture on 1 side of each tortilla. Place an even layer of sliced pork on 4 of the tortillas. Add 2 pieces of prosciutto or ham on top of pork. Add an even layer of pickle slices and cheese on top of ham. Top each stack with remaining tortillas, sauce-side down.
Wrap quesadillas in tinfoil. Bake in oven for 8–10 minutes until cheese has melted and quesadillas are warmed through. Cut each quesadilla into 6 pieces and serve.
Drinking while playing poker might not be the wisest strategy, but it’s sure fun. Every alcohol-fueled evening deserves a fried treat; this one is salty, sweet, and pairs nicely with a fine tequila.
Yield: 20–25 pieces
Add coconut milk to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice and 1 tablespoon of oil. Boil rice for 1 minute, then reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Season with salt.
Add coconut to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse for 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of coconut to rice, and mix well. Add 1 egg, and mix. Tightly form rice into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
Add flour to a bowl. Add 3 eggs to a separate bowl. Add breadcrumbs and remaining coconut to a third bowl. Coat rice balls in flour, then dip in egg mixture. Remove from egg, allowing excess to drip off, and coat in panko mixture.
Add 3 inches of canola oil to a nonstick saucepan. When a candy thermometer reaches 365˚F, carefully add 5 or 6 rice balls to oil. Cook until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Cook remaining rice balls in batches and serve immediately.
Steak and cheese is a safe bet for most audiences, and making it bite-sized intensifies its irresistible nature. NY strips have a nice balance of lean and fat, but a rib eye or filet would work well too.
Yield: 20 pieces
Heat a nonstick sauté pan on medium-high, and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook until soft, about 7–8 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to a bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to pan on medium heat. Add steak, and season with salt and pepper. Cook 3–4 minutes until meat has started to brown but not cooked through. Add to bowl. Add basil, and mix well.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Top brioche slices with steak mixture and place on sheet tray. Add Gruyere slices on top of steak and place in oven. Cook until cheese has melted, about 4 minutes, and serve immediately.
Any self-respecting wiseguy knows his way around a card table and a cannoli. This recipe doubles down with two kinds of cheese. If you’re not feeling the espresso, substitute some vanilla paste instead.
Yield: About 2 dozen
Strain ricotta cheese through cheesecloth overnight in fridge. Add ricotta, mascarpone, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until smooth, 1–2 minutes.
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Add espresso powder, and shut off heat. Mix well. Add to mixer and whisk for 1 minute. Add chocolate chips, and stir with a spoon. Wrap mixture with Saran and refrigerate.
Add flour, sugar, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 10 seconds. Add butter, and pulse 10 seconds. Add wine and eggs, and pulse for 10 seconds. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, and wrap in Saran. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Rolls out dough until it is about 1/8 inches thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut as many rounds from dough as possible. Place rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roll dough around mini cannoli tubes (3 5/8 inches long by 9/16 inches thick). Seal top gently and brush with egg white.
Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a nonstick sauce pan. When candy thermometer reaches 350˚F, add cannoli tubes. Fry until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Allow to cool.
Add filling to a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip. Pipe filling into cannoli shells until full. Refrigerate until serving.