Monday, May 14, 2007

Cowboy fare

When Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness announced this month’s blog party theme to be Wild West – my heart dropped, I could not think of a single thing that I could turn into a dinky canapé or how on earth I’d serve it all in a cowboy fashion. Generally when I first hear about each month’s event I can immediately envisage a few tasty morsels and which plates and dishes from my extensive teetering crockery collection to deploy for that style and actually it's sometimes difficult to know where to stop - witness the comfort food effort and the black & white entire meal. I am fairly confident that most occasions I could happily cater for, but Wild West – no I was utterly stumped!

I could only conjure up image of baked beans (yuck!), big hats, leather chaps and horses – really not inspirational! And as for serving dishes should I be pondering tin plates and enamel bowls? It was such a quandary!

I tried to cast my mind back to Girl Guide escapades around campfires and could recall some flour and water paste wrapped round a stick called dampers, which made rather doughy lumps of bread and of course endless toasting of fluffy pink or white marshmallows on twigs. Neither of which sounded entirely suitable.

After considerable head scratching and rejecting all sorts of options, I felt that considering the job in hand of an average cowboy they’d be an abundance of readily available beef in his life. So after all that deliberation, I came up with Beef Three Ways – Meatballs, Steaks and Beef Stew. For the meatballs I formed some minced steak into small bit size nibbles to be served skewered on small wooden cocktail sticks. Then I flashed fried very thin pieces of steak, topped with extraordinarily hot horseradish, folded in half and impaled with my new Georg Jensen mini forks. I had intended to let down the horseradish with some crème fraîche but somehow in the general melee forgot and was somewhat surprised by the eye watering, mouth burning titbit. The stew was one-pot of beef cubes, mushrooms and finely chopped onions and served mouthful canapé style on teaspoons. I really struggled to think how to serve them and finally settled on some individual butcher’s block chopping boards on top of a vaguely western style cloth – not my best work, I have to concede.

I had problems with the drink choice as well; a rather bizarre topic for dinner table conversation over the weekend just gone was ‘what would a cowboy drink?’ There was talk of Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and various whiskies. I believe the suggestion of milk from the those handy cows was also thrown into the mix. I thought of what I consider to be very American drinks, western style aside and I could onky really come up with Dr, Pepper's (definitely the worse that could happen!) or what I finally settled on - Coca Cola. I did consider mixing some JD with the Coke but I've never had a taste for it so it ended up 'au natural'. A rather poor show I think!

I'm positive that Stephanie's other guests will have summoned up a magnificent feast in the Wild West style, so check out their offerings.

I'm really crossing my fingers that I won't be so challenged with whatever Stephanie opts for next month's blog party theme and hopefully I'll do better next time.

1 comment:

Deborah Dowd said...

I think you did a great job- a tough one given no one has lived in the wild west for a long time!