C'est Cheese!




Cheese puffs and pigs in blankets

Guys, it don't get more Retro Cocktail Party than this. These now-White Trash staples were the It Cocktails of our grandparents' generation.

So! Cheese puffs, as per Gram's old Betty Crocker cookbook:

The ingredients? 1 package of "refrigerator biscuits" (poppin' fresh! Hee hee hee!), and 1/4 lb cubed sharp Cheddar cheese. That's all.

The recipe? Um... separate the biscuits. Cut them into quarters. Wrap a piece of cheese with a piece of biscuit. Drop into hot oil and fry for 3 minutes. I'm sure you can brush them with melted butter and bake them in a hot oven until they're brown, if, like me, you aren't keen on the idea of hovering over a pot of hot oil frying shit while people arrive. 

There's even a variation! Dig this: for blue cheese puffs, melt together 1/4 cup butter and 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese. Pour this mixture over the quartered biscuit pieces, making sure they're all coated. Bake in a 400* oven for about 15 minutes. Mmm mmm.

Several of my old cookbooks call for making cheese puffs by using toasted bread rounds instead of biscuit stuff. For that, you toast twelve 1 1/2" - 2" bread rounds on one side in the broiler. Combine 1/4 cup mayo, 1/2 package of (ah, you knew it was coming!) onion dip mix, and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Fold 1 stiff-beaten eg white into the mayonnaise mixture. Spoon this onto the untoasted side of the bread rounds, and bake at 450* for about 10 minutes. 

A contemporary recipe I found suggests you "update this classic with a sharp cheddar or even Gruyere. Simply beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Beat in ½ tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. paprika (use the real Hungarian paprika that adds a spicy flavor, not just color). Fold in 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese. Heap on 1 ½" rounds of toast beds. Broil about 5 min. until delicately browned."

But what about the weenies, you ask? Well, to save time, I'm planning to just get whatever the frozen food section calls "pigs in blankets" and be done with it. But there are numerous weenie options. There's the ever-popular crock pot recipe... again, from the aforementioned cookbook of my Gram's: "Mix one 6-oz. jar prepared mustard and one 10-oz jar (1 cup) currant jelly" together and "diagonally slice 1 pound frankfurters in bite-size pieces. (Or use canned Vienna sausages or coktail wieners, cut in half). Add to sauce and heat through." Nummy. Or something. Honk it up a bit with a spicier option: drain an 8-oz. can of crushed pineapple. Set pineapple aside and, in a saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, 1 cup beef broth, 3 tablespoons cornstartch, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cook and stir mixture until it thickens and boils. Stir in pineapple. You can either then pour the mixture over the weenies, or serve it in a bowl with the weenies on the side and toothpicks for dunkin'. Or you can again use that  Poppin' Fresh option, and roll cocktail weenies (or Vienna sausages) up in biscuit dough or croissant dough and brown 'em in the oven. Or, finally, you could update this recipe as well, according to My Lord and Master Mrtha Stywrrt:

sirhcd: Call me white trash, but I love those cocktail weenies wrapped in dough. Does Martha have any more elegant versions or ways to dress them up? —Chris in NY

Martha: And I would just like to answer question #1269, Dear White Trash, I would suggest you try my figs in a blanket in place of your pigs in a blanket. But I’ll admit, every now and then, i’ll pop one of those cocktail whatevers in my mouth. But of course it has to be dipped in a delicious pommery mustard!

All hail, mighty Martha! "Pommery mustard"...! And you wonder why I love her? She is a gorgeous bitch.

So, there you go! Cheese puffs and pigs-in-blankets, fresh from the 1950s! Kick ass!

You just be glad I skiped the recipes for Parmesan Rice Squares, Pickled Shrimp, or the oh-so-elegant Appetizer Ham Ball.... Or how about the Appetizer Pie!? Fish Bites with Chili Dunk?