Friday, March 13, 2009

Get yo' appetizer on!

My work is having a cook-off. These cook-offs (or bake-offs) have become an HR traditional that I have happily arranged because I love the pseudo-work associated with them. Why do real, honest-to-god work when I can make a bake-off flyer with corny clip-art? In the past we had the "potato challenge" (I made a far-too-fatty baked potato soup - loads of bacon and cheese and cream, and oh god was it heaven). I got first place. (Nevermind there were only two participants.) Then there was the "berry challenge" this past summer, where participants could make anything, but a type of berry had to be an integral part of the dish. I made a fantastic strawberry peach pie. Apparently, no one else saw its fabulousness and I didn't even rank in the top three (out of about 15). In the fall, I concocted a new challenge - the apple and pumpkin face-off, where, you guessed it, apples or pumpkins took center stage. I made my caramel apple pie and I won first place (out of 20). (There was a lot of uproar about this since I organize the event and count the votes, but I swear, I am nothing but honest, and anyway, my colleague Mary audited me as I counted the incoming votes. Oh, and my pie was freakin' terrific.)

Which brings us to now. In two weeks we will have the appetizer challenge in celebration of March madness. The problem is: I don't have any appetizer recipes! There are also a lot of constraints. It's all very Top Chef-esque: you have to work with what you've got, and here, at work, we only have a toaster oven, a myriad of microwaves and some refrigerators. So, I either have to make something cold or haul the crock pot out (or something).

I am asking you, dear readers, to help me out as I'm in a quandary here. Do you have any stellar appetizer recipes that can pounce the competition? I particularly want to beat our receptionist, Hannah, who eggs me on every day and says she's going to sabotage my entry by sprinkling cayenne pepper over it (I'm not sure if she's joking). Don't kid yourself - it's a tough competition.

If you have any good recipes, I invite you to post them for everyone to see. (Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee I will not shamelessly steal them and call them my own.)
Photo courtesy of "Cooking Mama: Cook-Off" game for Nintendo Wii.


  1. You could always do wings! That's a stereotypical sports appetizer if I ever heard one! And they can be cooked in the Crock pot.

  2. Wings is a great idea, but I think someone already is doing that, blech (and they are super duper yummy wings so I stand no chance - I've had them before). I'm thinking these turkey roll-up things (tortillas, cream cheese, turkey, roasted red peppers = easy and delicious).