What You Need For The Perfect (Impromptu) Cocktail Party This Weekend
Welcome to the second installment of our series about getting to know, love, and respect our Crock Pot here at TFD HQ: The Entry-Level Crock Potter. This week, we’ll be discussing one of my (Chelsea’s) favorite recipes as a Maryland native and general lover of all things crab: Old Bay crab dip. Now, I like to think of myself as something of a Johnny Appleseed, but for Old Bay. A Johnny OldBayseed, if you will. Pretty much all of my friends, no matter where they are from, have come to love Old Bay on everything from their chicken to their popcorn to their french fries, because I have made it my life’s mission to share it with them. It’s a seasoning that enriches lives, and brings a smile to even the most skeptical face.
So it only made sense that we would use crab dip as the basis of a finger-foods dinner party. Along with a cheese and charcuterie board, incredibly-easy skewers that we’re including here, a crudite platter, and some olives, it’s the perfect central item that allows you to not have to worry about cooking for hours before the evening starts. (Which is crucial if, like us, you tend to be a panicky cleaner.) Here’s a shot of our table you may recall from my Instagram.
And now, without further ado, our recipes of the evening, starting with the Crock Pot.
Crock Pot Old Bay Crab Dip
Total Prep Time
Total Cook Time
You will need
-1 package cream cheese, softened
-1 3/4 cups greek yogurt (we used whole)
-1 quarter yellow onion, diced small
-3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon hot or whole-grain mustard
-1 teaspoon worcestershire
-1 pound real crab meat, shredded (At your fish section there will be a few options in refrigerated crab meat, don’t waste your money on jumbo lump, get the shredded kind for dips and stuff — it’s usually half the price. Also, as a Marylander, I am legally required to encourage you to get real blue crab if you can.)
-Several teaspoons of Old Bay, to taste
-Cracked black pepper to taste
-Squeeze of fresh lemon
-Baguette, sliced thin
Literally dump all of this shit in your crock pot, stir to combine, let cook on low for two hours at least, and serve hot, when you’re ready. You should serve this on your baguette slices, which you’ve toasted quickly to golden-brown in your toaster oven/oven/whatever you use to toast. Crackers will also do, but it’s less awesome. (And some people prefer untoasted baguette, but they’re wrong.)
This dip will be so melty and gooey and wonderful, and this is an ORIGINAL from the bottom-up, hand-crafted Annapolis recipe by yours truly, so you are getting that real Maryland flavor in every bite. And part of that means going a little nuts on the Old Bay. A lot of recipes will tell you to use like two teaspoons, that is never enough. I think I ended up with close to four, but I’d start with two, taste, and plan on adding more. Seriously, a crab dip that is not bursting with that flavor is no crab dip at all, so be an honorary Marylander and get it right. (Also note that Old Bay is full of salt, so you don’t want to be salting on top of this unless you are absolutely sure. I never do.)
Now, onto our one other dish of the evening that required actual preparation, the skewers. (And when we say they are easy, we mean they are so unbelievably easy that you can’t believe how they taste when they come out, because they were so ridiculously easy to prepare. It takes literally like five minutes, and everyone will be obsessed with them.)
Easy Brussels Sprouts + Bacon Skewers
Total Prep Time
Total Cook Time
You will need:
-2 pounds brussels sprouts, washed and halved
-1 pack thick-cut bacon, cut into little squares
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-3 tablespoons honey
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-Few cracks black pepper
-1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (optional)
To make this, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, because this will get messy.
Combine honey, soy, pepper, and garlic in a bowl, set aside. (Add your chili sauce if you like it a bit spicy.) Make a little assembly line of skewers, bacon, and brussels, and put them together alternating bacon and sprouts, making sure to bookend both sides with bacon, because that is what keeps everything nice and moist.
Brush generously with your glaze, put into the oven, and take it out twice during cooking, at regular intervals, to rotate the skewers and baste more. (You might have some sauce leftover, depending on how many you make, and that’s okay. I chose to drizzle a little extra sauce on the end, but I have a high tolerance for salt, so definitely taste one to see if you want any extra glaze.)
Depending on your oven, and how crispy you like them, this should take about 30 minutes total. But you be the judge, based on how roasted and crispy you like it to be. Serve warm, and collect compliments!
Along with these dishes and all our other finger foods, we made two champagne-based cocktails, as it was a birthday and who doesn’t love champagne cocktails! We can’t take credit for these recipes, since they’re pretty general knowledge, but we’ll provide them here.
Kir Royale Cocktail Recipe
Put a half-shot glass of crème de cassis at the bottom of your glass. Fill with champagne, garnish with a cherry.
French 75 Recipe
Combine an ounce of gin, a half-ounce of simple syrup, and a half-ounce of lemon juice. Shake over ice, strain into champagne coupe/flute, fill with champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Feel classy as hell!
We hope you try some of these dishes to make the one of the most low-maintenance, impressive-seeming dinner parties of your life. Turn the lights down low, light some candles, and you’re suddenly at an upscale cocktail bar/small plates lounge without having to pay $15 a drink. TFD approves!