I’m a planner.
I like making lists, I like doing research and, yes, my family’s vacations include an itinerary.
That’s why my kitchen table was covered with paper and cookbooks the other day. We were having some friends over for Game Night and I was looking for snack ideas. This wasn’t a formal dinner or even a potluck, but I think get-togethers, no matter how casual, are all about the food.
Over the years I’ve hosted Thanksgivings, a wine tasting, Memorial Day cookouts and Super Bowl parties. I had a get-together for the Olympic Games opening ceremony and presented an awesome spread for a Halloween party.
The pumpkin cheesecake was made to look like a Jack-O-Lantern.
Before each event, my husband asks me not to go overboard. (I think he’s having a hard time letting go of the 96 mini cupcakes I made for a friend’s baby shower.) My friend Cecelia has been known to text an hour before the party with two words: Stop cleaning.
I love them both, but I know myself. I decide on an idea and I go with it. And yes, I usually go overboard, but it’s a great way to try new recipes. If it doesn’t work out, I open a bottle of wine and everyone still has a good time. Most of the parties I host end up with everyone in the kitchen, sitting around the table and munching on olive and rosemary focaccia, red-eye deviled eggs or miniature fried tacos.
Bonus: My family dines on leftovers the next day.
Miniature food was the theme for Game Night. I made tiny cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, individual pizza and – because it’s National Peanut Month – Baby BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Roasted peanuts added to the coleslaw give the sandwiches an added crunch.
Ingredients for the pulled pork
- 1 2-pound pork butt or shoulder
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup root beer
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, lightly crushed
Ingredients for the fixings
- ½ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
- About 2 cups BBQ sauce
- 12 Hawaiian rolls, sliced in half
- About 1 cup coleslaw
Put pork, broth, root beer, onion, bay leaves, and mustard seed in a slow cooker on low heat for about 6 hours or until the pork is tender.
Remove meat and discard liquid. Using 2 forms, shred the meat. Return shredded meat to the slow cooker and keep on low heat for 10 minutes or until you’re ready to serve.
Toss pork, peanuts and BBQ sauce together in a large bowl until combined. Fill each roll with about ¼ cup pulled pork and 2 heaping tablespoons of slaw.
Makes 12 sandwiches
Recipe courtesy of Tiny Food Party!: Bite-sized Recipes for Miniature Meals by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park