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Jan 18, 2009 01:45 AM

How to serve chili at our inaugural ball and fiesta.

Okay. I told everyone light apps.

However, I am determined to make chili because it's what Barack cooks. (Although tonight during my practice run, I discovered that his recipe is not all that fab--- I'm going to switch to Bayless. But will test it tomorrow.


Anyway. Logistically plates and utensils are going to be difficult as we're looking at thirty to forty. But it's chili so I sort of have to. Unless anyone has a bright idea for chili as a finger food.

Would rather not go disposable. And would rather not take out our entire cupboards of mismatched (in style and size) cups and bowls.

I was thinking about checking a thrift store for maybe some funky mismatched cups. But more consistently mismatched than ours. You feel me? Perhaps a lot of different small glasses.

Or maybe IKEA for ramekins.... We probably have enough utensils.

Anyone with serving suggestions? I'd greatly appreciate it.

Planning to also make the cheddar biscuits featured in the CHOW story. And something arugula-y. And challah. And chocolate cupcakes. Maybe another vegetable but people will be bringing their own "light apps."

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  1. You could make a bowl out of a tortilla or out of egg roll skin.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TDEL

      I like this idea. How would you do it? Tortilla seems most appropriate. Corn would be good because it would be like a two-bite chili taco. Could I mold them in a muffin tin? What do you suggest?

      1. re: sophie.

        How about those scoops chips? You could spoon a Tbsp at least into each of those.

        I just finished a big batch of Barack's own recipe. It's very basic, has an interesting bite from the vinegar. I thought about upping the spice (it's bland for me) but decided to leave it alone. I've got another chili as well so we'll see which people prefer.

        1. re: lupaglupa

          Agreed. His chili is very bland. When I made it last night I thought it was lame. Too PG for my crowd. Tried to justify it with the supposition that he's cooking it for Sasha and Malia.
          I threw in loads of cayenne and red chili peppers to give it some heat.

          But Barack loves Bayless (and I love them both) so that's why I switched.

          I was liking the tortilla idea because I wanted to make it myself. I try to stay away from the Frito variety.

          However, I think I have found a solution along the lines of cordwainer's suggestion. This afternoon I was at the kitchen dollar store around the corner from my house and found these Duralex Picardie imitations from Indonesia. They are the perfect size and I bought eighteen for $15.

          I have eight 7.5 ounce real Picardies. And we have six very small ones that are two-year-old size (3 ounce-ish). So these new medium sized glasses match the house very well. They are a great pinch-bowl/espresso/bourbon size. We will use them often.

          Now I just need to decide if it will be ridiculous to use full size utensils with small little glasses.

          I figure people will arrive/eat in waves. And not all will have chili. So I will probably attempt to wash-and-go. Maybe sort of ridiculous. But if chili is in high demand I'll just bring out our other assorted cups.

          There will be cheddar biscuits and challah-- my nod to Israel. I figure chips are an easy item for a guest to bring. So we'll just see how it goes.

          Thank you for all of the suggestions. Lupaglupa, is your other chili, perchance, vegetarian? Because I was considering just making a smaller veg chili -- exactly the same, minus the beef and maybe with a few bell peppers in its stead. But I haven't decided.

    2. If you have a dollar store nearby, you can easily find 30 to 40 nice deep NON-plastic bowls - if not enough in one color, you will be able to find similar styles/complementary colors, 10-20 of each, at least. At a buck a bowl, that's affordable for a party, especially since you'll be able to keep them for later. A dollar store will usually also have inexpensive flatware (if you run short) - and if you want non-plastic drinking glasses, you can pick up wine/highball/etc. glassware that you won't mourn if it is broken.

      I bought some very nice slightly irregular, solid color stoneware bowls at our dollar store just last week; paired with a bunch of small plates I had already in various colors, it all came out looking faux Fiestaware-ish and very colorful yet tied together. (nothing neon; nice medium green, mustard yellow, deep teal, medium purple,

      At our Christmas Eve chili parties, we used to have as side dishes a huge Caesar salad, a plate of crudites, and a plate of whatever fruit looked good at the grocery store. (The "arugula-y" whatsit you mention sounds like a spring greens mixture I love.) We also put out bowls of saltines, tortilla chips, a good sourdough loaf/boule, grated sharp cheddar, chopped onions and sour cream (or non-fat plain yogurt).

      By the way, one year my partner accidentally doubled the salt in his recipe (he inadvertently added garlic salt instead of garlic powder). If your chili is too salty, you can do what my grandmother taught me, and what we did: quickly peel 3 or 4 largish potatoes, cut each into 3 to 4 pieces, add them to the simmering chili, and let them cook until soft. They will soak up the extra salt, and lots of nice flavor.

      As an extra bonus, the potatoes themselves make a great side dish ("chili potatoes, anyone?"). Our last chili party several years ago, the diners loved the potatoes they all wanted the "recipe".

      cheers, cordwainer

      1. you could possibly use those little pre-made phyllo cups...spoon in some chili, top with some cheddar cheese and bake to melt, then put a garnish of a little green onion and sour cream on top...

        1. HA! I saw that Obama chili recipe floating around the internet and wondered if it was any good.

          You could do mini-chile pies, maybe the size of those quiche bites, though, frankly, that would be awfully snicky-snacky and would get old quickly if people are really expecting a meal rather than a snack.

          What if you did mini (but not "bite" sized) chili pies in a corn meal crust? Maybe a recipe along these lines? Perhaps you could even add cheddar cheese to it.


          5 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            You could spray a muffin/cupcake tin with vegetable spray. Get a loaf of two of white/wheat bread, thin sliced. Push and mold a slice down into each muffin, so it's snug and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Fill halfway with Chili to serve.

            Or you could hollow out small, crusty rolls and serve mini bread bowls.

            1. re: mcel215

              I love the idea of using crusty rolls as mini bread bowls.


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                You could buy mini bags of fritos at sams or the just open the bag spoon in some chilli, then add cheese and a dollap of sour cream...frito pie!Easy...delish...and cheap!

                1. re: LaLa

                  That walking taco in a bag (or, walking chili in a bag, I guess) would be a funny nod to Iowa!



              2. re: mcel215

                I was at a get together last month where chili and clam chowder were served in these exact "vessels" - perfect for an appetizer size. They even witheld "second" servings without getting too soggy.

            2. SIMPLE SOLUTION

              I have made this at many parties. I buy small little dollar rolls. Available at any grocery store pre made. Just cut a small hole in the top and hollow out some of the bread. Bake for 10 minute at 400 to to lightly crust up but not much. It is easy and quick. Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of chili in them and serve. They are easy and quick. I just buy the smallest rolls possible. They are fun unique and easy to eat.

              I serve this at outdoor catering events like BBQ's and people love them.