Dodgers-Inspired Recipes For Postseason Parties
A postseason party worthy of the Dodgers name requires top-notch food. This doesn't have to be complicated or fancy. All you need is your favorite Dodgers lineup and you have instant inspiration for great party foods. Just add a big-screen TV and some of your dearest Dodgers fanatics to celebrate the 2013 NLCS and help our boys bring home a World Series win for the City of Angels.
Inspiration: Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig may very well be the most beloved Dodger this season. Many Dodgers fans would agree Puig has been a huge asset to the Dodgers’ success, and the sensation is well deserved; the 22 year-old Cuban rookie made his major league debut this season with a bang, racking up 44 hits during his first month ever in the majors. He was named National League Rookie of the Month and National League Player of the Month, and was an All Star Team Candidate.
To honor Puig’s contributions and pay tribute to his home country of Cuba, try serving up a classic Cuban sandwich. Made with ham, pork, Swiss cheese and pickles and pressed like a Panini, a Cuban is a hearty crowd-pleaser and adds a cultural twist to the all-American classic fare. Lourdes Castro’s recipe preserves the classic ingredients of a sandwich Cubano. You could always cut the sandwiches in fourths to make the sandwiches more finger-friendly.
Inspiration: Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp revealed in a GQ interview last year that he always gets caramel popcorn to accompany his California Pizza Kitchen pizza and Sour Patch candies at the Staples Center. It's good to have snacky type munchies for people to grab throughout the game. Especially when it's a 3-2 count with bases loaded and two outs, people need all the crunchy snacks they can get to help alleviate the nerves via cathartic release. Enter cheddar-caramel popcorn.
Chicago claims credit for this divine innovation, but since neither the Cubs nor White Sox made it to the postseason, it's totally fair to borrow the Windy City's signature snack. It might sound strange if you've never tried it, but it's one of those oddly delicious combos that enhances the flavors of both cheddar and caramel popcorn. Indeed, you may never eat them separately again.
Cheddar-caramel popcorn mixes can be homemade or store bought, so it's really your preference. If you decide to make it yourself, use a recipe from a Chicagoan. If a mix is not available at the store, simply buy one bag each of cheddar and caramel popcorn and combine them yourself in one bowl. Easy and fast. Thanks for the inspirational interview, Matt!
Dodger Dogs 2.0
Inspiration: Dodger Stadium; Los Angeles
Dodger Dogs are wonderfully legendary, and it would be sacrilegious—not to mention hideously unlucky—to host a Dodgers postseason party without them. But how to amp up the Dodger Dog to be worthy of carrying the Dodger name without compromising it’s historical significance by changing it completely? Just add bacon.
Los Angeles is the first and only place I’ve seen bacon-wrapped hot dogs abound, so until someone informs me otherwise I will maintain my belief that this is L.A.’s signature dog. Bacon makes anything better, so it’s a winner in my book.
Start with all-beef kosher hot dogs. Even if you don’t “need” to keep kosher, the beef has more flavor and the dogs themselves are quite snappy—nobody wants a limp weenie, right?
Simply Recipes has a fully loaded bacon-wrapped hot dog recipe in case you want to go bananas with condiments. You could also opt to serve the plain bacon-wrapped dogs and put out traditional condiments so everyone can prepare their own. If it’s a heavy hors d’oeuvres kind of party, just cut up the hot dogs into smaller pieces so they are more like finger foods and pile them up like cocktail weenies on a platter with little bowls of ketchup and mustard for dipping.
Inspiration: Andre Ethier
Andre Ethier is a self-proclaimed foodie and lover of Mexican food. If you read his "Dining With 'Dre" blog, you’ll know he’s the real deal. Even with a professional baseball career, Ethier still makes time to share his foodie adventures with the world. Now that’s dedication.
Ethier highlights hominy and beef stew (pozole) as one of his favorite dishes at a restaurant in Arizona (clearly making it worthy of a blog post), and it turns out pozole is perfect for a Dodgers party.
Pozole is relatively inexpensive and easy to make, and guests get to create their own however they want. Pozole traditionally consists of a broth base, hominy (looks like big, white corn), onions, garlic, chiles and usually some kind of hearty meat. The rest is made up by garnishes, which are served alongside for each person to add to their liking. Traditional garnishes include shredded cabbage, radishes, fresh cilantro, limes, and sometimes a mild cheese like queso fresco.
As a host, this makes life easier. All you have to do is set out a big pot of pozole and bowls of garnishes on the side, and let your guests create their own masterpieces. No need to serve five different appetizers to please everyone’s taste buds or monitor supply levels. You have cheering to do, after all.
James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and food editor Elaine Corn has a solid pozole recipe using pork shoulder, but you could always stay true to Andre and use beef. Vegans and vegetarians at your party? No problem. Just omit the meat and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
Ethier is out with shin splints, so he can’t give us any home runs to cheer for. But you and your guests will be thanking him for inspiring you to make pozole.
Inspiration: Juan Uribe
A native Dominican, Juan Uribe is no stranger to flavorful foods. Most of the popular Dominican Republic dishes include stews and rice dishes, but platanos maduros (fried plantains) are also classic and more party friendly.
Plantain chips take fried plantains a step further in the snack department; they have a crunchier texture than tradtional skillet-fried plantains, which have a softer consistency similar to a fried banana. Plantain chips are a great substitute for regular old potato chips (they taste just like them) and have more of a bite to them since they're much thicker.
Again, perfect for requisite nervous snacking at suspenseful points in the game. More importantly, they serve as a reminder of Juan Uribe's heroic go-ahead two run homer in the eigth inning of Game 4 of the NLDS to defeat the Braves and advance to the National League Championship Game.
You can buy plantain chips at most major grocery stores, including Trader Joe's. Buy a few bags and remember the man who inspired them.
Inspiration: Dodger Stadium
Anyone who’s been to a Dodgers game has seen the electric blue margaritas circulating around. A win for the Dodgers certainly merits celebratory beverages, and nothing says party like a refreshing Dodger margarita.
There are endless recipes for margaritas, so you can go as wild or traditional as you want. The best margaritas are made from scratch, but if you don’t have time to construct homemade margaritas and your guests don’t mind the flavor of a mix, by all means go for the mix. If they drink margaritas at Dodgers games, chances are they won’t be opposed to a mix.
Cocktails are best served in glasses, but real Dodgers margaritas are served in plastic cups, so no need to get all fancy. Plus it will make clean up easier. Salted rims are ideal, but it might be difficult to get the salt to stick to plastic unless you order these pre-salted rimmed cups. If you do use glass, don't forget the salted rim! Watch a how-to video for salt-rimming glasses.
If you really want to go all out, add a dash of blue food coloring to your drinks. Just bear in mind the liability of doing so—having "excited" party guests can easily lead to spills, and blue liquid is not the easiest color to clean.