Friday, January 20, 2006

ring-a-ding ding!

Nope, the party's not over. We're still wallowing in retro, thanks to Stephanie's Blog Party, this month featuring retro cocktails and canapés.
Now, as everybody knows, Frank Sinatra and martinis made a huge comeback among the groovy crowd in the 80s and 90s. That was so long ago! Since we're well into the new millennium, I think that gives martinis double-secret retro status today (not that they ever really go out of style).
But how many of you have seen this dazzling display of party snacks? It's so retro it will never be cool again... And yet here it is, at Kranky and Kookiecrumb's Kooky Kocktail Klatsch: The Flaming Pupu-Head with Molten Lava Dunk. Erm, no flames. (I should have stuck birthday candles in here and there.)
You may not know that at happening patio parties in the 50s and 60s, the dipping sauce served with crudités, etc., was called a "dunk," not a dip. May that ugly nomenclature rest in peace.
Still, what a cool thing to do: Halve a head of cabbage and carve out a hole in the top that you can fit a small bowl into. Fill the bowl with anything dippy you like. We invented a dunk of cream cheese mixed with mashed avocado, thinned a bit with milk and seasoned with bottled green salsa. Impale neat-o nibbles on toothpicks and stick them into the cabbage. We chose cherry tomatos, smoked oysters, cooked shrimp and (my favorite, as it turned out) little marbles made from minced black olives mixed into cream cheese flavored with cumin and garlic (since this is retro, you get to use garlic powder), and then rolled in chopped walnuts. What a fantastic excuse to use up that can of watery, flavorless black olives (that, I swear, was obtained for free with a coupon).
Too bad the picture's a little out of focus. Wait until you see the martini! (Gin plus enough vermouth to take the nasty off the gin, shaken with ice and strained into glasses. We like Cork Dry Gin, from Ireland. Garnish with olive or twist of lemon. Please don't drizzle greasy, salty olive juice into your drink.)


Stephanie said...


And would you believe we looked into doing the cabbage-dunk thing, too???

I hope you like Collector's Press; they have some of the best books.

Dagny said...

I love most things retro. Well, except for polyester. May it never make a comeback. But anything that can go with a martini? Fantastic! (I'll be having a gimlet though.)

Passionate Eater said...

Your presentation of the "dunking" sauce is absolutely adorable! If you add a shag carpet (with a recurring orange and brown paisley pattern), and a green refrigerator, then you have all the elements necessary to transport you back to a "better time!"