Most Texans usually have a few things universally in common; we are quite particular about Bar-B-Que, proud to be Texan in a way that may annoy most non-Texans and we have a deep love of football. I am one of these Texans.
Super Bowl is considered a holiday in my house and there is always a party filled with food, drinks, a little wagering and rowdy fans regardless who is playing on the field. Entertaining and throwing a good party is an art. I have had my fair share of great parties and also embarrassing flops, but I am improving with each gathering. Below are a few valuable tips on throwing a great party which I received from Executive Chef Pace of Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Tucson, Arizona. Sullivan's is known for its hand cut steaks and award winning wine list. An expert at preparing meals, Chef Pace also offered to share his delicious cheese steak dumpling recipe.
Entertaining tips from Executive Chef Pace of Sullivan’s Steakhouse:
Prior to the party, make sure your guest list is foolproof. While close acquaintances are always trusted invitees, try expanding your horizons – and those of your guests – by inviting mostly people you know, but also allowing for guests of guests. I have found that the perfect ratio to achieve a good mix of old friends and new blood is ¾ individuals you know, and ¼ new friends, in order for guests to feel comfortable, while mingling and meeting fresh faces.
Prepping is always key prior to any event, so, as the host, you are not preoccupied in the kitchen or running around as your guests arrive. Prepare all place settings, food and beverage stations, music and entertainment, and other visual displays hours before the party, and leave last-minute food prep for the remaining 1 hour before. Be sure to stock up on plenty of ice for the drinks station. A run to the local convenience store during the party can be embarrassing, and easily be prevented!
As guests arrive, my rule is to ensure that each guest has a drink in hand within 5 minutes of walking in the door. Provide both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, as well as diet varietals at the bar. For cocktail parties, tailgating, and especially Super Bowl, the food and drinks are best to be in the style of a self-serve buffet station and easily hand-held, as to allow for proper cheering, clapping, and other animations from the most die-hard fans. Super Bowl parties often have a flow, so it’s wise to put out dessert offerings from the beginning. Again, I recommend self-serve options and bite-sized sweets, such as festively decorated cookies in the shape of footballs or mini-cupcakes topped with frosting the color of the teams’ jersey.
Now, with most parties, it’s inevitable that one or more guests will drink too much, so I have come up with the master solution: designate two friends to be designated drivers. Yes, two: one male and one female. Depending on the situation – i.e. a female who may not be in her most attractive state and would prefer another woman to be the only witness of her ride home; or a man who may rely on another man’s strength to physically get his wobbly self safely home! Of course, we hope for and want to ensure the safety of all our guests, so having a back-up D.D. plan has proven to be very effective.
His final tip, and perhaps the most important one: from the minute guests enter to the time they leave, the host should appear as a seasoned entertainer – relaxed, affable, and accommodating – and of course, like you’re having a great time throughout. Because if you follow these tips, you will be!
Cheese Steak Dumplings
(adapted from Chef Pace)
20 wonton skins
1 ¼ lbs. thin sliced rare deli roast beef
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 lbs. thinly sliced onions
3 tbsp. butter
5 oz. provolone cheese, diced
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. butter
1.Heat a pan over medium heat. Add butter and onions. Cook slowly until onions are soft and lightly browned.
2. Add garlic and cook until starting to brown.
3. Cut beef into thin strips and add to the pan. Cook until beef is fully cooked
4. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Add cheese mix well
5. Lay out wonton skins on work surface.
6. Divide mixture evenly between wonton skins
7. Paint edges of wonton skins with small amount of egg yolk
8. Fold wonton in half, creating dumpling by pressing edges of wonton skin together.
9. In a new pan, heat butter over medium high heat until foam subsides. Add dumplings and cook until golden brown on both sides.
10. Serve with honey mustard sauce.