• The Retired Firehouse Cook: Garlic Dip

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    by Neil Jameson

    Superbowl Sunday was always a mystery at the firehouse. Would we get to watch the whole game, or would some citizen take the opportunity to set the kitchen on fire trying to make snacks for the troops? More importantly, would we get to see the halftime show or would there be a five-car pileup on the expressway? And the biggest question of all among the guys on my shift: What will Neil fix for us to eat while we watch the game?
    I know women watch the game, if only to see the commercials and this year to ogle Bruce Springsteen. But I always figure Superbowl is a guys’ event, so when I plot what to make, I try to think of guy food – a little on the spicy side, maybe heavy, definitely meaty.
    This garlic dip is not fancy, and may take a little effort to make – it’s not your basic onion soup mix and sour cream. I would also suggest that if you serve it, that everyone in the room have some or you won’t be able to watch the last quarter. I got it from a garlic cookbook.

    Dave’s Garlic Dip
    8 oz. cream cheese
    3 Tbsp. milk
    5 large cloves of garlic
    salt and paprika to taste

    Let the cream cheese get a little warm and mush it up with the milk until it’s like peanut butter.
    Clean the garlic and run it through the garlic press into the cream cheese mixture. Salt to taste and garnish with paprika. The original recipe called for parsley as a garnish, but it’s kind of like putting spats on a pig. Parsley was traditionally served to make your breath bearable after a meal, but there’s no hope with this dip.

    The wives would sometimes bring treats over to the firehouse on Superbowl Sunday. Maybe it was a payback for feeding their menfolk for the rest of the year, or maybe they were just glad they didn’t have to try to get the salsa and bean dip out of their own carpets at home. This next recipe goes partway toward preventing those kinds of messes.

    Hamburger Stuffed French Bread
    1 loaf of French bread
    1 ½ lbs. hamburger
    1 onion, chopped
    1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
    1 c. grated cheese (I like pepper jack because it melts)
    1 egg, beaten
    pepper and garlic salt to taste

    Brown the meat and onion with the pepper and garlic salt. Drain the extra fat off.
    Cut a couple of inches off the end of the loaf (don’t eat it! You will need it!) and pluck the soft inside out, leaving about ¾ inch thickness.
    Tear the bread you pulled out into little pieces and mix it with the meat mixture and the rest of the ingredients.
    Stuff everything into the hollowed out loaf, put the end back on and wrap it all in foil. Bake at 350 for a half hour or so.
    You can cut it up, or better yet, use hard sourdough rolls to make individual sandwiches.

    A little planning with a pork roast done the day before makes these pulled pork sandwiches a good thing to have on the sideboard. We could put it in a crock pot and leave it bubbling away throughout the game, and the guys could get up and make their sandwiches at any point and not have to set the table. I still made them do the dishes afterwards, though.

    Pulled Pork Sandwiches
    3-4 Lb. pork roast
    2 onions, chopped
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1/2 tsp. white pepper
    ½ tsp. black pepper
    1 Tbsp. soy sauce
    1 c. brown sugar
    2 tsp. prepared mustard
    small bottle of ketchup (14 oz.)
    ¼ c. white vinegar

    Roast the pork until well done. Save out two cups of the broth from the roast, adding water or beer to make it if your broth cooked away. Mix the rest of the ingredients with the broth.
    Shred the pork and return it to the crock pot with the broth. Simmer it for at least 45 minutes and turn back down to low for the duration of the game.
    Serve on French rolls with extra barbecue sauce and onions.
    Hope you get to stay in for the Superbowl at your house.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on January 30, 2009

    Topics: The Retired Firehouse Cook


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