Friday, November 13, 2009

T&A: 2009

Get your mind out of the gutter! T&A represents our 2nd annual Taps n’ Apps party / competition at the Cudworths. This is one of the annual events (along with Christmas Tree Hunting and trips to Walla Walla) that Curtis and I really look forward to each year. And this year did not disappoint!

Missy and Kelly went all out as hosts (as usual) and all the competitors brought their A games. The food and beer were delicious! And to top it off, Megan surprised everyone by showing up from LA!

The competition was fierce! A few of my favorite entries included individual chanterelle mushroom and leek chicken pot pies paired with Newcastle Brown (click here for the recipe), Chili con Queso Dip paired with Dos Equis, Mini Oaxacan Pork Tacos paired with Bohemia Clasica and Traditional Cornish Pasties paired with Copperhead Pale Ale.

This year the Cudworths added a second category (lucky for us) so there was a winner for best appetizer and beer pairing and a second winner for best appetizer.

And the results… drum roll please…

Hillary and Morgan won for best overall pairing with their authentic German Obatzda (Bavarian cheese and weissbier (wheat beer) spread paired with Paulaner Hefeweizen). They served soft pretzels to compliment the cheese and it was delicious and as the majority of the votes indicated and paired perfectly with their Hefeweizen. Click here for Team O’s recipe.

Curtis and I won for best app with our Mini Steak Paninis (see recipe below). We’d like to give credit to mom and dad for giving us a Panini Press and to dad for providing us with a lovely picture to help decorate our station (okay so maybe there was a little truth to my T&A title :o).

Here’s our station (somehow we missed photographing the Paninis):

What's Curtis holding?

That's what my dad likes to call “Taps n Ass” - it was a very popular part of our presentation. After all sex does sell!

Nicole and Ryan came in 2nd place in both categories with their chips, corn-crack salsa and jalapeno poppers. And they had the funniest story of the night. They did a quick test of their poppers which they purchased from (dare I mention it?) our favorite warehouse store and something was off about them (good thing they have such a liberal return policy!)… so Ryan came to the rescue at the 11th hour with a brilliant plan - poppers from Jack in the Crack – which they were able to pick up on their way to the party and really was fitting to accompany their crack salsa! And the combination was delicious!

With all that beer things got a little crazy toward the end of the night!

Since Megan didn’t fly out ‘til Sunday night, Rachel came down from Bellingham to join us and we topped the weekend off with Sunday brunch at Pomegranate then headed into Seattle so Kirsten could try on wedding dresses at Cicada and to get our Pike Place Market Fix. All in all, it was a great weekend!

~ Mini Panini Station ~
Carne Asada, Green Chili, Spicy Caramelized Onion and Feta Panini
Paired with Redhook Slim Chance
Rhubarb or Lavender Dry Soda (non-alcoholic option)

Panini Ingredients:
Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Brown Sugar
Olive Oil
Mascarpone Cheese (8 oz.)
Sriracha Hot Sauce*
Carne Asada (we get ours pre-marinated from Trader Joe’s)
Green Onions
Anaheim Chilies
Sheep’s Milk Feta

Make the caramelized onion spread. Chop the onion and sauté in olive oil over low heat with a few pinches of brown sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes until soft and caramelized. Blend the onions in a food processor (or blender) with mascarpone cheese and set aside or in the fridge. *Stir in a little Sriracha hot sauce if you like your Paninis spicy hot.

Grill the carne asada for about six minutes or until medium. Let it rest and thinly slice.

Brush the green onions and green chilies with olive oil, place on foil and grill for about three to four minutes or until a little black and crispy. Slice into thin strips.

Slice the sheep’s milk feta into small pieces that will fit well on the baguette.

Butter one side of each slice of bread.

To make the sandwich:
Spread caramelized onion/mascarpone mixture on the non-butter side of the baguette. Add carne asada, green chilies, green onions and top with feta. Place the other piece of bread on top, butter side up and grill in a Panini press for three minutes.

Jalapeno Poppers Floating on a Bed of Crack-Corn Salsa paired with Negra Modelo
By Nicole and Ryan

Salsa Ingredients: (serves 8)
1 can or ½ bag of frozen corn
1 can black beans
4 chopped roma tomatoes
1 sliced avocado
4 chopped green onions
1 container feta cheese (or to taste)

1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
S&P to taste (mix dressing ingredients)
Pour dressing on salsa and stir. Best served right away.

Jalapeno Poppers:
Original directions: Follow frozen box directions (Costco or Trader Joes recommended). Nix that and hit up the Jack in the Box drive through on the way to your party! In a small cupcake liner, place two tortilla chips and approximately ¼ cup of salsa. Top with jalapeno popper. Have a bowl of ranch dressing available for dipping.


  1. Thanks for the recipes! I will have to invest in a panini press!

  2. My mind goes straight to the gutter every time T&A comes around. ;) Fun recap! I might have a pic of your station with the paninis, hold tight.

  3. What a weekend! I'm exhausted and I wasnt even there!

  4. Looks like loads of fun-- I like the beer tasting-- hope I'm not wine-d out!

  5. I loved your paninis with my whole heart. :-)