Grading Draughts at the Draft

“Take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best and it ain’t no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try
Take a chance on me” -Abba

 

Now that the Draft is over it is time to do what any good draft analyst would do. Let’s grade Draughts at the Draft!

BINGO!

BINGO!

Please pardon the picture quality. I might have realized after half of the food was gone and the draft was well underway that I have restarted this whole blogging thing, and that blogs are way cooler with photos.  Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the food!

Johnny Football’s Signature Chips and Salsa:

Proliferation of Vikings Paraphernalia and Johnny Football's Signature Chips and Salsa

Proliferation of Vikings Paraphernalia and Johnny Football’s Signature Chips and Salsa

Player’s Overall Draft Pick: 22

Player Inspired Menu item Grade: B

Obviously, chips and salsa are a clear winner any day of the week. My highfalutin dreams of making my own salsa went out the window when I was derailed by rather intense back pain. That being said, refrigerator section salsa from the grocery store isn’t too shabby, and made for an easy fan favorite. You might notice in the picture above I recognized that you, the reader, know what chips and salsa look like, and you would obviously rather see some pretty awesome Vikings schwag. You’re welcome. One more side note, I was able to take a deep breath and relax when the Vikes so wisely chose to skip over picking up Johnny with the 8th/9th pick.

What’s Eating Justin Gilbert’s Grape Crostinis:

Justin Gilbert's Grape Crostinis

Justin Gilbert’s Grape Crostinis

Player’s Overall Draft Pick: 8

Player Inspired Menu item Grade: A

I think this was quite possibly the winner of the night. I have linked the recipe to the picture in case you would like try it yourself. This little bite of deliciousness hit all of the right notes, there was salty, sweet, tart, cheese and carbohydrates. Okay, cheese and carbs aren’t really notes, but they are usually key to an excellent app. This is another quick recipe that just requires a little assembly, but the flavors come together for a real punch of flavor. I have a multitude of  ideas for how I can incorporate roasted grapes into more dishes…so be on the look out.

Blake Bortelaise Mushroom Cups:

Blake Borttelaise Cups

Blake Borttelaise Cups

Player’s Overall Draft Pick: 3

Player Inspired Menu item Grade: B+

Things I learned, bordelaise sauce is not something you want to whip up for a small football themed party. Luckily, this became abundantly clear when I looked at the recipe and saw veal bones listed as an ingredient. I quickly scrapped my original plan and instead went for a minced mushroom and Gorgonzola cup. I am not sure I am ready to share the recipe yet, because I think it is not quite there, but I will give you the gist.

While onion was caramelizing in a pan with olive oil, I threw fresh mushrooms in my blender till I had tiny mushroom chunks. Once the onions were nice and brown I added the mushrooms, a bit of fresh thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Once everything was browned I deglazed the pan with a good swig of white wine and stirred till evaporated. The now completed mushroom mixture went into the phyllo cups and was topped with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and thrown into a 400° oven to melt the cheese.

They ended up disappearing over the course of the night, but next time I am thinking of maybe adding sour cream or something slightly saucy to loosen up the consistency, like bordelaise sauce…

 

Sammy Watkins’ “Special Brownies”:

 

Sammy's Special Brownies

Sammy’s Special Brownies

Player’s Overall Draft Pick: 4

Player Inspired Menu item Grade: A-

It is hard to beat a brownie. It is harder to beat a box mix brownie. So once again, despite my best intentions I let my back win out and took a shortcut with the box mix. The only special part of these brownies were the sprinkles added on top and a few extra chocolate chips that got thrown into the batter. The only reason these are an A- is that I didn’t make them from scratch, I am a tough self-grader.

 

Anthony “Cookie” Barrs

Anthony "Cookie" Barrs

Anthony “Cookie” Barrs

Player’s Overall Draft Pick: 9

Player Inspired Menu item Grade: B-

You might be able to tell from the picture that these were a goopy mess. I am now terrified because Anthony Barr was the Vikings draft pick, and his inspired food was the only one that didn’t turn out. I am now hoping and praying that I didn’t just jinx our pick. Despite the fact that I baked these for an additional 15 minutes and put them in the freezer afterwards, they refused to firm up. I am not sure if I missed something in the recipe or went too crazy when adding the condensed milk, but these were the messiest non-bar, bars ever made. They ended up actually being super tasty and between the gathering on Thursday and a few hours in my office’s break room they were devoured. Granted, I could put worms dipped in chocolate and rolled in Cheetos in the break room and they would be gone by days end. I am still considering this not a total failure. If you would like to take your own stab at making them (I know, I have totally sold you on how easy they are to make) I have included a link with the picture.

 

Thanks so much to everyone how came over to enjoy my favorite holiday sports event, and those who virtually partook! Only 115 days till we get to see these newly minted NFL players on the field. Here’s hoping Anthony Barr will turn out!

Draughts at the Draft

These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
– Frank Sinatra

 

Image

 

The NFL Draft is my sports Christmas. The pagentry. The suspense. The crazy suits. You just can’t beat it. Last year was our inaugural Draughts at the Draft party, and I am so excited for the second installment. This year themed food and Bingo have been added to the mix. I wanted to share what I am working on before the event in case you would like to select a bingo card and play along at home or print some off for your own gathering.

 

NFL Draft Bingo Board

NFL Draft Bingo Board

Draft Bingo – click for 16 printable bingo boards

My current plan is to serve several 1st round draftee inspired dishes, all of which have a link to my Pinterest inspiration.

Sammy Watkins “Special Brownies”

Anthony Cookie Barrs

Johnny Football’s “Signature” Chips and Salsa

Blake Bortleaise Toasts – this doesn’t have a clear connection to the pin I posted, but how can you not make something with Bordelaise when the kids last name is Bortles?!

Justin Gilbert Grape, Blue Cheese & Honey Crostini

So that’s the plan, I will post pictures hopefully on Friday and let you know how it all worked out.