Never mind holiday shopping, post-Thanksgiving laziness in the kitchen, and the general feeling that now, things are about to get busy. We're preparing for the annual Firebird Festival. Since leaving a small town in a remote area of the state for a larger one in the suburbs of Philly, I've longed for a town celebration to match the one I grew up with - the Moon Landing Celebration. I mean, really. If your town is named Apollo and it's in Armstrong County and you hear that a man named Armstrong flying in an Apollo mission walks on the moon, aren't you going to have a party?
But back to the Firebird Festival. It's held in mid-December and the residents gather in the center of town, where a massive wooden phoenix is set ablaze to the beat of native drumming. It's invigorating, which is good given the cold weather. This year, we've decided to host a pre-bird burning party, and my wheels are already turning. What to serve people who are about to head into the cold?
I'm starting with appetizers. This one's so simple, and the hot pepper gives you just enough heat to ward off a chill -
1/2 cup cream cheese
box of Triscuits (or your favorite crackers)
1 or 2 radishes, sliced thin
About 8 fresh chives, chopped
1/2 of ONE chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced (no sauce - you'll regret it if you do!)
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together the cream cheese, chives, and chipotle chili. Add salt and pepper. Spread on crackers and top with a radish slice. Serve. Makes about 3 dozen crackers.
See? Simple. One thing to note - don't make these too far in advance. We brought some back from a party and within about 12 hours, they were soggy. Not sure what the "tray life" is on these, but they're so easy to make you can wait until last minute.
More festival party food tomorrow....