June 15, 2024


Welcome to the Food

The best appetizer recipes to fuel a night of binge-watching TV, according to the Salon Food team

It’s that time of year . .  . The weekends ahead are filled with Super Bowls of food and entertainment, plus a long list of shows to watch because it’s way too cold to go outside (and, hey, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic). We can agree to disagree on who should win an award or championship, as well as what series to watch next on Netlfix. But we all can all agree on this: Food is necessary to fuel these wild adventures on our couches. The team at Salon Food has already shared 11 Instant Pot recipes ready for the Super Bowl (or any TV event). Now, we’ve made a master list of our favorite appetizers, which are guaranteed to fuel any binge-watching occasion. 

Bob Armstrong Chile con Queso: No trip to Austin is complete without stopping at Matt’s El Rancho for legendary queso. According to Rick Martinez, it was “named after former Texas land commissioner Bob Armstrong, who one day asked them to make him ‘something different.’ What resulted was a now-legendary layered dip of taco meat, queso, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo.” Thankfully, Rick developed a copycat recipe so that fans of the beloved queso can enjoy it without leaving home. That’s particularly great for this Manhattanite, because New York is a queso dessert.  Joseph Neese, Managing Editor 

Buffalo Chicken (and All Things) Dip: Both hot AND cold dips are pretty unbeatable for me, regardless of seasonality and/or what game may or may not be on TV. Any combination of cream cheese, crispy bacon, lots of alliums, some sort of greenery and copious amounts of cheese (primary faves are super-sharp cheddar, Parmesan or pecorino and even fontina or gruyere) is always welcome — and you can’t forget a heaping pile of scallions. I love raw carrots, pita chips, torn pieces of baguette, thick potato chips and raw celery as dippers. I’m not a heat fan, but I will also always appreciate a good buffalo chicken dip. — Michael La Corte, Salon Food Contributor 

Buffalo Latkes: I’m not Jewish, nor am I really a football fan, but when I saw Sara Tane’s recipe for Buffalo Latkes, I knew I would have to tuck this recipe back for the Super Bowl. She takes the crispy, starchy Hanukkah staple and adapts it for game day with thin-sliced jalapeños and a Frank’s Red Hot-based glaze. Instead of sour cream or applesauce, the dip of the day is a homemade, creamy and funky blue cheese dressing. — Ashlie D. Stevens, Staff Writer

Charcuterie Board: This is kind of cheating, but I like to pick up a cheese kit from Costco. You know, the kind with a few nice hunks of cheese for, what, 20 bucks? Then I’ll grab some salamis , a package of dates — their fresh dates are the BEST  and some kind of nuts and crackers. And, look, all of a sudden I have the fixings for a board! Whatever I have at home gets added — maybe some mustards, why not some olives. Any leftovers go in the fridge for a few days of ready made snacks. — Dana McMahan, Salon Food Contributor 

Hot Corn Dip: I found Trisha Yearwood’s hot corn dip while digging through Pinterest back in its early days, looking for a meatless make-ahead hot appetizer to round out a party menu. I knew her as a country star and had no idea she had her own Food Network show, but I figured Trisha Yearwood wouldn’t steer me wrong. (She’s got her God and she’s got good wine / Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline . . . and hot corn dip?) I made it once, and now my friends demand it for any festive occasion where dairy-heavy dips are served. If you’re lactose intolerant or philosophically opposed to canned “Mexican corn,” you will not like this dip. I could suggest five ways to fancy it up, but that would defeat the purpose. This is an unpretentious appetizer that anyone who can work an oven can make. It is aggressively corn-colored. People might be skeptical. But trust me: If you make it once you might end up having to make it for the rest of your life  or at least until all your friends go vegan. — Erin Keane, Editor-in-Chief

Samin Nosrat’s Sauces: If you, like me, always forget to plan for munchies until the last minute (and don’t have time for anything elaborate), a quick way to impress is some homemade dipping sauces. These can go with dumplings, vegetable platters, pitas, chips or crackers. Along with the perennial hummus, I’m fond of Samin Nosrat’s sauce recipes at The NYT Cooking vertical. Herbed yogurt goes well with kebabs, raw vegetables and even french fries. Soy dipping sauce plus a bag of steamed dumplings from the frozen food section looks fancy and takes about 10 minutes to make. Plus, you can always make this beer queso recipe, courtesy of me if you really want people to chow down. — Amanda Marcotte, Senior Politics Writer

Rotel and Velveeta Famous Queso Dip: I learned early on in my days of throwing children’s parties that the guests most excited by the most garbage of foods are always adults. Sure, I could make real queso with good cheese and fresh tomatoes. But if you want to see people’s eyes light up with nostalgic joy, you can’t beat the campy American classic made of just two ingredients — and they are quite specific. I like to stick this in the Crock Pot mini and leave the works in the kitchen next to a bowl of tortilla chips. It’s also a big hit with pretzel logs. — MaryElizabeth Williams, Director of Community