Culinary Capers – December 2019

Evelyn Cairns

You’re stressed out because Christmas and the New Year are just around the corner and you   will be hosting a cocktail party or   playoff get-together preceding the Super Bowl. If you need easy recipes so you can spend more time with your guests, read on for some old and new ideas.

Two of the recipes appeared in the Grosse Ile Grand before it was joined by sister publications the Riverview Register, Southgate Star and Wyandotte Warrior. The first recipe is so simple it’s almost sinful if you buy the meatballs instead of making them yourself. And the hummus recipe is not only delicious but takes only minutes to put together.

Irresistible is the word for the Crabmeat Bites, which I adapted from one of the wonderful old recipes in “The Lincoln Park Historical Society Cooks.” Perfect fare for a football crowd would be the dill pickle and beer cheese recipes, super simple and favorites of beer drinkers. If you’re from Kentucky or Cincinnati, you have to know about Kentucky Beer Cheese, which   originated there in the 1940s and has spread beyond. 


Combine 1 pound ground beef, 1 beaten egg, ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Form into walnut-size balls. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 12-ounce jar Heinz Chili Sauce and ½ cup grape jelly in a saucepan. Stir and heat until jelly is melted, then add meatballs and simmer 1 hour. Serve and enjoy.


In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 3 cloves garlic until minced. Add 2 15-ounce cans garbanzos, drained, reserving 1/3 cup liquid. Add liquid, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1-2 teaspoons cumin and about half of a jarred roasted red pepper. Process until smooth. Chill before serving.



  • 5-ounce jar Kraft Old English Cheese Spread, at room temperature
  • ½ stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch each onion powder and garlic powder
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  •  8-ounce can crabmeat, very well drained
  •  6 English muffins, halved, sliced and cut into quarters

Blend well the cheese, butter, powders and Tabasco. Mix in crabmeat, spread thickly on quarters and broil until puffy and golden brown. Can be frozen.


  • 24-ounce jar Kosher dill pickle spears
  •  ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup yellow corn meal
  • ¼ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Drain pickles and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. Pat with more paper towels until completely dry (or the breading won’t stick).  

Add flour to a shallow bowl; in another bowl, add eggs and whisk.   In a third bowl, combine panko, cornmeal, bread crumbs, cheese and peppers. Dip pickles in flour, then eggs, then crumb mixture, coating evenly and pressing to adhere crumbs. Place on baking sheet. Spray with canola oil spray. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through; then spray other side. Be sure pickles are browned and crispy before removing from oven. Serve with a dip of buttermilk ranch dressing, adding dill weed to taste.


Add to bowl of a food processor 2 peeled cloves garlic and ¼ small onion, thinly sliced, processing until minced. Add 12-ounce bottle flat lager beer, 1 ½ pounds shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1-2 teaspoons Tabasco and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste. Puree until very smooth. Add freshly ground black pepper and more Tabasco to taste, pulsing to incorporate. 


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