A few weeks ago I got an email that was an invitation for a dinner party. It was all very mysterious and intriguing. The hosts would be cooking a “New American” meal for everyone but first there would be a Ritz Crackeroff. What exactly was a Ritz Crackeroff? If you chose to participate you would have 30 minutes to assemble toppings of your choice on a Ritz Cracker. The crackers would then be voted by your peers and the one winner with the most votes would be referred to as whatever moniker they preferred for the rest of the evening. In this case it would be either “Your Highness,” “Your Majesty,” or “Your Master.”
|Host Chef Albert|
Off we went with eyebrows raised. We had no idea what to expect only that in
New York this was common. You show up with
an open mind and just go with the flow. The Ritz Cracker competition was about
There were eight of us participating. We had all brought our own ingredients and got to work. We were permitted use of the kitchen and whatever gadgets or appliances we needed. I had practiced my recipe earlier in the day. I called it A Picnic in
Tuscany. My concoction
was cream cheese based. I soaked sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and chopped
them up in a blender. I threw in red pepper flakes for spice. I mixed the
tomatoes with cream cheese and let it sit in the refrigerator to form. For
assembly, I put a dollop of sun dried tomato cream cheese on top of the Ritz cracker
and topped it with a pinch of dried basil and jalapeno cheddar pepperoni. The
result was favorable. Everyone said it belonged at an Oscar party.
|A Picnic in Tuscany|
I was amazed at everyone’s creation. None of us knew what each other was bringing. In fact, the majority of us were meeting for the very first time. Some did savory recipes. Some did sweet. A few drew from their cultures for inspiration and some were fueled purely by determination to impress. In the end we had a full on meal of Ritz Crackers from appetizers and main courses to dessert.
|Which one would you vote for?|
We had cucumber shrimp salad, salmon and lox, Thanksgiving, A Picnic in
Tuscany, Thai Mango chili, red wine figs and
brie, ribs with sour cream, and chocolate ganache with cannoli filling. Everyone
was given 20 Ritz Crackers. We had a choice between regular, low fat, and wheat
Ritz Crackers. It was interesting to see how each was paired and even more fun
tasting each contest entry.
The winning Ritz Cracker was ribs with sour cream made by @Stellaaa. She has a new blog called Cooking With Stella. Hopefully, she will post her winning recipe!
|Ribs flavored with Sriracha for a kick!|
The Ritz Crackeroff turned out to be a huge success. We were all full from the tastings and had bonded over the shared experience. If you ever need an ice breaker to start a dinner party, this would be a great one. Of course, the delectable bites didn’t stop there. We then moved on to a full sit down dinner of salad, barbecue chicken, grits and chorizo, vegetables, and sugar pie. How I love dinner parties but this one really took the cake!