COWBOYS AND COCKTAIL PARTIES

YEE-HAAW!!! 

It’s the 2nd annual Cowboy Day Cook-Along!  I’ve been having so much fun watching folks from all around the world getting ready for their Cowboy Day celebrations! 

The Velveteen lounge Kitsch-en was the first to post.  Angela from Bath, UK sent pics of her little boy all duded-up in his cowboy finest…maybe he’s finding it too hard to wait until Saturday!  I can relate.  Battenburg Belle and Silver Screen Suppers from London with Taryn from Retro Foods for Modern Times from Melbourne, Australia (but currently visiting London) sent me a pic, all dolled up in their cowboy duds.  I think they’re putting together an elaborate combined party this year.  Even Dinner with Zelda Manners (last year’s Cowboy Day Cook-Along Winner!) has been dropping in several cowboy-inspired recipes over the last month…is it all a build up to the final shindig?  We’ll find out soon enough!  The anticipation is thrilling! Watch this blog next week for the Round-Up of everyone’s efforts!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…  I decided I was going to make Sammy Davis Jr.’s Chili Cocktail Cups this year.  Little cornbread cups filled with savory chili and cheesy goodness!  Sounded like perfect party food to me…and let me tell you, THEY ARE!

The 2nd half of my Cowboy Day festivities are being held Saturday night, co-sponsored by my friends Annette and Thanos, the proprietors of Amigos Bar here in Zakynthos, Greece…the activities of that night will appear in my next posting.

My new Cowboy Day Cook-Along 2 video  for this blog entry is at the bottom of this post…  Another “STARRING” role for me!  Step aside Johnny Depp, I think I’m gonna have all award nominations for Red Carpet season locked up this year!  Alex assisted this time as cinematographer…I’m sure his award-winning, panning shots won’t go unnoticed by the Oscar committees either!

James Dean fans know that Sammy and Jimmie were good friends.  You can read more about that friendship HERE in a previous blog or HERE or HERE.  Sammy often amazes me (I always seem to run across something I’d never seen, when I’m researching for these blog stories)…he started performing at the age of 3 with his mother and father in the Will Masten Dance Troupe.  By the age of 5, he was traveling the vaudeville circuit with his father and uncle as the Will Masten Trio.  Check out this clip of Sammy at the age of 7 in his 1st movie appearance, Rufus Jones For President (1933).   Sammy plays Rufus, who becomes the 1st Black President of the United States…long before he would come to be known as “Mr. Entertainment.”  I had to share, because this performance blows me away…

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Sammy was a big fan of everything “cowboy”…  He owned several cowboy guns with holsters, and had mastered the art of fancy gun twirling.  He showed off this talent on The Carol Burnett Show in 1975, on the Two Ounces of Tin episode of The Rifleman TV series in 1962, and even in the feature film Sergeants 3 with his Rat Pack buddies in 1962.  He (and his recipe) were the PERFECT pick for my Cowboy Day Festivities this year!

THE RECIPE

As I mentioned in the previous Cowboy Day Cook-Along 2 post about this dish, the “Sammy’s Best” line of food products, mentioned in the ingredient list, is no longer available.  Sammy’s “Just Right” Chili Seasoning Mix came in a box with two 1.5oz envelopes…each making 2 quarts.  If you ever run across an unopened box, grab it up!  I recently saw it going for $95 on eBay!

There are a couple of flaws in this recipe as it was originally printed in the newspaper in 1988…

 

I didn’t have a mini muffin pan (called for in the directions).  As you’ll see in the video, I used some small, disposable, paper espresso cups, lubed with some of the margarine…they worked out great.  The finished cornbread cups were about a 2-3 bite size…just right!  Sammy says this recipe makes 40 little cups…guess that all depends on the size of your mini muffin pan…they’re not standardized.  I made just 10 while shooting the video, and put the remaining dough in the refrigerator for future use…I might have been able to get about 30 cocktail cups, using the size I was making.  Additionally, Sammy says to prepare 3qts of chili.  This would have been waaaay more than is needed to fill 30, or even 40 little cups.  Leftovers never hurt when it comes to chili though (mmmmm…chili mac, chili 3-ways, chili dogs, chili burgers…yum!)

Usually, I would have substituted butter when a 1970-80s era recipe calls for margarine.  I didn’t this time, making it exactly to Sammy’s specifications.  It came out great, but butter would have worked fine too.

The chili in the video was whipped up in literally about 15 minutes…I was thinking that I would finish cooking and adjust the flavors before Alex and I had it for dinner (I shoot these videos in the morning, when I have good natural light…and plenty of time in case something goes wrong)…turned out to be the best chili I’ve ever made!  lol.  Go figure.  No adjustments were needed!

Anyway, since Sammy’s seasoning mix isn’t available, just use your favorite recipe.  The flavor of your chili plays a BIG role in the final taste of these party appetizers.  You could even use pre-made chili if you’re short on time.  Try adding a teaspoon of cocoa to your favorite recipe (or the canned stuff)…you’ll be surprised at what it does to the flavor (NO, it doesn’t taste like chocolate).

The cornbread cups can be made up to 3 days ahead, and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.  Alternately, the dough can be made a day or more ahead, and refrigerated until ready to use.  Of course fresh the same day is still really nice.

To serve, the cocktail cups should be at room temperature.  The chili should be piping hot.  The finished appetizers are great hot, but still very tasty as they cool to room temperature.  I imagine they could be filled a short while ahead of time and reheated in the oven before serving.  Garnish with the reserved Cheddar cheese, or a squirt of sour cream and a pickled jalapeno slice, or a chunk of bright red tomato and a sprig of fresh green cilantro…

These are DELICIOUS!  A PERFECT party food!  My chili had a slight sweetness and a small touch of heat that was complimented by the cheesy, buttery, cornbread flavor of the 2-bite cups built to hold it.  Preparation and assembly were both fairly simple too.  Alex and I sampled them before our Chili Mac dinner that night.  “Really, really good! Really,” was Alex’s verdict.

Definitely a recipe worth trying for your next party!  Your guests will rave!

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Here’s my COWBOY DAY COOK-ALONG video…I hope you enjoy!

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Don’t miss all the excitement of the Cowboy Day Cook-Along 2 Round-Up in the next week…subscribe to our free email notifications, you’ll be the first to know!

Are your  friends as CRAZY as mine ?  Put a smile 🙂 on their face by sharing this POST… 

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I LOVE the feedback and every comment you make , so don’t just leave me here, all alone, sitting in the dark, without saying a few words before you go…it REALLY brightens my day!

11 Comments

  1. In clearing out my mom’s house, I found 3 unopened boxes of Sammy Chili — she loved it and wouldn’t eat anything else. She must have squirreled it away years ago. I’m torn between keeping the boxes and eating them in her honor!

  2. Hey, Greg — my mother, who died in April at 91, was a huge fan of Sammy Davis Chili. Sure enough, when we were cleaning out her house this summer, I found multiple boxes of unopened Sammy Chili packages — it was the only kind she would eat! Amazing!

  3. mark brisenden July 25, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Hi .. Only found out about Cowboy cook along day at last minute last year but whipped up a batch of Monte Hale’s chili from silver screen suppers for myself anyway. This year I had some friends round and made a bigger cowboy feast,which, had my ipad photos that I took of prep/dishes and friends enjoying such not turned out so blurry for some reason I could have shared with you – and no I wasn’t that drunk ! I made four dishes along with the usual dips and chips friend bought in .. For the mains I made ‘Chisum’s Chili’ and ‘King of The Taco’s’ from a book called ‘True Grits: Recipes Inspired by the films of John Wayne’. and for the sides I made Vincent Price’s Mexican Creamed Corn and Robert Quarry’s ‘Texas Potato Salad’ from the wonderful Silver Screen Suppers site again. All were enjoyed by my guests. A big hit all round and washed down with bottle of ‘Desperado’s’ . Next year there will be a bigger party and pictures I hope !

    • Great Job!!! I’m amazed 🙂 ALL of us run into the problem of either forgetting, or just never taking enough photos when we’re cooking, entertaining, and simultaneously trying to document everything! I learned a while back to be sure and keep the camera lens on the pad wiped off…cooking and then picking up the pad to snap some fast photos and then back to cooking, left cooking grease and a blurry look to all my photos more than once. Highly disappointing! It’s a lot of balls to juggle. I’m very impressed by your menu. Great Job Mark!

  4. Each one of your brilliant videos is like getting a gift – and this one, as always, was such a treat!
    Using an espresso cup as the mold is a stroke of genius. Your chili cups sure do look delicious!

    • Awwww…you make me blush! Thanks Kitt! These were really good. Looking forward to the “stroke of genius” cooked up by you and your sister for Cowboy Day!

  5. Debbie Michelsen July 21, 2017 at 2:20 am

    You’re the best actor since The Lone Ranger! It was so nice seeing you in this video! Have fun this weekend!

  6. This is amazing – a perfect ‘amuse bouche’! Looking forward to Saturday.

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