Election Snacks All-Nighter

Like you, I will be glued to the television tomorrow night waiting for the results of the wild ride that has been the 2008 presidential campaign. The evening promises to be anything but short. In order to keep up our spirits (and energy) until the last vote is counted, we’ll need plenty of sustenance to survive the pundit gabfest on the boob tube. Think of it as part two of your responsibilities as a dedicated voter; after casting your vote, the evening duty is to hurry up and wait -- and stand by your man – with snacks.

Bipartisan fruit: (Clockwise from top left) Blackberries, sweet cherries, blueberries and raspberries. (Kim O'Donnel)

To that end, I asked several writers from around the country what they’re whipping up for the election all-nighter. Below, a sampler from their respective buffets, with additional Casa Appetite tidbits:


Megan Saynisch, who pens the food blog, Brooklyn Farm House, reports that “Over at our house, in Brooklyn, N.Y., we are going to be drinking Blue Hawaiians to celebrate Obama and the Democratic party (we're a bunch of Blue-Staters up here) and eating apple pie to celebrate America. Even though there is a great deal of animosity between parties and everyone talks about the great culture divide in the US, we want to celebrate the fact that we can all get together and watch the votes come in, having participated in the process."

Blue Hawaiian
1 ounce blue curacao
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce cream of coconut
2 ounces pineapple juice
Garnish: Maraschino cherries and pineapple wedges

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with gusto. Pour into glass and garnish with cherries and pineapple. Makes one drink.

At long last, someone has come up with a recipe for Palin Punch! Credit goes to the mixologists at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, which is hosting an Election Night Dinner with candidate-themed dishes and drinks. No I can-see-Russia-vodka in this potion; instead, it’s heavy on the rum, like something you might sip on a Caribbean cruise.


Double Dipping
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Food Writer Rebekah Denn, who writes the blog, Devouring SEATtle shared this mayo-y morsel:

“We got this artichoke dip recipe (loosely written) from neighbors who are fantastic cooks -- they make their own croissants and crackers, they are vegetarians who make even "lentil loaf" taste amazing... and, here, they take a bunch of canned goods and somehow turn them into an addictive mix. It's food for a long night -- something to nervously nibble on and on and on and then scoop up just one more bite while awaiting returns.”

Karen's Artichoke Dip
1 can quartered artichokes (approximately 13 ounces)
1 small can diced jalapenos
1 small can diced green chiles
1 cup fresh grated parmesan, plus some extra for the top (maybe an additional 1/4 cup)
1 cup real full-fat mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Pour into an oven-proof baking dish, and top with the extra quarter-cup of parmesan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until brown. Wheat Thins make it taste better.

Health-minded cookbook writer Dana Jacobi, author of the recently published "The Essential Best Foods Cookbook" dishes up a hot bean dip for our party platter, which she says is “quick and easy. The tortilla chips served with it can declare your political preference if they are blue corn or red (Garden of Eatin' makes both). Mashed pinto beans makes this dip velvety, while chocolate intensifies their mild flavor. You control the heat by the salsa you add."

Dana Jacobi's Hot Bean Dip

1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1/4 cup hot or mild prepared salsa
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup of the onion and the green pepper. Cook until the onion is soft, 5 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan. Using a fork, mash them to the desired texture, from rough to very smooth. Mix in the salsa, cocoa powder, and lime juice. Off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper. Scoop the dip into a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, toss the remaining 1/4 cup raw onion with the cumin. Sprinkle the onions over the dip, then the cilantro. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 3/4 cups, or 8 servings.


Speaking of Beans…
Celebritologist Liz Kelly, who keeps a meatless kitchen, has her mind set on some vegetarian chili: "I'd want it to be something easy, so maybe I'd make a pot of Rancho Gordo beans and some cornbread, then it would be there and warm on the stove -- especially if things go late into the night."

For my crew on Tuesday night, I’m thinking of home-spun baked beans to team up with a Texas-style beef brisket. (Details to come later this week on how I smoke without a smoker.)

Somewhere between a cocktail and dessert…
…Is how I’d describe Dana Jacobi’s berry/red grape salad in spiced red wine. “It combines red and blue, so everyone can enjoy it,” she writes. “And all its antioxidants combat the effects of a long night, whether from stress or celebrating. A light red wine such as Beaujolais, or Montepulciano di Abruzzo is good, but Tree of Life Pomegranate wine is even better.

Berries and Red Grapes in Spiced Red Wine

1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2” x 2” strips lemon zest
3 1/2” x 2” strips lime zest
3 1” x 2” strips orange zest
3-inch cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 1/2 cups large seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1/2 cup light, dry red wine, such as Beaujolais

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar, citrus zests, cinnamon, star anise, and 1/2 cup cold water. Cook over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup boils, four minutes. Cover the pot, remove it from the heat and steep for 30 minutes. Remove the spices and zest, reserving the zest. Cool the syrup to room temperature. This can be done up to 24 hours ahead.

In a bowl, preferably clear glass, combine the grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, wine and the prepared syrup. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the reserved citrus zest into very thin strips and place it over the fruit salad. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour to let the flavors meld up to 24 hours.

Serve the fruit salad fruit in individual dessert bowls, adding a generous amount of the liquid. If fresh blackberries are not available, increase amount of raspberries to 1 cup. Do not use frozen fruit.

Makes four servings.

Sugar Rush

Like Saynisch over at the Brooklyn Farm House, Liz Kelly has been busy baking apple pie for tomorrow’s festivities: “It is apple season and it doesn't get much more American than that.” In keeping with her vegan roots, Kelly made her pie crust with Earth Balance shortening (I’m waiting to hear how it turned out); Saynisch, on the other hand, goes whole hog and uses fresh lard for her pie crust, with a filling sweetened up with boiled apple cider. Nice twist.

Election Cake. (Kim O'Donnel)

Are brownies the all-American treat? This writer, living in Germany, thinks so.

Last but definitely not least, there is Election Cake, perhaps the most appropriate dish of all Election Day vittles. During mid-term elections two years ago, I learned about this yeasty coffee cake that has roots in late 18th-century colonial Connecticut. Election Cake, assert some historians, was served as sustenance for weary out-of-town travelers who traveled to Hartford, Conn. to vote; others say that the cake was baked to celebrate the right to vote. A vote for cake. I like the sound of that.

Share your all-nighter specials in the comments area. The more, the merrier, the more awake-ier….now GO VOTE!

By Kim ODonnel |  November 3, 2008; 12:22 PM ET Entertaining
Previous: Delicata Inamorata | Next: Where's Food on the Next Presidential Agenda?


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We have a ritual on election day. First, we walk to our polling place if the weather is not terrible. Something about walking feels right. Then we vote. Usually there isn't much of a line. Then we go out to dinner to celebrate that we have the right to vote. (Besides, it wasn't THAT long ago when women didn't and I want to toast the Suffragettes.) Then we go home and try NOT to watch the news. We'll do something distracting, like our online games. No special foods, though I might nervously eat some popcorn when I inevitable give in and check the returns. When I wake up the next morning, surpise! We have a new President! (Hopefully it won't still be in question.)

Posted by: lyria2 | November 3, 2008 3:55 PM

I make a similar artichoke dip, though I use 1 cup parm, 1 cup low fat mayo, 1 cup mozzarella. I chop up 2 cans of artichoke hearts, add diced chiles or whatever sounds good at the moment- crab works well, too.

Posted by: memphis3 | November 3, 2008 4:19 PM

I'm going with a little Red State, a little Blue State. I'm making White Trash Cheese Puffs, which I got from allrecipes.com and usually use as a football snack. Pillsbury cresent rolls stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar, and pepperoni. Then I'm making some open-faced fig sandwiches with arugula and parmesan, from Martha Stewart's website. A little trashy food, a little liberal elite food. A perfect balance, and delicious!

Posted by: visionmaster | November 3, 2008 4:42 PM

This is my version of Chickpea/garbanzo beans veggie chilli.

2 cans chickpeas (16 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (16 oz)
4 medium size potatoes (any type)cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium to large onion (any type)chopped
2-3 serrano or jalopeno green chilly peppers
1 inch fresh ginger root-chopped finely
2 fresh garlic cloves chopped-chopped finely
2 Tsps black mustard seeds
2 tsps cumin seeds
2 tsps curry powder or garam masala
3 table spoons oil-canola or olive, or vegetable oil
2tsps turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder optional
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish i/2 cup


Take a large skillet or thick bottomed pot and put on medium heat. Put oil and heat it till it starts to shimmer. Put in first the mustard and cumin seeds in the warm oil. As the mustard seeds start popping put in the garlic, green chilis (serrano or Jalepenos), ginger, onions, and saute all of the seasonings till onions start to turn translucent and start to brown. Put the turmeric, Curry powder/garam masala, and the chilli powder (if you like some heat) into the seasonings and saute for a couple of minutes. Put the chopped potatoes in and mix with the seasonings and saute potatoes for few minutes along with the seasonings and potaoes start to cook and become tender. Open the cans of chick peas, drain and wash them under the tap to remove the brine, and add to this mixture. Open the can of tomatoes and add to the mixture. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients and salt to taste. Let the ingredients boil till the potatoes and the beans are tender. You can add more water or salt depending on your taste and the consistency you want. After you off the stove, garnish with cilantro or corriander leaves.

You can use any type of canned beans or a mixture of beans. Seasonings should be available in Indian or Asian food stores.

Posted by: shobha1 | November 3, 2008 7:33 PM

Unfortunately, I have to thaw some marinara with meatballs. I think we'll have meatball subs and spaghetti and meatballs. I have some fresh parm that also needs to be used and will shred on both. I think we'll save the spaghetti for later - puts me to sleep.

Posted by: Kimberly2601 | November 3, 2008 8:51 PM

Red - Sliders. Though you can make them a little blue with the right cheese. For the vegetarian, I'd suggest roasted red pepper soup.

Blue - Gotta be blue cheese and white wine. For the cheese, my pick is a nice wedge of Humbolt Fog. For the wine, chardonney (but unoaked, please).


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 3, 2008 11:04 PM

Looks like I'm going to need snacks while standing in a very long line.

Posted by: simonsaid | November 4, 2008 8:56 AM

We're spinning our election party menu with some clever names:

Audacity of Apple Cider
Right Wing Nuts
Hopeful Hummus (delicious with Carrots of Change)
Also: Olive Obama (like I Love Obama - get it?!)
Obama Oreos
Biden Brownies
Dems Donuts
Yes We Can Eat Grapes
Scranton Soda

And of course, beer. Lots of beer.

Posted by: ahirschdc@gmail.com | November 4, 2008 1:17 PM

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