Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smokin’ Back Yard Cookout Part 2: Appetizers and a Giveaway

Every party has to start with appetizers! There is nothing worse than getting to a shindig and waiting and waiting and waiting for the food to be served. For a summer cookout there are a few things to consider when planning the menu. It is important to think about temperature, time, serving location, size of the main course and your guests. I knew that our appetizers would be set up inside, but would probably be out on the dining room table at room temperature for at least a few hours. That meant no dairy or other potentially quick-spoiling items. I also knew that at least one cilantro-averse friend was going to attend and made sure to adjust my recipes appropriately. And lastly – with a huge spread of meat for dinner nothing too heavy!

I decided on assorted dips with chips and vegetables. The first part of good chips and dip? Chips! Through a friend at work I was introduced to Adam and Noah over at Want’ems – a new snack food company started by the two friends. They are fellow Bostonians and have introduced a line of wonton chips and what they call fusion dips. You can check out their story over on their website. They offered some free samples, and I said I’d be happy to try them out. As usual, I did not receive any compensation other than free food and all opinions are 100% mine.

The chips are inspired by the wonton chips that you get at Chinese restaurants. However these are made with whole-wheat flour and have no trans-fats. While they wouldn’t necessarily qualify for Health Snack Wednesday, they are no worse for you than other snack chips. The chips come in two flavors – Original and Asian BBQ. In addition to the chips, they also created three dips. I tried the Sweet Chili dip (think a take on duck sauce) and a Thai Mango.

The chips were good – they were light and crispy and paired well with all the dips at the party. I liked the original best. They weren't greasy, but still held up to all the dips. The sauces were chunky and a little sticky. I used the Thai Mango as a dip. It was a little sweet and a little spicy. I used the Sweet Chili as a marinade for the smoked chicken wings and it worked well. The verdict from the party was that the chips were a hit!  We all liked that the dips were chunky and you could see all the ingredients - like good sized pieces of mango in the Thai Mango dip. The flavors were bold and something different than the ordinary salsa or onion dip. I think the dips will be fun to use for a marinade or sauce for different grilled meats and vegetables. I can picture making a chicken and vegetable stir-fry and pairing it with the General Tso dip (I have not tried that one yet).

The partners behind Want’ems want you to taste their full line-up of products and come up with your own creative uses! Details on how to enter are at the end of the post. If you can’t wait for the results of the contest, you can check their website for information on availability.I was able to find some at my Boston area Whole Foods.

Another dip that went well with the Want’ems and sea salt and lime tortilla chips is my go-to recipe for Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa. This is one of those dips that makes the menu for most of our parties. It’s quick and easy to prepare and the tomatillo and lime keep it bright green. Each time I make it I adjust the seasonings a little. Sometimes jalapeno, other times green chili powder. And if it’s the right season – a handful of ground cherries! The salsa lends itself well to adjustments.

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa
Adjust the number of ingredients based on your crowd size; this serves about 6 people as part of an assortment of appetizers.

4-5 raw medium sized tomatillos, husks removed and well rinsed
3 avocados, removed from skins
1/2 – 1 hot pepper (jalapeno or serrano chili, seeded)
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 of a yellow onion

Cut the tomatillos into quarters and set aside in a bowl
Cut the onion into a few pieces and set aside in a bowl
If using a hot pepper, remove the seeds and ribs and cut into a few pieces
Working in batches, add the tomatillo, onion and hot pepper pieces into a food processor and pulse until just smooth, add to a mixing bowl after pulsed
Remove avocado from the skins and add to the food processor, add in the fresh lime juice and a few spoonfuls of the tomatillo mixture and pulse until smooth
Add the processed avocado to the rest of the tomatillo mixture and mix until well blended
Season with salt and pepper
Add chopped cilantro if you know your crowd
Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until party time

For the next post, I’ll feature another chunky salsa and some delicious side dishes from the backyard cookout. Now, on to the giveaway!

Enter to win a full line-up of Want’ems chips and fusion dips! Want’ems will send one lucky winner the following:

1 bag of Original Want’ems
1 bag of Asian BBQ Want’ems
1 jar of Thai Mango dip
1 jar of Sweet Chili dip
1 jar of General Tso dip

Three ways to enter!
Entry 1: Leave a comment sharing your all-time favorite chip & dip combination
Entry 2: Head over to Twitter & follow @wantems1 or Facebook and Like the Want’ems page
Entry 3: Follow Good Cook Doris through the Google Follow widget on the right side, or subscribe to the Good Cook Doris RSS feed

The fine print: This prize is provided by Want'ems and will be shipped directly to the winner. The winner must live in the continental U.S. Entries must be received by Tuesday, July 19 at 9pm. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 20. Good luck!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wantems/190256281011929


  1. Those chips sound interesting - will have to check if they make it to the Midwest =)  And that tomatillo and avocado salsa sounds really delicious!

  2. Your tomatillo avocado salsa sounds delicious!  I'm a big fan of plain old wavy chips and sour cream and onion dip.  You can't beat that!

  3. I love pita chips with edamame hummos! yum

  4. I follow via GFC

    larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

  5. I can't say no to bowls of tortilla chips and guacamole.

  6. Easily anything with guacamole so my standby would have to be with a whole wheat chip :)  

  7. My fav is wholly guacamole and food should taste good olive chips

    mellanhead74 at hotmail.com

  8. Like the Want’ems page on fb (jd drenchek-scavo)

    mellanhead74 at hotmail.com

  9. Hmmm this recipe looks so delicious and nice and i think that fits perfect with my taste and in my opinion is a very easy recipe, so i think i will try it. Thanks for sharing.


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