Comics in the Kitchen
Annie Bulloch serves up the first of–hopefully–many themed recipes on WWAC!
I love cooking, and I love comics. When I can combine the things I love, I seize the opportunity. And sometimes I do it in public.
I’ve been a geek for many years, to the extent that I now own a comic shop. Sadly, I have wandered into a few comic shops that had apparently never seen a woman enter before–and hoped never to see such a thing again. I definitely wanted to fight that stereotype with our own shop, and our mission is to give women and girls (and everyone else) a fun shop where they feel safe and welcome.
Last year, I hosted the first in a semi-regular series of Ladies Night events at our shop. It’s a chance for us womenfolk to get together, celebrate the greatness of being a geeky girl, and see how not-alone we are. I hoped it might appeal to women who were just curious about comics and games as well. I didn’t set a formal agenda, so we had a relaxed, party vibe. We set up displays to spotlight work by female comic creators and books starring female characters. Attendees could play games, browse our displays and take advantage of special deals, and chat with the other ladies.
I find that the snack table is a great place for party guests who may not know each other to fall into easy small talk and get conversations going. It immediately gives everyone something in common to talk about, and something to do with their hands so there’s less awkward standing around for those of us who are a little bit shy. I arranged two different snack stations in our shop – one easily visible near the front counter, and the other back in our game room – to keep either one from getting too crowded. And at those tables, I hatched my master plan to set the mood and get people to mingle.
I gave every item a comics-related name that had some cutesy connection to whatever it was. It was goofy in what I hope was a good way, and people did seem to enjoy it. Each item had its nametag, which also explained what it was if it wasn’t obvious, and noted ingredients people might want to avoid due to dietary restrictions. (In addition to being a geek, I am a big safety nerd who is allergic to many things.)
Some of the food nicknames were pretty obvious references that most people were likely to get, like Poison Ivy’s (Not Poisoned) Veggie Tray, Catwoman’s Meow Mix (homemade Chex party mix), Betty & Veronica Mini-Cupcakes (lemon and chocolate, respectively), and She-Hulk Guacamole. Others got somewhat more obscure names, like Helena Bertinelli’s Nutella Krispie Squares (Rice Krispie treats with Nutella frosting, topped with chopped hazelnuts). Because Huntress and Nutella are both Italian, see? (In addition to being a geek and a nerd, I am an utter dork as well.) Even our bottled water had a name: Amy Pond Water.
Today I will share two recipes we served at Ladies night. One requires no actual cooking, and the other is easy to cook.
These light and tasty skewers use Mediterranean ingredients, and would be welcome at any gathering of warrior women.
Cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half, or whole grape tomatoes
Cucumbers, thinly sliced into rounds, then sliced again crosswise into a half-moon shape
Calamata olives (with pits removed)
Mozzarella balls or cubes, bite-sized
You will need the same number of each of the four items to be skewered. Make sure each piece is bite-sized.
Thread one piece of each ingredient onto a small skewer. If your skewers are long enough, repeat each ingredient once in the same order. Place on a serving platter. When all the ingredients are skewered and on the platter, drizzle them lightly with the Vinaigrette dressing and serve.
Note: I prefer thin, flat skewers as it is easier to pierce the bits of food without breaking or tearing the bits too much (this causes the most trouble with cheese cubes), but a long toothpick-style skewer will work for these too.
Lady Blackhawk’s Buffalo Chicken Dip
Ace pilot Zinda Blake, aka Lady Blackhawk, fought and flew her way onto the previously all-male Blackhawks during WWII, and after many adventures and time-travel shenanigans became a member of the Birds of Prey. This buffalo chicken dip is spicy comfort food, perfect for a post-fight Birds of Prey potluck.
2 (10-ounce) cans chunk chicken OR 1.25 lbs cooked, shredded chicken breast*
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (low-fat is okay, but non-fat won’t taste right)
1 cup blue cheese dressing (again, “lite” is okay, but I don’t recommend the fat-free dressing)
4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
3/4 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot®)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Mix chicken and hot sauce together in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Make sure the chicken is well-coated with the hot sauce so it absorbs plenty of flavor.
Stir in the cream cheese and blue cheese dressing. Cook, stirring until well-blended and warm. Mix in the blue cheese crumbles, then transfer the mixture to a small slow cooker. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until it is hot and bubbly!
Place the slow cooker on your serving table and leave it set on Warm.
Serve with celery sticks, Ritz crackers, baguette slices, or whatever else you think will taste good. It’s your party!
Yields about 6 cups of dip.
*The canned chicken works fine and is quick, but you can cook and shred your own chicken too. You also can increase the amount of chicken used in this recipe by up to 50 percent. This makes the dip chunkier, and adds more protein to a serving. If you add extra chicken, you should add more hot pepper sauce as well!