TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Olympic Games are an exciting time for all! Countries unite to cheer on their home team and show their support. And while competition is fierce, the world comes together and is focused on this one special event.
During the next couple of weeks all eyes will be on the Olympic Games. Even if you are not sitting poolside in London, show your support in true Olympic style by hosting an Olympic watching party! Below are a few suggestions on how to successfully put together a last-minute, Olympic-themed party to cheer on your favorite athletes.
Decor: Keep the international sprit of the games alive by representing countries from around the world. Hang copies of flags, found on the Internet, from participating countries. Choose solid colored paper products in the colors of the Olympic rings; blue, yellow, black, green, and red. Or show your support for Team U.S.A. by hanging American flags and decorating in the good ’ole red, white and blue.
Entertainment: Of course all eyes will glued to the television screen, so make sure there is a clear view and plenty of seating. Need a break from watching? Step outside and host a backyard Olympics, based on your favorite Olympic sports! Play a game of soccer or basketball, create a relay race around your neighborhood passing off a homemade Olympic torch, or simply swim laps in the pool.
Food: Of course no celebration would be complete without a spread of tasty food! With London being this year’s Olympic host city, plan to serve traditional English fare. From popular English beer, to traditional fish and chips, a little English grub will transform your kitchen to an English pub. Other traditional English food options include: Shepherd’s pie, a casserole made of lamb meat and topped with mashed potatoes; bangers and mash, simply mashed potatoes and sausage; tea and scones or biscuits and jam. If English cuisine not your thing, serve a spread of international fare with favorites from around the world; such as cheese and wine to represent France, stir-fry for China, hummus and fresh veggies for Greece, and an American favorite, hamburgers.
Fish and chips is the prefect dish for celebrating. This popular British meal dating back to the mid-1800s, is traditionally beer-battered cod deep fried and served with malt vinegar and a side of fried potato wedges, commonly called chips.
Traditional Fish and Chips
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup English beer, plus more as needed*
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cod, haddock, or pollock fillets
3-4 cups vegetable oil
Malt vinegar, tartar sauce, fresh lemon juice, ketchup; optional for serving
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in large, heavy pot to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the prepared potatoes in hot oil until golden brown, turning to cook evenly, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a baking sheet. Place in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper, baking powder, beer, and egg. Whisk to make a smooth batter the consistency of cream, adding more beer, as needed, to thin. In another large bowl, combine the remaining 2/3 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
Dip the fish fillets first into flour to lightly coat, then into the beer batter, shaking to remove any excess. Fry the battered fish, one or two at a time, in the oil for 5-6 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, turning half way through cooking. Remove fish from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with the fried potatoes and topping of your choice.
*Note: Milk can be substituted for the beer.
— Chef Heather Hunsaker attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was 9-years-old in her mother’s kitchen. She knows how to get food on the table in a pinch while sticking to a budget. Currently, Chef Heather serves as a freelance writer and recipe developer for meal planning site www.foodonthetable.com.