Alex opted not to throw Scotchathon this year because of the cost, but he seemed really bummed about it. There's nothing sadder than a 6-foot 4-inch bearded man mourning the loss of scotch, so I schemed with his friends to throw a surprise Scotchathon. Thanks to my new (since January) medical diet, in addition to needing to hide alcohol, supplies, and planning, I also had to make the food myself to ensure that there was some food I could eat at Scotchathon.
(As an aside, I've found parties and other social events to be one of the most challenging parts of treating illness through nutrition. More on that later.)
Some of Alex's friends helped me out by scheduling a board game night about a week before the party, but that left me with just one night to myself to purchase everything and cook everything. Unfortunately, that same group of friends also ruined the surprise by asking Alex about a friend from another group of friends, which tipped Alex off that something was up. (I will never forgive you Michael Graham, and I plan to haunt you after I die.)
Nevertheless, it was a really fun night. We had friends come in from multiple other states, booked a beautiful space, and crushed 9 bottles of scotch. Furthermore, I had other friends with food restrictions (vegetarian, celiac's, other autoimmune disorders, and gout) comment that they had plenty of food they could eat, and that it was all delicious. Party food success! Many thanks to Sarah Olivier and Chris Revel for help securing the space, setting up, and letting me prep the food in their apartment before the party.
The recipe below is one I made up to be Whole30, freezable, fast and easy to prepare, and appropriate for a large party with lots of drinking.
Scotchathon Sweet and Savory Chicken Meatballs
Servings: 16 (assuming 3 meatballs per person)
Time: 45 minutes - 75 minutes (15 minutes active)
2 1-lb packages of Coleman Basil and Roasted Garlic Meatballs (purchased at Costco)
3 red or orange bell peppers
2 tbsp. high-heat cooking oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or lard
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 cloves of garlic
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (soaked if not packed in oil)
balsamic vinegar to taste (approx 1 tbsp.)
1-2 cups water
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1) Roast your bell peppers.
a) Preheat oven to broil. Set rack as close to the broiler as possible.
b) Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
c) Cover your peppers with high-heat cooking oil.
d) Broil your peppers, turning once each side becomes black until peppers are charred all over.
e) Put peppers in a paper bag set inside of a bowl and turn down the top of the bag to seal.
f) Allow peppers to steam until cool enough to handle, approximately 20 minutes.
g) Remove peppers and place on a cutting board. Use your fingers to peel off the charred skin.
h) Cut open peppers and remove seeds, ribs, and stems.
i) Throw roasted bell peppers into your blender or food processor.
2) If needed, cook your sweet potato.
a) Adjust oven heat to 400°F.
b) Line a heavy pan with foil.
c) Pierce a sweet potato a number of times with a fork.
d) Place sweet potato on lined pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until soft.
e) Cut sweet potato in half and scoop out flesh.
f) Mash flesh with a masher or fork, and measure a cup.
g) Add the cup of mashed sweet potato to the blender or food processor.
a) Heat olive oil over medium-low in a small pan.
b) Crush cloves of garlic with the back of a heavy knife.
c) Throw garlic into hot oil and let it sit for 1-2 minutes until starting to turn golden.
d) Pour garlic and oil into the blender/food processor.
4) Blend into a sauce.
a) Add sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, and one cup of water to blender with the sweet potato, garlic, and roasted peppers.
b) Make sure the top of your blender is secured, and hold in place with a dish towel so that you don't burn yourself as steam escapes.
c) Blend, starting on low and slowly moving to high power, until a silky consistency.
d) Add more water if necessary until you reach the thickness you desire.
e) Add salt and pepper to taste.
a) Pour sauce into a large soup pot or crock pot.
b) Add meatballs.
c) Cover and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally until meatballs are covered in sauce and heated through.
a) For a party, put the meatballs and sauce in a chafing dish, sprinkle chopped parsley on top for color, and serve with toothpicks.
b) For an easy dinner, serve meatballs and sauce over cooked spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or cooked pasta.
In case you are interested in tips appetizer tips for large parties where individuals have special dietary needs, this is what I served:
- Sweet and Savory Chicken Meatballs
- Aidell's chicken & apple sausages (also purchased at Costco) warmed in Paleo bbq sauce
- Assorted vegetarian appetizers from Costco or Trader Joe's such as spanakopita, black bean taquitos, and veggie pot stickers
- Beef skewers (using boneless short ribs purchased from Costco) marinated in pineapple juice and served with Paleo teriyaki dipping sauce
- Shrimp cocktail with Paleo cocktail sauce
- Guacamole (I used the Spicy one from Trader Joe's that comes in a square container), Pico de Gallo (bought at Costco), and Cassava chips
- Crudite and Paleo ranch dip
- a fruit platter
- I also catered some panini sandwiches and pasta salad from a nearby deli