The spread to rule all spreads
December 1, 2015 5:52 AM   Subscribe

Partying in Germany. Everyone's bringing a spread. I want mine to be the most impressive, delicious one on the table! Bonus points for exotic American-ness. But...I'm not a very good cook. Do you have recipes for me? Caveats below.

Need things that go with white and dark bread (not pita etc.) Everyone else is bringing things like Hummus and egg salad. I want more...panache. And more nom.

Ingredients need to be available in major German supermarkets, if not, please tell me what it is made of so I can find a substitute.

In the past, I have loved the way some people have written their recipes on MeTa ( "and then bake the shit out of that sucker") so I encourage you to go wild! The more descriptive and fun, the more easily I can relate. I'm a timid cook.

Thank you very much!
posted by Omnomnom to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Go all-American and bring peanut butter and jelly.
posted by mareli at 5:56 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pimiento cheese! Easy to make (cheddar can sometimes be difficult to source in Germany, so try a larger supermarket or specialty shop), a classic of southern American cooking, and similar enough to Obatzda that German (and especially Bavarian) guests might get a kick out of it. And like Obatzda, pimiento cheese tastes great on dark / rye bread.

(Sorry for not writing a more entertaining summary. But pimiento cheese really is awesome so don't let my lack of humor put you off.)
posted by ladybird at 5:57 AM on December 1, 2015 [7 favorites]

We just made Buffalo Chicken Dip this weekend. Don't use canned chicken, just parboil some and shred it. Easy to make, definitely tasty.
posted by yerfatma at 5:59 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Damn, I forgot the most important thing:
Children will be eating, too, so I'd prefer to avoid hot (as in spicy) spreads. Though would make an exception for extreme deliciousness.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:00 AM on December 1, 2015

Yerfatma, what kind of cheese is Colby Monterey Jack?
...okay, sorry, that's googlable. Carry on.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:04 AM on December 1, 2015

Okay, when you said you wanted to emphasize Americanness, this came to mind immeidately: bourbon-bacon jam.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:04 AM on December 1, 2015

How about spinach and artichoke dip? This recipe looks pretty good (and it's written in an easy-going, entertaining style). You can skip the Pepper Jack cheese and cayenne pepper if you want to make the dip less spicy and more pleasing to the German palate.
posted by colfax at 6:06 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bacon jalapeño cheese ball
posted by Ftsqg at 6:07 AM on December 1, 2015

Here are some ideas with recipes-
When I think of quintessential American spreads, I think-
- Seven layer nacho dip
- Spinach/water chestnut creamy dip
- Peanut butter and jelly (maybe make an attractive dish with them layered?)
- Guacamole
- Beer and Cheese dip (like Welsh Rarebit)
- Queso Fundido (That recipe is from
the Pioneer Woman- browse her site, her stuff is very American, tasty, and recipes are easy to follow).
Would any of those work?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:14 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Layered Bean Dip (as pseudostrabismus suggests) is festive: here's a Chow recipe for it. Don't be bound by the ingredient list, just riff on layers of cream-cheesy, a beanish layer, a salsa layer (or chopped tomatoes), guacamole (which could be a green vegetable puree of any kind, e.g., broccamole), and some shredded cheese. A fusion-German version will be charming.
posted by xaryts at 6:17 AM on December 1, 2015've got a number of vectors here along which you could blow people's minds.

People at these kinds of meals, I find, gravitate toward crunch and freshness and vibrant flavors to counteract all the stodge of bread/crackers/crisps/legumes that dominate. Something pickled and crunchy and vinegary and served cool/cold will go down a treat.

Also, people might also assume that America = white people/white bread/unrefined Cheez-Whiz sandwiches, not incredible food from all over the planet as, more and more, standard parts of our collective national diet.

Some possible recipes that use universally-available ingredients, all from the great Smitten Kitchen site:

- something pickled like these peppers presented in a lovely jar - very basic ingredients and a simple (if time-consuming) process; simpler is this recipe for pickled carrot sticks

- a fun fusion of familiar winter food item and exotic trans-Atlanticism is this avocado and roasted carrot salad

- this walnut pesto is charmingly seasonal

- two savory citrus-y salads are this fennel/blood orange one and this one with feta and mint

- this avocado/cucumber salad is simple and fast; the recipe uses Sriracha but any hot sauce or spice would do (or omit it!)

In terms of bread toppers...

- caponata is warming and looks great

- this shrimp/avocado salsa is entirely wrong for the season but would look great if you could find good tomatoes

Also, American baked goods have a reputation for being terrible compared to European classic patisserie. So if you wanted to add a dessert item...

- these adorable apple pie cookies are identifiable to a streusel-familiar people and very kid-friendly; these rhubarb and cream cheese hand pies are also extremely cute and I bet you could find a substitute for cream cheese, like quark

- this pumpkin-bourbon cheesecake is quite prep-heavy but would be very very American
posted by mdonley at 6:43 AM on December 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

Jezebel Sauce. So easy to make. Warm it up a little, pour it over a block of slightly softened cream cheese, and nom it up by spreading on good bread or crackers. Sweet and sour with a nice kick. I might buy some good strong German whole grain mustard and mix that in rather than using mustard powder. Oh dear, now I must make some and eat it.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 8:38 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pesto and sundried tomato torte. This has been my party secret weapon for years. Yes, it's Betty Crocker, it's still amazing.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:55 AM on December 1, 2015

Germans like wild mushrooms, and this wild mushroom pâté is elegant, delicious, and mysterious (because it's very pâté-ish).
posted by mudpuppie at 9:00 AM on December 1, 2015

Here in Wisconsin (German enough for ya?) we love dill pickle dip. Chop up the pickles and mix into cream cheese thinned with pickle juice to the consistency you desire. Goes great with dark rye. I'm telling you, we fight over it!
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 9:01 AM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yerfatma, what kind of cheese is Colby Monterey Jack?

The kind that can be easily substituted with cheddar. We've never actually made it with anything else.
posted by yerfatma at 1:02 PM on December 1, 2015

My go-to spread is also from Smitten Kitchen: artichoke olive spread.
posted by yesbut at 3:21 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

This Corn Dip has gone over really well when I've taken it to parties. Due to the sweetness of the corn and the texture of the shredded cheese people often think it has crab in it but it doesn't. It's delicious on corn chips.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:51 PM on December 1, 2015

Beer cheese!

Melt together 8 oz Neufchâtel (or light cream cheese), 8oz cheddar, 8 oz mozzarella, and a bottle of a light Amber beer. Chill to set. Re-heat and top with green onions to serve.

It's so easy and it's utterly delicious with pretzel bread.
posted by nicodine at 12:32 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

* Blue cheese with fig jam.
* brie wrapped in phyllo with a cranberry, lingonberry or currant jam with bacon.
* classic knorr spinach dip with chopped water chestnuts for crunch
posted by jadepearl at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2015

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