Punch Drunk

The Fred Swayze/Shivery McPickles union turned one year old last month. To celebrate, we were supposed to be in Spain for our honeymoon. Unfortunately, as you all definitely know, my Sidekick had to get - well - re-stacked this summer, so we've postponed. To soothe the burn of having to reschedule our ham and txakoli-oriented trip, we threw a bitchin' party centered around a giant bowl of punch.

If that looks like the sun rising over the horizon to you, it's no coincidence. This mother holds three gallons.
My Sidekick was in charge of the punch. A no-nonsense hell-broth of bourbon, citrus, maraschino, orgeat, bitters and sparkling wine that tasted like juice, went down like water and made everyone's cheeks especially rosy. I was in charge of the snacks.

What can you really make to stand up to a few gallons of booze? I resorted to a few old tricks. Both old in the sense that they are pretty tried and true party-pleasers for me, and old in the sense that they are just OLD. Old-school. Old-fashioned. You get where I'm going with this. I made an entire pie dish full of spinach artichoke dip with enough crudité to build a bed out of. There was a cast-iron skillet filled with cocktail meatballs (to dip into Marcela Hazan tomato sauce - I CAN'T STOP). I heaped a rectangular plate high with pickled delights. There were little cucumber canapes, a riff on a cucumber sandwich with enough horseradish to blow your face off. And then there were these.

Famous Paquette Pickle Pinwheels. Our friend Jamie Paquette, one of the first people we ever met in Brooklyn, brought these to our first Thanksgiving here with all of our new friends.

"What. Are. Those." I asked, pretty certain that I knew sort of what they were. "Old family recipe," Jamie replied. I don't know what else happened because I ate 10 or 12 of them without taking a breath. These are so simple that they almost seem strange. If you make them, be sure you have enough, because party guests hopped up on punch go absolutely bat-shit for them.

Famous Paquette Pickle Pinwheels
Oh, this isn't really a recipe as much as a guide to assembly. Major thanks to my friend Jamie Paquette for bringing these into my life. 

sour dill pickles
cream cheese (totally softened)
thinly sliced ham

Drain pickles very well and pat them dry with paper towel. Lay a slice of ham on your cutting board and spread a thin, even layer of cream cheese over the whole thing, being as careful as you can to not tear the ham. Roll the pickle up tightly.

Wrap the roll tightly in plastic wrap (think sushi-roll-tight) and refrigerate for an hour or so to make slicing easier. Slice into 1/2 inch thick coins and try to keep up with demand. They'll go fast.

*I've mixed chopped chives, salt and pepper, lots of different things into the cream cheese before spreading. You can, if you'd like, but the Paquettes probably wouldn't approve. And the original version is so good, it almost doesn't make sense to mess with it.

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