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Food & Game Pairing: Monkey Madness!

Doing something a little bit different this week. Instead of picking an RPG to pair up with menu suggestions I thought it’d be fun to highlight a couple of family games. Because sometimes you just need a few monkeys.

Game: Too Many Monkeys
Type: Card Game
Ages: 6 & up
Players: 2-to-6

It’s a fun card game meant for kids, obviously, but we played it one evening and had a great time. You have to start with 6 cards and get down to one, pulling cards until you get the sequence completed and do it before anyone else. WE thought, with only 2 people playing, it’d be quick and boring but it really wasn’t. So much fun.

Game: Monkey Lab
Type: Board Game
Ages: 12 & up
Players: 2-to-4

Unfortunately we haven’t had time to play through this one since we just got it at MobiCon and we’ve been so swamped and exhausted since getting home. I can tell you that Todd had spotted it and bought it even before the show started because it looked just that fun.

You play former lab monkeys trying to liberate monkeys still inside. The game board (in four double-sided segments, so games can change depending on layout) is the lab and you have to move through the rooms and use the tools inside to spring the monkeys without getting caught by the security guard.

So, what to serve? Are you ready to go bananas?

Start with having some tropical snack mix available for munchies (banana chips, dried fruit and nuts).

For dinner, I say go with Cuban Sandwiches with a side of fried plantains, sweet (maduros) or savory(tostones). I like the idea of Cuban food to fit the flavors, so if sandwiches aren’t your thing, how about some succulent roast pork? Keep the plantains, of course, and add some savory (what else?) Monkey Bread!

Monkey Bread is like one giant pull-apart roll and usually I see this as a dessert. My favorite is with cinnamon sugar and mini chocolate chips but for part of an entree here’s what I’d do:

  1. Take your favorite yeast dough (or some yeast rolls from the refrigerator section of the grocery store) and form small balls, about 1.5 inches in diameter.
  2. Chop some sprigs of fresh rosemary and combine with minced or powdered garlic, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese (or your favorite hard cheese, grated fine).
  3. Set up 2 bowls: one with the herb/cheese mixture and one with olive oil.
  4. Dip each yeast ball into the olive oil and then in the herb/cheese mix and place into a grease ring mold (angel food pans work great, bundt pans slightly less great but will do).
  5. Bake as directed in your dough recipe, let cool and unmold onto a nice plate.

To eat this you just set it out and let folks pull apart what they want. It’s a lot of fun and interactive.

For dessert: Banana Splits, of course! Set up a toppings bar and let everyone make their own.

Drinks could be anything from banana-based smoothies , banana daiquiris or, my newest creation, a Summer Monkey cocktail.

Summer Monkey

1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Banana Liqueur
Ginger ale

Combine the juice and liqueurs in a tall glass (highball, pint glass or even a hurricane would do) and stir to combine. Fill the glass 3/4 full with ice and fill will ginger ale. Stir with a straw and serve. Optionally, garnish with pineapple.

Very simple and very refreshing. I was just dabbling one Friday night and came up with this. The name comes both from the summer cooler aspect as well as the banana liqueur and it being the color of our Reese’s monkey that was sitting on the table. (Yes, Reese’s not Rhesus–he’s yellow and came with a Reese’s peanut butter egg for Easter. And no, I have no idea what a monkey has to do with Easter other than the possible play on Rhesus. But we love him anyway.)

If you’re making ahead for a crowd, I’d allow 6-8 oz of ginger ale per 3 oz of alcohol, though you could certainly dilute it more.