WAYNE - Dale David's day job is election administrator at the Wood County Board of Elections.
|Dale David with his crab rangoon appetizer (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
In view of that fact, it's obvious he's not sitting around twiddling his thumbs right now. To the contrary, with voter applications and early balloting for the November election starting to pour in, he's already swamped.
But his Royal blood won out when he agreed to be included on the list of volunteer chefs for the eighth annual Elmwood Taste of Royalty.
The popular fundraiser for the Elmwood Athletic Department is slated for Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Elmwood Auditeria on Jerry City Road.
David, himself a 1980 Elmwood graduate, will be making his picture-perfect Crab Rangoon appetizers for the grazing-style dinner.
"It's a recipe I modified from one that I found in a magazine years ago," David said. In fact, he made Crab Rangoons for the very first Taste of Royalty (TOR) back in 2006. That time "I made it with fried rice, and I fried it right at the table."
Folks who were there that night remember the rangoons fondly, and will be thrilled to see David back "on the job" after a seven-year hiatus.
"Because of the timing of it, right before election," he was hesitant until now to return as a "Taste of" chef. He was hired by the Board of Elections seven and a half years ago.
David says he made a few modifications to the rangoon recipe when he first tried it.
"I think it called for yellow pepper, and no Worcestershire sauce. I never have yellow pepper on hand and don't use it, and I like Worcestershire with Asian food so thought 'What if I add it to this?' It gave it a little kick."
There are plenty of other possible variations and he encourages those who make the recipe themselves to try one or more:
• Use seasoned salt, instead of regular salt - "although I like it with regular salt better."
• Leave the crab out and make it a Cheese Rangoon.
• Leave out the garlic and go with extra onion, instead. "If you don't have something else in there the cream cheese just takes over," he cautioned.
His most important piece of advice: "Don't over-fry, because if you do the filling will start to leak out. You can have your seams nicely done, but it will come out the sides of the wonton. You can overcook 'em so quick."
Also, "have a skimmer for your oil, to get the little bits that are floating in there after a while."
The original recipe, as printed, called for an egg wash, "but I just use water," David added.
David and other volunteer Taste of Royalty chefs are each asked to provide 200 individual food samplers.
It sounds like a lot, but he's used to the pressure.
"I do a little catering for family and friends on the side," Davide admitted. "I love to be in the kitchen."
The term "little" is relative.
One of his 2012 gigs was the country-themed wedding reception of Lauren Kleine and Kyle Sherman at the Junior Fair Building, with 300 guests invited.
He's also done some weddings and other events at Freeport Banquet Hall in Wayne.
For the past seven or eight years he's catered the mother-daughter banquet for Cloverdale United Methodist Church, an event for which he pulls out all the stops.
"One year I did 65 individual creme brulees for that."
For a gathering of friends all sharing August birthdays he made not only original creme brulees but also pumpkin and chocolate variations.
"And I made angel food cakes with the egg whites that were left over."
Such activities have given him "a newfound respect for people who do catering" for a living.
"I got into it after I started working at the Country Farmhouse in Wayne" during a period when he was out of work. There he learned short-order cooking, adding it to his store of food short-cuts knowledge from childhood.
"Like, my mom has discovered you can freeze potato chips.
"My mom was always a baker and a cook," he says. Nancy David was, herself, an early Cook's Corner contributor with her locally famous Christmas chocolate candies.
"It's not like I hung around the kitchen much growing up - not until I grew up and was on my own," but she set the example.
David himself prefers making main dishes and appetizers, rather than baking.
"It used to be, for Christmas I would make each of my siblings homemade bread, homemade noodles, and summer sausage."
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese – softened
8 oz. crab meat (imitation or real)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
4 large cloves of garlic – crushed
¼ tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 – 2 tsp. Worcester-shire sauce (to taste)
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
Peanut, Canola or Vegetable Oil for frying
Put garlic, crab meat and green onions in food processor and pulse until chopped medium fine. Add cream cheese, onion powder, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce and mix with processor until well mixed and smooth.
Use 1 wonton wrapper and place 1 teaspoon of mixture in center. Wet a finger with water and moisten the entire outside edge of wrap. Pull 2 opposite corners of wrap up and to the center. Press closed lightly. Pull the remaining 2 corners to the center and press together, this forms 4 sharp corners. Press the edges of the wonton together so that it forms an enclosed pocket of filling. Remove excess air before sealing, when possible. Can be refrigerated for a short time. If refrigerated too long – wonton may become soggy and hard to handle.
Heat oil to 365 degrees and fry until wontons are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Serve hot and can be eaten plain or with favorite dipping sauce (ex: Sweet and Sour).
Taste of Royalty tickets going fast
BLOOMDALE - Along with Dale David, contributing chefs for this Saturday's Taste of Royalty will be:
• Celebrity chefs - Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw (pumpkin spice truffle), Wood County Sheriff Wasylyshyn and Eric Reynolds with their award winning sauerkraut and sausage, Central Joint Fire Department's firehouse chili, Don Tuite (Texas Hash), The Slagles (BBQ Pork & Slaw), Laborie Family (award-winning chili), Wayne United Methodist Church (apple dumplings), Mary Jo Wagner (cabbage rolls), Sue Cortez (Mexican Fiesta), Bodnar Family (blue-ribbon cupcakes), Meggie Leigh's (cheesy bacon potato soup), Tahy Two (Hungry Hungarian casserole), StoryBell (pasta perfecto), and Chef Bell with "Mom's fruit salad".
• Participating area restaurants - Country Farmhouse (dessert), Kemosabes (bison chili and cornbread), Spanky's Pizza (pasta rigatoni with meat sauce) and Biggby Coffee (drinks). There will be a People's Choice award given on that night.
Tickets for Taste of Royalty are on sale at the Elmwood High School office or the Country Farmhouse in Wayne. Cost is $10 per person.
Doors will open at 6 p.m.