Disney Dining at Home

There’s something about being in Disney World that makes me want to eat like a child.  Or, more specifically, like a child who has been left home alone with a house full of junk food.  While I typically make good food choices in my regular life, I do not have good eating habits when I’m in Walt Disney World.  One day on my most recent trip I had a cupcake for breakfast, a caramel-covered cookie for lunch, and a cucumber margarita for dinner–I mean after all, it’s got the word cucumber in it.  It’s almost a meal.  Right?

Of course, there are always too many days between trips.  And one of the best ways to help deal with a Disney craving is with some make-at-home Disney food.  This past New Year’s Eve, Melissa Sue and I used ‘it’s a holiday’ as an excuse to cook up one very unhealthy–but very tasty–Disney-themed meal.

Our take on the California Grill Cheese Board

Because we love cheese–and we imagine that Mickey would, too–we started with a cheese platter.  I attempted to reproduce the cheese plate served at California Grill, which presented an interesting challenge.  You see, the cheeses featured on the California Grill cheese plate are actually from various places in the world–the Netherlands, Spain, and not surprisingly, California.  Disney does something magical by bringing them all to central Florida and presenting them on one cheese board.  I was fresh out of pixie dust when I arrived at my local farmer’s market cheese shop; the Pennsylvania cheese monger didn’t have four of the five cheeses I was looking for.  But he did have something close to each.  Here lies the lesson I took away from this experiment:  you might not be able to make a Disney meal or follow a Disney recipe perfectly, but you can get close enough.  And close enough is still yummy.

We ended up with a cow’s milk gouda from Vermont, a French triple cream, a Spanish manchego, and a beautifully crumbly (and budget friendly) domestic bleu.  I was able to get a rather large round of Drunken Goat, which was the one California Grill selection available.  It’s actually one of my favorite cheeses of all time.  I mean come on, goat cheese soaked in wine?  That’s a better combination than peanut butter and chocolate.

I served the cheese board with home made apple onion chutney, candied pecans, honey, and pita chips.  If you’ve never had triple cream cheese on a pita drizzled with honey, please stop whatever you are doing right now and go try it.  Seriously.  Go.  Why are you still sitting there?

Boneless 'wings' with Honey Coriander Sauce from Ohana

Of course, a woman can not live on cheese alone (no matter how much Melissa Sue may want to) so I prepared a few more meal-like items.  As a preview to our upcoming reservation at Ohana, I made the Honey Coriander Wing Sauce to go with what I called boneless wings (they were chicken tenders).  At first I was a bit concerned that the sauce was a bit too thin, but after it cooked for a bit and then cooled, it was the perfect gooey consistency and had the perfect balance of flavor–salt from the soy, sweet from the honey, sour from the lime zest and spicy from the chili powder.  A perfect sauce, in my opinion.  At Melissa Sue’s request, I sprinkled the ‘wings’ with toasted sesame seeds.  This was an excellent suggestion, as the crunch was much appreciated–and the seeds looked pretty, too.

Waffle sandwiches, sweet and savory, open-faced and traditional

My last entree was inspired by a new snack available in the Magic Kingdom–the waffle sandwiches offered at Sleepy Hollow.  I read a Disney Food Blog post about them a few months ago and have not stopped thinking about them.  I mean come on–a sandwich served on a waffle?  Yes please!  There are three different options available in the Magic Kingdom–two savory and one sweet–and I made two of the three variations.  The savory was a ham and swiss waffle, which I served like an actual sandwich.  I also added a bit of home made cheddar beer sauce for texture, which was a really good call.  The sweet option was covered in hazelnut chocolate spread, strawberries, and bananas.  While I did not make malted waffles–as they would be in Disney World–I did manage a pretty elaborate yeast-based batter that worked wonderfully as  a sandwich base.  There really needs to be a restaurant chain that specializes in waffle sandwiches, because they are a really, really good idea.  My husband has been eating the leftovers for lunch all week, and all of his coworkers are jealous.

Twinkie Tiramisu, with scoop taken out to show layers

It wouldn’t be a Disney meal without dessert, but this course presented a significant problem for me.  You see, I’m a terrible dessert maker.  I can bake bread, but cookies, cakes and pies are all beyond my skill set.  Fortunately, Disney has a recipe for that, too.  It’s called Twinkie Tiramisu, and it was both fun and easy to make.  Oh–and amazingly good.  As an extra bonus,  this dish was originally served at Everything Pop, the food court at Pop Century, which is where Melissa Sue and I will be staying during our Leap Day trip.

I was afraid that the tiramisu would be too sweet, but somehow it wasn’t.  The espresso balanced out the sweetness of the twinkies very well, and the mascarpone filling was just sour enough to compliment the slightly lemony flavor of the twinkies themselves.  It was the perfect end to an absolutely decadent Disney meal.

So there you have it.  Our slightly-less-than-traditional, not-exactly-perfect Disney celebration meal.  It was fantastic, fun, and filling.  I strongly encourage others to design their own Disney feast.  There are many Disney cookbooks available, as well as the extensive recipe collection on All Ears, which is where I found all of these recipes.

Has anyone else out there done a meal like this?  What did you make?  Share with us in the comments below!


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