On February 3rd, over a hundred million Americans will gather around their televisions for what I consider to be one of the best reasons of the year to host a party. It’s the annual resetting of the football clock. That one day when we all feel that our team just might have a chance next year. Yes, I’m referring to the Super Bowl.
I’m here to tell you that there is no reason to wait hours for your pizza to be delivered. With just a little planning, you can host a fabulous bash that will keep your friends happy from the National Anthem straight through the halftime show to the final whistle.
It’s true that I can’t resist a bag of super-orange, cheesy Doritos, but I also love to host a great party with great food and the Super Bowl is no exception. Consider surprising your friends with some delicious finger-foods that can be served straight from your coffee table. Guacamole may be traditional Super Bowl fare, but I like to give mine an unexpected twist and turn it into Thai Guacamole. In an effort to “class up” the ever popular pigs-in-blankets and add lots of flavor, I suggest my Sausages in Stadium Blankets. And, for something a bit more substantial, my Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate Cocktail Ribs are a great addition to the spread.
To round out the feast, I like to place big bowls of (microwave) popcorn around the room dressed with a drizzle of olive oil, a generous sprinkling of salt and the seasoning of your choice (Chinese Five Spice, Italian Seasoning, Chili Powder with a touch of sugar, Everthing Bagel Spice.). And then, time to sit back and enjoy the festivities.
As for my husband and I, we will be tuning in while dreaming of a Rams/Bills showdown sometime this century.
Seventy-nine million pounds of avocados are expected to be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday this year. We will be doing our part with a twist.
Be sure to buy your avocados in the days before you expect to serve them. If they are not yet ripe, stow them in a paper bag with a ripe piece of fruit and they should be ready for you in just 24 hours.
Makes about 2½ cups, serving 6-8
1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
2-3 garlic cloves
1 small white onion, finely chopped
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
3 medium-large ripe avocados
2 T Thai green curry paste
2 ripe plum tomatoes, finely chopped
Place the jalapeno and garlic in a small ungreased skillet set over medium heat. Turn them frequently until they have softened and are darkened in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Chop the jalapeno and garlic finely.
Rinse the onion under cold water, strain and shake off any excess water. (If you don’t mind the extra bite, you can certainly skip this step.)
Place the avocado flesh in a large bowl with the jalapeno, garlic and onion. Add the curry paste. Use a potato masher or large fork to work the mixture into a coarse pulp. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro. Add lime juice, salt and more curry paste to your taste. Serve with the tortilla chips of your choice.
Sausages in Stadium Blankets
Pigs in Blankets… all grown up.
Serves 6-8 as a snack
1 lb. fresh Italian sausage in casings
2 sheets/1 box of puff pastry, thawed
½ c. whole-grain mustard
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten with 1 T water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the sausage on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the sausage and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until it is fully cooked. Cool to room temperature.
Combine the mustard, vinegar, oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt. Set aside for the moment. (May be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut each piece in half lengthwise, then cut to the length of the sausage. Brush the top sides with 2 T of the mustard mixture. Place 1 sausage on top of the mustard and roll it tightly, overlapping the end by ½ inch and sealing the pastry by brushing the edge with the egg wash. Cut off any excess pastry. Repeat this process with the other three sausages and pastry. Place the 4 rolls, seam side down, on a baking sheet line with parchment paper. (May be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated and bake just before serving.)
Brush rolls all over with the egg wash. Lightly score each roll diagonally to make 8 equal pieces. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until browned. Slice and serve with the remaining mustard mixture alongside for dipping.
Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate Cocktail Ribs
This is a great recipe for a party as it can easily be doubled, or even tripled, to feed your hungry crowd throughout the game. The seasoning can be adjusted to your taste.
Makes approximately 3 dozen ribs
2 lbs. baby back ribs or country spare ribs
ask your butcher to cut the ribs in half crosswise, then cut them into individual ribs
For the Rub:
2 t dark brown sugar
2 t salt
1 t chipotle chili powder*
1 t cinnamon
1 t granulated onion
1 t garlic powder
1 t black pepper
For the Pomegranate BBQ Sauce:
1 cup Heinz ketchup
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
2 t sriracha
1 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t dry mustard
Salt, to taste
Put all of the rub ingredients into a small bowl and mix to combine. Massage the rub into the ribs and allow to sit in the refrigerator, covered, for at least one hour.
In the meantime, mix all of the BBQ sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan. Cooking over low heat, bring the sauce to a simmer. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to your taste. You may be tempted to add more sriracha, but just keep in mind that you also have some heat in the rub.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. The ribs should cook for a total of about one hour. They will be sticky and cooked through. Baste with the BBQ sauce every ten minutes and turn the ribs over after the first 30 minutes.
Pile the ribs on a platter and serve warm with lots of napkins.
*Ancho chili powder or cayenne will also work here. Add to your taste.