Wednesday, February 3, 2010

game day hero

some occasions are wonderfully retro, and delightfully simple in their retro-ness. to me, a superbowl party is one of these such things. it would be a challenge to make one a fancy affair, and truly, why would you want to? we have enough classy affairs throughout the year, so it's nice to have a day that is dedicated to the lower brow fare our adult, tasteful lives have all but forgotten.

if i were hosting a superbowl fete (see how wrong that sounds?), i would seize the opportunity to serve up some old timey treats, with a couple fresh tweaks here and there.

i'd start with some bowls of salted, smoked nuts and m&m's (maybe in your team's colors?), and how fun is this "super bowl," made of chex mix? your guests won't know whether to eat or stare. i recommend both. you could put nuts in it, or your dip and people can break off a piece, dip it and eat it. i like this concept. you can learn how to make it here.

a fresh and healthy crudite is a welcome addition to any gathering, as far as i'm concerned, because there are always people who prefer to eat healthy and even for those who don't, a nice, cool bite is sometimes just the thing. i like to be monochromatic in my choice of vegetables - i just think it looks nice. and for dip, i highly recommend this dill version, or this one, both especially perfect with cucumbers and celery. i can't wholeheartedly recommend it because i haven't tried it, but i will say i'm making this one this weekend and wil report back.

served in a pumpernickel bowl, any dip is just retro-perfection. note: the pumpernickel boule at whole foods is particularly nice for this purpose.
everyone's favorite has to be pigs in a blanket, and trader joe's has a really excellent option - they're called parmesan pastry pups and they're truly tasty. i like serving them with a few different dippers - ketchup, honey mustard, and my favorite mustard ever - trader joe's dijon.

of course, you can find pigs in a blanket anywhere frozen, or easily make your own -- in many ways the very best option -- with cocktail franks (or large ones cut into pieces) wrapped in crescent dough and baked til brown and bubbly.

if you want to add a wow-factor item, shrimp cocktail nails it every time, and i love the trader joe's cocktail sauce (any brand will do though) doctored with some extra horseradish and fresh lemon juice. also, deviled eggs always make a splash, and i love the idea of doing them with special toppings like chopped chives or red onion, a little pickle relish or a tiny dollop of caviar. OKAY, i'm getting off-task here. back to the basics...

if i were doing a stand-alone main course, i think i'd go the six foot hero route (btw, they also come in smaller sizes, including even a two-footer in some places). either that, or good old pizza.

like i said, i really think superbowl sunday is a day people want to kick back and relax, and not worry about gourmet. in my case, i'd be too busy worrying about understanding what's going on in the game. okay, i'm lying, i wouldn't be trying at all. what was that you said about shrimp cocktail?

hero photo from, bread bowl photo from; pastry pups photo from, pizza photo from

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