Jan 30, 2009

The Book: Ready for Kick Off

‘Tis the season for… football. Though it’s hard to escape all things Super Bowl right now, this menu can really work for any sporting event.

Serves 6-8

The Game Plan:
Provided you have a television large enough to see the action, invite a few buds over for any big match up: college rivals, national playoffs, World Series or Stanly Cup matches. Put out a cooler of beer, a couple of delicious dips and the remote control. Use commercial breaks to freshen drinks and put out more snacks.

The Menu:
Cold Beer
Spicy Corn Dip
Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip
White Chicken Chili
Avocado Grapefruit Salad
Ice Cream Sandwiches

Spicy Corn Dip
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen white corn
1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
Quarter cup butter or margarine, softened
2 TB ground cumin
2 TB pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Cook corn in boiling water for 5 mins. Drain. Combine corn with cream cheese, butter, cumin and jalapeno peppers, stir until evenly blended. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature with tortilla chips or Fritos.

Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip
16 ounces cream cheese (light is fine, but not fat free)
1 (12 ounce) bottle blue cheese dressing
1 (5-6oz.) bottle hot sauce (Frank's is pretty traditional)
Quarter cup chopped chives

Let cream cheese come to room temperature. Combine with dressing, half of the hot sauce and the chives. You may want to use a hand-held mixer to get everything evenly mixed. Taste the dip & add more hot sauce to taste. Garnish with a few extra chives and serve with extra crispy potato chips and celery sticks.

White Chicken Chili
1 lb dried small white beans
Half stick butter
2 large onions, chopped
Third cup all-purpose flour
1 TB chili powder
1 tea chipotle powder
1 TB ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups half & half
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
5 chicken breasts, gently poached & cubed

Place beans in large heavy pot with enough cold water to cover by at least 3 inches. Let stand overnight. Drain the beans and return to the pot. Add enough fresh cold water to cover beans by 3 inches. Simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Drain ‘em well.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté about 10 minutes. Add chili powder, chipotle powder and cumin. Sauté about 5 minutes more. Add flour and stir for 5 minutes, being sure not to brown it. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and half & half. Add salt & pepper to taste. Simmer gently until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add white beans and chicken and simmer gently to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

Serve with any or all of the following:
Grated Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
Tomatillo salsa
Chopped onion
Green Chimichurri sauce from your favorite burrito joint

:Chipotle powder is sometimes hard to find, although McCormick has started making it. I used to have to travel to Phoenix to find some! But it’s worth the trip, adding heat and smokey flavor to the chili.
:Any white bean will work but I prefer Navy Beans ‘cause they’re smaller
:It’s important to use the best chicken broth you can find, no bouillon cubes! Homemade chicken stock would be ideal, but hey - you don’t always have that kind of time.
:Ground black pepper can be used if you can’t find white pepper but it ruins the visual aesthetics w/ dark specks which is not as appetizing!
:The chili can be made 1 day ahead, just be sure to chill uncovered until room temp, then cover and refrigerate. Re-warm gently to avoid overcooking the beans.

Avocado Grapefruit Salad
1 ripe avocado, peeled & sliced
2 cups red grapefruit sections
Half red onion, thinly sliced
Half lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
A pinch of sugar
10 blades of chives, snipped
Third to half cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Salad greens for 6

Combine lemon juice, mustard and sugar in a small bowl, whisk well. Add chives & whisk in olive oil in a slow stream. Season dressing with salt & pepper to taste. Arrange avocado, grapefruit & red onion over dressed greens.

NOTE: Use the grapefruit that comes peeled and sectioned in glass jars - it is much easier than actually sectioning a grapefruit yourself, and they are always sweet & delicious. Or do it the hard way, totally up to you.

Ice Cream Sandwiches
I owe this idea to my friend ‘R’ who served these at her Super Bowl party many years ago…they were such a hit then & I’ve been dying to make them ever since.

For 12 Sandwiches
2 dozen oversized store-bought chewy cookies (Archway makes some amazing molasses ones but peanut butter and chocolate chip are classics)
Half gallon softened ice cream (I like to steer clear of any flavors with too much chunkiness, stay pretty smooth like vanilla, cookies & cream or mint chocolate chip…)

Pick any cookie & ice cream combination you want. Let the ice cream soften until you can spread it easily. Place a scoop on a cookie and smush it to within a quarter-inch of the edge all the way around. Top with another cookie, press gently until the ice cream reaches the edge, wipe with a CLEAN finger to neaten it up, wrap in wax paper & pop them back into the freezer to harden up. If you want to be really fancy you can roll the ice cream edge in sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, crushed Oreos or anything else you dream up. 

1 comment:

Kate said...

Great ideas! I'm definitely going to try a few of them out. I happen to have a few avocados that are very ripe in my fridge right now, so that might have to be first.