February 8, 2012

Super Bowl Yumday: A Menu for Fans and Non Fans Alike

The Sandwich
For most people, Super Bowl Sunday is a day to get excited about football. They linger over every game throughout the year, waiting to see if "their" team will play in the final end-all, be-all game. These are the people who know all the players, the stats and all the sports gossip. They watch the talk shows, big and small. They know obscure football facts and are able to recite them religiously like a 7-year-old reciting John 3:16 in a Baptist Sunday School. They are the real fans. Conversely, there are those of us who don't really understand football at all.

We are the polar opposites of the real fans. We're not anti-fans, we just don't get it. Take me, for example. My son played local community football for three years and, while I never missed a game, I still have a limited knowledge of even the most basic rules. It is lost on me. I cannot recite any football trivia, either. If you want to hear me recite like that 7-year-old in church I was mentioning before, you will have to ask me to recite lines from the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" or "The Princess Bride." I also know the quadratic equation, the Pythagorean Theorem and the process of oral biofilm and how it lives in, and destroys, the periodontium. Any of that is hardly useful in sports conversations.

The only football trivia I know is that Fran Tarkenton used to host "That's Incredible" with John Davidson and Cathy Lee back in the 80's. Also, Tebow and I can both recite John 3:16.

That's it.

What I do know about Super Bowl Sunday, however, is that there is glorious, fattening bar-type food on menus around the country--and maybe around the world. Any excuse to cook up some heart-stopping food brings me to the literal and figurative table.

Every year I plan a menu for Super Bowl Sunday (maybe we should rename it SuperBowel Sunday for people like me who have more digestion than interception on our minds). My father-in-law invites himself over and we all eat like crazy.

This year was no different. We pigged out in true Bacchanalian fashion and here is our menu:

  • Pulled BBQ pork sandwiches on cheesy jalepeno rolls layered with guacamole, pepperjack cheese, fire roasted poblano peppers, sweet roasted onions, and a cool crunch of southwestern coleslaw
  • Deviled egg potato salad
  • Potato skins with bacon and cheddar
  • Sundried tomato and caper cream cheese dip
  • Plain ol' onion dip (Lipton Onion Soup style)
  • Kettle chips, Doritos and Ritz
  • Brownies and sugar cookies...and a Costco apple pie from my in-laws
  • Various sodas, teas, coffee, etc...
I made almost all of the dishes the day before so that I could get the dishes done early and so that the flavors would be at their best. Here is what I did.

The Pork:
Using Country Style pork ribs (I used 4 and it yielded two meals for our fam of 6), rub with BBQ sauce and then sprinkle generously with mesquite BBQ seasoning. Place in roasting pan and cover with foil, slow roast in a 300 degree oven for about 3-4 hours. Cool slightly, remove bones from ribs ( I remove the fat, too, but only so I can stand there and eat it as I watch the food processor shred the meat) and shred the meat in a food processor (careful not to over shred). Mix with BBQ sauce, place in a Pam-coated casserole dish. Refrigerate overnight.

About 2 hours before you are ready to eat, cover the pork with sliced, sweet onions, cover and cook for another 1-2 hours, stirring up occasionally and carefully draining off the water from the onions every once in a while. You could also omit the onions and instead sautee them later on the stovetop.

The Guac:
To be done ON THE DAY of eating. An old neighbor of mine who hailed from Texas insisted that this was "real" guacamole: Peel, seed and mash together with a fork about 4 very ripe avacodos.  Gently fold in 1/2 of a diced, large slicing tomato (or a few romas), add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

The Slaw:
This was one of those things where I just kept throwing stuff in till it tasted right. This is my best guess at a recipe. Shred a small head of cabbage very finely. Grate a couple of carrots. Toss together and add about a cup of thawed (or canned) sweet corn and a minced 1/2 of a red bell pepper. Add about 4-6 bunches of green onions, sliced, and a can of sliced olives. Set aside.

Mix together in a seperate bowl about 1 1/2 cups thousand island dressing (we like Sayler's, which comes from a VERY old local Portland steak house) and chipotle Tobasco brand sauce to taste. Add a little sour cream for thickness. Toss salad and let sit over night for best taste.

Roasted Poblanos:
If the stems start to burn, you can snip them off with kitchen
Using a gas grill or stovetop, place the peppers directly ON the flames. Use a tongs to slowly turn and turn the peppers until all the skin is charred and the peppers are really soft. This is a slow process and do not leave them alone on the flames. (duh!) Transfer to a plate, cool slightly. Running cold water over them, peel off the skin with your fingers and pull out the center and seeds. Tear them carefully into halves and set aside on a plate. Refrigerate until the next day.

This is the charred appearance needed
in order for the skin to come easily

Deviled Egg Potato Salad:
Dice 4-5 peeled White Rose Potatoes. Bring to a boil on the stove and simmer until you can just break them apart with a fork. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Hard boil about 6-8 eggs, cool, remove the yolks (put them in a separate bowl) and mince the whites, tossing the latter with the potatoes. Add about a pound of thick sliced bacon that has been chopped, fried and drained and about 6 bunches of green onions, sliced. Finally, add another half of a chopped red pepper. Toss all together.

For the dressing, use about a cup of previously prepared Uncle Dan's Buttermilk dressing, the egg yolks (mashed with a fork) and a bit more mayo. You can add another 1/2 packet of dressing mix if you need more flavor. Mix the dressing with a whisk until there are no more lumps.

Mayo fest. I apologize for the mediocre quality of the photos.
My family was giving me a hard time for taking pics of
the food and not them.
 Toss and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Potato Skins:
I used 4 very large organic baking potatoes. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly and coat with olive oil, then large salt ( I used a salt grinder). Pierce them all over and bake at 325 for about 2 hours--I used convection bake at 300 for 2 hours.

Cool slightly, then carefully cut them in half. Scoop of part of the inside and set aside for another purpose (I am making baked potato soup with mine). Half the halves and set on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Cover potatoes with cooked, chopped bacon, shredded cheddar and sliced green onions, cover the whole cookie sheet with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for the next day.

On game day, cook potatoes (sans the plastic wrap!) at 425 convection roast or 450 regular for only about 10 minutes. Check frequently for doneness. We reserved some guac for these and added a sour cream garnish.

Cream cheese, sundried tomatoes and capers spread:
Place about 2 cups marinated sundried tomatoes (from a jar, such as the ones from Costco) and 3 Tablespoons capers with 4-5 cloves crushed fresh garlic in a food processor. Pulse until it all makes a paste.

Add 12 oz block style cream cheese (full fat is best). This is about 1 and 1/2 brick Philadelphia brand. More would make a milder spread. Pulse the processor until smooth, stopping to push down cream cheese as needed.

Refrigerate overnight.  This is great with veggie flavor Ritz crackers or nicer whole grain crackers... and red wine. With cheese cubes. : )

To assemble the sandwiches:

Slice the cheesy jalepeno rolls in half, cover in foil and warm in the oven if desired. You can find rolls like these at a grocery store bakery or a bagel shop.

Spread the bottom half with guacamole, cover with hot pulled pork and sauteed or roasted onions. Cover that layer with shredded pepper jack cheese and a poblano pepper (warm in microwave for a few seconds). Finish the top of the sandwich with the slaw and slap the top bread on.

Pig out.

The sugar cookies we make are found in any Betty Crocker cook book and we used boxed mix Ghiradelli brownie mix.

The resulting dinner was really fun. And fattening.

And what better way to celebrate a sporting event than by eating too many calories while you watch others burn them? To bad they can't burn OUR calories. Sigh. Whoever figures out how to do that would win the Nobel Prize.

Happy eating, and if anything is unclear, please let me know. I have no problem clarifying these recipes!