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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Food and Drink: Super Bowl Soiree

Next Sunday is the final, blow-out event of the year for professional football in America, the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl Sunday is a day folks like to gather together with friends and family to visit, eat, and watch football on television - kind of like Thanksgiving, but without the 'holy day of obligation' feeling that sometimes develops around that holiday (the "but we always have turkey at 1 p.m. with my family and then see your mother later in the evening" type of thing). Super Bowl parties are popular even among those who don't give two hoots about football. Winter is cold and dark and under these conditions, a party sounds very appealing.

If you are hosting a party, or bringing a dish to one, the go-to web resource for recipe ideas remains Martha Stewart, who has over 70 suggestions for food to serve at a Super Bowl soiree. (Thanks Slashfood for the heads-up on this).

Another doyenne of dining, Ina Garten, lists 10 no-cook items to serve with drinks in her book Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. These are solid standards such as sliced salami on a plate with a row of cucumber slices, and hummus topped with a drizzle of olive oil and toasted pine nuts served with toasted pita triangles. Sounds good to me. I'll post more on this cookbook in a few weeks.

One easy, inexpensive, and relatively low calorie item (for those who are still nurturing their New Year's Resolution) to offer guests is popcorn. Fresh, hot, buttery, salty popcorn and a cold beer are perfect Super Bowl snacks. Inspired by a conversation I had recently with Michael Dixon about popcorn with white truffle oil, I popped a batch of corn in olive oil and seasoned it with butter and white truffle salt, an idea found at Chowhound. In another batch, also made in olive oil, I seasoned the hot popcorn with Parmesan cheese and paprika, following a recipe found at Gastronome. Both versions taste great.

Bon appetit and Go Cardinals!

Note: If you are looking for a source for white truffle salt and other seasonings, check out The Spice House.

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