This may sound a little…unexpected, but Super Bowl Sunday is, hands-down, one of the best days of the year for entertaining. Think about it. You get to keep the constricting cocktail dress in the closet and throw on (skinny) jeans and your comfiest (chic) sweater. Instead of standing around in 4-inch Louboutins, you spend most of the “event” sitting on a sunken-in couch barring the occasional trip to the kitchen to grab a beer or refill the nachos platter.
And speaking of said nachos platter, it gives you an excuse to get really down and dirty with your menu. Forget delicate little h’ors douevres you eat with toothpicks and cloth napkins. It’s time for wings. And lots and lots of paper towels.
Here are some easy entertaining tips followed by a few of my favorite recipes for football grub:
1. As far as the cocktail “menu” goes, steer clear of fancy. No one wants to drink a girly pink concoction out of martini glass today. Break out the beer and the tequila shots and call it a day.
2. If you want to serve a main, incorporate a chili cook-off. Ask the more culinarily inclined among your guests to bring a pot of chili using their best recipe.
3. Classic sugar cookies decorated with the names of the competing teams in royal frosting are always a hit.
4. Prop bets are good for those of us who don’t count football knowledge among our greatest strengths. You can place $1 bets on things like “Time it Takes to Sing the National Anthem” or “Who’s Ahead at Half Time.”
5. And last, but certainly not least, don’t even think about wearing hot shorts and a football jersey. Let’s not get crazy here.
Roasted Chicken Wings
From Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 6, by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer
4 pounds (about 20) chicken wings, tips trimmed
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons tarragon leaves, dried or fresh
Salt and pepper
Put the chicken wings, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste into a large bowl and rub the wings all over with the marinade. The wings can marinate at room temperature while the oven preheats, but if you want to marinate them longer (overnight is fine), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the wings out on a roasting pan in a single layer, skin side up, drizzling any of the remaining marinade over them. Roast the wings until they are well browned and the skin papery crisp, about 1 hour. The pan juices and marinade will have caramelized and some of the wings will need to be pried off the pan. Eat wings hot or at room temperature with your fingers.
Hot Crab Dip
One 4-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or other seasoned salt
6 ounces fresh or canned lump crabmeat, drained
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place all the ingredients except the crab in a medium bowl and blend together with a spatula. Stir in the crab. Turn the dip into a 1-quart casserole and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
From The Homesick Texan, by Lisa Fain
12 medium jalapeño chiles
1/4 pound chorizo, cooked and drained of excess fat
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon lime zest
Salt, to taste
Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Take each jalapeño and cut in half, lengthwise. With a knife or small spoon scoop out the seeds and white pith and discard.
Mix together the cooked chorizo, cream cheese, goat cheese, cilantro, oregano, cumin, garlic, cayenne, and lime zest. Adjust seasonings and add salt to taste.
Fill each of the jalapeño halves with about 2 teaspoons of the cheese filling. Place stuffed jalapeños on the sheet and place under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown and bubbling.