Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Super Bowl Smorgasbord

I'd like to start this post off with a game recap... except that truthfully, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I only watched the last 20 seconds or so. Not counting the Puppy Bowl, of course.

It's been a tradition for the last five years that on game day, I cook a BUNCH of junk food. Not "junk" by taste standard, but by health standards.

A lot of it is fried, greasy and features bacon as an ingredient (not that there's anything wrong with it). Delicious, but exactly what you'd call "health food."

This year was no exception. I made a TON of stuff. Some are my recipes, some are others' that I've gathered from around the web... they're all delicious and we've never been so grateful for leftovers (delicious food, and I don't have to cook!)

I've given credit below where credit is due. I highly recommend you check out the recipes -- I may not have eaten much but I tasted everything and I have NO complaints. Everyone for a Super Bowl party at my house next year?

The pork recipe is my own, the nachos recipe isn't. But you can't have pork nachos without the pork. I'll have to dish my pulled pork recipe in a later post, but if you don't know how to make it (or don't have the time), you could always substitute the pre-made pulled pork that you can find in the prepared meats section of the grocery store. It works just fine, and it's pre-seasoned and sauced.

Here's the pork...

Here's the pulled pork nachos.

The recipe for the nachos is courtesy of The Neelys (from the Food Networks). You can find it here. The only thing I did to change them was add some fried onion rings (see below) on top of the nachos. I will make these again and again and again -- so yummy!

Classic Buffalo Chicken Wings

These are so easy and so worth it and so delicious... and so not my recipe! I used this recipe from Chef Dennis' More Than a Mount Full blog. What I loved most was that the sauce he lists the recipe for has so much flavor. It's spicy, but not OH MY GOD hot. The reason is that it isn't just your standard hot sauce poured onto wings -- you first make a buffalo sauce using Frank's (or hot sauce of your choice -- I used Frank's Thick sauce for dipping, and it was perfect), butter and honey. The butter gives it a richness and the honey gives just a little bit of sweet that make these divine.

Call me crazy, but I also never realized that wings were supposed to be fried before you put sauce on them. Which explains why I don't make wings very often.

So delicious!

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

I have to say, after posting a picture of these on Twitter and Facebook, I must have gotten 10 messages from people asking me for the recipe!

The idea from this recipe came from this post from Sprinkle of Parsley, but I did change it up quite a bit to customize it (remember how I said I didn't want to eat much of these foods because they're not so healthy? I made a HUGE exception for this, and it was completely worth it).

I prepared the chicken and potatoes exactly as the recipe calls for, and the sauce I used was extra from the wings above (even if you're not making the wings, I highly suggest using the sauce recipe from it... it's got an awesome bite!).

I did skip the blue cheese, though, because I'm not a big fan, and used goat cheese in its place. After they came out of the oven, I added a little bit of crisped bacon (which I had crumbled) and topped each with a little bit of parsley.

Voila! Amazing.

Italian Bread and oil

I guess it's an Italian 'thing' to dip good crusty bread in oil. I often throw some roasted garlic cloves into the oil to give it even more flavor.

The bread is a recipe I found from All Recipes -- here it is. It's not difficult, but does take a little patience. Be prepared for it not to rise too too much, and generally (as you can see if you read the reviews) it took much less time in the oven.

You don't have to serve this with oil though, you could make a compound butter instead or rub the bread directly with garlic and have it that way. It's also a great crusty bread for soaking up leftover sauce. I've heard. Not that I've actually done that myself. Ever. Or once a week.

Either way, I had no idea it was so easy to make bread, and I'll definitely be doing it more!

Onion Rings
This is a little bone of contention. Well, more disappointment, really.

I had planned to serve these in two ways -- with some on top of the nachos, and some as a separate appetizer dish. That would have been great... had I not knocked the Pyrex dish of the second half of them off our counter mid-evening. Of course it smashed all over the tile floor, sending glass shards, flour and garlic powder everywhere.

We did have them on the nachos though, and they were very flavorful and tasty.

3 large onions, sliced into thin rings
4 cups of buttermilk*
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
3 cups flour
peanut oil

Place the onions in a 9x13 baking dish and cover with buttermilk. Let sit for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Combine dry ingredients and dredge onion rings generously. Carefully place them into the oil, turning mid-way through to cook both sides. You will probably have to do this in 3 or 4 batches to avoid dropping the temp of the oil too much. Remove from oil and drain before serving.

*Note: I realized that I didn't have any buttermilk, but knew that was OK, because I had plenty of regular milk. If you need a buttermilk substitution, here's a simple fix: Measure just short of 1 cup of milk in a measuring glass. Add enough white vinegar or lemon juice (both work well) to get up to the 1 cup line. Let it sit for 5 minutes. You'll start to see the milk getting thicker and even a little clumpy. That's perfect. There's your buttermilk substitute!

Fried Mozzarella
Originally, I was inspired by this recipe from The Curvy Carrot. I had to substitute, though, because none of our grocery stores had bocconcini. Instead, I used slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, and it came out just beautifully. I just served this with some homemade arrabiata sauce, and he was a happy guy.

Decadent Chocolate Chip Mousse

Every good game needs a good finish. I knew that after the insanely rich (heavy) snacks I was making, I had to have an equally memorable dessert.

Who isn't a sucker for chocolate? So here's a very easy recipe I whipped up for him. I served it in martini glasses because I like to pretend I'm fancy (I'm not).

For the record, the reason it's called "chocolate chip" mousse but you don't see any chips listed... growing up, my sister and I were Dairy Queen-aholics and one treat in particular -- the chocolate chip blizzard. It wasn't even on their menu. All it consisted of was vanilla soft serve blended with chocolate sauce in a high speed mixer. What would happen is so simple, but so delicious... the chocolate would kind of coagulate -- basically chill -- into chunks inside the ice cream. The thing I always loved was the texture. It was chocolatey without being TOO chocolatey (truth be told, I'm more of a vanilla girl). So that's the texture I went for with this dessert. And I succeeded!

Decadent Chocolate Chip Mousse
12 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, melted but cooled
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Whip the cream into stiff peaks, using a standing mixer or hand mixer. Slowly pour the melted chocolate in, blending each time. (Note -- it has to be cooled, or it will do weird things to the cream. Trust me.) Stop the mixer and use a plastic spatula to make sure the chocolate is evenly distributed. Add the cocoa powder and mix until it's completely incorporated.

Top with raspberries, Andes mints or any other adorable garnish. Serve cold.