I intended to write this before Superbowl, but spent the better part of the day playing in the kitchen instead. Apparently my youngest found this the perfect time to play as well, by making her first carpet abstract with fabric paint! I honestly didn’t think it would come out, but lucky for her it did. Even at 2 1/2 she knew exactly what to do when she was in trouble. She followed me around while I worked on cleaning up her artwork, talking to me very sweetly, and at one point even said, “I love you mommy!” My little Cezanne will hopefully use more appropriate canvas next time.
Top 5 Reasons why I hate Superbowl:
1) Football is on T.V.
2) It’s the longest 60 minute game, ever;
3) Which makes it the perfect medium for lots and lots and lots of commercials
4) Supersized men in spandex with dred-creatures flopping out of their helmets, not pretty
5) I could probably do another 5 reasons why I dislike football, but you probably get the idea
Top 5 Reasons why I love Superbowl:
1) It’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family
2) If I’m hosting, I get to plan the menu. Planning menus makes me inordinately happy
3) I get to make (and eat!) lots and lots of finger-happy food
4) An occasional commercial is funny or disturbing enough to make my husband squeak (aka laugh)
5) Um, did I mention I like the friends, fam, and food?
My menu this year was an international collection of recipes, the ONLY unifying factor being that they are all finger foods:
1) Smoked BBQ ribs
2) Cabbage salsa (a great alternative for when tomatoes are not in season)
3) Teriyaki wings (marinated and grilled)
4) Chicken wontons – I threw these together for New Year’s Eve, guesstimated my measurements after the fact because they turned out so well, and was pleasantly surprised that my estimates turned out so well the second time around.
5) Sugar snap peas and carrots with ranch
6) Blueberries – to make you feel better about yourself
7) Beignets (Made fresh with homemade Challah dough from “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day,” the best bread cookbook for busy people EVER)
There was a pretty good balance of healthy/not-so-healthy foods, until the beignets made their appearance around half-time. Really, I wanted to make them because I loved the idea of serving them in a brown paper lunch bag that you shake to coat with powdered sugar and eat while steamy warm. I didn’t get so far as the fancy paper bag presentation, but they did live up to the sweet, yeasty goodness I was hoping for.
The Challah dough recipe alone is worth the price of the cookbook, although the olive oil dough, and buttermilk, and naan, and Vermont cheddar, ok really, it’s an awesome book.
I will share my chicken wonton and cabbage salsa recipes, and while not in the same league as homemade bread, are still pretty dang awesome in their own right. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures before they were gone!
Serves: A crowd
4 boneless chicken thighs, or about 1 lb ground chicken
½ bunch green onions, about 1/3 cup diced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon or so crushed black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
1½ teaspoons ginger juice (or 1½ teaspoons freshly grated, or ½ teaspoon ground)
1 package wonton wrappers
oil for frying (I use corn oil)
1) Get 2-3 inches oil heating in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy pan. Target oil temperature is 350 degrees. On my burner this is just below medium. Don’t put it on high cause you think it will heat quicker, this is just asking for disaster.
2) Put the chicken through a meat grinder if you have one. If not, just put ground chicken in a big bowl.
3) Add the rest of the filling ingredients and stir to combine. (You can make the filling ahead. Keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.)
4) Lay individual wrappers on a dry surface, and put ½ Tablespoon of filling in each center. Dip your finger in a bowl of water and wet the wrapper edges, making sure there’s no filling near the edges that will cause leakage. Fold wrapper in half and press edges tightly together.
5) The oil should be shimmering by now, but not smoking. Gently drop one in the oil as a tester. It should take about 3-4 minutes to reach a beautiful golden brown, turning halfway through.
6) Remove to paper towels and cut it in half to check for doneness. It should not be pink. Once you are sure the oil is at the proper temperature, fry in batches of 5-6 at a time. Drain on paper towels.
7) Serve immediately with a sweet chili sauce, or spicy chili garlic sauce. These actually taste pretty good reheated in a toaster oven the next day.
Serves: a crowd
½ large head of cabbage
1 jalapeno, seeded if you don’t like too much heat, and minced
1-2 limes, juiced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 handful fresh cilantro, 2-3 Tablespoons finely chopped
1-2 seeded and chopped tomatoes
½ bunch green onion, chopped fine
salt and crushed black pepper
1) Quarter the cabbage and cut out the hard core. Chop finely. Put it in a strainer and toss with salt, 1-2 teaspoons. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of your ingredients, at least 15-20 minutes. The cabbage will cry a little and feel much better for it.
2) Prepare and put the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cabbage and toss. Salt, pepper, and lime juice the lot until it tastes good enough to eat straight from the bowl with a fork like a salad.
3) Serve with tortilla chips, over tacos, or even all by itself.
If tomatoes aren’t in season, or you want to save a little time, you can use ½ cup fresh deli salsa instead of the tomato.