* Update: Wes Welker, you are officially OFF my Christmas Card list. First Kyle WIlliams, now the Giants winning basically due to one dropped pass. The NFL has been unkind to me this year.
First and foremost the Super Bowl is about the game (especially if you had a few bucks riding on the Packers to beat the Steelers AND cover the Over last year, but that’s a different story for a different time). Some people tune in to see the ads. It goes without fail at least once each Super Bowl one of the girls (ahem, most likely offender being my wife) asks to rewind the DVR – not so we can re-live a great catch or bone-crunching hit, but to re-watch a commercial for chips, beer or some such shit. I mean, the Go Daddy commercials are aiite and all, but I’m trying to watch the game! You can YouTube the commercials to your heart’s content later.
For me, aside from the game there is no more important aspect of a Super Bowl party than the food (and the drinks, I suppose). Think about it, if the Football Gods didn’t intend for us to eat like mad during the game, why did they inject the word “Bowl” into the name of their championship?
This year my gift to you is a two week head start on your Super Bowl Party planning. I’ll share some menu ideas as well as a few detailed recipes, but you don’t have to follow them to a “T”. Hopefully this post just inspires you to try out a few new things for the Big Game this year. Since this is written well in advance of the game (Sunday Feb 5th, 3:30pm PST), there won’t be any dishes to photograph, so I promise to add those images after game day. In the meanwhile, I decided I would insert a gorgeous photo of a random Super Bowl spread to get us in the mood. Little did I know that when I did a Google Image search for the term “Super Bowl Spread” the following would be the tenth image listed:
Of course the associated article is about the betting line spread, but it’s more fun to think it’s something else altogether more sinister. Enjoy the ideas below and share some of your own in the comments.
Kal Bi Sliders1 Cup Mayo 3 Tbsp. Gojujang (Korean Chili Paste) 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek (Garlic Chili Sauce) 1 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar 1/2 tsp. Sugar 1 tsp. Sesame Oil Marinated Kal Bi (Korean Short Ribs), cooked, separated from bone then chopped Or, if not using Kal Bi, then Bul Go Gi (Korean Sliced Beef), cooked and chopped Kim Chi, cut into small pieces with scissors Red Cabbage, sliced very thin Hawaiian rolls
The sweetness of the Hawaiin roll is the perfect contrast to the salty, spicy flavor combination, and the fresh cabbage adds another crunchy element. To start, whisk the first six ingredients together to make the sauce. Assemble sliders as follows, starting from bottom: Beef, Sauce, Kim Chi, Cabbage. The sauce can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the fridge, preferably in a squeeze bottle. Another option is to set up a slider station with all the components and allow people to assemble their own. In that case, make 50% more sauce and divide amongst a couple of squeeze bottles. I guarantee your guests will be guzzling that shit down.
Kal Bi and Bul Go Gi can both be purchased pre-marinated at any Korean market. You can also make your own, which I highly recommend – the marinade is similar for both and you can get away with using Kal Bi marinade for Bul Go Gi as well, unless you are feeding actual Koreans, in which case you might get your ass whooped. There are many reliable versions online, so I will not go into a detailed recipe here. However, there are a couple things to note: 1) I prefer recipes that call for a can of Sprite, 2) in recipes with kiwi, use it very judiciously, and don’t marinate more than three hours – too much kiwi and/or time in marinade will cause your meat to disintegrate, 3) to play it safe, go with recipes that call for Asian pear instead – in that case, marinate overnight preferably and 4) a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar help brighten up the marinade so feel free to add even in recipes where it is not specifically called out. Here is a Kal Bi recipe that is pretty money. Everyone has their own preferences on this marinade, so experiment!
Uncle Cam’s Refried Beans1/4 White Onion, chopped 1 Clove Garlic, chopped 2 oz. Cream Cheese 16 oz. Can Refried Beans 1 tsp. paprika 1/4 tsp. chili powder 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar
Uncle Cameron, one of my favoritest people on Earth, taught Wifey this recipe and it is definitely a keeper, as is she. Saute onions in a saucepan with olive oil over medium heat until sweating, then add garlic and saute for another minute. Add remaining ingredients except cheddar. A trick for the beans: open the can and tilt open end down towards saucepan (close to the bottom of pan to avoid splashing), then start opening the other end of the can. The beans will easily slide out on their own. Stir while cooking until cream cheese is fully melted, then add cheddar and stir until completely melted. Add salt to taste.
I’m not really certain why folks insist that layer dip consist of seven layers, but I’m not big on adding a bunch of extraneous crap just to meet the minimums. For something simple and thoroughly tasty, fill a casserole with the following layers, starting from bottom: Uncle Cam’s Refried Beans, thin layer sour cream, shredded Monterey Jack/Medium Cheddar blend, chunky red salsa. Top with a scattering of chopped white and green onions. If you want to get fancy, cook up ground beef or bulk chorizo, drain and insert on top of the beans, before the sour cream.
I won’t even bother posting my own recipe for guacamole, as I always make the Rosa Mexicano version of Guacamole en Molcajete (in stone mortar). When I’m in NYC we always come see Uncle Carm play (he’s the Lead Pianist for the NYC Ballet) and then cross the street to Rosa’s for margaritas and tableside guac. The recipe is posted here on their website. The trick, as mentioned in the recipe, is to mash the initial chile paste in the molcajete, before combining with more fresh ingredients. Two notes: 1) remove all the inner seeds and ribs from the jalapenos if you want to eliminate the heat (I prefer to leave at least some seed in) and 2) you’ll notice there is no lime in the recipe. Lime will prevent oxidation to the avocado so you can keep any leftovers without it turning brown. However, I think it jacks up the flavor by deadening the natural sweetness of the avocado. It’s a personal preference, but you should know that Rosa Mexicano does not use lime.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Another dish I won’t post my own recipe for as there are hundreds already on the interwebs. Here is the Frank’s Red Hot official recipe and another eerily similar one that the guy claims is the “best ever” because his friends told him so. What’s consistent amongst almost all of them is about a pound of diced up cooked chicken (shredded rotisserie, canned or home cooked), 8 oz. sour cream, 1/2 cup shredded jack or cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup of buffalo style hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot or Frank’s Buffalo Style. Most of the recipes call for 1/2 cup of ranch dressing but I prefer to substitute with sour cream instead. Also, for a special touch you can make your own buffalo sauce by whisking together 1/4 cup clarified butter, 1/4 cup Crystal hot sauce and 1 Tspb. Tabasco. Also, I find that all of these recipes are a little light in the pants. Feel free to kick up the hot sauce volume for more buffalo flavor.
Queso con Chorizo Dip1/2 lb. Bulk Chorizo 1/4 White Onion, chopped 10 oz. Can Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies 1/2 Cup Milk 1/4 Cup Sour Cream 2 Cups Shredded Medium or Sharp Cheddar 1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack
Cook chorizo in a large saucepan on medium heat until almost cooked through, five minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring, another two minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the shredded cheeses, stirring until everything is incorporated. Reduce to medium-low and add the shredded cheese (no particular order) a small handful at a time, constantly stirring until all the cheese is smoothly mixed in. Serve with tortilla chips, preferably keeping warm in a casserole over heat. Cold queso will harden up on you.
Moscow Mule1/2 Large Lime 1 oz. Vodka Ginger Beer (try not to substitute with ginger ale if you can avoid it)
Simple, refreshing and delicious, this seems more like a warm weather drink to me, but since our lovely friends Tim and Diane introduced me to it during a Super Bowl party many years ago, it’s only appropriate to share the recipe here.
Squeeze the lime into a highball glass, then add the vodka and a few cubes of ice. Top it off with the ginger beer and stir together. Good ginger beer can be found even at most supermarkets now, and if your local market doesn’t have it, you’ll definitely find it at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or other markets of that ilk.
I prefer good old beer over anything else when watching a game. There are so many good brews out now it’s hard to narrow down, although not all of them are easily obtainable. You can pore over the “top beer” ratings but most are not available at your local market. Of those you might find at the market, some of my faves are: Shock Top Belgian Style Wheat Ale, Lagunitas IPA and Hoegaarden. At the end of the day beer boils down to personal taste, so I won’t spend any time expounding on mine. If you are stuck with shitty beer, turn it into something spectacular by making a cerveza preparada!