Sunday, February 07, 2010


Everyone who knows me knows that I hate sports in general and loathe football in particular. However, as I have said many times, I do LOVE a Superbowl PARTY! I enjoy the commercials, the half-time show, the company, and of course, the good eats. The game? Meh. However, this year, I made a special exception and actually watched the game and rooted for New Orleans. Not only was it the Saints' first time at the big show, it did my heart good to see that team represent a city that has had to pull itself up out of some of the worst misery that this country has ever seen. And it was extra-fun to cheer them on from my friends' comfy den, as Tom and June are New Orleans natives. (I am still recovering for the ear-shattering shrieks that came out of June when the Saints got that last interception and touchdown, and it became clear that they would be the Superbowl winners. OUCH! Tee hee.)

In true Lousiana fashion, there was some delicious food at the party...and WAY too much of it! To bring the Cajun/Creole flair, June made jambalaya, and someone else brought red beans and rice and smoked sausage. Of course, no Superbowl party would be compelte without the ubiquitous hot wings, and various snack platters of veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, etc. Then for dessert, there were decadent World Peace cookies with white chocolate chips, some terribly cute sugar cookies cut and decorated to look like footballs (of course, these came from the clever and creative Padula Family!), and the piece de resistance, an authentic fleur-de-lis king cake that one of June's friends had sent from New Orleans!

As for my own contributions, I made a zippy Creole slaw from some of the veggies that I just bought from a winter CSA (more about that another time), and a GINORMOUS muffaletta sandwich on the most adorable marbled football loaf that I happened upon at Price Chopper! For those of you unfamiliar with the muffaletta (and you have my deepest sympathies if that's you!), it is the most delicious of all sandwiches, made on a big, round loaf of Italian bread. The traditional fillings are mortadella, capicola, and Genoa Salami, both mozzarella and provolone cheeses, all dressed with a generous amount of olive salad. Yes, yes, it's enough to make a cardiologist cry, but MAN, is it GOOD!

The definitive muffaletta, they say, is to be found at Central Grocery in the French Quarter, though the best one I've had to date is at the Camellia Cafe in Slidell. Still, to honor tradition, I was guided by a recipe that was reported to have come from "someone who used to work with someone" whose grandfather created the now famous Central Grocery muffaletta. That provenance doesn't sound too trustworthy, but I played around with the olive salad a bit, anyway, tweaking it to my liking. So this may not be 100% authentic, but it sure was yummy!

Super-Saints Muffaletta
(Source: adapted from Cookery N'Orleans Style)

olive salad (my version):

1 sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 of a 16 oz. jar pepperoncini, drained and tops cut off each pepper
1 16 oz. jar green salad olives (stuffed with pimento), drained
2 16 oz. cans black olives, drained
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely shredded
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white vinegar

In the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, garlic cloves, and pepperoncini. Pulse until it's still a very rough chop, then add the olives and pulse again until everything is finely chopped. Dump the mixture into another bowl and stir in the shredded carrots, the spices, sugar (if using), olive oil and vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before making the muffaletta.

For each large sandwich (to serve two hungry people), you will need:

a round loaf of Italian bread
1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
1/4 pound capicola (hot ham), thinly sliced
1/4 pound Genoa salami, thinly sliced
1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 pound provolone cheese, sliced
1 cup olive salad

Split a muffuletta loaf or a loaf of Italian bread horizontally. Spread each half with equal parts of the olive salad. layer meats and cheeses evenly on bottom half and cover (carefully!) with top half of bread. Cut in quarters. Enjoy!

Creole Cole Slaw
(Source: adapted from

6 cups coleslaw mix*
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
few dashes of tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

*I used mainly Napa cabbage with a few carrots, a couple of stalks of celery, one green pepper, and one jalapeno shredded into the mix, along with three or four sliced scallions.

I salted the shredded vegetables with a couple of good pinches of kosher salt, then let it drain in a colander for a few hours before dressing the salad and letting it all chill and absorb flavor overnight. Salting the coleslaw ahead of time is supposed to leech out a lot of the water that ultimately makes the dressing runny, but mine ended up runny anyway! So next time, I might try chilling the veggies and the dressing separately, then combining them just before serving the slaw.


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