Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lions and Colts and Bears, OH MY!

There are occasions for sophisticated, elegant dishes, and then, there's SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, the national holiday for tacky, heart-clogging cuisine. It's all about meatballs and wings and devilled eggs and seven-layer dips and ribs and nachos and cocktail weenies and pulled-pork sandwiches with spicy slaw and so on. Then again, it's just me and the roommate today, so that menu might be a bit of overkill...literally! Tee hee. Ironically, I loathe sports, but I love a Superbowl party. During the big game, I am always to be found in the kitchen, preparing a steady stream of snacks, only popping into the living room to catch the commercials and the halftime show. Today, I made just three savory dishes and one sweet dessert (but recipes for my favorite seven-layer dip and salsas can be found in previous posts, FYI). Continuing on in my kitschy, retro meatball theme (because I still had half a bag left over from the Hawaiian meatballs of recent memory), I decided to make that church potluck classic with the grape jelly and chili sauce. I added a tablespoon of Dijon mustard to give it a little something extra, but that was it. Easy peasy! Instead of traditional hot wings, I thought I might like something more like the lemon, garlic and oregano house wings at the Lebanese restaurant in town, Aladdin's, so I adapted one of my favorite recipes for Rao's Lemon Chicken from the famous restaurant in New York City. And then because I have been tormented by the recent commercials for T.G.I. Friday's (we don't have one here), and because I was unwilling to make a three-hour round trip just to have their green bean fries, I tried my hand at making my own after reading a thread about it on the Cook's Illustrated message boards. Finally, in honor of the big game being played in Florida, I made some tangy little key lime tartlets. I hope you all enjoyed your game-time grub, too, and that your team won!

Superbowl Meatballs

half a bag (about 3 lbs.) of frozen meatballs, thawed in fridge overnight
32 oz. jar grape jelly
2 12 oz. bottles chili sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (preferably, whole-grain)

Fill crock pot with meatballs. Add grape jelly, chili sauce, and mustard. Stir to combine. Heat on low for 5-7 hours.

Lemony Chicken Wings
(Source: adapted from Rao's recipe for lemon chicken via

1 1/2-2 lbs.chicken wings
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (or one tablespoon dried)

Lemon Sauce:
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves minced fresh garlic (of course, I used four!)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes so it has its maximum heat.
Broil chicken wings, turning once, for 10-15 minutes or until skin is golden-brown and juices run clear when you pierce the pieces with a fork; don't overcook or chicken will be dry. Remove chicken from broiler, but leave broiler on.

Place chicken pieces on a baking sheet with sides. Pour lemon sauce over the wings and toss to coat well. Put pan under broiler and broil chicken for 2 minutes; turn pieces and broil for 1 minute more. Place chicken pieces on a large, warmed, serving platter.

Pour sauce remaining in pan into a saucepan over high heat; stir in parsley; cook for 1 minute. Pour over chicken and serve with lots of crusty bread to sop up sauce.

To make lemon sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Refrigerate until needed; whisk again before using.

Green Bean Fries
(Source: adapted from a recipe by Eric aka Veal Boy via the Cook's Illustrated message boards)

1 pound fresh green beans (I used thinner, straighter haricots verts)

1 1/2 cups beer, open and let sit for a couple hours (I didn't wait, and it was fine)
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or you could use cake flour and baking powder instead)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (I used smoked, bittersweet)
a few dashes of hot pepper sauce (optional)

Mix the flour, salt and beer together using a whisk until smooth. Then add paprika and pepper sauce, mixing just until incorporated. Wash and dry green beans and break off the end. Deep fry in vegetable oil at 370-375 until golden. Drain and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Serve with an aioli (or your favorite) dipping sauce.

Note: They will stick to bottom if you just drop them in, so lower slowly by hand.

Key Lime Tartlets

1 package graham crackers, crushed
6 tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of salt
sprinkle of ground cinnamon

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, salt and cinnamon. Press equal amounts into the bottoms of a regular muffin tin to make 12 little crusts. Bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes until lightly browned.
Mix together the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, egg yolks and vanilla. Divide the batter equally on top of each graham cracker crust and bake the tarts for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees until just set. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes before refrigerating until completely chilled. Serve the tarts with a dollop of whipped cream and a decorative twist of lime!

Note: Of course, this recipe can be made into a regular 9-inch pie if preferred.

1 comment:

anapestic said...

Wow. Meatballs in grape jelly. Genius! I am absolutely making that at my next party.