Sunday, February 7, 2010

Game Day Menu Results

The Super Bowl is an excellent excuse to try out new recipes, especially for "treats" that you wouldn't normally eat on a daily basis. Even though I don't care about the outcome of the Super Bowl (this year, Colts vs. Saints), I do enjoy the opportunity to have friends and family visit with lots of good food and good beer! The three new recipes that I picked for today's menu follow:

Spinach Artichoke Dip from Cooking Lite via Serious Eats. The recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip is much lower in fat and calories than any other version AND drumroll.... it's also DELICIOUS! It turned out really well, very creamy with lots of flavor.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

- makes about 10 servings of about 1/2 cup each -
Adapted from Cooking Light.
10-ounce bag fresh spinach
6 ounces (3/4 block) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
6 ounces (3/4 block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, removing any thick stems. Rinse in a colander, leaving a little water on the leaves. In a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven, sauté the spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain in the colander, pushing a little of the extra water out.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheeses with a potato masher. Add sour cream and mash more. Add spinach, mozzarella, artichokes, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Stir everything until thoroughly combined.
4. Pour mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top. Bake 30 minutes, or until parmesan is melted dip is all bubbly. Remove from oven and give it a minute or two to cool down. Serve with baked tortilla chips to applause.

Caramel-Pretzel Brownies from Serious Eat's Cakespy. I saw this recipe and I couldn't wait for the Super Bowl to have an excuse to make them!  My version has milk chocolate and caramel Ghirardelli bars because I couldn't find dark chocolate ones here in Canada. I also cheated, oops, and used a mix instead of making the brownies, but I used Ghirardelli's mix, which is pretty stellar by itself.

Sweet and Salty Super Bowl Brownies

- makes about 16 squares -
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 ounces)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1 caramel chocolate candy bar (I used a 3.5 ounce Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel), coarsely chopped (Note: the pieces will be a bit gooey and messy)
1 snack sized bag of pretzels (about 1 ounce), crushed into small pieces
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Either grease or line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix flour and baking powder in a medium bowl; leave to the side.
3. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat until melted; stir frequently to avoid scorching.
4. Remove from heat; beat in sugar and eggs.
5. Add in the flour and baking powder mixture, blending well.
6. Mix in the nuts and chocolate caramel bar.
7. Add in the pretzel pieces last, mixing only until they are incorporated.
8. Spread the mixture into the pan.
9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until top has a dull crust and a slight imprint remains when touched lightly. Cool slightly and cut into squares.
10. (Optional) Because of the chocolate and caramel in the brownies, these are rich enough so that they don't really need frosting; however, if desired, decorate with white writing icing with little football shapes or to say the name of your favorite team.

Baked Buffalo Wings from Serious Eats. The author of the original post tested out several different methods of baking wings in an attempt to replicate traditional deep fried Buffalo Wings.  Buffalo is very protective of the traditions involved with their wings, so I'm not sure if mine can really be called "Buffalo Wings."  From the recipe given, I chose to marinate my wings first. This should give them Buffalo flavor all the way through.  I forgot to toss the wings in oil... and I forgot to coat the pan with oil. It didn't matter though, the wings were crispy and full of flavor. They got a little bit soggy after sitting on the plate soaked in the sauce, but that just made them more delicious!

For the wings:
5 pounds chicken wings
4 tablespoons neutral oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups flour (optional)
For the sauce:
1 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce (preferably Frank's brand)*
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
6 ribs celery, cut into 4-inch long sticks
Blue Cheese Dip
* Using a relatively mild Louisiana hot sauce is an important part of the process. If the hot sauce is quite hot (like, say, Tabasco) the Buffalo sauce will be far too spicy by the time you use the right amount to get the consistency you want. Starting with a sauce like Frank's, which is what they use in Buffalo, allows you to then add cayenne until it's as spicy as you like.
1. Prepare the wings:The wings are traditionally cut into three pieces. Using a heavy knife, cut through the joints in the wings to separate then into three pieces. A sharp knife should slide through the joint easily; there is no need to cut through any bone. It's easiest to see the joints with the underside of the wings facing up.
2. The tips of the wing, which contain little to no meat, can be discarded or saved for the stock pot. Rinse the wings and pat them dry, then toss in a bowl with the oil and a good pinch each of salt and pepper.
3. The sauce: Melt the butter over low heat in a sauce pan and add the remaining sauce ingredients, whisking well to combine. Keep the heat low and only as long as necessary to melt the butter: you don't want the butter to separate. Taste for spiciness, and add cayenne if desired.
4. To Marinate or Flour? Depending on your method, the next step is to either toss the wings with a quarter of the sauce and refrigerate for an hour, or toss them in a bowl with the flour. The former method will infuse the wings with flavor, while the latter will create a crisp exterior that will eventually soak up lots of sauce. It's up to you.
5. Bake: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet with a neutral oil such as canola, using a paper towel or brush to ensure it coats all of the surface. Arrange the wing pieces skin-side-up. They should be snug, but not too crowded. Keep in mind they will shrink as they cook.
6. Cook undisturbed for 30 minutes until golden brown, and until the wings release easily from the baking sheet. Using a pair of tongs, turn the pieces over and return to the oven to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp.
7. When the wing are finished cooking, pour the Buffalo sauce into a shallow bowl (you'll probably have to do this in batches) and add a few wings at a time. Turn them in the sauce until well-coated, then transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining wings.
8. Get a jug of blue cheese or make your own! Serve with celery sticks.


  1. The wings were very good. They were as crispy as deep fried version and had a great flavor. I would make them this way again as it is easier than deep frying. Great job Kel!

  2. The brownies are a great combination of chocolate and salt. I keep going back for a sliver more. Yummy!


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