Super Bowl watchers typically fall in two categories at a party: here to watch the game, or here to watch the commercials. I would like to add an official third category: Those who are here for the snacks. It’s me, and I bet it’s you, too.
I don’t do the sports … I recognize that I am the minority, but I couldn’t care less whether the blue team or the orange team wins. But I love me a good party and any chance to work around a theme. So I’m laying out the recipe for a delicious Super Bowl bash, no matter what your motivation.
The teams have been decided: The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, which was a thrilling discovery for me because both happen to be well-known food cities. A creative play on your Super Bowl menu is to create opposing sides of the table: the San Fran side, and the KC Side. Who are you rooting for?
It’s obvious seafood has to come into play on this side — think “sitting on the dock of the bay” and all that delicious shellfish from said bay. I’m thinking you should hollow out a big loaf of sourdough bread to create your dipping vessel and fill it with your favorite crab dip. There are about a million recipes online — my preference would have sherry and tarragon in the mix, but you choose what suits you. Place the bowl in the oven for about 15 minutes until it gets all hot and bubbly, and let your pals dip the night away.
This side might also be the winner based on booze alone. San Francisco is the birthplace of tiki drinks in the U.S., gaining popularity in the early 1930s. There’s a major tiki resurgence going on around the country because they are delicious, festive, and really really strong. If you’re feeling adventerous, you should make your own tiki cocktail at home. But where to start? Rum, obviously. But what would make your drink even better? Rums. Yes, plural. Tiki drinks are all about layering the flavors. Add some tropical fruit (passionfruit or pineapple are my favorites.) Add a spiced syrup and more and more booze and you’ve got yourself a winner. Here’s a recipe for the punch bowl:
2½ cups honey simple syrup (combine equal parts honey and warm water, stir to combine and let cool)
4 cups rum — any brand of gold rum. Goslings is a good one, and easy to find!
4 cups lemon juice
2 cups Yellow Chartreuse (watch out — this stuff is strong but delicious, and will make your drink the lovely gold shade you hope for!)
1½ teaspoons Angostoura Bitters (for a little spice and depth of flavor)
5 cups Ginger Beer (more spice, more depth of flavor)
Load up the ice in your punch bowl, garnish with lemons and mint sprigs, and enjoy!
I feel like I’m treading on dangerous ground here because I am not a grill master, or a barbeque expert and those who do grill take it very seriously … sort of like football fans. I’ve never even operated a grill before (10 years of downtown apartment living will do that to you). I’m just going to leave it at this: make some barbeque, OK? Do it in a Kansas City style with a dry rub that is sort of sweet and very sticky and all sorts of delicious. Here’s one to try, thought I can’t claim to be an expert:
Kansas City dry rub
Even though Missouri was a border state, I highly recommend another classic Southern side with your Kansas City meat selection, like mac and cheese or cole slaw or braised greens. My grandmother made this amazing cole slaw when we were growing up, I basically lived on it during the summer and it’s perfect to mix with a heavily smoked or seasoned meat because it’s got a nice vinegary punch that balances out the big, bold, BBQ flavors:
Start with a head of thinly shaved cabbage. If you don’t care about the skin on your knuckles or the tips of your fingers, I suggest you (carefully) slice it on a mandoline. But do not, and I repeat do not use a mandoline after you’ve had a sip of the tiki cocktail.
1 large carrot, also thinly sliced
3-4 chopped green onions
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Let this sit together for 30 or so minutes before serving to let the flavors get to know each other.
Whichever team you root for, happy drinking and dipping, and sports-ball watching!