It’s all about the apps!

Tonight is the Super Bowl.  Sadly, the Ravens are not in the big game so for those of us in Baltimore, it isn’t quite as thrilling.  It’s still fun to enjoy some good food and watch the game (and the commercials).  We debated about what to have.  Keith makes an excellent (in fact, an award-winning) chili.  We love the cream of Maryland crab soup and jambalaya.  The challenge is that we love guacamole and nachos and by the time you eat that, you aren’t really up for eating a lot of chili.  So we decided to focus on appetizers and serve cauliflower soup along with them.  So here is our Super Bowl menu.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Nachos

  • chips
  • shredded pepper jack cheese
  • pickled jalapenos

Spread chips on a baking sheet and top with cheese.  (If someone in your house isn’t wild about super spicy, be kind and don’t top all of the chips with pickled jalapenos!)  Heat until cheese is melted and serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Roasted shrimp cocktail

If you have always steamed your shrimp, consider switching to roasting.  If you’re like me, you won’t turn back.  Simply peel and devein shrimp and toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 for about 10 minutes (that is for extra large shrimp, if using smaller shrimp they will take less time.)  Serve with cocktail sauce.

Cauliflower soup

  • 4 TB butter
  • 4 leeks, well cleaned and white and light green parts chopped
  • 2 heads cauliflower, trimmed to florets (Last time I used purple cauliflower but the soup ended up being sort of gray.  If the Ravens were playing I would have used purple but today, I opted for orange.)
  • 8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 – 3 oz Prosciutto thinly sliced

Melt butter in a heavy pot and saute leeks stirring until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add cauliflower, chicken stock and pepper.   Bring to a boil, stirring and then lower heat and cover pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Vegetables should be tender.

Puree in batches in a blender or food processor and then return to pan.   Stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.

When ready to serve, cut Prosciutto into strips.  Saute in about 2 tsp of olive oil in a nonstick pan until crisp.  Serve soup with a few pieces of the crispy Prosciutto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese in each soup bowl and ladle hot soup over top.

The soup is currently bubbling on the stove, I’ll make the guacamole in a little bit and roast the shrimp shortly before game time.  I pulled some brownies from the freezer and I can relax and see how I do in the football pool!  Enjoy rooting for your team!