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!

Happy Father’s Day and Blog milestone

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.  Thanks to all of my blog followers – we passed a major milestone.  On Friday I recorded 10,000 hits which feels like a lot to me.  Particularly since those of you who subscribe and receive it in email aren’t getting counted as hits.  I appreciate the support – it makes it more fun for me.   If you enjoy the blog, please tell a friend who you think might like it too!

We are going to have dinner with my parents tonight so my mom and I are collaborating on the food.  I’m making the roasted shrimp cocktail and bringing marinated portabello mushrooms to grill.  My mom got Porterhouse steaks to grill and I’m making chimichurri sauce.  She is making her amazing potatoes and mocha mousse.  Here are the recipes for everything:

Roasted shrimp cocktail

  • jumbo shrimp (4 or 5 per person)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cocktail sauce

Peel shrimp leaving the tails on.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for about 10 minutes or until pink.  Serve room temperature with cocktail sauce.

Grilled marinated portabello mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 4 portabello mushrooms, brushed clean and stems removed

Whisk together first 4 ingredients and combine with mushrooms.  Marinate for 1 – 4 hours at room temperature.  Grill about 3 – 4 minutes a side.

Grilled Porterhouse steak with Chimichurri sauce

  • 1 Porterhouse steak for every two people
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
Marinate steaks in Worcestershire sauce.  Grill to desired doneness.
For chimichurri sauce, chop garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add parsley and spices and chop.  Place mixture in a bowl and stir in oil and vinegar.  Serve with steak.
Potato Gratin
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup cream
Preheat oven to 350.  Rub a shallow gratin dish with garlic.  Layer half of the potatoes in the dish and top with half of the cheese and half of the cream.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Bake for 60 minutes and serve.  This is very good with any meat or poultry dish.
Mocha Mousse
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Combine sugar, water and coffee in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Put chocolate chips in a blender and add sugar syrup.  Blend for 10 seconds.  Add eggs and blend for 1 minute.  Fold into whipped cream and freeze, at least overnight.  Serve.
Enjoy!