Sunday, February 5, 2012

Superbowl Sunday!

Superbowl Sunday is approximately my 6th favorite holiday of the year. When, however, a New York team is playing, it jumps past Cinco de Mayo and St Patrick's day to claim the 4th Best Holiday spot. The energy is just so amazing around here and it feels like everyone, even non-football fans, is excited to see how the Giants will do.

I claim allegiance to no team as I used to be a Raider's fan but just can't take the constant disappointment. Now, I bandwagon on whatever team I feel is doing best. Last year, I was a Packers fan and this year, I wanted to bandwagon on to their team again but they just didn't have it. When a NY team makes it to the Big Show, I feel like it isn't bandwagoning to root for them because you should be able to default into your homestate teams. This being said, my hometown is filled with Patriots fans which is just completing mortifying. I suspect this is because the natives relate more to the "blue-collar" portrait of Boston rather than the "big-city" attitude they attribute to the Jets and the Giants. Obviously there are a few Bills fans there too but they don't talk much.

Anyway, one of the reasons I love the Superbowl is because of all the fun food you get to eat/make. It's a wonderful time to sample dips, judge people for just bringing a bag of Doritos and eat all the wings you can.

This year, my Dude Friend M (going forward he will be known as Smith Jzian Chou or SJC) is hosting the Superbowl at his apartment and I am responsible for dips. Here are my favorite recipes:

Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip (adpated from Veronica's Hot Spinach, Artichoke and Chile Dip)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (175 Celsius)

2 8oz packages of Cream Cheese (Neufchatel Cheese works too and has less cals and fat)
1/4 C Sour Cream, 1/4 C Wasabi Mayo (Original recipe calls for 1/2 C mayo - blech. I also use non-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream)
1 10oz Package of Frozen Spinach, thawed (Microwave - 7-9 minutes usually)
1 C Grated Parmesan (or other grated cheese if ya gettin' freakay)
1 4.5oz can of Chopped Green Chiles, drained
1 12oz jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
2/3 C of Fresh Jalepenos, chopped (roughly 2 large)
  1. In a bowl, mix together the Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and Wasabi Mayo until smooth. Stir in Spinach, Parmesan, Green Chiles, Artichokes, and Jalapenos. Spoon into baking dish or oven-friendly serving dish.
  2. Bake until browned - 30 minutes-ish.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips
I love spinach and artichoke dip AND spicy foods so this is one of my favorite dips. Mmmm... just thinking about it, I can't wait to dig into it later.

Mango Salsa

1 Mango, peeled and chopped (not finely chopped, you want decent sized chunks). Also, remove the giant seed. Here's a very helpful, 3 minute video on how to chop a mango.
1/4 C finely chopped Red Pepper
1 Green Onion, chopped (1/4 cup of white onion works as well)
1 tbsp of chopped Cilantro (can use up to 2 tbsp but I use less because I, like Caleb in The O.C., despise cilantro)
1 fresh, large Jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Mix everything into a medium sized bowl and cover. Let the bowl sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to dance together. 
  2. You can actually serve this on chicken, fish or pork, or serve it like any other salsa with tortilla chips. It is always a hit.

Tzatziki! (Must be prepared 8 hours before serving)

Let me preface this by saying I fucking love Tzatziki. I am a total slut for all Greek food, so whenever we go out I always get Tzatziki to compare and there are definitely ways to screw it up. It can be too watery, too flavorless, etc. There are a lot of recipes out there but, as adapted below, this one is the best and easiest one I can find.

1 (32 ounce) container plain, non-fat Greek FAGE yogurt (this one is the best and DO NOT USE plain, non-Greek yogurt...the tzatziki will be too watery)
1/2 English cucumber (long, skinny cukes) with peel, grated/finely chopped (I lightly salt the chopped cucumber and let it sit on paper towel over a strainer for 10-15 minutes to release some of the water)
1 clove garlic, pressed/minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (2 tsp dried. Watch it on the dried dill as it has a very strong flavor and runs the risk of overpowering the dish if you use too much)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. Stir together yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Add dill, salt and pepper, whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours (or 30 minutes if you just don't have that kind of time and have been drinking all morning and totally forgot to make this until it was too late. Note: Cannot substitute booze for olive oil)
  2. Serve with toasted pita/pita chips. Salivate accordingly.

You may notice that there is Buffalo Chicken Dip missing from this list. I'm actually not a big Buff Chick Dip fan because it has too much cheese or something. It is strange for me to say this because I love cheese and Buffalo chicken but the dip does not do it for me. I may try this BBQ Bacon Ranch Dip recipe but we'll see how I feel when I'm buying all the ingredients for this stuff later and thinking, "Why the fuck am I spending all this money?"

One fun thing that I did last year when my ex-roomies and I hosted a Superbowl party was making Jell-o shots in the colors of the competing teams and passing them out whenever a team scored a touchdown or field goal. With the Steelers and the Packers, it was easy -- I used lemon and black cherry Jell-o for the Steelers; lime and yellow Jell-o for the Packers. This year, the Pats and the Giants have almost the same colors... I guess maybe we could just do j-shots for the Giants? No one should be celebrating a Pats touchdown anyway.

Okay, bonus non-dip recipe before I head off! Heinz's Ultimate Party Meatballs which are ridiculously easy and everyone loved. I opted for the slow cooker version where basically you take the frozen meatballs, the chili sauce and cranberry sauce and let them all simmer together for four hours. Serve with toothpicks.

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