Monday, February 15, 2010

Ready for football... perhaps not ready to post!

My tardy post is a source of embarrassment yet again.  It appears I can host a party and travel in the same week, however host a party travel and post remains out of my league. Eight days after the Superbowl, two dozen muffins, a dozen scones, three dozen fig newtons and a cross country trip later I am ready to share my Superbowl experience; a wonderful afternoon with both new and old friends and heart-hurting cuisine.  
As guests arrived on Sunday afternoon they were greeted with a hug, a kiss and a homemade pretzel fresh from the oven.  We opened wine and discussed game day favorites as the famous taco dip warmed in the oven. As if the food gods blessed our meal, a new guest arrived with not only a bottle of wine but his famous salsa.  With ten fresh jalapenos and a few tomatoes thrown in for fun, this mind blowing sauce was both deadly and the perfect compliment for our cheesy dip. Guests fanned their mouths before diving in for more, and as Carrie Underwood made her way through the national anthem, wings were placed on the grill and in the fryer.
Of the four wing varieties, favorites were Bobby Flay’s Hot Wings, and Guy Fieri's Tequila Lime.  A surprising second went to Emeril’s Vietnamese Grilled Wings which despite the foul smelling marinade (fish sauce first thing in the morning... not good) were delicious.  (Links to these recipes are posted below.)
On to dessert...everyone has a weak spot... something they just can’t master. For Charlie in Flowers for Algernon it was the word school.  For the Real Housewives of Orange County it’s showing emotion above the cheekbone and for me, it’s caramel. Anytime a recipe instructs me to cook sugar and corn syrup I usually run fast and far.  However, in a time-crunch, I let a friend select the dessert recipe and I scribbled down the ingredients and braved the grocery store without a mere glance at the procedure.  Eight hours before game time I learned that I had a caramel project.  Three attempts and two serious burns later I had what appeared to be a caramel-related frosting. Six hours later this frosting had failed to set and I was left with a caramel glaze.  I poured this thin sauce over my chocolate cupcakes and was thrilled when guests ate them with vigorous excitement.  Perhaps perfection isn’t always a requirement. 
Around 8:00 that night with the Saints named champions and the dishwasher humming through another load, I called the day not only a success but my favorite Superbowl party thus far.  Yes, I watched the fryer and the oven more than the game, but for someone who enjoys the party first and the athletics second, this menu is a winner. 
Cooking Notes:
Cupcakes: My crispy malted cupcakes called for powdered malt milk.  Three grocery store visits and no malt milk to be found. After some quick google searches, I subsituted dry ovaltine and had fantastic results.    
Sauces: The variety of wing flavors were the centerpiece of this party, however if time is not on your side, I think you could have an equally successful party serving one basic wing and several homemade sauces. For your NBA playoff party, or perhaps a simple summer barbeque I hope you throw down some homemade wings; they are so much better than quick-service options and friends both health-conscious and junk food lover alike will love you all the more. 
Napkins: I am always partial to cloth napkins however for this menu we set out two rolls of paper towels and they were both down to the cardboard by the end of the night.  This is a messy meal so keep your white tablecloth in the cabinet and have plenty of wipes! 
The Party in Numbers:
Parties Completed: 23
Weeks before deadline: 28
Bottles Consumed: 6
Justified Purchases: red plastic wing baskets

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