It’s looming on the horizon – the Big Game. In years past with The Tall One at home I kept track of some of the athletic events that were of interest to him. Early this week I had to look up the Super Bowl date. In the likelihood that you will be entertaining a crowd next weekend, here are a few tried and true crowd pleasers. There is nothing local or healthy about them, so if you are looking for a low-carbon-footprint, artisanly-designed organic goodie, be off with you.
We have some charming neighbors, whom one would suspect would be fussing in the kitchen, rearranging the delicate goat cheese on the eight-way-hand-tied sofa pillows of freshly baked braided flatbread Challah. And you would be wrong. These folks enjoy a good Cheeto. They embrace Utz Sour Cream and Onion ripple cut potato chips. Give them a bowl of pretzels and they are in rapture. This is the audience for the Food Friday Big Game Snackums. Less time spent in the kitchen means more time enjoying friends, and oh, yes, football.
The Disappearing Act
This evolved from your basic 1950s onion dip for John Cheever-y kinds of cocktail parties. I think it is a step up the slippery evolutionary kitchen slope because I use Knorr soup mix, which sounds imported, no? Regardless of the shopworn cliché and conceit, this dip is very popular with our guests, whether they be guzzling the French 75s or clinking their icy bottles of Coke.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups sour cream
1 package Knorr’s onion soup mix
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
Mix all the ingredients together and chill until it’s time to serve. Excellent with veggies, but much better with big fat crunchy kettle fried chips.
Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips
If you don’t want to bother with dip, this is a tasty one-bowl wonder. Just be careful that you don’t over do the olive oil.
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
4 cloves of smashed garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 11-ounce bag of plain potato chips (Utz if you can find them, Publix in a pinch)
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small saucepan, warm the oil and the garlic until fragrant. Remove from the heat. On a cookie sheet, or the disposable aluminum roasting pan that you couldn’t bear to toss out (but have washed), pour out the potato chips. Drizzle them with the garlic and oil and toss. Bake for 7 minutes. Pour into a large bowl, Add the parsley and the Parmesan cheese and toss some more. Serve warm. Drink beer.
This is easy peasy to make ahead, and you can always have some on hand.
1 large egg white
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper (you might want to think about that)
2 1/2 cups mixed nuts, such as cashews, peanuts, pecans or almonds (we don’t like walnuts)
Preheat oven to 300º F. Beat egg white until soft and foamy. Combine all remaining ingredients; whisk into the egg white. Stir until well coated. Spread mixture in single layer onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake nuts for 15 minutes, remove from oven. Using a metal spatula, toss, stir, and separate nuts. If you have pecans – take them out of the mixture now. Reduce oven to 250º F and return nuts to bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss, and stir again. Place cookie sheet on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any lumps that stick together; store in an airtight container, at room temperature, up to 2 weeks.
“An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.”