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Tackle the 4 Food Groups of Super Bowl Sunday
There's nothing worse than having to move during the Super Bowl. One should remain planted and copiously fed; that's basic Super Bowl protocol. (Exceptions will be made for pit stops and trips to the keg-erator, of course). Once I've claimed my spot on the couch there's no way I'm getting up unless a toddler is bleeding or the smoke alarm goes off. So I prepare ahead of time, which means dips, chips and the sandwiches of my youth, all of which are extremely easy to prepare at home, or buy locally, depending on your pregame energy level.
MAKE IT: Ask any friend of mine and they'll tell you I always make onion dip for parties. The difference between homemade dip and store-bought cannot be overstated. Try Ina's; it's a great starting point and you can add herbs if you want. Pour out a bag of salt-and-pepper chips and voila! You're a genius.
If you don't want to do onion dip, start with equal parts mayo, cream cheese and sour cream, then add smoked salmon, chives, lemon juice and finely diced shallot; or make a blue cheese dip by adding a little minced garlic, Gorgonzola, minced green onion tops, a dash of Worcestershire and a touch of red wine vinegar to that trio of mayo, cream cheese and sour cream. Just remember: Super Bowl Sunday is not the time to start your diet; full-fat versions of each of the above are the key to delicious dip.
BUY IT: Pasta & Co. has a great lineup of good dips; PCC and Met Market have their own house-made dips and also carry some from great local companies like Willapa Hills (makers of insane Bacon Blue Cheese and Chipotle Honey dips of your fantasies). When in doubt, heat it up: almost every dip tastes even better piping hot from the oven.
MAKE IT: I like a good old-fashioned enormous sandwich served on soft bread on game day. I'm talking about a sub sandwich, a hoagie, a grinder. There will be none of that precious scrape-the-top-of-your-mouth bread business. I grab a couple of those huge French breads from the grocery store, cut them in half and use my hands to hollow out some of the bread (more room for filling!). Then I prepare one with tuna salad or egg salad (I like my egg salad with curry powder and a little heat); I recommend lining the bread with big lettuce leaves, as it keeps the bread from getting soggy. The other one is usually ham, cheese, pickles, mustard, mayo. Or turkey and Havarti? Or roast beef and cheddar with horseradish? Or a huge BLT! You're a grown-up, you know what makes a fine hefty sandwich, so go for it.
MAKE IT: Chicken wings are key for many couch jockeys, and they're surprisingly easy to throw together. I'm partial to my friend Henry Lo's (husband of Seattle Mag Key Ingredient author, Lorna Yee) recipe for hot wings (scroll about halfway down the page).
Advanced Hosts Only: Roasted Veggie Tray
Make It: I love a veggie tray as much as anybody else, but you wouldn't believe how good crudités can be with hot-roasted veggies instead of raw ones.
So: turn your oven to 415 degrees, grab a couple of heads of broccoli and cut them into big pieces (this is not the time for tiny florets), peel a dozen carrots and chop up a head of cauliflower. We're going to roast the these babies on sheet trays (cookie sheets) until they're kind of tender, but still crunchy.
Rub some olive oil on them, massage with salt and pepper and toss in the oven for 15 minutes (broccoli), 20 minutes (cauliflower), closer to 30 minutes (carrots); be careful not to crowd the pan (do these in batches) or you'll end up steaming your veggies instead of roasting them. You're going for browned and blackened edges here. You can also roast whole green onions, asparagus spears, Yukon gold potatoes, whatever looks good at the market. Roast the veggies the day before, or that morning; then cool 'em, cover 'em and serve 'em room temp with homemade dip (I told you it was advanced) when you're ready to go.
Dip: Equal parts sour cream, mayo, cream cheese (let's say 4 oz of each), mixed with a clove of crushed garlic, chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, thyme) if you have it, a pinch of dried if you don't (keep in mind dried spices are 3 times as potent), salt and pepper, either a teaspoon of shallot or a bit of minced regular onion or green onion, and, finally, a good squeeze of lemon juice. Tweak to taste and you've got yourself dip. Mix with a food processor and you'll be done in a jiffy.
Or just dip into some classic Ranch for old times sake (because your kids will only tolerate so much messing around).