By Tina Wasserman
Here I am, like you’ve been, stuck in the house because of our impenetrable, icy roads. Time to start planning for Super Bowl get-togethers. I always provide you with soups because of “Souper Bowl” but you can find many of my favorite recipes in the TJP archives or on my website CookingandMore.com. So, I thought, how about nosh? Sitting glued to the TV screen, waiting to see where the quarterback will pass or run next, is exciting but not as nerve-wracking as if our own team was playing. Still, we still nosh and we like to munch on our chips and dips and crudités and sauces and our mixed cereal “trash” that is beloved by all.
For fun, I went to my thick binders of every recipe I have taught in the last 53 years. I started out as a junior high school home economics teacher. I found recipes that were printed in dot-matrix and I am confident that they did not grace the pages of the TJP in the last five years. (Yes, it has been five years that I have been sharing my recipes and tidbits with you!)
I love sharing my stories and recipes with you, so here are some blasts from the past that I hope you will enjoy while watching the game, commercials and Rihanna regardless of your favorite team.
Savory Texas Cheese Tart
Many years ago, I was “Chef Fields” at Marshall Fields in the Galleria. My job included running the Guest Chef’s Cooking School as well as demonstrating and promoting products in the department. One day I was asked to promote Jalapeño Jelly. I asked how this was eaten (it was the early ‘80s) and was told it was served over a block of cream cheese. Well, not much to demo there so I created the following recipe. This takes a little longer than some other recipes I am sharing but it can be made in advance. Enjoy!
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons water
4 ounces mild shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounce jar sliced pimentos, rinsed and drained well
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ cup beer
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces of mild or hot pepper jelly
1. Combine the flour and salt in a processor work bowl and pulse on and off 5 times to combine.
2. Cut the cold butter into 8 pieces and distribute around the inside of the work bowl. Pulse the processor on and off at least 10 times or until it looks like coarse meal.
3. With the motor running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to form a ball. Remove dough from processor, gently pat into a disk and refrigerate, covered, for at least 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, scrape out the work bowl until it is fairly clean. There is no need to wash the bowl for the next step.
5. Add the cream cheese to the work bowl and process until no lumps appear. Add the cheddar cheese and process until the cheese mixture is pretty smooth.
6. Scrape down sides of work bowl and then add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the pepper jelly.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
8. Roll out the refrigerated dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit the dough into the bottom and a little up the sides in a 9-inch springform, pie or quiche pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
9. Pour the filling into the partially cooked crust. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. Immediately place the tart into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until the mixture is set and crust appears to be a golden brown.
10. Melt the jelly in a microwave oven for 2 minutes or until the jelly is pourable.
11. Carefully pour over the tart surface and let sit for a while until jelly resets.
12. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled, depending on your preference.
• Baking a pie crust for 10-15 minutes prior to filling helps prevent a soggy bottom.
• Lightly pricking the dough before baking allows air to escape and prevents the dough from bubbling.
• High temperature seals the dough but temperature is usually dropped once filling is added to keep filling moist.
Mozzarella and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
I love stuffed mushrooms stuffed with anything from simple garlic and breadcrumbs to this meltingly delicious mixture that I created years ago. It’s a pity that we don’t resurrect old recipes as often as we should. I saw this in dot-matrix and remembered how great they were and how easy they were to make. Enjoy and experiment with other fillings.
½ pound Cremini mushrooms
8 ounces soft mozzarella
6-7 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
¼ cup pesto, bought or following recipe below
1. Lightly oil a baking dish that can hold all the mushroom caps. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the mozzarella into chunks and place in a processor work bowl.
3. Pulse the machine on and off 5 or 6 times to break down the cheese into smaller bits.
4. Add the tomatoes and pulse until the tomatoes are small and evenly distributed.
5. Add the pesto and pulse until the mixture is well combined.
6. Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Add a generous amount of filling to each mushroom cap, mounding the mixture slightly.
7. Place in the prepared baking dish and bake for 8-10 minutes until mixture is melted and slightly browned on top. Serve.
3 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces (½ cup) Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a processor work bowl and process until mixture is a fine, uniform paste.
2. Store in a jar in the refrigerator with a little bit of oil poured on top to prevent drying.
• Soft mozzarella is best for this recipe.
• I prefer Cremini mushrooms for their intense flavor but domestic mushrooms or even large Portobello mushrooms can be used. The latter would make a great first course.
• The mushrooms can be stuffed in advance and refrigerated until your party begins. However, if they are cold from the refrigerator the baking time might be a few minutes longer.
• The mixture can also be placed on rounds of French bread or in commercially prepared puff pastry cups and then baked until golden.
Crudités with Horseradish Dip
Dr. Oz might have been reprimanded on the campaign trail for his use of the word crudité, but a great dip served with an assortment of colorful vegetables deserves the French name. Here I instruct you with the proper way to ready your vegetables so they look beautiful and don’t feel like straw in your mouth!
1 cup full-fat mayonnaise
¾ to 1 cup sour cream or very thick Greek yogurt
1 4-ounce jar red horseradish, as needed
½ teaspoon garlic powder or to taste
Sugar snap peas
Red bell pepper
1. Mix the mayonnaise in a bowl until it is smooth, then add the sour cream or yogurt.
2. Add enough horseradish to make the dip pink but not too watery. Add garlic powder. Set aside until serving to allow flavors to meld.
Note: The flavor of the mayonnaise and sour cream should balance, so mix the two according to taste.
1. Cut the broccoli into florets and blanch by putting them into boiling salted water for 2 minutes or until they turn a bright green. Strain and immediately put them in a bowl containing cold water and a number of ice cubes to stop the cooking. Drain again and refrigerate in a bowl lined with a paper towel until needed.
2. Do the same with the cauliflower florets and the sugar snap peas as you did with the broccoli. Refrigerate until needed.
3. Wash the red bell pepper and cut in half from stem to bottom. Remove the stem, seeds and membrane and cut the peppers in halves from the interior into ½-inch-wide strips. Refrigerate until needed.
4. Wash the cherry tomatoes, remove any stems and refrigerate until needed.
5. Wash the zucchini and cut either into ¼-inch by 2-inch sticks or ¼-inch rounds. Either shape is fine as your crudités are presented in each shape. Refrigerate until needed.
• Never use light mayonnaise for any sauce or dip that is not immediately consumed. Light mayo uses cellulose to give it thickness but the sauce then sucks up any moisture and is difficult to use as a dip.
• I call for garlic powder because it distributes evenly throughout the dip. Start out with ½ teaspoon because the garlic flavor gets stronger as the flavor melds with the other ingredients.
• Any vegetable can be used, but placing them in boiling water for a short time brings out their vibrant color and makes them sweeter to the taste.
• Never serve totally raw hard vegetables.Appetizers for Super Bowl Sunday