Monday, February 6, 2017

05 February 2017 – Super Bowl Sunday

As we all know, our Atlanta Falcons rise did not last quite long enough to prevail in Super Bowl VI, but oh what a game they played – especially in the first half! It was a great season, and their heroic efforts even got me into football. I look forward to seeing what Matt Ryan and his teammates will do next year, and I thank them for bringing so much excitement to Atlanta. Even though our team did not win, the game did inspire a fun culinary adventure for tonight's Sunday Supper. Preparing for the meal was an athletic endeavor itself! I don't think I've ever seen the grocery stores so busy other than around Christmas. There were only a few shopping carts left when I went shopping, and they employees were restocking items as fast as they could. One young man was trying to place more cream cheese in the cooler, but shoppers kept grabbing containers out of his hand! I thought he was going to lose it there for a minute, and I think he would have if one more person told him to "Rise Up!"

Speaking of rising up, the weekend also included another of my favorite events in Canton, Gospel Fest. This was the seventh year, and the annual event is organized by Reverend Fred Forsh and Pat Tanner and others to celebrate Black History Month. It features local gospel singers, performers and a glorious ecumenical interracial choir. In addition to the inspirational and uplifting gospel music, however, the highlight for me was the amazing emcee, Carmen Tanner Slaughter. Carmen hosts this wonderful event every year, and she is practically Canton's very own Poet Laureate! Her phenomenal words and message moved me in a very powerful way, and I am so thankful for her wisdom, kindness, courage and, most of all, your friendship. Thanks to everyone who was involved with Gospel Fest VII for a much needed and well timed blessing.

Needless to say, I was fired up on Sunday after a night of Gospel Fest and the pending excitement of the Super Bowl! Sunday morning began with a special kind of "rising up" – sour cream biscuits with Parmesan thyme eggs and prosciutto. Yes, it was heavenly in its own way and carried us over until supper. For Super Bowl Sunday Supper, I felt obligated to prepare typical dishes, but I wanted to put a creative spin on each. For instance, instead of chicken wings, I made Dirty Bird Buffalo Chicken Tacos with a Celery Ranch Slaw. They were really fun and very tasty. For potato skins, I used new potatoes and filled them with homemade pimiento cheese. I did make a pretty standard version of Pigs in a Blanket but used cocktail sausages wrapped in puff pastry and served them with a whole grain mustard. For a simple dessert, I made Brown Butter Rice Krispie treats. They are just like the original, but I let the butter brown before adding the marshmallows. The night before, I woke up with an idea to make chili with cauliflower instead of ground beef or turkey, so I decided to give it a try. Much to my surprise, it worked really well and resulted in a much healthier alternative. Crumbled cauliflower has the same consistency as ground beef, and I added some spices to it and roasted to a slight char in the oven before adding to the chili mixture. This gave the cauliflower a meaty flavor, and you really didn't miss the beef. Try it with your favorite chili recipe, but add the cauliflower a little later than you would the beef so it does not get too soft. I think you will like it when you want a lighter version of chili.

Even though my chili was lighter and healthier, the final score of the Super Bowl gave me a slight heartburn. However, it was fun while it lasted, and now we move on to entertainment awards season. The Grammy's are next Sunday, and the Academy Awards will soon follow. Who knows, I may also scream at the television if La La Land does not win an Oscar!

The Menu:

- Dirty Bird Buffalo Chicken Tacos

- Cauliflower Chili

- New Potato Skins with Pimiento Cheese

- Pigs in a Blanket with Whole Grain Mustard

- Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

The Recipe – Cauliflower Chili

For the Cauliflower Ground Beef Substitute:

1 medium sized cauliflower, chopped and crumbled into small chunks and pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lite soy sauce
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss cauliflower pieces in all ingredients until well coated, and spread in even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until slightly charred, 15-20 minutes, stirring cauliflower half way through. Reserve cauliflower for chili mixture.

For the Chili:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper-stemmed, deveined, seeds removed, and finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 chipotle chile in adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce
One 12-ounce Mexican lager-style beer
One 14 1/2-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
Reserved cauliflower crumbles
One 15 1/2-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano. Cook, stirring about 3-4 minutes until fragrant.

Stir in the tomato paste, chipotle chile and sauce and cook one more minute.

Add the beer, and simmer until it reduces by half, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, crushing through your fingers into the skillet along with their juices, the reserved cauliflower and the beans. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, 10-15 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls, and serve with your favorite garnishes: lime wedges, grated Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro or tortilla chips.

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