Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Dat Game Day Feast

Unlike other celebrations that involve food, game day doesn't place many restrictions on the types of food to be served. Of course there are some old standbys like chili, chicken wings, 7 layer dip, etc, but there aren't really any expectations that those items be on the menu, at least not in my family. Since none of my guests seemed to particularly side with one team or the other this year, I decided to make dishes that favored the underdog. And in my un-football-educated opinion, the New Orleans Saints seemed to be that team. Thus, our menu consisted of Creamy Crab Dip, Jambalaya, and Black-Bottom Cupcakes, among other items.

Creamy Crab Dip

11 oz cream cheese, softened
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 16 oz can Phillip's crabmeat, drained and flaked
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning, plus extra for dusting the top of the dip
1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion, mayonnaise, crabmeat, garlic powder, Old Bay, and lemon juice. Fold in parmesan cheese. Spread mixture into a 1 quart baking dish. Sprinkle Old Bay over top of dip.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. While the dip is baking, slice bread and toast. Serve dip while still hot.

Note: *I used light cream cheese and mayonnaise, measurements may need to be adjusted if using full fat versions of these ingredients.

** Consider adding Dry Cooking Sherry and Worcestershire Sauce for extra flavor.



2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped or 4 green onions, chopped
1 each medium green and orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C diced celery, greens included
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 package (12 ounces) andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) cubed, seasoned (see below)


Season Chicken:

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Mix above ingredients together in a bowl and combine with chicken. Work in seasoning well.

Jambalaya Directions:

In a large deep cast iron skillet heat oil over high heat. Add onion, pepper and celery, cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauce.

Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional chicken seasoning.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Black-Bottom Cupcakes
The Great Book of Chocolate, David Lebovitz

For the Filling:

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the Cupcakes:

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C firmly packed light brown sugar
5 Tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C water
/3 C vegetable oil
1 Tbsp white or cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

To Make the Filling:

Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

To Make the Cupcakes:

Position the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons* of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.

Yield: 12 full-size cupcakes. The cupcake will keep nicely unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

* I only used 1 heaping Tbsp of the filling for each cupcake.