Super snacks to celebrate the game of the year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2020

By Deirdre Parker Smith

So yeah, there’s some big football game this weekend, and people are all excited about it, and it’s a great excuse for a party in February that does not require gifts.

The San Francisco 49ers will play the Kansas City Chiefs, and diehard fans of both teams will be raising a ruckus, and pigging out during the game.

If you’re a 49ers fan and quite well-to-do, you could be dining at the exclusive Citrix Owners club, where past fare has included ribeye steaks dusted with 24-carat gold flakes. You might sip on their signature cocktail, the Blood Orange Old Fashioned, made with fresh blood orange juice, honey, rosemary syrup and Gold Bar Whiskey.

Of course, the 49ers are in San Francisco, where multi-cultural cuisines are available all over.

Food Network says a fan favorite in SF is tacos, specifically Nick’s Crispy Tacos, serving a crispy tortilla wrapped in a soft tortilla, filled with carnitas, chicken, carne asada, chorizo or vegetables.

Kansas City is famous for its special style of barbecue. Burnt ends are a favorite of the city, and at the stadium, you can get burnt ends served over cheesy nachos with jalapenos.

Kansas City barbecue is not like North Carolina’s. The sauce is thick, sweet and heavy, unlike our vinegar-based sauce, and they do beef as well as pork. Kansans are especially fond of ribs and their famous burnt ends, which are beef, and only beef. Burnt ends come from the point of the brisket, which is thinner than the rest of the meat. After hours smoking and being doused in the sticky sauce, the ends are sort of blackened and caramelized.

San Francisco is on the bay, so seafood is popular, including Dungeness crab, clam chowder, oysters, the Italian fish soup Cioppino. On the sweeter side, it is home to Ghiradelli chocolate. And the area is also known for its great breads, particularly sourdough, and the cruffin, a sort of croissant muffin.

OK, so what to fix for your party in front of the TV here?

Burnt ends take a lot of work, but you could opt for some barbecue sliders anyway. Try them with a Kansas City barbecue sauce. Or slow cook a pork butt at home and do the same thing.

Chocolate is definitely in order, so cheat and get a box of Ghiradelli brownie mix and dress them up any way you want — with mint chips, white chocolate chips, some caramel melted on top, you name it. Gold is a color that goes with the 49ers, but don’t rush out for the gold leaf.

Pick up sourdough bread at the store to serve on the side, or get sourdough rolls for your sliders. Use sourdough cubes with cheese dip.

Think quick-cooking shrimp or a hearty clam chowder for the seafood side.

Here’s a pretty easy recipe for a Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, if you would rather make your own.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce

14 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 cup ketchup

3/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup molasses

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

The sauce is ready now, but is better if refrigerated overnight.

Sheet Pan Shrimp

Cooking spray

1 pound uncooked, peeled and deveined medium shrimp

1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

3/4 tsp. chilli powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (1 lime)

This recipe serves four, you can easily double it for more people.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Lightly coat  rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Pat shrimp dry and place on baking sheet. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer.

Roast until shrimp are opaque and pink, stirring halfway through, 6-8 minutes total. Drizzle shrimp with lime juice and toss to combine. Serve  with slices of avocado.

New England Clam Chowder

3 (6.5 oz.) cans chopped clams in clam juice

1 (8 oz.) bottle clam juice

5 thick bacon strips

1 Tbsp. butter

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/4 pounds (3 1/2 cups) Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 tsp. low-sodium chicken bouillon

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried organo

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Drain clam juice from cans into a measuring cup. Add enough bottled clam juice to equal 2 1/2 cups. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until slightly brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Chop the bacon and add half back to the pot, along with 1 Tbsp. butter. Increase heat to medium high and add celery and onion, sautéeing for 5-7 minutes or until onions soften. Add potatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, the reserved clam juice, chicken bouillon, bay leaves and all the seasonings. Bring to  boil, the reduce to simmer and cook uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are very tender.

Stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and stir in clams. Taste and adjust seasoning. For a thinner soup, use half and half.

Top soup with reserved bacon and optional oyster crackers. Serves 6-8.

Warm and Cheesy Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 ounce package ranch dressing mix (lower sodium)

6-7 strips cooked bacon

2 cups cheddar cheese

16 ounces sour cream

Thinly sliced green onion, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a 2 quart baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Remove from oven and top with more shredded cheese, if desired, and green onions.

Serve with cubes of bread, broccoli or cauliflower florets, tortilla chips or sturdy crackers.

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

10 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a double boiler or large bowl set over hot water, melt bittersweet chips and butter.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chips and walnuts.

Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly and refrigerate at least one hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap dough. With sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch slices.

Place slices 1 1/2 inches part on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet. Makes 24 cookies.