Anyone who knows me is aware of what an avid sports fan I am. I will wait for you all to stop laughing. Ahem. Let me rephrase. Anyone who knows me is aware that a)I take “heads up” literally, and I get hit in the face with the ball and my glasses break, b)The extent of my football knowledge is that LeVander is pronouned Lee-VAN-der, not LA-ven-der. Thank you, Wildcats, and c)The only sports that I enjoy take place in Kitchen Stadium.
I used to be a little embarrassed by my lack of sports savvy. I did venture into soccer fandom in college, where I cheered lustily for the team. (Go Cobras! Hissssss!) But that, dear readers, was an anomaly. I must now admit that I just liked shaking a red card high in the air and chanting, “Blood! Blood! Blood makes the grass grow!” I had no idea what was going on out there on the field of battle. I did mean well, however.
I have a confession to make that will serve to underscore just how little school or team spirit I have ever been able to muster: Spirit Day. Carmel Junior High School, 1978. Pep rally at which we were all to wear our school’s colors, the Magnificent Orange and Brown. Go Cougars. I wore gray and burgundy. I think that pretty much sums it up for you.
By now, you probably have figured out that I will not be watching the Big Game. I can’t even watch for the commercials because I’ve seen them all already. Thanks stupid media. I have, however, made some concessions because I know that most of America will be watching. Concession One: I have kindly moved the Sunday Suppers post to Saturday, so you will not have to experience the psychic tension that would result from having to choose between reading PMAT or watching the game. You’re welcome. Concession Two: I come bearing snacks. Don’t mention it.
Because the teams on the field in Tampa (see, I know that much) tomorrow will be the only ones getting any exercise, I offer relatively healthy but tasty snacks, snacks that you won’t have to feel (too) guilty about eating. Here, there are no heaping plate of nachos, no melty-gooey spinach artichoke dips, no sticky wings, no football-shaped Spam. If cheesy, fatty goodness is what you desire on Superbowl Sunday, go forth out into the Hinternet and find it, for it IS there for the taking. Today, I offer unto you some lighter but satisfying fare so you Steelers fans can wave your Terrible Towels (thank you Celeste, for teaching me this) or you Cardinals fans can, I don’t know, chirp for your team in good form right up until the last three-pointer is thrown. Dammit! I’m such a sports moron.
Jenni’s Superbowl Spanakopita
I’m not Greek, so my apologies to anyone’s Greek grandmother who thinks these aren’t authentic. They are tasty, though.
- 2 boxes of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as you can get it
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (maybe a 2 1/2″ onion?)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- olive oil or butter for sauteing
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 pasteurized eggs, beaten
- 1 pound of feta cheese (or feta with herbs), crumbled
- 1/2 cup minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (optional, but good)
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional, but good)
- several grates of fresh nutmeg
- 1/3-1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- About 3 TBSP chopped dill
- 1 box phyllo dough, defrosted (this lives near the puff pastry and pie crust in the freezer section at the grocery store. It is a phonetic spelling of a Greek word, so you’ll also see it as Fillo, Filo and any number of other spellings)
- melted butter or olive oil, for brushing the phyllo dough
Heat a skillet or saute pan. Add the oil and/or butter (maybe 2 TBSP, total) to the pan. Add the onions and the garlic with a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high-ish heat until golden. You’re done with the skillet, now.
Mix the onions and garlic with the spinach and all the rest of the ingredients really well. Don’t worry–no gluten here, so mix away. If you’re not too grossed out by tasting the filling, even with pasteurized eggs, taste and add more salt and/or pepper, if needed.
Lay your stack of phyllo out flat. Cover it with a damp–not wet–towel. Dried out phyllo is a pain to use, so keep it covered. When you’re ready, take out one sheet of phyllo dough and set it in front of you in portrait, not landscape. Keep the rest covered. Brush the dough evenly with melted butter. Fold the dough in thirds, longwise. Now, you’ll have a strip of dough that’s about 3″ wide and 14″ long (or so). Put one heaping spoonful of filling in the center at the top of the strip. Don’t get crazy with this; you do want to be able to fold it over. Fold one corner of the dough over the filling into a triangle, and continue folding until you get to the bottom. For you visual folks out there, here is a pictorial tutorial I found. This is like folding a flag or making one of those paper footballs that we used to make in elementary school. Come to think of it, I was pretty good at table-top football. Yay, me.
Keep making little phyllo footballs until all of your filling is gone. Brush the little guys with a little more melted butter or oil, put them on baking sheets–they can be pretty close together, but not touching–and bake them at 350 degrees, F, until they are golden brown and lovely. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Best Hummus Ever
It really is. I’m not kidding. I am only allowed to make this every once in awhile. If it’s in the house, I will sit in front of the television and shove it in my face with any convenient dipping device: chips, pita, vegetables, fingers. Whatever is handy.
- 2 large cans garbanzo beans (I like Goya)
- 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled (depending on how garlicky you like things to be)
- about 1/3 cup reserved chickpea liquid
- juice of 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup tahini (It’s usually in the kosher food section. At my grocery store, it’s with the peanut butter)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- mild curry powder, to taste–about 1/2-1 tsp.
- cumin, to taste–about 1/2-1 tsp.
- extra virgin olive oil
Mince the garlic in the food processor. Then, add in everything except the olive oil. Process until you have a nice smooth-ish paste. With the processor still running, drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until you like the consistency. I usually use a lot. I tell myself that it is very good for my heart. Taste, and add more salt, pepper or seasonings. You can eat it immediately, but it is better chilled for a few hours. The garlic has a chance to settle down a bit. To serve, drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some paprika if you want and top with some fresh parsley. Or not. Serve with anything.
Friends, I hope you enjoy your Superbowl, and I hope you enjoy your snacks. If anyone gets hit in the face with the ball, spare me a thought. I will probably be reading.