Big game calls for big flavors

January 30, 2013 

The biggest game in football is Sunday, and it's probably the biggest snack and potluck day, too.

With the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens match-up, a foodie's mind turns to two of the best cities for crab.

Baltimore and its crab cakes are hard to beat, so somewhere in the Super Bowl party mix, there has to be crab: crab dip, crab wontons, sautéed crab fingers or even Bill Bayley's famous West Indies Salad.

The host city, New Orleans, is certainly no slouch when it comes to crab dishes either, but since crawfish are plentiful, a pot of John Folse's veloute -- or soup of boiled crawfish, corn and potatoes -- would please any crowd.

A few staples of nearly every Super Bowl party are chili, chips, jalapeño poppers and guacamole. Letting guests serve themselves with chili or soup gets the cook out of the kitchen to enjoy the game, too.

The folks at Hass Avocados estimate 79 million pounds of avocados will be sold for Super Bowl parties. That's up some 71 million from 2000.

Instead of making the usual bowl of guacamole, why not put that guacamole on bite-size tacos? Simply press wonton wrappers into muffin pan, add seasoned cooked ground meat and cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees

and top with guacamole, salsa, sour cream or whatever sounds good. These make great finger foods.

"We have served the cabbage soup with cornbread for years at our Super Bowl parties and it's always a hit," Coastian Sonja Sheffield said. "You can make it in a large stock pot or slow cooker. It's great with Mexican cornbread.

"The Captain Rodney's dip is also a favorite," she said. "There are a few gift shops on the Coast that have the Captain Rodney's glaze, but if you can't find it, substitute the Tabasco Red Pepper Jelly. I usually put it in a bowl and heat it in the microwave and stir it really well so it will be easier to spread.

"The Sausage Dip recipe was given to me a few months ago by Joy Tucei. I've fixed it several times, and I always take an empty dish home," Sheffield said. "I serve it with Fritos."

Here are her recipes and a few others to try Sunday.

CABBAGE SOUP

1 head cabbage, chopped small and rinsed

6 sliced carrots or two handfuls of baby carrots, sliced

4 potatoes, diced

6 cans of chicken broth

1 can of original Ro-Tel (use hot variety if you desire lots of heat)

1/2 of large brick Velveeta cheese, cubed small

Heat chicken broth and Ro-Tel until almost to a boil. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and potatoes. Continue to cook until cabbage and potatoes are tender. Add Velveeta cheese and cook until all the cheese melts. Serve with cornbread. Freezes well.

-- Submitted by Sonja Sheffield

CAPTAIN RODNEY'S CHEESE BAKE

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

2 green onions, chopped

6 Ritz crackers, crushed

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup of any Captain Rodney's glazes or substitute Tabasco Red Pepper Jelly

Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar and onions in greased quiche pan. Top with crackers and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with bacon and Captain Rodney's Pepper Glaze. Serve with crackers.

-- Submitted by Sonja Sheffield

SAUSAGE RO-TEL DIP

1 tube Jimmy Dean sausage with sage

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cans Ro-Tel with cilantro and lime, drained

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

Fry sausage with chopped onion and drain. Drain Ro-Tel. Soften cream cheese in microwave. Add all ingredients and mix well. Heat in microwave right before serving. Serve with Fritos Scoops.

-- Submitted by Sonja Sheffield

BILL BAYLEY'S WEST INDIES SALAD

1 pound fresh lump crabmeat

1 medium onion, chopped fine

4 ounces Wesson oil

3 ounces cider vinegar

4 ounces ice water

Salt

Pepper

Divide chopped onion in half and spread one half over bottom of large mixing bowl. Separate crabmeat lumps and place on top of onion in bowl, then spread the remainder of onion on top of this. Now salt and pepper to taste. Pour over all: Wesson oil; next, the vinegar and lastly, the ice water. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate from 2 to 12 hours.

When ready to serve, toss lightly but do not stir. Do not substitute any of the ingredients, as result would not be the same.

-- Submitted by Joe "Jerky Joe" Bennett some 20 years ago and published in "From Our Kitchens To Yours," by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 119.

"One Saturday afternoon immediately following a crawfish boil, I noticed a table still piled with boiled crawfish, corn and potatoes," Chef John Folse said. "With the help of a few friends, we peeled the crawfish and using the shells, made a boiled crawfish stock. I guess the rest of the story is obvious. This wonderful soup was created!"

VELOUTE OF BOILED CRAWFISH, CORN AND POTATOES

2 pounds boiled crawfish tails

1 cup whole kernel corn

6 small potatoes, cubed

1 cup melted butter

1 cup onions, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup garlic, chopped

2- 1/2 quarts crawfish stock

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 cup green onions, sliced

1 cup parsley, chopped

Salt and white pepper to taste

Louisiana Gold Pepper Sauce

In a 1-gallon stockpot, place the shells of the boiled crawfish along with any remaining onions, lemons, etc. Add 3 quarts of cold water, bring to a low boil and cook for 30 minutes. This will impart a concentrated boiled crawfish flavor into the water. If you do not have boiled crawfish, simply boil the corn and potatoes in water lightly seasoned with crab boil for the same effect or use chicken stock.

Once stock is flavorful, strain and reserve 3 quarts of liquid. Once the stockpot has been cleaned, place over medium-high heat, add butter and sauté the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic until wilted. Add the corn and continue to cook about 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, and stir until well blended. Slowly pour in the crawfish stock, stirring constantly until the consistency of a creamy soup is achieved. Bring to a low boil then add 1/2 of the crawfish and all the potatoes.

Cook until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Add remaining crawfish, heavy whipping cream, green onions and parsley.

Season to taste using salt and pepper. You may wish to add a bit more of the crawfish stock to retain the desired consistency of a soup.

-- Submitted by Chef John Folse in 2002

Tomato soup cake?

A reader asked for a tomato soup cake recipe. She said this is an old recipe that she has lost. Readers, do you have this recipe?

Mardi Gras

If you have a favorite Mardi Gras recipe, please share it with readers. Send them to me quickly. The parades are rolling, and the parade parties and balls already have started.

Getting healthy

Don't forget to send in your favorite healthy-eating recipes, too.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net. Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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