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Thursday, Feb. 3, 2005 01:46 pm

When pigskins fly, it’s time to pig out


Sure, we can all admit that football is the primary focus of Super Bowl Sunday. But there are actually some of us who don’t know — or care about — the difference between a tight end and a touchdown. Even for those of us who actually understand the basic rules of the game, this big sports event is just as much about friends gathering around a big-screen TV, critiquing megabuck commercials and eating, as it is about football.

Super Bowl parties are centered on two things: TV and food. It’s often an excuse to pig out on your favorite snack food while watching the pigskin tossed around. Serving the basics, such as bowls of chips, chicken wings and pizza, is perfectly acceptable, but you can also be more imaginative and prepare dishes to represent the participating teams.

This year, why not impress your guests and serve cheese steak sandwiches in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles and clam chowder and fried clams for the New England Patriots?

You don’t even have to go to that much trouble. You could also serve foods in the colors of the Super Bowl teams. How about serving green foods, like guacamole dip (in honor of Philadelphia), served with red pepper strips and blue and white tortilla chips (in honor of the opponent)?

This year, Super Bowl weekend also coincides with Mardi Gras, and several local watering holes, like Sammy’s Sports Bar, are serving up Cajun-inspired dishes on their menus to serve to patrons watching the game. So you could include gumbo, jambalaya, or crawfish pie on your Super Bowl spread.

Many football fans have their favorite game foods, but the king of all ballgame snacks may be chicken wings. So here are a couple of championship chicken-wing recipes, and a few delicious finger-food alternatives for good measure:

Tim Hay’s Chicken Wings

1 pound margarine, melted
1/2 oz bottle Tabasco sauce
3 cups Frank’s Red Hot
Two ounces of salt-free Cajun spice
Half cup of jalapeno juice
One 5-pound bag of frozen chicken wings or drumetts

Directions: Fry the wings in oil. Then mix ingredients together, pour over wings and simmer until thoroughly heated. Serve with blue cheese and Ranch dressing and celery sticks. Serves 25. (Recipe courtesy of Tim Hay of Sammy’s in Springfield.)

Grilled Spicy Chicken Wings

20 chicken wings
2 limes, rind grated and limes juiced
1 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tequila

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together and bake or grill the wings until ready. (Recipe courtesy of www.thatsthespirit.com.)

Barbecued Black Bean Dip

1 small onion, chopped
One half teaspoon canola oil
2 cups cooked black beans
4 tablespoons tomato paste
One fourth cup Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
One fourth teaspoon salt

Directions: Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a smooth dip. Serve with corn chips or celery sticks. Serves 6. (Recipe courtesy of Spectrum Foods/Food Fantasies.)

Creamy Avocado Green Chili Dip

2 cloves garlic, peeled
one fourth cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
one half cup low-fat sour cream
one half teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 large ripe, avocado, halved

Directions: With the food processor running, drop the garlic cloves and cilantro into the feed tube and process until finely chopped. Add the green chilies, sour cream, and salt and scrape the avocado flesh into a bowl. Process until blended into a smooth, creamy dip. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature for fullest flavor. (Recipe courtesy of www.globalgourmet.com.)

Pistachio Game Day Munchies Mix

One fourth cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Dash bottled hot pepper sauce
1 cup each: Bite-size shredded wheat biscuits, bite-size toasted corn cereal, sesame chips (or bite-size toasted rice cereal), and small pretzel twists
1 cup natural California pistachios, chopped

Directions: Heat together butter, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and bottled hot pepper sauce until butter melts. Combine remaining ingredients in a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan. Drizzle butter mixture over cereal mixture and toss lightly. Bake uncovered at 300°F for 1 hour or until crisp and lightly toasted. Stir every 15 minutes. Makes 4 cups. (Recipe courtesy of the California Pistachio Commission.)

Calling all chocolate lovers

The Greenview Civic Association will host its 10th annual Chocolate Sunday contest and auction from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Community Building on the square.

Entries are being accepted in five categories — fancy desserts, cookies, candy, cakes, and pies — and must be submitted by 1 p.m. the day of the event.

The event will include cash prizes, chocolate bingo, and chocolate trivia. For more information, call 217-968-5323, 968-7043 or 968-1408.

Super Bowl food facts

Super Bowl Sunday ranks as the second food consumption event of the year, second only to Thanksgiving.

The Super Bowl is the top at-home party event of the year, surpassing New Year’s Eve.  

An estimated 14,500 tons of chips, 4,000 tons of popcorn and more than 8.5 million pounds of tortilla chips are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday.

Fans spend more than $50 million on food during the four days of Super Bowl weekend.

Sources: NFL.com, Hallmark Cards Inc., and playfootball.com.

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