MAN DOES not live by spread alone. All over America, kids are counting down to the Big Bonanza . . . and the football freaks are counting yards.
'Tis the Season fo the Bowls, and every gridiron fanatic in the country is glued to the TV screen, trying to pack in enough TDs to ward off the end-of-season DTs. If wishes were horses, bettors would ride. Hometown Jimmy-the-Greeks multiply like loaves and fishes. And yet, endless afternoons of ham sandwiches and beer must pall on on those to whom third-and-two is a matter of marriages and dependents, and the pigskin only leftovers. The other NFL--Non-Football Lovers -- is a potent minority in the United States, and far to be it from me to underfeed it.
How, you will ask, can you prepare suitable and sensuous meals for your Significant Other while simultaneously making clear your complete indifference to the sneaking quarterback and the halftime eruptions of twirler-filled floats?
Overkill, that's how. Fall not just gracefully but boisterously into the spirit of the event, and surprise S.O -- Bowl after Bowl -- with a matching menu. If the joke falls flat, let the souffle follow suit: You're wasting your culinary attractions.
For the Orange Bowl, begin with thin orange rounds floating in white wine. Serve a salad of mandarin oranges sections and walnuts on romaine, leg of lamb with a red wine/white wine/orange and pepper glaze, and top it off with a Grand Marnier souffle.
Duck with tangerines in brighter and less sweet than canard a l'orange, so it's duck for the Tangerine Bowl. Or chicken breasts in an Oriental-style marinade of tangerine juice and soy sauce.
One does not wish to be caught advocating the use of margarine, so . . . for the Blue Bonnet Bowl, think blue: Blueberry soup of muffins or waffles; bluefish Veronique or blue trout; blue cheese and Blue Nun.
For the Peach Bowl, try a pork roast with a peach glaze, or goose in a peach sauce, or quail soaked in peach liqueur. For the Sun Bowl, you'll have to stretch a little: maybe a pseudo-Middle Eastern mixture of allspiced rice, Sun Maid raisins and sunflower seeds with some chunks of lamb.
For the Rose Bowl, a cold plate: radish roses, cheese, rose-petal jelly, crackers and rose. For the Sugar Bowl, glazed fruit, candied ginger, creme brulee and Caramello.For the Cotton Bowl, wing it with meringues and cotton candy.
For the Fiesta Bowl, make like La Cucaracha and do the whole meal Mexicali. Tap-dance loudly in the kitchen, hum "Celito Lindo" and shout "Ole!" when either team scores. Men especially should contemplate emerging with a rose clenched between the teeth.
As for the Gator Bowl, 2 hear that aligator steaks cut across the tail and sauteed in a little wine and butter are superb. Serve with Gator-Ade.
And now, the Super Bowl of holiday delights: Roast Leg of Lamb with Orange and Pepper Sauce.
This is a three-play series, so time it carefully. ROAST LEG OF LAMB WITH ORANGE AND PEPPER SAUCE (6 to 8 servings) 1 leg of lamb (about 6 pounds) 1/2 cup melted butter 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice 2 teaspoons prepared mustard 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups dry white wine Orange and Pepper Sauce (see recipe below) Glazed Oranges and Peppers (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
Wipe lamb with damp paper towels. Trim excess fat. Place, fat side up, in large, shallow roasting pan, without rack.
Combine butter, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, sage and salt; mix well. Brush lamb well all over with this mixture. Pour remaining mixture over lamb.
Roast lamb, uncovered, 45 minutes. (Don't panic if it smokes -- we do mean 550 degrees). Pour off excess grease.
Pour wine over lamb. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast 45 minutes longer. Baste with pan drippings several times last 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make orange and pepper sauce and glazed oranges and peppers.
Remove lamb from oven. Degrease juices, measure 1 cup. Pour into orange and pepper sauce. Bring to boil; simmer 3 minutes, stirring together well. Pour sauce over lamb, return to oven; roast 20 to 30 minutes, depending on desired degrees of doneness.
Arrange lamb on platter; garnish with glazed oranges and peppers. ORANGE AND PEPPER SAUCE 1/4 cup butter 3 shallots, chopped 1 leek, sliced 1/4 cup chopped onion 1 strip orange peel 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 hot red pepper, cut into thin strips 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup dry red wine 1 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat butter in a saucepan. Saute shallots, leeks, onions, orange peel, garlic, lemon juice and red pepper strips. Stir in flour; then stir in wine, a cup water, and the salt. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add juices from roast lamb; strain. Serve with lamb. GLAZED ORANGES AND PAPPERS 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup water 2 medium oranges, sliced 1/4-inch thick 1 large red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch rings
Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water and the corn syrup in large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add oranges slices and pepper rings; simmer, uncovered, and stirring often, 20 minutes or until orange rind becomes translucent.