"They came to play" is sure to be in the cascade of accolades for the winning team in today's Super Bowl. Likewise, a host facing a houseful of unexpected Super Weekend guests, both football and political fanatics, knows this for sure: they're coming to eat.
This is not the ideal way to entertain, but it can be done. The best defense for this doubleheader weekend is a good game plan, a blitz in the kitchen, the flexibility to call some audibles when the situation shifts and good luck -- the best of all being that most supermarkets are open today.
What do you start with? Marino -- the sea, Montana -- the mountain, and the Golden Gipper from California. This gives you the seafood and island flavors of the Florida Gulf and the fresh natural cuisines from the trend-setting San Francisco restaurants.
Go with this, concentrating on food that can be made in a hurry, freeing up the cook to watch the tube with the guests. With these menus there is practically no last-minute cooking, but guests will still feel they are getting exceptionally good food, interesting enough to make the fork pause occasionally and the taster murmur, "Hey, this is all right," before eyes glaze again toward the tube.
From the Caribbean, a nice change -- a spectacular hot-and-spicy pork roast that cooks during the football game, needing only to be basted at the end of each quarter. Since it's too late to be in the kitchen shucking oysters or peeling shrimp, use frozen cooked crab fingers. You need only the wit to defrost and spread them on a platter.
A crisp, tender winter vegetable salad in a creamy mustard sauce marinates during the game, and a simple almond pound cake can mutate into a variety of desserts. Only the guacamole gets the last-minute treatment.
There's a new ball game on inaugural Monday -- glitzy patriotic and pure California-style show biz. Before your crowd heads into the cold to watch the parade and swearing-in ceremony, give them a brunch omelet inspired by The Greens at Fort Mason, a waterfront San Francisco restaurant that is inexpensive and unpretentious but still so popular it is one of the toughest dinner reservations to get. This spinach omelet can't be done in advance, but the flavor combination is worth the effort.
Offer a nonalcoholic choice as an eye-opener. Orange juice spritzers, simply made by mixing frozen orange juice with seltzer water, brightening with a squeeze of lemon and serving in a handsome goblet. Or, splurge with mimosas, 50-50 orange juice and champagne.
Your private inaugural ball dinner can be dressed up or down, buffet or seated, depending on whether you are still watching television. The airy salmon mousse is garnished with dill sauce which appeared first as a dip during the football game. The veal ragout can be made Monday morning and needs only to be pulled from the fridge and gently heated. The trusty pound cake takes on a new life with chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. There is only the rice to cook and a salad to toss.
You may have only one party to give during the weekend. A breeze. But if you are faced with a two-day orgy, all this cooking can be accomplished in a two-hour cooking blitz, especially if you bribe a helper with a glass of wine to blanch vegetables and chop onions.
Start with the pork roast. Get it in the refrigerator to marinate. Next, the pound cake. It takes an hour and 20 minutes to bake. While these are cooking, blanch and chill the vegetables and make the sauce for the vegetable salad. While you're working on vegetables, make some carrot and celery strips to eat raw during the game.
If you run out of time, you can skip the artichokes and buy a pound cake.
After brunch Monday, make the salmon mousse and veal ragout. Now relax, the big push is over. There are still cold sauces and vinaigrettes to make, but you've got it made. Just don't choke. SUPER SUNDAY
During The Game Crab Claw Platter Remoulade Sauce in Artichoke Cup California Chunky Guacamole And Tortilla Chips Raw Vegetable Assortment With Dill Dip
Buffet Dinner Jesse Morales' Caribbean Pork Roast Small Sandwich Rolls Marinated Winter Vegetables Creamy Mustard Sauce Almond Pound Cake With Strawberry Sauce CRAB CLAWS WITH ARTICHOKES (8 appetizer servings) 2 pounds crab claws (or fingers) 2 or more large artichokes (if you plan several dips, use several artichokes) 1/2 lemon 1/4 cup olive oil Seasoned mayonnaise or Moe Cheramie's peppery remoulade sauce (recipes follow) for serving
The crabs are purchased frozen at seafood markets. They need only to be defrosted and patted dry with paper towels. Arrange on a large platter and center with cooked artichokes filled with seasoned mayonnaise or Moe Cheramie's peppery remoulade sauce.
To cook artichokes: Remove tough outer leaves, slice off the top inch or so and trim thorny tips of leaves with scissors. Drop into large kettle of boiling salted water seasoned with half a lemon and 1/4 cup olive oil. Place plate on top to keep artichokes submerged. Simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and spread center leaves to remove soft leaves and fibrous choke from the center. Trim bottom to make flat base. Fill with sauce. Guests dip crab legs and pull off artichoke leaves to dip, pulling both between the teeth to slide off tender morsels. Provide a bowl for discarded leaves and claws. MOE CHERAMIE'S REMOULADE SAUCE (Makes about 2 cups)
Although Cheramie, owner of the Old New Orleans Seafood Market, likes to make his version of this classic sauce at least 24 hours in advance to let the flavors blend, it is not necessary. 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise 1/2 cup ketchup 2 teaspoons mustard 1/2 cup onion, chopped 2 tablespoons parsley, minced Green Louisiana hot sauce (or cayenne pepper) Optional: capers and chopped sweet pickles
Combine ingredients, adding hot pepper sauce to taste. Cover, refrigerate (when possible, 24 hours before serving). CALIFORNIA CHUNKY GUACAMOLE (Makes about 4 cups) 4 fully ripe avocados, peeled, reserve seeds 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, finely chopped 4 tablespoons chopped green chilies (or to taste) 1 small onion, chopped 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons salt Tortilla chips for serving
Mash 2 avocados and chop 2 avocados into half-inch pieces. Combine all ingredients. Place avocado seeds on top. Cover. Remove seeds when ready to serve. (They say the seeds help keep the avocados from darkening.) Serve with tortilla chips. DILL SAUCE (Makes about 2 1/2 cups) 2 cups dairy sour cream 2 tablespoons white wine 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill 1/2 cup scallions with tops, chopped Freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate. May be made up to 24 hours in advance of serving. Serve as a dip for raw vegetables.
Reserve one cup of the dill sauce to garnish salmon mousse for Monday night dinner. JESSE MORALES' CARIBBEAN PORK ROAST (6 to 8 servings)
Artist and gallery owner Jesse Morales is the cook in demand in Kitty Hawk, N.C., for the revels of the Outer Banks art colony, and this is the all-time favorite party dish there -- summer and winter.
When Morales gave me the recipe he warned, "They will leave nothing." He did not exaggerate. The recipe calls for what seems a powerful kick of pepper and seasoning, but Morales said not to worry, "It falls off."
Fresh picnic hams are economical, but tricky to carve because there is a cunning bone. But for this purpose it doesn't make a lot of difference since the roast is whittled away to make small sandwiches.
If you want better slices, or if you have a bigger crowd, use a fresh ham (sometimes labeled pork leg) sold either whole or by the butt or shank halves. Simply boost the cooking time according to weight.
Whichever you use, do not throw out the bone. It can be the basis of a wonderful soothing soup. If you're not ready to cook soup right now, freeze the bone for later use.
6-to-8-pound fresh picnic ham (fresh pork shoulder), with skin and visible fat removed
FOR THE MARINADE: 3 tablespoons salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon red pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 10 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon oregano
Make a paste of the marinade ingredients. With the point of a sharp knife, make shallow slits in the surface of the roast. With a spoon, spread paste on the meat, pressing into the slits. At this point you can cover and marinate for 2 to 24 hours.
Put 2 cups boiling water in roasting pan. Add roast and cook covered 20 minutes in a 500-degree oven. Remove cover, lower heat to 300 and cook 4 or 5 more hours (about 40 minutes per pound). Pork should be cooked to the well done stage, fork tender, or 185 degrees on a meat thermometer. Baste every hour with the pan juices, adding more water when necessary. Carve small slices and serve with small sandwich rolls, french or sourdough, or a variety of peasant breads. WINTER VEGETABLE SALAD WITH CREAMY MUSTARD SAUCE (6 to 8 servings) 4 cups small broccoli florets 4 cups small cauliflower florets 3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch rounds 10-ounce package frozen peas
FOR THE SAUCE: 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup dijon mustard 1/2 cup sour cream 2 teaspoons celery seed 1 tablespoon dried tarragon 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped Freshly ground black pepper Blanch vegetables. Use a large stock pot of boiling water. Drop in broccoli, allow water to return to boil, cook 2 minutes, lift out with slotted spoon and plunge into large bowl of ice water. Repeat with cauliflower and carrots. Peas do not need blanching. Thoroughly drain vegetables, making sure they are dry. Combine sauce ingredients and toss with vegetables. May be refrigerated for 24 hours before serving. Adapted from "The Silver Palate Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, Workman Press, New York ALMOND POUND CAKE (Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf cake) 7-ounce roll almond paste 1 cup (2 sticks) butter plus extra for pan 1 cup sugar 4 eggs, room temperature 2 cups sifted flour plus extra for pan 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup milk Fruit, sauce (recipes follow) or ice cream for serving
With an electric mixer, cream together very thoroughly the almond paste and butter. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Continue beating while adding eggs one at a time. Add flour and baking powder alternately with milk, beating until smooth. Grease and flour 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven 1 hour and 20 minutes. Do not refrigerate. Store in an airtight container or wrap. Serve with fruit, sauce or ice cream. QUICK STRAWBERRY SAUCE (Makes about 1 cup) 10-ounce package frozen strawberries 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur (or other favorite liqueur)
About two hours before dinner, set out frozen strawberries to soften. At dessert time, break up block of strawberries and place in blender with confectioners' sugar and liqueur. Do only a quick one- or two-second buzz of the blender. Serve with cake or ice cream.
INAUGURATION DAY CALIFORNIA RANCH Orange Juice Spritzers and Mimosas The Greens Spinach Omelet with Spinach, Red Onions, Rosemary, Goat Cheese (or Feta) Toasted Sourdough Rolls Fruit Salad with Rum and Honey THE GREENS SPINACH OMELET (4 servings)
At The Greens restaurant in San Francisco, this omelet would be made with fresh vegetables from the Tassajara Zen-owned farm in Marin County. It would have tiny curly-leaved bloomsdale spinach and would be served with finger-sized waxy rosefir potatoes.
The balsamic vinegar is a fruity wine vinegar aged in special wooden casks. You can find it in Greek and Italian grocery stores far cheaper than the gourmet shops.
FOR THE HOT VINAIGRETTE: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
FOR THE FILLING: 4 cups raw spinach, large leaves chopped coarsely 1/4 cup red onion slices, paper thin (more or less depending on your preference) 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped (2 teaspoons dried) 1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese (or feta) Freshly ground pepper
FOR THE OMELET: 4 tablespoons butter 8 eggs 2 tablespoons water Salt and pepper
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together oil and vinegar in small pan, heat, keep warm.
Carefully wash and spin or pat dry spinach. (Don't ruin a wonderful presentation with gritty spinach.) Toss with onion, rosemary, goat cheese and pepper. Set aside.
In a 12-inch heavy steel or cast iron skillet, heat butter. Add eggs which have been beaten lightly with the water, salt and pepper, just until yolks and whites are mixed. As eggs are added, shake pan back and forth, simultaneously stirring with a fork in a clockwise motion. Stop stirring when eggs are set to your liking. Pour vinaigrette over spinach mixture, toss and spread across center of omelet. Fold half of the egg disk over spinach, remove from heat, and allow heat from pan to continue cooking the bottom. Cut into wedges to serve. FRUIT SALAD (4 servings) 4 large navel oranges, 2 peeled and chopped, 2 sliced (reserve slices for dinner salad) 2 grapefruit, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges 1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks Honey to taste Dark rum to taste Fresh strawberries, bananas or sliced kiwi (optional)
Mix together chopped fruit, drizzle lightly with honey and a sprinkle of rum. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add optional fresh strawberries, bananas or sliced kiwi fruits.
INAUGURAL BALL DINNER Chiffon Salmon Mousse/Dill Sauce Veal Ragout Parsleyed Rice Orange/Avocado/Walnut Salad Citrus Vinaigrette Almond Pound Cake Chocolate Sauce/Strawberries GLORIA NISSELSON'S CHIFFON SALMON MOUSSE (4 to 6 servings) 2 1/4-ounce envelopes plain gelatin 1/3 cup white wine 16-ounce can red salmon, drained, skin and bones removed; mashed 1 cup clam juice or chicken broth 3 tablespoons white wine (or rice) vinegar 2 to 3 teaspoons onion, grated or minced 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced 1/2 cup mayonnaise Dash of Louisiana hot sauce 2 egg whites, beaten stiff Dill sauce (recipe above)
Place gelatin and wine in a saucepan and allow to stand 5 minutes, then heat until it is clear and dissolved. Transfer to a bowl, add salmon, clam juice, vinegar, onion, dill, mayonnaise and pepper sauce. Chill until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes. Fold in beaten egg whites, pour into a 5-cup mold. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve with dill sauce. %& VEAL RAGOUT (4 to 6 servings) 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon oil 2 pounds veal stew meat, or shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes 1 cup onions, chopped 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup dry white wine 1 cup beef bouillon 2 shallots, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced Bay leaf, crumbled 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 stalk celery, chopped 1/2 cup parsley, chopped 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 pound baby carrots, peeled and trimmed, or 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
In heavy casserole pan, melt butter, add oil. Pat dry meat cubes, sear on all sides over medium heat. (Do this in batches so meat does not become watery.) Add onion, cook to soften, about 1 minute, then add flour and cook another minute. Add wine, bouillon, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, herbs, celery, parsley and tomato paste. Cover, simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veal is fork tender. Ragout may be made to this point and refrigerated or frozen.
Blanch carrots in boiling water 5 minutes or until tender, transfer to cold water immediately. Drain.
To serve, return ragout to room temperature. Add carrots, reheat slowly over medium heat. Serve with parsleyed rice. ORANGE, AVOCADO AND WALNUT SALAD (4 to 6 servings) 2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and sliced Leaf lettuce for serving 2 tablespoons walnuts
FOR THE CITRUS VINAIGRETTE: 1/2 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons orange or grapefruit juice 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Toss orange and avocado slices in citrus vinaigrette and arrange on lettuce leaves on salad plates. Sprinkle with walnuts.
To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange or grapefruit juice and sugar. QUICK BLENDER CHOCOLATE SAUCE (Makes about 1 cup) 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into pieces 1/2 cup scalded hot milk 3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
Place in blender in following order -- chocolate pieces, milk, sugar and vanilla. Blend at medium speed 30 seconds. Stop motor, scrape sides and blend at high speed until smooth. Serve warm or cool.