Super Snacks for Super Bowl

January 31st, 2011 / Comments 11

Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, the day that many Americans have been anticipating since this time last year. For most Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is celebrated with an all day party and an unending spread of finger food.

pd Football c egbert 02  Super Snacks for Super BowlPre-game activities begin after lunch, the game, liberally dotted with commercials, starts at six, is interrupted by the half-time show, then more of the game, and finally the wrap-up. It’s no wonder that most hotels offering Super Bowl packages have a four-day minimum stay – it must take at least two days to recover.

I’m not a football fan. My mind wanders with the interminable delays. I worry about mortal injuries to the referees and camera operators when I see enormous bodies, protected by even more enormous plastic helmets and shoulder pads flying through the air and landing in heaps. I’ve been told that the creative commercials that debut on Super Bowl Sunday are enough reason to watch but I’d rather be putting finishing touches on Super Bowls, Super Platters and Super Sweets to sustain Super Friends who are eating and drinking, cheering and booing in front of the television.

One Super Bowl party website suggested, “serve everyone’s favorite high fat, finger-licking snack foods. After all, your television set is the focal point, not the food.” (Those are fighting words to a cook.) Another site suggested serving “salami, pepperoni, cheese whiz, chips and dips, beer and hot sauce, zingers like salami & cheese stuffed pepperochini.” (I wonder if beer and hot sauce is new mixed drink?) Tailgate classics like Buffalo wings, chili, and layered dips are all possibilities, but I want Super Food, healthy food that is not fussy to prepare and has enough flavor to be a bit of a distraction from the game.

PT Megaphone c egbert Super Snacks for Super BowlChickpeas and chickpea flour, also called besan and gram flour, are on the Super Food team I’m inviting to be part of my Super Bowl menu. They taste good and are an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium and B vitamins. It takes only a minute to make the batter for Besan flatbread that can be served either hot from the oven or at room temperature. It meets my requirements for a super finger food.

Hummus, a party regular at my house, is also a Super Snack. This blend of ancient ingredients – chickpeas, sesame seeds, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil is readily available at the market but when made at home it is absolutely fresh, with a minimum number of ingredients and is preservative free. When combined with warm pita bread, it is a complete protein that will build muscles so necessary for passing and blocking on the gridiron. (Not bad for a non-sports writer!) Best of all, homemade hummus costs half as much and is at least twice as good as store bought. I took a bowl of hummus, surrounded with carrot sticks to a potluck lunch last Sunday and it disappeared before the chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s how I made Besan Flat Bread and Hummus:

Besan Flat Bread

I put one cup of besan and one teaspoon of salt into a bowl and stirred constantly with a whisk, as I slowly added water, about one and half cups, to make a slurry with the consistency of thin pancake batter. I made it in the morning, covered with a cloth and left on the counter to ‘rest’ for several hours. The batter can be baked immediately but the texture will be better and the bread will have a more complex flavor if the batter sits at room temperature for several hours before it is baked.

I set the oven at 450 degrees, peeled and thinly sliced two medium shallots and a handful of cauliflower florets. I put the shallots, cauliflower and three tablespoons of grape seed oil into a ten-inch cast iron skillet. After two minutes in the oven, I gave the vegetables a quick stir, poured the batter in and returned the skillet to the oven. In 30 minutes, the bread was brown and the crisp edge had pulled away from the pan. I used a spatula to lift it out onto a cutting board, sprinkled it with a pinch of sea salt, and let it cool for a couple of minutes before I cut it into twelve wedges. It disappeared in less time than it takes a football team to figure out the next play.

Onions, scallions or chives can be substituted for the shallots and olive or canola oil can replace the grape seed oil. I sometimes add either a tablespoon of fresh rosemary or a teaspoon of black mustard seeds or ground cumin along with the sliced vegetables to vary the flavor.

Hummus

I drained one 19-ounce can of chickpeas and reserved the liquid. I used a food processor to chop one small garlic clove and then added the chickpeas and two tablespoons of tahini. When the mixture was coarsely chopped, I added the juice of one lemon and slowly added the reserved liquid until the mixture was creamy, about five tablespoons. I put the hummus into a shallow bowl and topped it with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

If you want to add color, a pinch of paprika is all you need. You could present the hummus in grand style by putting the warmed pita bread into the Super Bowl XLIV Snack Helmet that I saw on the internet for a mere $64.99.

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Besan Flat Bread List

  • 1 c besan/chickpea flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 shallots
  • 3/4 c cauliflower florets

Hummus List

  • 1 19-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 T tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
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• 11 Responses to “Super Snacks for Super Bowl”

  • Kathy Sulewski says:

    Hi Carol! I love the sound of the homemade humus, I think I will do that for sure
    I hope all is well with you and your family,stay safe and warm

  • Kirsten says:

    I made the besan flat bread last night and it was easy as it sounds and came out great! Now if only the besan flour was easier to find in any of the co-ops I’d be all set.

  • Sortachef says:

    My son has ritual dips he makes, and hummus is at the top of the list (we really only watch the Superbowl to rate the ads and to enjoy a loooong snack together). I’ll contribute some Besan Flat Bread this year!

  • susan says:

    I did a quick look for Besan/Gram flour at the Coop (Hanover) and couldn’t find it. Do you know if they carry it and if so where is it? Will check the Coop Centerra. Sounds like a delicious and healthy recipe.
    Thank for your column in the Valley News which I eagerly await every Wednesday!

    • Carol says:

      I get it at the Upper Valley coop in WRJ. I’m pleased that you enjoy my column and hope you like the flat bread as much as I do. The coop hopes to have more on Monday.

    • admin says:

      Susan,
      The Coop at Centerra does indeed carry Besan. You’ll find it in the 2nd or 3rd aisle that has the Indian & Asian items.

  • Lucia says:

    I am a long suffering Saints fan. I am so excited about the game this year. I have not even thought of what to eat!

  • Foodo says:

    “The game is the focus not the food” If anyone said that to me 1. They wouldn’t be invited 2. if they were already at my house I’d POP ‘em! Fighting words INDEED! ;-) Mary

  • Flatbread & hummus sound awesome for superbowl!

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