"It wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, but it was us."
That's how Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh summed up his team's Super Bowl XLVII win (34) last night over brother Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers (31). Although I wanted the 49ers to win, and despite the power interruption, I enjoyed the game. I'm never that into the commercials, but the Budweiser Clydesdale was my favorite; I also liked Kia's space babies, and thought that Ram's "God made a farmer" was gripping and visually stunning. Beyoncé's halftime show was the highlight though; so much better than any big game halftime show in recent memory (sorry, Tom Petty). Did everyone else see the Beyoncé Bowl/Destiny's Child reunion?
We stayed in to watch the game at home. Sam's brother Daniel came over so it was just the 3 of us, but I still made a ton of food! I felt inspired to cook a Southern-style Super Bowl meal, since the game was played in New Orleans, Louisiana and I just wanted to do something a little different than the usual, as much as I love the usual... and Mardi Gras is next week. I ended up making a blue cheese-bacon dip, New Orleans-style chicken wings, Cajun vegetarian gumbo with jalapeño-cheddar cornbread muffins, and an old-fashioned banana cream pie with meringue topping and a surprise splash of banana rum.
Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip
I found a blue cheese-bacon dip recipe -- which I halved and made with turkey bacon -- on MyRecipes via Southern Living, as one of 40 party appetizers. It was the perfect amount to bake in 2 of my Le Creuset Caribbean blue stacking ramekins, which I love. This dip was delicious, but very thick and heavy, so I lightened it up with low-fat cream cheese and turkey bacon, and served it with celery sticks along with tortilla chips.
New Orleans-Style Barbecue Chicken Wings
My New Orleans-style chicken wings were from Food Fanatic, and were adapted from a shrimp recipe in Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue. I had made a Creole seasoning earlier in the week for another recipe, and I used that to toss the chicken wings in before baking, instead of chili powder; it added a great, complex flavor.
To make Creole or Cajun seasoning, mix all of the following ingredients together:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme.
The recipe was for 16 wings, but I made 36-40 wings so I doubled it. You can make them hotter by adding more cayenne pepper or hot sauce. I found that there was much too much sauce left though, so next time I'd reduce the volume of sauce ingredients. These wings were yummy!
Cajun Vegetarian Gumbo with Jalapeño-Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
I'm a big fan of slow-cooked chili, but to put a New Orleans spin on that for the Super Bowl, I cooked some Cajun-seasoned vegetarian gumbo from Better Homes and Gardens, and served it with my usual jalapeño-cheddar cornbread, this time in muffin form. It's a really hearty, healthy bowl of beans and veggies -- including okra, which I'd never cooked with before -- and I used my homemade Creole seasoning again.
I didn't want to end up wasting buttermilk -- since only the quart-size is available near me -- so I made my own buttermilk substitute with 1 cup of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (you can also use white vinegar) for the cornbread. It was a nice way to save some money and ingredients; and I had a quart of whole milk for the banana cream pie but only needed 3 of the 4 cups for it, so the quantity worked out perfectly. The muffins were a little overcooked, but still good.
Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie
So that was our Super Bowl! It wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, but it was us. Especially since none of that food is left now, save for a little dip and 2 pieces of cornbread.
I had never made a banana cream pie before, so I really didn't know what to expect. Apparently, it's common for banana cream pies to be made with instant pudding mix and Cool Whip; and I'd definitely try those, because I like tasty tricks and I like instant pudding and store-bought whipped cream. But for my first banana cream pie, I wanted to go old-fashioned, meringue topping and all (which was easy with the leftover egg whites after making the custard filling). So the pie... oh, the pie. Sam texted me earlier today, "Want more pie." It was good.
I'd like to think it was made even better with my addition of a little banana rum I had on hand as a souvenir from my friend's trip to St. Thomas.
I'll just have to make it again without the rum to be sure... Mmm.