Welcome to week 2 of Monday Night “Food”ball, a culinary look at the always popular Monday Night Football. It is all about putting together a menu utilizing foods or ingredients from each team’s city, state or region. I hope you enjoy this tasty look at football as much as I do. This week, New Orleans travels to San Francisco. The end result is an eclectic menu of Cajun classics, burritos, seafood and sourdough bread. Sorry, no Rice-A-Roni here.
**Muffulettas are an often overlooked New Orleans specialty. They tend to walk in the shadows of gumbo, jambalaya (see below), etouffee and King Cake when they should be proudly strutting their stuff in the sunlight. Muffulettas feature a distinctive olive “salad” and a round seeded muffuletta bread. For complete directions on how to make a muffuletta, visit The Gumbo Pages.
**Jambalaya is a Creole dish that is influenced by both Spanish and French foods. Ingredients often include rice, peppers, celery, onions, chicken, sausage, seafood, tomatoes and stock (broth).
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
- 3 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
Cook chicken and sausage in a large pot of water until chicken is opaque and falling off the bones. Remove meat and reserve broth. Over medium heat, cook pepper, onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes and all seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. As you cook the mixture, add reserved broth as needed to thin the mixture. Add chicken, sausage and tomato paste. Continue simmering until you reach the preferred flavor. Add 1 cup reserved broth and rice, simmer until rice is tender, approximately 20 minutes.
**Pecans have played an important role in New Orleans history. Not only were they used in cooking, they were a main export of the city. The French and Spanish who settled the Gulf region quickly realized the economic potential of pecans and an industry was born. Pecans still play an important role in Lousiana’s economy.
Pecan pralines (3 recipes) Pralines originated in France and were first made with almonds. They were introduced to the New Orleans region by French settlers and were adapted by Creole women using pecans.
- 6 cups pecan halves
- 6 tabespoons butter
- salt to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Melt butter in a shallow roasting pan. Add pecans and stir until coated. Roast 45-60, stirring occasionally for even roasting. Remove from oven and while still hot, sprinkle with salt to taste. Allow to cool completely before serving.
**Bananas Foster was created in 1951 by chef Paul Blange of Brennan’s Restaurant, located in the heart of the French Quarter. Here is an adaptation for the slow cooker.
**San Francisco style burritos are a much more popular culinary indulgence than most of us would ever guess. If you have eaten a burrito at Chipotle, Qdoba or Moe’s Southwest Grill, you have indulged in a San Francisco style burrito. These burritos are known for being made on a steam table and being wrapped in foil. Typical ingredients include Spanish rice, beans (refried, black or pinto), a meat or veggie filling, salsa, white Mexican cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tomato, cilantro, onions and roasted peppers. For Monday Night Tailgating, put together a burrito bar and let your guests make their own.
**Crab Cakes used to be considered a Maryland specialty, but they have surged in popularity wherever people dangle their toes in the sea. San Francisco is no exception. Here is a delicious Mexican inspired recipe that is served with a mango salsa.
**Sourdough Bread is one of the most popular food exports from San Francisco. It became a staple of the miners’ diets during the Gold Rush of the 1800’s and has remained popular since. San Francisco is regarded as many to be the “Sourdough Capital of the United States”. For those wishing to bake their own, here is a recipe to try. If you don’t have the time or patience to try your hand at baking a loaf, Dorothy Lane Market in Springboro, Kettering and Centerville has a great loaf to try. If you prefer a softer crust, Big Sky Bread in Kettering offers a delicious loaf.
Being a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, I have no real loyalties to either of tonight’s teams. However, I have to admit that with such fabulous food from both cities, we should all come out winners this week!