Kitchen Shrink: Quarterbacking a winning Super Bowl Sunday shindig

I was disappointed at the final outcome of the Super Bowl-bound teams as I was hoping for an “all-bird” series. Two birds were killed with one stone during the Conference Championship games as the Arizona Cardinals clipped the wings of the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same to the Baltimore Ravens.

So now we have a seasoned northern steel-town team pitted against a southwest Super Bowl virgin team flying south this winter for the Big Game showdown in Tampa, Fla.

Even though the Super Bowl is supposedly the single-most watched sporting event in the world, is anybody really watching the game? Most folks will be reveling in the comradery of good friends, consuming everything from beer to brats and having a grand ol’ annual brouhaha. Only 5 percent of fans will be watching solo, while the average number at a Super Bowl party is 17. Did you know 8 million pounds of guacamole and 29 million pounds of chips are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday? There is also a 20 percent increase in antacid sales the Monday after (no kidding).

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl XLIII bash at your home, do a regional potluck. Have your guests bring along traditional fare like southwest eats from Arizona, Iron City vittles from Pittsburgh and multicultural foods apropos of this year’s venue. Floridian cuisine earning the nickname Floribbean is a melting pot of American, Latin, Caribbean, Cuban and Jewish deli, all with an ocean view. Try fried plantains on rye with Cuban black bean chili. Or whip up mahi-mahi tacos, deviled crab cakes with hot sauce, conch chowder, a heap of lime-and-chile corn chips with fresh mango salsa and refreshing key lime pie or tarts for sweet endings.

Pittsburgh stalwarts are big on open-face Devonshire sandwiches with heaps of turkey or chicken, Pennsylvania Dutch corn chowder, spicy bratwursts and a shoofly pie all washed down with Iron City-brewed beer.

For Arizona Cardinal party fare, southwest-Sonoran finger foods are the way to go. A chimichanga or “chimi” burrito with chicken or fish, veggies and killer hot sauce and a generous dollop of homemade guacamole would hit the spot on the Big Game day.

Last year, I made a pizza in a large rectangular pan replicating a football field with turkey jerky stick goal posts, strips of mozzarella for the yard lines, and green peppers, olives and broccoli for the field. Make this year’s football-field pizza with plenty of spicy Pittsburgh brats, Arizona chimi chicken or Floridian Gulf Coast shrimp. For party munchies, have plenty of veggies and dips on hand, and tons of stadium-type eats like popcorn and nachos. The fans also need to be kept hydrated with beer and sports drinks flowing like the players’ sweat.

If you’re trying to curb your munchies, it’ll be easy to distract your thoughts with the provocative ads, sexy entertainment and the waiting, watching with bated breath for another Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction,” wondering if “The Boss” and the E Street Band will expose body parts during their half-time performance. Make some fun side bets and do a little fantasizing as well over hot cheerleaders and footballs’ sexiest player list - cutie pie Kurt Warner on Arizona’s lineup and hunky Hines Ward for the Steelers parading in their snug-fitting uniforms while exhibiting their physical and athletic prowess.

Whether the Steelers win or the Phoenix rises with the Arizona Cardinals swooping down to take the Vince Lombardi Trophy home, my contribution is handcrafted guacamole that’ll be a winner at any event.

Big Game Guacamole

  • 2 ripe but firm avocados
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 ripe Roma tomato cut in small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced or a few drops of hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a glass bowl, mash the avocados to desired consistency. Blend the other ingredients, cover and refrigerate until game time. For a healthy alternative, serve with jicama strips, Persian cucumbers, tri-colored carrots or baked tortilla or pita chips.
For help with your next culinary game plan, e-mail

or join The Kitchen Shrink for a free cooking class on Healthy Super Bowl Fare at Whole Foods in La Jolla at 11 a.m. on Jan. 31.