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In 2006, I knew absolutely nothing about football. Not a thing. I was invited to join a Fantasy Football League with a group of ladies and I almost said no--until I found out that there would be Sunday parties and Monday nights at the pub and lots of general fun for those who participated. I didn't want to be left out, so I joined the league. But then things got sticky because I do not like to lose. Under any circumstances. I wasn't going to join the football league to get beat by nine jersey-wearing women who were talking all about running backs and quarter backs and half backs and tight ends and other things I about which I was clueless. No way.
And, so, I learned about football.
My husband was a 49ers fan at the time (and still is!) so I selected the 49ers as my team of choice. One of the cool things about choosing a team when you have no idea about football is that you can choose a team based on the team location or team colors or whatever your husband likes. We are close to San Francisco and the team is GOLD, so I decided that was pretty good for me.
And, so, I learned about the 49ers.
It's four years later and we have developed some fun football traditions. Once a year we head up to Rogue Brewery in San Francisco and crowd into their back room to watch the Super Bowl while we enjoy some Rogue brews. During the regular season, we enjoy meeting up with friends and watching games at home. I like to make up some heavy hors d'oeuvres and serve cold beer. If it were up to my husband and his friends, they'd get some bags of Ruffles, a big tub of onion dip, and order some pizzas. I like to make it at least a little bit fancier. It may be football season, but it doesn't mean we have to suffer through tub after tub of onion dip. Here are a few of my favorite Game Day recipes:
Beer and Cheese Fondue
12 ounces light German lager
1 pound Black Diamond Cheddar
2 tablespoons corn starch
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped off leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 acorn squash, halved, seeded and roasted
Preheat the oven to 350° F, Rub the squash lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper it lightly. Place it cut side down on a cookie sheet, and roast it for 40 to 45 minutes or until a fork inserted into it slides in with light resistance. In a medium pot bring the beer, garlic and thyme to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Grate the cheese and toss with the corn starch. Whisk in the cheese in small handfuls until fully incorporated. Dont add another batch of cheese until it has fully integrated into the liquid as this will cause a grainy fondue. Repeat this process until all the cheese is incorporated. Serve with cubed chunks of bread or slices of apple for dipping.
Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn (from Rachel Ray)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. add the popcorn. When the oils sizzles, sprinkle the sugar over the kernels. Cover and shake the pan until the popping slows down, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the salt.
Onion Strings (from The Pioneer Woman)
1 whole Large Onion
2 cups Buttermilk
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon (scant) Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 quart (to 2 Quarts) Canola Oil
Black Pepper To Taste
Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake off excess, and plunge into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown. Repeat until onions are gone.
I often find cute football-themed paper goods at the party store, but I often find it easier to just pick up paper goods in my team's colors. It's easy to buy a big package of colored plates and napkins and have them on hand all season long--perfect for last minute get-togethers.
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