In leading you through the process of planning a party, it is my goal that you will be more comfortable planning…More Parties. Better. Easier. Please pass this along to anyone you feel may enjoy and benefit from reading.
A Superbowl with the New Orleans Saints provides a special opportunity to do something different for a Superbowl Party. New Orleans has never gone to any of the preceding forty-three Superbowls. The usual Superbowl fare is chips and salsa, wings and chili. All good. Stick with it if doing something more or different feels too hard. (There are excellent recipes in At Home for all of these.)
A few word about Cajun. New Orleans has two distinctive cooking traditions – Creole and Cajun. Creole is based on African-Caribbean influences with dominant tomatoes and green peppers. Creole does not incorporate the spicy heat of Cajun cooking. Cajun’s roots are the French settlers who migrated to New Orleans from Nova Scotia in the 1800’s. The Chopped Muffelata salad featured in my Superbowl Party menu traces its origins to Italian immigrants. Food purists may take issue with the very generic characterization as this menu as Cajun. Here it simply stands for New Orleans.
A Cajun Superbowl Party Menu
Do not feel you need to do this entire menu. I continue to struggle with my entertainer inner over-achiever. I want to remind you that whatever you do will be fine. Slice up some andouille sausage, make a salad and order pizza! That’s OK with me. Just do it at home.
Most things can be done well in advance. Do not wait until the Saturday before Superbowl Sunday to get started. Start this coming weekend. Alternatively, hand out recipe assignments to others for a sort of assigned “pot luck” in which everyone gets lucky. All of the recipes will be in the At Home XLIV Cajun Party Planner. Feel free to make substitutions and deletions.
My Cajun Superbowl menu is fork friendly – meaning no knife needed. Fork food works as lap food and not requiring a table. The core of the menu is the main event – Jambalaya and Chopped Muffelata Salad. The Jambalaya is in At Home. It is quintessentially New Orleans. If you pick anything, do these two items.
I love chopped salads and At Home includes recipes for four of them. Chopped salads are heartier and more substantial than their more delicate cousins — tossed leafy salads and hold up well to pre-dressing. A Muffelata is a sandwich made famous by New Orleans’ Central Grocery – located at the edge of the French Quarter. Here, I have translated the sandwich into a hearty salad that works well as a room temperature dinner accompaniment. The distinctive element to the sandwich – which resembles a Philadelphia hoagie in the round – is the olive relish that is incorporated into this chop. Everything can be chopped in advance. All you have to do on Sunday is to mix it together.
At Home’s Superbowl XLIV Cajun Menu
As guests arrive…
House Cocktail – Hurricane*
Pre-Game Sitting Around Munchies
Popcorn with Cajun Salt*
Blanched Asparagus with Tangy Yogurt Dip
Cajun Roast Chicken Wings*
U-Peel Shrimp Boil* with Remoulade
Artichoke Fritters with Roasted Garlic Aioli (Very Optional)
The Main Event
Chopped Muffaleta Salad*
Rolls with Honey Butter*
Don’s Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding*
Citrus Fruit with Lemon-Cardamom Honey & Pistachio Praline
Lenni’s Thin & Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies (Very optional)
*Indicates new recipe
Kicking-off Your Superbowl Party: Plan A and Plan B
Superbowl XLIV is Sunday, February 7th. Kick-off is at about 6:30. Here are two approaches to your start-time and dinner plan. Your selection may turn on the location of your TV and your guest’s actual dedication to the game.
Plan A: 4 PM Start Time
Plan A is for more serious football fans. It places maximum separation between eating and game watching. Invite guests around 4:00 or 4:30 for pre-dinner beverages and munchies with dinner served just prior to 6:30 kick-off and not necessarily in front of the TV. Dessert is at halftime – around 8 PM. The halftime show this year features The Who. So, if you care more about pinball wizardry than football wizardry, this might not be your plan. (You can certainly serve guests dessert in front of the TV.) If the outcome of the game is not in doubt, expect guests to start to leave shortly after dessert.
Plan B: 5:30 PM Start Time
Plan B puts eating and the game on more equal footing. Invite guests around 5:30 to get drinks and some food going and guests settled before the game starts. Plan for dinner to run into the game. You can plate and serve your dinner to guests in front of the TV – the menu plan will make that simple. Alternatively, guests can serve themselves from the kitchen when they want. There are lots of two and a half minute commercial breaks made up of a series of $3 million-for-30 seconds commercials, but at some risk of missing that water-cooler worthy commercial. This plan also provides you with more time to get your one relaxed hour prior to guest arrival.
So, make your guest list, extend your invitations and plan to party!
Next up: I will preview my free At Home’s Cajun Superbowl Party Planner. The Party Planner will be available on Friday – in time to start planning this coming weekend for next’s weekend’s Superbowl Party. My Party Planner uses planning tools featured in At Home and At Home Online — where bookowners can print out recipes and worksheets. You will not need to own At Home to access the At Home Party Planner. But if you do not yet own At Home, I strongly suggest you buy the book with access to At Home Online now. At Home is also available at Joseph Fox Bookshop in Center City Philadelphia and at Coopermarket in Bala Cynwd where you can put together a wonderful Superbowl Party “to-go.”
Reminder about At Home’s Three Principles
1. I believe in the essential importance of human connection. And there’s no better way to make that connection than sharing the warmth of your home and a good meal.
2. You already are a Good Enough Entertainer. What is important is creating a sense of welcome, warmth and hospitality for your guests. The food is frankly secondary.
3. Home entertaining should be a pleasure and not a chore. My goal for you is one relaxed hour prior to guest arrival. For this to happen you need to plan ahead, sharing and spreading your tasks over time. If you leave everything to the last minute you will only have a minute to do everything!
Spreading the Mission
I am looking for opportunities to spread the At Home Mission of More Parties. Better. Easier. I would like to speak to groups in the Philadelphia area who might share the At Home Mission. If you know of such a group, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for visiting.
Your Home Entertaining Coach