Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Game-Day Advice from Your Home Entertaining Coach

Today is Superbowl Sunday. A coach doesn’t play the game. A coach’s job is to prepare his/her players and once they are on the field, what happens is largely up to them. But in the locker room before the game, it is a coach’s job to remind players of what they have been taught and the game plan.

Home entertaining is a team sport. If you are planning to entertain…or know someone who is, or you will be a guest today, here’s some last minute advice  to make your entertaining a success for the whole team.

For hosts
1. Take time to plan your day. Make sure you plan for one relaxed hour prior to guest arrival.
2. Start with a clean kitchen — counters clear, empty dishwasher, sink and drainboard.
3. Pull platters, bowls, flatware and dishes. (Note: From an environmental perspective, dishes and flatware are far superior than disposables. Yes, it’s easier to throw away a paper plate and plasticware, but dealing with dishes, if well-organized, is no big deal. Just remember to pile dirty dishes next to and not in the sink. That’s because once the sink is full, you’re sunk! Plus real dishes and flatware is so much nicer.)
4. Post your menu in the kitchen along with a list of tasks that need to be completed. Be ready to assign tasks. Ask your guests for help. If re-heating, re-heating works best if the food is not cold. Remove food to be re-heated several hours before re-heating.

For guests
1. Do not arrive early.
2. Help out. Even if your host’s gracious instinct is to say “no thank you.” Be sensitive to your host, taking care to stay out of the kitchen unless helping or invited. Hosts do not need guests in the kitchen to distract them while they are focused on coordinating service.
3. Of course, praise your host for his/her efforts.

Final thought: Remember, you’re a good enough entertainer. It’s wonderful that you are sharing your home with friends and family. Whatever you do is going to be fine. It’s not about winning or losing, rather its about playing the game.

Thank you for visiting.
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Countdown to Kick-off

There’s still enough time to plan for your Superbowl Party. To get your FREE Super Bowl Party Planner including stress-free party planning “worksheets” plus a dozen Cajun Superbowl recipes, send me an email: steve@athomebysteveposes.com. Please type FREE Super Bowl Party Planner as the subject line.

Recipes include: Hurricane Cocktail, Asparagus with Tangy Yogurt Dip, Spicy U-Peel Shrimp Boil with Remoulade, Cajun Barbecue Chicken Wings, Artichoke Fritters with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Jambalaya, Chopped Muffaletta Salad, Don’s Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding, Citrus Fruit with Lemon-Cardamom Honey & Pistachio Praline and Lenni’s Thin & Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Bread Puddings

I love bread puddings. They are easy, do ahead, versatile and guaranteed crowd pleasers — especially if served warm. In fact they are so easy they are included in At Home’s chapter of Desserts for Non-Bakers. So easy…even a cook can make it.  At Home includes recipes for White Chocolate Bread Pudding and Bread Pudding with Roasted Bananas & Caramel Sauce. At Home’s Cajun Superbowl Recipe Collection include an alcohol-laced recipe right up Bourbon Street.

Don’s Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding

You can read about Don in At Home. When we catered the first Jambalaya Jam for 65,000 “guests” to open Philadelphia’s Great Plaza, we named our bread pudding for Don. Don’s legacy continues here. Serve warm and consider adding some vanilla ice cream on the side.

In order to make 1” cubes, buy your bread unsliced – from a good bakery. For my test I bought a hardy large loaf of wonderful Metropolitan Bakery sandwich bread. You could use a country loaf or baguette. Just make sure the bread has a neutral character. If you can only get sliced bread, make sure it is a high quality – at a minimum, challah-style or Pepperidge Farm. Just cut into smaller cubes.

Do Ahead You can make the bread/custard mix up to two days in advance and bake just before serving or fully bake up to three days in advance and reheat in 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

1 1/2 cup pecans, whole or pieces
3 quarts 1-inch cubed good quality bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened, to grease the baking dish
8 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup Bourbon

1 Let cubed bread sit overnight to dry or place on baking sheet in 300 degree oven until dry but not brown. This could take 30-45 minutes, depending on moisture of bread.
2 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place pecans on cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toasted. Remove and allow to cool.
3 Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle shelf.
4 Generously butter a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. I used a 9” x 12” Pyrex dish.
5 In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until evenly combined. Gradually whisk in heavy cream, vanilla, bourbon and salt. Add bread and mix well allowing bread to fully soften and absorb custard. This could take 3/4 to 1 hour. Add 3/4 cup pecans to bread mixture.
6 Pour mixture into the baking dish, pressing bread down. Spread remaining pecans over top. Bake for about 60-75 minutes until pudding set and top is lightly browned. The center of the bread pudding will puff up slightly and feel firm to the touch when it’s done. You can test it by dipping a small spoon into the center and extracting a sample. If it’s liquidy, continue baking a bit more.

Yield Serves 8-12

Thank you for visiting.

Your Home Entertaining Coach

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At Home’s Superbowl Party Planner

Please pass this along to friends and family.

As you may now well know, my goal is to increase home entertaining nationally by 10%. I understand that is an audacious goal. At Home’s promise is More Parties. Better. Easier. In order to accomplish this At Home and At Home Online — and the At Home blog — aim to provide you with recipes you can trust and useful tools to make home entertaining easier At Home is a sort of one-stop shop for the home entertainer.

I received lots of feedback that my Thanksgiving Planner helped many a host relieve stress and create their most organized and most enjoyable Thanksgiving —  especially most enjoyable for the hosts.

A Superbowl Party offers another opportunity for a Planner because there are things common to nearly all Superbowl Parties. And because of the New Orleans Saints appearance in next Sunday’s Superbowl, I thought it would be fun and useful to develop At Home’s Superbowl Party Planner using my Cajun menu as a how-to model of party planning.

The free Planner comes as a PDF in two sections. The first section is 10 pages and focuses on planning. The second section includes the collection of Cajun Superbowl recipes that make-up my Cajun Superbowl Menu. It is 12 pages.

The planning section begins with My Cajun Superbowl Party for eight.  My party is designed to illustrate At Home’s principles and not necessarily meant to be followed to the letter. I have been doing this professionally for forty years so I would not recommend this exact party unless you have helpers. The menu is not really difficult with very little to do on Sunday. But maybe you can do with fewer menu items? Think about mixing and matching with your own Superbowl Party traditions or pare down my party to something you would be more comfortable doing. Following my party plan is a series of generic At Home Worksheets that you can use to plan your own Superbowl Party — applying At Home’s principles.

While I caution against becoming an entertaining over-achiever, I am fine with aspirational home entertaining — entertaining that stretches your home entertaining muscles. Aspirational home entertaining can be complicated. Complicated need not be difficult. The key is not raising the bar too high (you’re already a Good Enough Entertainer), plan, and share and spread tasks over time. This Superbowl Party Planner will turn complicated to easier. It may seem daunting at first blush. But be patient, work your way through the materials and then start planning. It’s actually fun.

My Cajun Superbowl Menu

As guests arrive…
House Cocktail—Hurricane*
Serve Yourself Beer Bar (See At Home by Steve Poses blog note)

Sitting Around Before the Game
Cajun Spiced Popcorn*
Asparagus with Tangy Yogurt Dip
Spicy U-Peel Shrimp Boil with Remoulade*
Cajun Barbecue Chicken Wings*
Artichoke Fritters with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Chopped Muffaletta Salad*

Don’s Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding*
Citrus Fruit with Lemon-Cardamom Honey & Pistachio Praline
Lenni’s Thin & Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

*Indicates new recipe developed for At Home’s Cajun Superbowl Party

To receive a free copy of At Home’s Superbowl Party Planner just send an email to me at steve@athomebysteveposes.com. As I think of myself as Your Home Entertaining Coach, I welcome questions about home entertaining generally and your Superbowl Party specifically. Ideally ask your questions using the Comments function of the blog so that I can share my answers with the At Home blog community.

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 steve@athomebysteveposes.com.

Own At Home
At Home with its companion website is available from athomebysteveposes.com

Thank you for visiting.
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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At Home’s Superbowl Cajun Menu and You

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*
Beer “Bar”

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 steve@athomebysteveposes.com.

Thank you for visiting.
Your Home Entertaining Coach


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The Value of the Superbowl

It came down to 4 minutes 45 seconds into sudden-death overtime.*  As little-known and little-used New Orleans field goal kicker Garrett Hartley ‘s forty yard field goal sailed through the uprights, the Saints were on their way to Superbowl XLIV.  And with the Saint’s 31-28 victory over Brett Farve and the Minnesota Vikings, my At Home dream theme Cajun Superbowl Party was on its way to Superbowl XLIV too.

* For non-football aficionados, overtime is an additional period of play required when the score is tied at the end of regulation time. Sudden death means the first team to score wins. As a result, the winner of the overtime coin toss to determine who gets the ball first is of paramount importance. New Orleans won the coin toss.

The Value of the Superbowl
I recognize many At Home blog readers don’t care a twit who wins or loses the Superbowl – especially if your hometown team is not playing. Frankly, I usually have to stretch to get emotionally involved in pro football when the Philadelphia Eagles are not on the field. (In 2004, my then high school senior son Noah and I attended the Eagles’ Superbowl game in Jacksonville.) But here’s the thing — think of the Superbowl as “the Oscars for Men.” I don’t mean to make this fully gender-based, but vastly more men than women care about the Superbowl. Conversely, more women care about what starlet wears what dress on Oscar’s red carpet. Yet, in today’s niched, fragmented and “cable-ized” TV world, the common element of the Superbowl and Oscars is the rare opportunity for a shared national experience. Yes, most games have been decided long before the final whistle. (The average winning margin in Superbowl games is 14 points.) And yes, our battered economy may produce fewer talk-worthy $3 million-for-30-seconds TV commercials. Winners and losers of sporting events do not matter much against the backdrop of the post-Katrina 9th Ward and the devastation of Haiti or healthcare reform on life-support and escalating war Afghanistan. What matters and is enduring is sharing a good meal at home with friends and family.

Coming tomorrow… At Home’s Superbowl XLIV Menu and Party Planner and You

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 steve@athomebysteveposes.com.

Thank you for visiting.

Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Go Saints!

Rare is the event the outcome of which will determine the menu for millions of Americans across the country on a day and time certain – Sunday, February 7th. We are at the edge of such an event. Actually two sporting events.  This Sunday’s NFL Conference Play-offs will pit the Indianapolis Colts against the New York Jets in the AFC game and the Minnesota Vikings against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Game. The winner of each conference game will confront one another in the Sunday, February 7th Superbowl XXIV (44).

With my hometown Philadelphia Eagles eliminated, who I am rooting for in this weekend’s match-ups is a matter of culinary preference. Each region of our United States has made its particular contribution to our collective culinary culture. Surely Minnesota’s dairy farmers have added mightily to our creamy richness. What would a Philly cheesesteak be without the cheese? And those who till the rich soil of Indiana help fill many a bread basket. New York? Well, it is hard to identify a particular culinary tradition in our country’s premiere melting pot of cultures and cuisines.

But New Orleans! Now that’s a cuisine just made for a Superbowl Party.  The Superbowl, which this year will be played in South Florida, has been played in New Orleans Superdome nine times, but never with the New Orleans Saints. In fact, the New Orleans Saints have never competed in a Superbowl. So, join me in rooting for the New Orleans Saints this Sunday with the confidence that even if the Superbowl XLIV game is not worth watching, our At Home menu will be worth eating! Go Saints! And at halftime, I suggest jambalaya…and Zydeco in place of the planned Who reunion performance.

Look next week for my At Home Superbowl XLIV Planner and plan to entertain on Sunday, February 7th.

Thank you for visiting.

Your Home Entertaining Coach

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