Fan fare

Chocolate Espresso Brownies are a sweet game-day treat that celebrates Seattle and its coffee obsession.
Chocolate Espresso Brownies are a sweet game-day treat that celebrates Seattle and its coffee obsession. (DAVID M. WARREN / Staff Photographer)

Sack the home-field cuisine and try a Super Bowl menu that nods to Seattle and Denver - and doesn't blow out diet resolutions.

Posted: January 31, 2014

Since the Eagles once again aren't playing in the Super Bowl, we have another chance to celebrate the cuisines of other teams - without feeling the least bit disloyal.

The heritage, population, and climes of both coastal Seattle and mile-high Denver are a great starting point for some fresh and healthful dishes. And it seems too close after making the New Year's resolution for a healthy diet to revert to the worst of the junk-food habits of game day.

So, why not draw inspiration from the cities of the two franchises who will be facing off for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday?

The Seahawks' Seattle is a city known for its coffee and salmon, while the Bronco's Denver inspires thoughts of Mexican beans and burritos.

It's quite simple to put together a menu with dishes from each city that go well together to accommodate fans for each side, or without even taking sides.

To represent Seattle, one could feature coffee on the menu in several ways. Coffee-and-spice-rubbed ribs might work, but they'd be rather messy for eating on the couch. Cake, cream, and coffee layered in a luscious tiramisu? Maybe too fancy for the football fan.

Espresso stirred into a batch of deep chocolate brownies? Now that is a great take on this classic treat in an oh-so-Seattle kind of way.

But salmon is the natural center of the Seattle side of the football meal. Popular, delicious, versatile, high in protein, and low in fat, it certainly fits the bill for lighter fare.

Salmon fishing, processing, and sales drive the economy and the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is home to the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market, located in the nation's oldest continually operating farmers' market, which can draw as many as 10,000 visitors a day, to see the many varieties of salmon and other local specialties.

Because salmon is an oily fish, it is a bit easier to keep moist during cooking and serving. Simple baked or poached fillets of salmon are always popular, with mustard, lemon, or dill. Potato and vegetable salmon pot pie could be a hearty midwinter option. Grind some salmon with herbs, form into small balls or patties, and pan-sear or broil for a healthy take on sliders or cocktail meatballs.

Skewered with peppers and glazed with miso, a stack of grilled salmon kebabs is a great addition to a buffet lineup: easy to serve and easy to eat from a plate on your lap. The platter of skewers can easily include some with beef, chicken, and/or all vegetables too.

To represent the Broncos, how about a tamale pie as an alternative to enchiladas or nachos?

The special lime-treated cornmeal called masa harina that is used to make tortillas and steamed tamales is now easy to find in most supermarkets. Made into a simple cornbread-like dough, it can be layered in a casserole with a flavorful bean and cheese center. Baked and bubbly, this dish is filling, flavorful, and meatless. Served with the fixin's for chili - sour cream or thick Greek yogurt, pickled hot peppers and salsa, avocado salad or guacamole and some colorful side vegetables - this dish may become a new favorite no matter what team you're rooting for.

Even though Super Bowl party guests expect to turn their attention to the TV, there is no reason to continue the processed, fried, salt-and-fat laden traditions of chips, hoagies, pizza, wings, and nachos for watching the game and the entertaining commercials.

With some creativity and just a bit of effort, you can create hearty football fare that's healthy and delicious. So, whether you are bringing along a dish to add to the buffet or hosting a big game-night bash, this year think outside the pizza box.

Seattle Salmon Skewers With Sweet Miso Glaze

Makes 12 skewers

1 tablespoon miso

1 tablespoon sugar or honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

Fresh-ground black or Szechuan pepper

1 pound salmon filet, skinned

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

12 skewers

1. In a small bowl mix the miso, sugar or honey, soy or tamari, and pepper.

2. Cut the salmon into 24 cubes, 1 to 11/2 inches. Core and seed the peppers. Cut into strips and each strip into squares approximately the same size as the salmon cubes. Alternate 2 salmon cubes with pepper squares on skewers, starting and ending each skewer with a pepper slice. Any extra peppers can skewered on their own for the folks who don't like fish. Skewers can be made up to a day ahead.

3. To cook, preheat broiler. Place rack 4 to 5 inches from broiler surface. Place salmon skewers on a lightly oiled baking sheet or broiler pan. Brush each skewer liberally with the glaze. Broil until lightly browned on one side. Remove the pan from the oven, turn each skewer, and brush the other side with glaze. Return to broiler and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until browned. If there is additional glaze, it can be brushed carefully on cooked fish.

4. Remove from oven to warm platter. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

- From Anna Herman

Per skewer: 64 calories; 8 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams sugar; 3 grams fat; 17 milligrams cholesterol; 221 milligrams sodium; trace dietary fiber.

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Makes 20-25 brownies

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons instant espresso

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

1. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a medium-size bowl. Place this bowl over a simmering pot of water and stir often as chocolate melts. When chocolate and butter have melted, remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well with the wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the espresso powder and vanilla and stir until well incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until blended. Add the chocolate chips and stir until they are evenly incorporated.

3. Pour into prepared pan and spread out batter evenly. Place in center of preheated oven and bake about 30 minutes until just set. Remove from oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes.

4. Slice while a bit warm, but not hot. Store at room temperature, well covered, for up to 4 days. Brownies can be frozen for up to 3 months if layered between wax paper in an airtight container.

- From Anna Herman

Per brownie (based on 25): 192 calories; 2 grams protein; 27 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams sugar; 9 grams fat; 34 milligrams cholesterol; 61 milligrams sodium; trace dietary fiber.

Bronco Bean Tamale Pie

Makes 6 servings

For the dough:

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) cut into chunks

1 cup frozen corn, defrosted

2 cups masa harina (or coarse cornmeal)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup warm water

For the filling:

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for oiling pan

3 scallions, minced

1 large clove garlic minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 cups cooked pinto beans

2/3 cup flavorful green (tomatillo) salsa

1/2 cup grated cheese such as jack

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. To prepare the dough: Place the butter and corn into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times until the corn and butter are chopped and somewhat mixed. Add the masa or corn meal, baking powder, oil, sugar and salt. Pulse 4-6 times until the ingredients are well blended. Add 1/3 cup of water and pulse. Check the texture of the dough. It should just hold together, but not be sticky. Add water as needed to make the mixture into a firm dough.

2. To prepare the filling: In a medium saute pan heat the olive oil until just shimmering. Add the scallions, garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook, stirring, until the garlic just colors. Add the beans, remove from heat, and add the salsa. Stir well.

3. Oil the bottom and sides of a 9-10 inch casserole or baking dish (such as Pyrex). Spread 2/3 of the tamale dough on the bottom and 2/3 of the way up the sides of the dish. Top with the bean/salsa filling and cover the filling with grated soft cheeses. Crumble the remaining dough on top. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes on the lower shelf of the oven. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

4. Suggested accompaniments: Pickled hot peppers, sour cream, salsa, rice, avocado or guacamole, a green salad.

- From Anna Herman

Per serving: 705 calories; 22 grams protein; 86 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams sugar; 33 grams fat; 51 milligrams cholesterol; 544 milligrams sodium; 15 grams dietary fiber.

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges Dusted with Chipotle

Makes 6 side-dish servings

3 medium sweet potatoes, well washed, cut in half, and each half cut into wedges

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground chipotle peppers or smoked paprika

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. Put the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl, and add olive oil and salt. Toss well. Place wedges on the baking sheet and dust with half of the dried peppers. Cook in the lower half of the oven for 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove pan from oven and turn the potatoes. They should be lightly browned on the bottom. Sprinkle the remaining dried pepper on this side of the potatoes.

4. Return to the oven and cook until they are soft and well browned.

5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

- From Anna Herman

Per serving: 266 calories; 3 grams protein; 53 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram sugar; 5 grams fat; no cholesterol; 405 milligrams sodium; 8 grams dietary fiber.

comments powered by Disqus