Food Fit for a Golden Anniversary Kickoff

After the first quarter, I serve a buffet. At halftime, I present a cake decorated like a football field complete with yard lines and plastic football players and goal posts. 

My husband has hosted football parties since the first Super Bowl in January 1967. David invited friends to his parent’s basement for pretzels and soda. Later, his party moved to his college dorm. He didn’t know Super Bowl Sunday would last this long, attracting over 100 million TV viewers per minute, and launching celebrations across America. (The 50th Super Bowl will be played on February 7 at 6:30 p.m.)
“I started a national trend,” David often jokes. In his 20s, he added pizza and beer to the menu. When he married me, I was eager to boost his Super Bowl party. Breaking with tradition, I invited couples to attend.
“We can’t just eat junk,” I said. “We’ve got to serve a real meal.”
“The guys never expected that before,” David said.
“If we give people dinner, they will eat it,” I replied. 
And that has proven true through many incarnations of menus. I now entertain 20 people on Super Bowl Sunday with ease.
The hors d’oeuvres are informal: peanuts, chips and salsa, frozen beef franks in a blanket (Hebrew National brand is kosher), and crudités. I fill a wine tub with beer, wine, and ice. I use paper plates and napkins with a football theme, found in party stores and many supermarkets.
After the first quarter, I serve a buffet. At halftime, I present a cake decorated like a football field complete with yard lines and plastic football players and goal posts. 
This year, I will adorn the cake with 50 candles in honor of the Super Bowl’s golden anniversary — and David’s contribution to football history! 
Diced Salad
Marinate for 24 hours before serving.
5 tomatoes
2 cucumbers
1 green large pepper
3 zucchini
½ lb. white mushrooms
1 red onion, chopped
3 Tbsps. parsley, chopped
3 tsps. dried basil, crushed
3 tsps. dried dill, crushed
Slice tomatoes into wedges. Remove seeds and discard. Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise. Cut out the seeds and discard. Cut off the stem of the pepper and discard. Rinse the pepper under cold water to flush out the seeds. Cut it in half and remove the pith.
Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, zucchini and mushrooms. Place in large, non-reactive bowl, such as glass. Add the onion, parsley, basil, and dill. Toss with the dressing recipe below.
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp. ground mustard
½ tsp. garlic powder
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper 
to taste
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk them until well blended and pour over the salad. Toss until vegetables are completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. Toss vegetables a couple of times. Bring to room temperature, toss again, and serve in an attractive bowl.
Serves 20
Prepare 6-12 hours before serving.
2 (2-pound) cabbages
2 carrots
2 cups light (but not overly sweet) mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
4 tsps. Dijon mustard
2 tsps. sugar
Kosher salt to taste
From the cabbages, remove the 2 outer leaves plus any other tough leaves and discard. Rinse cabbages under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
With a sharp knife, slice the cabbages in half. Cut out the cores in the center of each half and discard. Take the first half and place its flat side on a cutting board. Slice into thin ribbons. Then chop them. Move to a large bowl. Repeat with the other 3 halves. 
With a vegetable scraper, remove the outer layer of the carrots and discard. Rinse carrots under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Into the bowl, scrape the carrots into ribbons until almost nothing is left. 
Place the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until they are well combined and a creamy dressing forms. Pour over the chopped cabbage mixture and toss until well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours before serving.
Serves 20
Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
Marinate for 12 hours before roasting.
40 chicken drumsticks
1 cup olive oil
Juice of 4 lemons
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
½ tsp. each: garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and thyme
Nonstick vegetable spray
Rinse the chicken under cold water and dry on paper towels. Move to 2 large bowls. Reserve.
In a medium-sized bowl, place the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and spices. Whisk together until well combined. 
Drizzle the marinade over each bowl of chicken. Roll the drumsticks around until coated on all sides. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Turn drumsticks once or twice.
Preheat the oven to 425˚. Coat 2 roasting pans with nonstick vegetable spray. Arrange drumsticks on roasting pans. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Then place roasting pans one at a time under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until drumsticks turn golden brown. Serve immediately.
Serves 20
Chocolate Football Cake
Vegetable oil for coating the baking pan, plus ½ cup
1 13.5-oz. can of coconut milk
1 ¾ cups flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa
2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate syrup, plus 1 Tbsp.
1 tsp. vanilla
Confectioner’s sugar (optional topping, or see recipe 
Coat a 13×9-inch ovenproof pan with vegetable oil. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Close the door and preheat the oven to 350˚. Open the coconut milk and spoon off most of the cream at the top and discard. Reserve.
Sift into a large mixing bowl the flour through the salt. Stir with a spoon until well combined.
Using a spoon, stir the coconut milk remaining in the can. Measure 1 cup of it and pour into the dry ingredients. (Discard the remainder or use for other purposes.) Add the eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, chocolate syrup and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium until the ingredients are well combined. Pour into the prepared pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes clean. Cool to room temperature. If frosting and decorating the cake, cover with plastic wrap and freeze it. 
If you don’t have time to frost and decorate the cake, cool the cake to room temperature but don’t freeze it. Right before serving, sift some confectioner’s sugar over the top.
Frosting and Decorating
Special equipment: plastic goal posts and football players (can be purchased from
6 Tbsps. margarine
3 cups confectioner’s sugar — more, if needed
3 Tbsps. apple juice
1½ tsps. vanilla
Green food coloring
Place the frosting ingredients in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until a smooth frosting forms. Do not over-beat. Frosting will be loose, but if it is too liquid, add confectioner’s sugar 1/2 tsp. at a time and briefly beat until combined and slightly thickened.
Place 1/3 of the frosting in another bowl and reserve for decorating.
A drop at a time, add green food coloring to 2/3 of the frosting, until it reaches a grass-green color. Remove the cake from the freezer and spread the green frosting on it while still frozen.
For old-fashioned decorating: Fit a pastry bag with a tip that creates plain lines. Fill the pastry bag with the white frosting you set aside. Draw 9 straight lines across the width of the cake to imitate the yard lines on a football field. On the center line, draw the number 50 for the 50 yard line. On the lines next to it, draw 40. Continue consecutively with two 30’s, 20’s, and 10’s. The 10’s will be near the edges of the cake.
If you have them, place plastic goal posts and football players on the cake. Serve cake when defrosted. Cut into squares.
Serves 24 


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