Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday - Cheese, Cottage and Chocolate

Super Bowl Sunday! The biggest, let’s sit around and eat until were sick, day of the year…oh yea and watch some football. I decided to make four recipes to bring to my parents house to share. In no particular order, they are; cheddar cheese fondue, green chili cheese rice dish, orange cottage cheese fruit salad and white chocolate peanut butter cookies. I ask Jeff very nicely if he will go with me to the grocery store, claiming I wouldn’t be able to carry the groceries in one trip (wasn’t I going to exercise this week?) and the dusting of snow would be absolutely impassable by my car (probably not even half and inch). The real reason: afraid I might pass out from stress at a very crowded grocery store, 11am on Super Bowl Sunday. Sometimes I wished I planned ahead more. Jeff agrees for fear I might not let him eat anything I make if he doesn’t and we are off.
The whole Starbucks stop is proving to be my favorite part of the trip. I get a white chocolate mocha instead of my usual tea. MMMM, so good on a snowy day. Jeff takes care of the cart for me (THANK YOU!) as the whole trying not to run into any small children with a cart only adds to my stress. I need a few items from the dreaded canned food aisle. The canned food aisle has chili, beans, tomatoes, veggies, fruits, soups….pretty much everything people are looking for on Super Bowl Sunday. It was packed! Jeff tries to get the cart through, but it is just too much, so he waits at the end of the aisle with the cart while I go in solo. ‘Excuse me, or sorry, sorry, pardon’…I am looking for the green chilies and almost get hit by a cart. I guy walks by saying ‘popular aisle’, and I make a face of exasperation. Jeff sees an older gentleman at the end of the aisle looking at beans; he is on the phone with his wife presumably. “I can’t find the navy beans; they have black beans and pinto beans and chili beans and kidney beans, and pork and beans…but no navy beans!” I can sympathize with this man.
The grocery store is actually quite full of men today, all of them as confused as I am. I stop at the bread section and glaze over…too many choices. As I look, another man stands next to me and glazes…followed by another man. We all three stare for a few minutes until the first guy throws up his hands in frustration and grabs a random bag (I really hope it’s the right one) and I find what I need. When Jeff and I get to the dairy section, disaster strikes; my chest tightens, I began short shallow breathing and feel dizzy. It was finally too much stress and I start a possible panic attack. We pull over (yes pull over, it is seriously like driving in L.A. right now with carts instead of cars). I try to calm myself as Jeff says “look around, look at all the nice big open spaces, there is a ton of space” (I disagree) eventually things return to normal and we trek on.
The only remain task is to find those green chilies, my first attempt at the canned food aisle turned into a ‘we will just come back when there are less people’. But you know, that really didn’t happen. I am preparing myself to enter aisle four (it’s ok…only harmless people) when Jeff jumps in and saves the day, “I will go in, you stay by the cart”. He comes triumphantly back with two cans of green chilies, hot and mild, as he wasn’t sure what I wanted. We decide to get them both because neither of us wants to go back in there. Time to check out. I guy trying to get into our line takes a fast tight turn and loses some pop off of his cart, then he tells us the physics of how to not make pop explode (tap on the sides, not the top). He then tells us about how grocery stores in California used to not have air conditions and it was 110 degrees and how this isn’t that bad today, and he sprayed his mother with a hose once in the produce section, and had to clean beans off of a ceiling once and no he doesn’t have a wife and why was I asking if he had a wife (I wasn’t asking). Okay, I would really just love to check out now…this guy is chatty. Jeff goes to put the cart away and takes it all the way to the back of the hall for carts. Once he gets there, he realizes a guy had been following him to use the cart (that’s right, they ran out), Jeff says, “sorry I didn’t realize you needed it, or I would have stopped long ago” and the guy replies, “it looked like you were on a mission, I wasn’t going to stop you”. And with that the mission was accomplished and we left.
Jeff carries all the groceries up (I could get used to this) and I start cooking. TV today: puppy bowl and CSI, that’s right, blood, guts and small animals. I start with the orange cottage cheese salad as it is supposed to chill for several hours or overnight. Two hours is long enough, right? This recipe is REALLY easy. It’s kind of a dump into bowl, mix and chill kind of thing. I start cooking the rice for the green chili rice and then start on the white chocolate cookies. These ended up being a total disaster. I started by carefully spreading the peanut butter between Ritz crackers. I then melt the white chocolate bark in the microwave in a glass bowl. As it turns out, if you have glass in the microwave for extended periods of time it gets hot; and then if you try to grab this glass bowl with your bare hands it burns. Nothing serious, just a hurt hand and a bruised ego. I then start in on the scotch (which almost fell on my head as I tried to get it from the top cabinet).
So back to the cookies, I am supposed to dip the cookies into the white chocolate, which is too thick and gets all over my hands and I place them on an ungreased baking sheet (I was suppose to use a drying rack, but I didn’t have one). Ungreased baking sheet +sticky chocolate=what the heck was I thinking? As suspected, when I tried to pull the cookies off they broke into pieces. My brilliant idea? Put them in the oven for a while until I can pull them off. So the top rack may have been just a tad too close to the heat bar…they melt all over the place, including the peanut butter that is supposed to stay inside the cookie. I push them back together (they look half decent) and transfer them to a greased baking sheet. Last step; drizzle milk chocolate over them. So what happens when you put a glass bowl in the microwave for long periods of time and then try to grab it? I am sure you remember the answer from earlier, but some lessons take a long time to learn for me. Once again, I lose patients and the chocolate is too thick. I try to drizzle, which turns into heaping globs of chocolate. These may be the ugliest cookies of all time, but they are done and that is all the matters at this point.
The rice dish has no serious problems; the recipe has a pound of cheese and lots of sour cream (heaven!). Everything is done except for the fondue which I will make at my parents house. Somehow Jeff and I managed to carry all three dishes, ingredients for the fourth, Wii games and controllers and Max in his crate all in one trip. We arrive and start the snackin! Once halftime hits I make the Cheddar Cheese. This is the 3rd super bowl attempt at it…and a 3rd failure. The first year…too much salt (actually the recipe doesn’t even call for salt). Year two, not enough flour; year three, not enough flour (some lessons take longer to learn!). I had poured way too much beer into start and realized I was gonna need more cheese. I started to shred but I was taking way too long! I asked my mom for help and she shredded while I stirred. The extra cheese added was not tossed with flour, and that was the problem. When you neglect the flour, it turns into a thick clump of cheese sounded by cheese water, but it was still edible and tasted good. Jeff like everything (or so he says) and so did my mom. Dad only liked the cookies (he doesn’t like rice, cottage cheese, beer or cheese). Shannon liked everything except for the cottage cheese and thanked me for cooking (so nice Shannon!). My friend Kevin was complimentary of the cheese, rice and cookies; but perhaps wasn’t so fond of the orange cottage cheese dish. I liked everything; my favorite was the cheesy rice! The game was good, a lot of action towards the end. I love the screaming chicken commercials. After the game, Mom Jeff and I played sword fighting and golf on the Wii. Another super bowl finished…another week of Tums and salad is about to start (or so I say…)

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