When it comes to football, Clevelanders have been trained to think, There's always next year. But don't wait until next season to step up your Super Bowl party game. Start with the perfect chicken wings by following the playbook of Greenhouse Tavern's Jonathon Sawyer. "Do like we do," he says "Cure them for 24 hours in a salt, pepper, sugar and chili dry rub." Sawyer then confits the wings — a process of cooking meat at a low temperature over a long period of time — in chicken and duck fat and dries them overnight in the fridge. Broil them the next day, turning them frequently until crispy. This method, while lengthier than deep-frying, results in crispy skin and a juicy interior your team will love. "This technique dries the exterior of the protein so it can absorb more flavor, yielding crispier, succulent wings," Sawyer promises.
Pamela Waterman of Rocky River's Duet Fine Catered and Prepared Foods shares three dunkable creations.
Sicilian Deli Dip
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325.
Place capicola, pepperoni and pepperoncinis food processor. Pulse until lightly chopped. Remove meat mixture to medium-size mixing bowl.
Thinly slice olive. Add to meat mixture in mixing bowl.
Place cream cheese and mayonnaise in food processor. Blend until smooth. Add cream cheese mixture to meats in mixing bowl.
Add shredded fontina and basil to mixing bowl and stir to blend.
Place mixture in heatproof bowl and warm in oven for 15 minutes. Stir well before serving.
Serve with crusty French bread.
Chili Cheese Dip
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark chili powder
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups shredded cheddar
2 drops Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup green olives stuffed with pimientos
1 cup California black olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place dates in food processor. Process until dates make a smooth paste.
Add remaining ingredients to food processor. Pulse until olives are chopped fine but not pureed and mixture is spreadable.
Serve at room temperature with crackers.
Good to Go Cafe's Anna Harouvis lightens up these gut-busters.
Spinach Dip: Sub in feta and plain Greek yogurt to get that sharp creaminess. "Cheese isn't always the enemy," she says. "It's just finding the right one."
Tortilla Chips: She uses a mandoline to make carrot chips and cucumber slices. "I'll put a big dip in middle, and on the tray around it intermix the carrot chips and cucumber slices with tortilla chips," she says.
Be ready for kickoff with these party-planning tips from GhostLight Productions' Deb Hermann.
Team Spirit: "Think about the cities that are playing and where they're playing." For a Patriots Super Bowl, for instance, Hermann had a Crock-Pot of New England clam chowder simmering. "This year's game takes place in Levi's Stadium," she notes, "so everyone should be wearing their Levi's."
Rosters Rule: "I'm a huge fan of potlucks," Hermann says. But don't leave your menu roster to chance. "Assign a category to everyone who is coming: hot, cold, something to pass, a dip." Ask everyone to bring the recipe too. "Then you can trade, which is part of football."
Don't be sidelined with a cooler of boring beer. Show off your impressive bartending skills by making Sriracha Lager, a popular seller during Cleveland Browns season at Rick's Cafe in Chagrin Falls. Combine 1 squeeze of Sriracha with a splash of Worcestershire sauce and the juice of 4 fresh lime wedges. Shake it up and pour it in a glass. Top with ice and pour in a bottle of Corona and serve with a salted rim and a lime and lemon wheel. "It's different," says bartender Alyssa Dolciato. "If you like hot things, it's very good. The Corona is refreshing, and it's not too heavy."