Foods for Football

Of course you have to eat while the game is going on—and probably afterwards—so here are some exciting and delicious recipes to help you keep rooting for your favorite team.

Ozark Pudding

This is a very simple, traditional recipe, just the thing when you want to whip up something quick, easy and comforting. It’s an odd dessert that seems to be made up of parts from other desserts. The filling is gooey, like pecan pie with bits of apple. The outer edge is bubbly and chewy, like pralines. The top forms a thin, crisp crust that is like a sticky meringue or macaroon. In other words, this is not pudding-cup pudding but pudding in the English sense of the word, meaning dessert in general.

There is a strong similarity between Ozark pudding and the Huguenot tortes made around Charleston. There are all sorts of stories about the provenance of this dessert. One account says that Bess Truman invented it to cheer up homesick Harry in the White House. Another tale reports that French Huguenots fleeing persecution brought this recipe over. Another story is that a Charleston cook tasted Ozark pudding on a trip to the Midwest, brought the recipe home, and prepared it to serve in the Huguenot tavern where she worked. No matter which version you believe, it’s obvious that good recipes get around.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tart cooking apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
(about 1 cup)

1 cup pecan pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until blended and frothy. While whisking vigorously, slowly add the sugar to the eggs and whisk until thick. Stir in the apples, pecans and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, stirring well to incorporate the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top. Bake until the top crust is browned and the filling is bubbly around the edges, about 40 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving hot or at room temperature with the whipped cream.

From “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes,” copyright 2011 by Sheri Castle. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press (www.uncpress.org).

Garlic Dip

You’ve never tasted anything like this. This dip will make a garlic lover out of anyone. This is one of the two most popular and requested dips from my repertoire and from my book “Simply Irresistible: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking.” Serve it with veggies, chips, crackers or spread it on bread as a sandwich base. This dip can be prepared a few days ahead of time. Keeps for about 5 days in the refrigerator, just stir it every day. Sometimes I spread this on grilled fish or chicken, or a potato and pop it into the broiler until the dip gets bubbly. Serves 8 or more.

4 large cloves peeled garlic

whole bunch of fresh parsley, with long thick stems removed

6-ounce can smoked almonds

2 cups regular or low-fat mayonnaise

In a food processor, carefully chop the garlic, parsley and almonds until finely chopped into tiny pieces. Do not let the garlic turn to liquid!

Place in a bowl and fold in the mayonnaise. Blend well.

Cover and refrigerate. Stir well before serving.

Hint: When fresh garlic and fresh parsley are chopped together, a chemical reaction takes place and the eater will not get garlic breath, or garlic upset.

Meliga Cookies

This recipe is from “Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook” (10 Speed Press), with over 100 wholesome and rustic recipes inspired by Anya Fernald. Anya tries to show all level cooks how to prepare satisfying foods.

Cookies for breakfast is one of the awesome aspects of life in Italy and is a custom that should take hold here, especially since they are probably more healthful than most breakfast cereals! Of course, they can just be used for dessert. This is a type of Italian sugar cookie. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 cups polenta (or medium ground yellow cornmeal)

1 teaspoon vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Decrease the speed to low, add the egg yolks, and mix just to combine, then add the flour, polenta, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix until a dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut the dough into rounds with a 1 1/2 -inch round cutter and transfer to the baking sheets. Bake until just golden, 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Editor’s Note: Find more of Sheilah’s culinary treats at www.cookingwithsheilah.com.

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