Creating a super party for a super bowl By Jean Picard
f you can’t be among the 75,000 fans at Dolphin Stadium in Miami on Sunday, February 7, capture the excitement of Super Bowl XLIV with a few friends at home or with a lot of friends in your mobile home park’s clubhouse. With a big-screen TV and a little planning, it’s almost better than being there. Of course, you don’t have to wait for Super Bowl to have a Big Game party! Whether you are a die-hard football fan or just waiting around for the halftime show, the Super Bowl is an event that calls for more than a bag of chips and a six-pack. Keep in mind that some parks do not allow alcohol in the clubhouse. And event liability insurance naming the mobile home park as “additional insured” may be required. Such insurance, with or without liquor liability coverage, is available as a single-event policy or as a rider on a homeowner’s policy. Guests who are not “ready for some football” (or hockey, basketball or whatever sport you’re watching) will enjoy having a separate area where they can chat and eat without the game. And sports fans will appreciate having those people out of the way! If another room with a television and DVD player is available, non-fans can enjoy a movie. Be the ultimate Big Game host and set up a third area just for the kids. Decorating for a sports party couldn’t be simpler—team colors, right? From pom-poms and streamers right down to customcolored M&Ms. If you really want to work the theme, there are invitations and decorations readily available for Super Bowl or any other type of game. But everyone knows it’s the food that makes the party! Get the afternoon started with some great snacks. To many,
w w w.u m h m a g . c o m
it’s just not a sports party without chips and the ubiquitous onion dip. If it’s a chilly day, warm up the crowd with mugs of sippable soups. Then right around halftime, bring on the heavier fare. The primary consideration when planning this party menu is whether the foods are easy to serve and easy to eat while watching the game. This is not the occasion to fuss over beautiful presentation or subtle sauces (or to worry about fat and carbs). A simple buffet of makeahead dishes is the way to go. Keep beer, sodas and other drinks in a cooler or tub of ice rather than in the refrigerator. Have food and beverages set up within sight of the TV so no one has to miss a moment of the action. Hearty soups, stews and casseroles are perfect foods for the game, and chili—with beans or without, beef or pork, ground meat or chunks, red or green—is a classic. Set up a chili bar where guests can choose their favorite garnishes. Offer guacamole, sour cream, shredded Cheddar and Jack cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion, sliced green onion, shredded iceberg lettuce and thinly sliced radishes. For dessert, score big with a quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate cake that is served right from the pan—perfect for any large casual party. No need to resort to everyone’s favorite membership warehouse store when this cake (see sidebar), which makes 32 servings, can be made start-to-finish, including frosting, in under an hour. Be warned, though. Such terrific hosting just might make your home or clubhouse headquarters for every game of the season. Jean Picard has written for the L.A. Times and writes frequently about entertaining and planning social occasions.
Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake (Makes 32 servings) Inspired by a cake popular in the ‘70s, I developed this recipe for a larger, more flavorful, slightly less sweet cake. 1-1/4 cups water 1-1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter 1/2 cup cocoa 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder 2-1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup buttermilk 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup cocoa 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 pound confectioner’s sugar 1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare an 18x13x1inch half-sheet pan; don’t try to makedo with a smaller pan, or the batter will overflow. Spray the pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment (protects pan when cutting cake in the pan). In a 2-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, cocoa and espresso powder. Heat, whisking occasionally, over medium heat until the butter melts. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to “sift.” In a 2-cup glass measure, combine buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Add the warm liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer on low speed, mix to combine; then on medium speed, beat for about 15 seconds. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; on medium speed, beat for about 30 seconds. Pour into the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. In the meantime, make the frosting. In the same 2-quart saucepan (no need to wash it) over low heat, combine butter, buttermilk, cocoa, vanilla, espresso powder and salt. When the butter is melted, bring to a boil; remove from heat. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar, vigorously until smooth. Stir in pecans. Keep over low heat until the cake is done. Pour the hot frosting over the hot cake and spread quickly. Cool in pan for at least 3 hours. Upw a rdly
Mob i l e
The Magazine of Mobile, Manufactured and Modular Home Living