A fresher take on Super Bowl eats
Guacamole is a simple dip to assemble. (Courtesy photo/Metro / February 1, 2013)
It's the last excuse before maybe Memorial Day to eat stuff that normally shouldn't cross one's plate. Chicken wings and beer go hand-in-hand with watching men smash other men on a green field painted with white lines. Chips and dip are fun for mindlessly chewing.
But if you want to spice your offerings up a few area restaurateurs offer some alternatives.
Brett Brinkel of Mim's Mediterranean Grill of Petoskey looks at food with an eye toward spice and seasonings.
The restaurant offers homemade pita chips, feta dill dip, tzatziki sauce and tabouleh, among other foods, for purchase. Tzatziki is a sauce made with cucumber and Greek yogurt, among other spices, and tabouleh is a salad made with a type of grain called "bulgur wheat," tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. But it's what you can build with those Mediterranean basics that might make your party.
Brinkel suggests gyro snackers, which he made recently for a business expo.
"It's a triangle of pita bread, a little bit of gyro meat and drizzled with tzatziki sauce, closed with a frill pick," he said. "Those are really cool."
Brinkel also makes a twist on the traditional egg roll — Mediterranean egg rolls. Instead of the shredded cabbage base in traditional egg rolls, Brinkel uses tabouleh and tops it with feta cheese.
"Dip them in tzatziki sauce and they're delicious beyond belief," he said. "A lot of people are going to expect the same type of stuff — a veggie tray with dip — but we're not afraid of flavor here at all."
More toward the traditional — but still healthier — side is Matthew Weeber's approach.
Weeber is the deli manager at Grain Train Natural Foods Store in Petoskey.
"When I think of Superbowl, I think of finger food, and I think of dips," he said.
Currently for sale are chicken wings from Cook Family Farm in Gaylord. But don't think you have to deep fry them, said Weeber.
"You can just bake them in the oven," he said. "Depending on how your oven runs, you can bake them 350-400 degrees, which gives them about a 20-30-minute cook time."
Once they're finished, either dress them with your favorite hot wings sauce and toss them on a platter, or combine the sauce with the chicken wings and keep them warm in a crock pot.
"My approach to cooking is to not over-complicate it," said Weeber.
The Grain Train is also selling dips for the big football day. On sale right now is guacamole, but the store also offers a pinto bean dip.
"We use organic Michigan-grown pinto beans," he said. "We're also doing a fresh dill dip with organic fresh dill and fresh parsley."
Serving dips made with fresh ingredients alongside vegetables might entice party-goers to get a few more vegetable servings than they might otherwise.
"My personal goal is to try to get everybody eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and to eat locally here in Northern Michigan," said Weeber.
"You have to be comfortable in the kitchen and comfortable making food in order to do that."
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