- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Couples stay together not because of their common interests but despite their differences, according to a recent study. This is evident to me every year as the Super Bowl airs.

I will never understand, let alone enjoy, watching two teams bash each other on the field. My spouse, who has the TV remote permanently fixed to a sports channel, is devoted to any televised football game, and most of all to the Super Bowl.

Despite my lack of interest, I understand the significance of the game. This is the culmination of weeks of spirit-crushing defeats and surprising wins, and a chance to share a victory, if only by yelling at the television set.

To show my empathy, I’m staying at home and cooking on Super Bowl Sunday instead of fleeing to a movie theater.

Nothing fancy is called for in preparing a special Super Bowl meal. Instead, I’m preparing dishes that fit the spirit of the game.

The menu includes crunchy jicama salad, because crunching helps ease frustration, and chili-coated yam sticks that help raise a fan’s heat levels. And for my spouse or any devotee who can’t let go of the remote, there will be a hamburger on a toasted bun to be eaten with one hand.

Chili-coated yam sticks

1 medium-large yam

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon chili powder

Salt and pepper

Jalapeno-flavored ketchup (see note)

Trim tips off the yam. Cut yam lengthwise into thick wedges. Place on baking sheet.

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in preheated 400-degree oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven.

Serve with jalapeno-flavored ketchup.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: If jalapeno-flavored ketchup isn’t available, stir a few drops of hot red pepper sauce into a small amount of ketchup.

Hamburgers

½ teaspoon salt

3/4 pound ground chuck

½ teaspoon crushed dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 toasted hamburger buns

Pickles, mustard and ketchup

Sprinkle salt in small, heavy-bottomed skillet.

Heat skillet for 2 minutes. Gently mix ground chuck, oregano and pepper together in a bowl. Shape into 2 patties, about ½-inch thick, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until well-browned outside and no longer red at the center. Serve on a bun with pickles and favorite condiments.

Makes 2 servings.

Jicama salad

1 very small jicama, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1/4 cup chopped scallion, green part only

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 fresh lime (about 5 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

Combine jicama, bell pepper, scallion and cilantro in a bowl. Stir together lime juice, honey, vegetable oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over jicama salad and toss well.

Makes 2 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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