Steelers fan paranoia week is finally here. Thank goodness it’s a short week with the AFC North rematch scheduled for Saturday, because frankly I don’t think I could keep it together until Sunday. As I said yesterday, you just knew it was coming. It could be a Tuesday in July and everyone would want Steelers-Ravens.
So while we impatiently wait for the next round, there is a whole work week to slog through, Pens-Bruins (twice, with one of those match-ups also on Saturday), a BCS championship game that the NCAA will probably disavow and vacate at some point, and probably a good $2-$3 million dollars worth of ad buys for Vince Vaughn’s THE DILEMMA. What a horrible rivalry week.
In my mind, a perfect rivalry week would look like this:
Monday Night Football: Steelers-Ravens (New Browns)
Wednesday: Pirates-Mets Requires time machine back to 1991.
Thursday: Steelers-Browns (Old Browns) I wouldn’t put past Goodell to approve teams playing on Monday Night Football and then Thursday Night Football. I also wouldn’t put it past him to start scheduling all the Thursday night games in London. Or Mexico. Or China. (Don’t think I’ve forgotten about your China expansion dreams, Rog. I haven’t.)
Saturday: Pitt-PSU (And since those two schools — read: Penn State — cannot get over their differences, Pitt-WVU.)
Sunday: Steelers-Ravens (New Browns)
You’d lose a good third of the city of Pittsburgh to heart attacks with that schedule.
28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
This morning when I was sorting through my list for the 14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes schedule I realized I actually had more than enough material to do 28 days of recipes. After some quick audience sampling of which people would prefer, 28 days or 14 days with posts twice a day, TSW Industries has decided to go with 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes. 10% because doubling one’s efforts from year to year is a fun challenge (but will not be fun when we reach 112 Days of Super Bowl Recipes), 45% because Smokey likened it to a football snack advent calendar and the remaining 45% because Nick said 28 days was enough recipes to fight off a zombie apocalypse. Plus, it gives everyone more of a chance to get their playoff party hosting game tight.
Same lecture as last year, minus the parts about the Saints and the Colts, because… HAHAHAHAHAHA TOO BAD FOR YOU GUYS.
Did you honestly think you could prepare for the Super Bowl in just a couple of days? Did you say to yourself, “Well, I guess since New Orleans in playing in the Super Bowl I could just use this old Hurricane mix I had laying around the house.” Or even, “But I need to get my Pro Bowl party out of the way first! And the Senior Bowl! I cannot even begin to think about my Super Bowl party until next week.”
WELL SUCK IT UP NANCY BECAUSE THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU CAN EAT LIKE A PIG UNTIL NEXT SEPTEMBER. You either start planning and cooking now or you will be stuck fighting some I-don’t-care-football-but-maybe-I-will-get-laid-if-I-get-out-of-the-house douchecake in an American Apparel hoodie over the last bag of Cool Ranch Doritos at the Silverlake Vons next Saturday.
“But Sarah, I was going to make a giant muffaletta or a pot of gumbo for my Super Bowl party. That should feed everyone.” Great. What do you feed everyone for the remaining three hours of your party? If your main course is the game, then what is your halftime show? What are your funny commercials that require you to share 3D glasses with six of your friends and sixty of their filthy 3D thumbprints? Are you ready for people to start rooting through your drawers looking for more snacks? You need to have many, many, supporting dishes for the Super Bowl. For every Drew Brees, there are several lineman there to block for him, and for every Peyton Manning dive to the ground, there are several lineman to throw under the bus for not blocking for him! This is a team sport and your Super Bowl spread needs to reflect that just one or two dishes do not make a buffet.
Are you willing to go to a Super Bowl party and run the risk of them not having enough snacks? And no, showing up with a six-pack of beer is not enough! That’s about a bottle a beer an hour JUST FOR YOURSELF, so no, you did not bring anything to share. So you will sack up and make at least one item to bring to the party.
This year’s snack line-up is again going to be very supporting cast heavy, but with a few main courses mixed in. Dishes that can be made in advance, heated up the day off or even tossed together the day of the game. Snacks that you’ll love almost as much as the games themselves.
28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
You will need…
24-30 fresh large white mushrooms, about 1 1/2 – 2 inches across in size (Look for firm mushrooms not yet turning brown.)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 ounces tomato paste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup bread crumbs, plus 1-2 tablespoons for topping
A few fresh sprigs of oregano, fresh parsley and about four or five good sized basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Clean the mushrooms with a dry cloth or paper towel, then remove the stems and gently remove the insides with a small spoon. (I use a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon.) But don’t waste those mushroom stems and guts! Save them for soup, salad or even a stroganoff for later in the week.
Once all cleaned and gutted, toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and set aside. Don’t worry if along the way a couple of the mushroom caps lose a side here or there, as seen on the leftmost mushroom in the picture. It’s the playoffs and everyone’s a little dinged up. Much like pushing a pinky back into the socket, you’ll be able to press that ‘shroom back together just fine for baking.
In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder, chopped herbs, bread crumbs and a dash of ground pepper.
Mix together until smooth.
Then stir in the tomato paste.
Why tomato paste over tomato sauce? Tomato paste is thicker and has much less water in it than tomato sauce. No one wants a runny mushroom. (Especially Mario.)
Stuff each mushroom cap with your pizza cheese-sauce-breadcrumb-herb mix. Set in a glass baking dish that has been lightly coated with olive oil.
Bake your stuffed mushrooms for 45-50 minutes.
Do not panic and take them out when you see all the water at the bottom of the baking dish after 30 minutes. They are still not cooked all the way through and you’ll be serving slimy mushrooms and no one — not even after 15 pregame Yuenglings — wants slimy mushrooms. Them more time to finish baking and the water will evaporate in the oven during the remaining 15-20 minutes of high heat.
Once done baking, your pizza stuffed mushrooms will have a nice golden brown top. The cheese, herbs and tomato paste will be perfectly pizza like while the breadcrumbs baked in will give each ‘shroom a nice full mouth feel with each bite.
Dedicated to #TeamPizza.