Growing up in Ohio - more specifically a Browns fan household - and now living with a Browns fan, it's obvious we won't be cheering for the Steelers in the Super Bowl tonight. And, in deference to my friends who are still mourning the loss of the Chicago Bears a couple of weeks ago I also won't be cheering for the Packers.
Who am I kidding? I just don't care about pro football. But, the Super Bowl is traditionally a food holiday and that means something special for dinner while we anxiously await the commercials. I can't even get excited about the half-time show. Never was a fan of the Black Eyed Peas so I really will go to the bathroom at halftime and refresh my drink. I will probably watch the pregame show because I really dig Keith Urban and I've got an imaginary bet on how long Christina Aguilera will hold the final note of the National Anthem.
But - this is really about the food. Even as recently as Friday night, I asked Harry if we wanted to do anything special food-wise for the Super Bowl and he just shrugged. (I think he's still pissed about the Steelers being there - I know he felt dirty having to root for the Steelers against the Ravens because no Cleveland Browns fan will EVER cheer for the Ravens. I wonder if my cousin's answering machine still says "Art Modell Assassination Hotline"?)
In the end, we decided to go with a Muffuletta. You know, that incredible New Orleans delicacy, filled with awesome Italian meats and cheeses and the most delicious blend of spicy and salty olive salad? Yeah, that's the one. We're actually going against type right now. We usually only have a Muff once or twice a year - now we're doing it twice in less than a month. In our defense, my olive salad recipe makes quite a bit and it lasts for weeks so it's already made and in the fridge. And there should be just enough meat, cheese and olive salad left after making the sandwich that I can also whip up a Muffuletta Pasta Salad to have for lunch the next couple of days. After all - it IS still Carnival season!
So, I'm going to spend this afternoon in the kitchen. I need to make the Muffuletta Bread. This will be a bit of an experiment. I've done it before but really wasn't happy with the crust - it was just too "crusty". Of course, if I fail, one of us will have to run to Kroger for a loaf of their round Italian bread. It's not bad if you cut about 2 inches off the top - and it's an easy substitute for those who don't bake bread (hmmm...and why aren't you baking your own bread?)
If the bread is a success, check back tomorrow for lots of pictures and a bread recipe.
There's still time to change your menu for tonight - here's the recipes:
A New Orleans Muffuletta - including the Olive Salad
The Muffuletta Pasta Salad is on page 2