It's getting close to Super Bowl time again. This is actually one of my favorite times of year, not because I love the Super Bowl, but because it means that football season is almost over for six or seven blissful months. In my opinion that's something to celebrate.
I think I started disliking football when I was in about the 4th or 5th grade. The game sounds on the TV in the family room on Sunday afternoons were like a macabre alarm clock ringing in the doom of the upcoming school week. It must have reminded my mother of the same thing because her cries of "Karen, do you have any homework?!" always coincided with the sounds of the refs' whistles and that just made things worse.
Oh I've tried to move on from these childhood memories and learn to like football. Once I even sat down to watch a game with my husband and son to ask questions and maybe get a handle on this football thing. No such luck. I asked a couple of questions, but found my mind wandering to thoughts of ponies and rainbows during their explanations. It was an unpleasant experience for all of us. So I decided to own it and just be honest with myself. I just really don't care. There I said it. Well, I do care when there is someone I know playing in the game, but Detroit's season is over so I repeat, I don't care.
This doesn't mean that I don't have a Super Bowl tradition or two, oh no far from it. Every Super Bowl Sunday I find myself a chick flick and go see it while Mr. H watches a bunch of men tackle each other and over indulges in a meal of small spicy bites in glorious peace and quiet. And please don't worry about me. Oh no I won't be alone. The movie theaters are packed with women just like me and there are even a few men there too wearing dark sunglasses and ball caps pulled down to shadow their faces.
This makes me especially happy since I have a friend who actually plays fantasy football with her husband. I'm not sure when and why she went to the dark side, but I think it best my husband never finds out about this unicorn. If he thinks there is hope to change me, he might just decided to hold another football class. Yuck.
Before I head out for the movie on this holiest of sports days, I will lovingly assemble my husband's football watching buffet to help him feel like I am there in spirit. There are a few things that he requires like guacamole and chicken wings, but for the rest of the menu I am allowed to go freestyle.
Seeing that the Super Bowl is next Sunday I am now auditioning dishes for the final menu. One of the dishes that has already made the cut is a pull apart bread dish that Lea Ann from Cooking on the Ranch brought over to my house for our friend Yvette's Muy Bueno Cookbook signing party. I have since seen a couple of variations, but I loved Lea Ann's version smothered in mushrooms and cheese, so I am using that as a base and adding some of my husband's favorite flavors (bacon) to it. With food like this lying around maybe Chick Flick Sunday (or Super Bowl Sunday if you must) isn't going to be that bad after all.
Mushroom Bacon and Swiss Stuffed Bread
This recipe calls for a store bought loaf of bread, but if you are an "Artisan Bread in Five" fan like me and have some dough in the fridge, boy are you in for a treat. Just form a boule and bake it according to recipe, let it cool and start from there.
6 slices bacon
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and light green parts)
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
1 small round loaf of unsliced rustic bread (my bread was the size of a mini boule)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the bacon in a medium to large size frying pan over medium high heat. Fry bacon to crispy, transfer to a paper towel to drain.
Saute the mushrooms in the hot bacon drippings in the same frying pan. Once they are soft (about 5 minutes) add the crushed garlic and saute for one minute longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain mushrooms and transfer to a medium size bowl to cool.
Once the bacon and mushrooms are drained and cooled, crumble the bacon on top of the mushrooms in the bowl. Add the green onions and cheese. Stir well and set aside.
Slice the bread into a grid in 1" sections almost all the way through the bread, leaving a 1" base at the bottom to hold the loaf together.
Set the bread on a large piece of aluminum foil. Stuff the mushroom mixture into the crevices of the bread; set aside.
Whisk together the butter, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Drizzle over the bread on top of the mushroom mixture. Wrap the foil up around the edges of the bread toward the top. I prefer to leave an opening at the top so the bread gets crispy. For a softer result, close the foil at the top before baking. Bake until heated through, approximately 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
This recipe easily serves 4.