Football season is in full throttle with one important change: most of us will be watching from the safety of home. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t entertain and enjoy a weekend with delicious, appropriate food, adventurous cocktails and daring wines. Garnish every dish with team colors. Arrange a decorative table showcasing a centerpiece adorned with the hues of autumn. Carve a pumpkin, use decorated plates and festive barware. Add some auxiliary speakers to the TV to encourage social distancing. Fun comes in many forms. There is a boundless reservoir of unbridled joy just waiting to be released.
Smoked Georgia Trout Dip
Jim Sanders, Atlanta
6 ounces smoked mountain trout, skin removed, diced
1 heaping teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, with some of the juice from the jar
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonaise
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup rye bread, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
allow the dip the sit for 20-30 minutes before serving so the flavors have a chance to blend.
Serve with good crackers or celery.
Benton’s Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Tennessee’s Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams enjoys a national reputation for excellence. I’ve used their products for many years.
1 1/2 pounds trimmed asparagus
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 pound thinly sliced 12 month old Benton’s Prosciutto
5 thin slices provolone cheese
Bring wine and butter to a boil in a shallow pan.
Add asparagus and cook for 3 minutes.
Remove asparagus and place in an ice water bath for 1 minute.
Remove asparagus and wrap 4 to 5 pieces in 1 thin slice of provolone cheese and then wrap with one 1 1/2 to 2 inch wide strip of Benton’s Prosciutto.
Place on shallow baking sheet and place in preheated oven at 375 degrees F until cheese is melted.
Baked Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta and Benton’s Prosciutto
Courtesy of Sharon Benton
1 pound gemelli (or other pasta)
6 ounces thinly sliced 12 month old Benton’s Prosciutto
2 packages (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
2 cups milk
2 cups ricotta cheese minced garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook one pound gemelli (or other pasta) a few minutes less than package instructions suggest.
Cut 6 ounces Benton’s Sliced Prosciutto into thin strips.
In a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, toss pasta with 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture, half of Benton’s Prosciutto, 2 cups milk, ricotta cheese, and 1 garlic clove.
Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.
Top with remaining Benton’s Prosciutto and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake until golden brown about 30 to 40 minutes.
Nothin’ Could Be Finer Carolina Pound Cake
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Line the bottom of a pan with wax paper. Grease the inside of the pan and the wax paper. Dust with flour.
Cream the butter, shortening and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, 3 at a time, to the mixture, mixing each time until fully incorporated. Add 4 eggs the last time along with the vanilla extract.
Add the sifted flour to the bowl, 1 cup at a time, mixing until just combined.
Place the batter in the prepared tube pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a rack until completely cool.
Wine Suggestion: 2017 Jim Barry Lodge Shiraz, a festive red from Down Under; 2017 Roche De Bellene Meursault VV, because autumn merits a fine white wine.
Be Safe. Eat and Drink Well. Love One Another.