If you opt to forgo paying for expensive Stanley Cup playoff tickets and remain home to watch the games on a big screen TV, there are endless food and drink options outside the usual ‘sports’ food choices. Get serious and liven up your Stanley Cup Playoff viewing experience with creative and delicious culinary menus.
♦♦ BEER & CHEESE ♦♦
Looking for a Beer theme for your Stanley Cup Playoff gathering? Begin with a White Cheddar Beer Cheese Dip (from The Modern Proper), accompanied by a large platter of tart apple slices, grapes, sausage slices, large soft pretzels and crackers, and of course some interesting bottles of beer. Cheers!
♦♦ FONDUE ♦♦
How about a Wine theme? You can’t go wrong with wine and Fondue! Saveur’s Classic Swiss Fondue recipe is perfect, accompanied by chunks of crusty, hearty French bread, small boiled potatoes, slices of apples, gherkins, and sausage. A cranberry walnut loaf bread is also delicious dipped in the cheesy fondue, so don’t be afraid to experiment with other items such as pears, dried figs or apricots, and steamed or raw vegetables. Bon appétit!
♦♦ CHARCUTERIE BOARD ♦♦
For wine or beer drinkers, a Charcuterie Board provides a choose-your-own food adventure. Begin with an assortment of sliced cured meats, spreadable meat pâtés, sweet and sour pickles, sweet preserves, hard and soft cheeses, ripe fruit, nuts, breads, and assorted accents, such as olives, fresh vegetables, and spreads. The possibilities are endless! (Tips on creating a first-class charcuterie board.) Prost!
♦♦ NORDIC SMÖRGÅSBORD ♦♦
Are you fans of your team’s Swedish and Finnish players? What about a Nordic themed playoff smörgåsbord? Begin with Magnus Nilsson’s Grandmother’s Swedish meatballs, a creamy gravy and mashed potatoes, fresh pickled cucumbers, and lingonberry jam. Add gravlax and mustard-dill sauce (gravlaxsås), sliced ham, bread, and cheese to the menu, and don’t forget dessert – perhaps Swedish gingerbread cookies, or a Butter Saffron cake. Skål!
♦♦ DIPS & SPREADS ♦♦
Perhaps you want a more traditional sports viewing party with Dips & Spreads – why not go for some knockout choices, featuring an assortment of dips and dippers. Saveur has you covered with a number of spicy, sweet, hot, cold, and creamy dip recipes, ranging from their Ultimate Crap Dip, Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip, Crab, Shrimp and Artichoke Dip, to a Classic Guacamole. Enjoy!
♦♦ MEXICAN CARNITAS BAR ♦♦
Half Baked Harvest’s Mexican Carnitas Bar is the perfect game meal for a crowd, with slow roasted pork carnitas, fries, sweet potato rounds, pineapple pico de gallo, charred corn salsa, charred tomatillo salsa, guacamole, cilantro and green onions, sliced jalapeños and radishes, lime wedges and lots of cheese! Oh, and don’t forget the Pacifico! ¡Salud!
♦♦ VICTORY GRILL ♦♦
The Stanley Cup Final series offers the perfect opportunity to splurge on your meal game plan. How about thick-cut bone-on prime rib steaks on the grill? Personally, my motto with prime rib is ‘less is more’, allowing the well-marbled steak to take center stage (this guy knows how to grill a steak!) Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the steak and grill over high heat to create a crusty, charred exterior, leaving the interior beautifully rare. Simple as that! Don’t overcook that rascal or you will be sorry, and you will have wasted your money on a beautiful cut of meat. At most I might sprinkle a touch of Montréal steak seasoning before grilling, and add a pat of herb-garlic butter to the top of the steak as it comes off the grill. A nice, simple cold Romaine salad is the perfect accompaniment, along with a cold beer or wine. Mirabile visu!
Enjoy the playoffs and your miraculous game meals, and may the best team win!