Marcela Valladolid leaves 'The Kitchen' to go Super Bowl 2014 and Winter Olympics tailgating
Sunday, Feb. 2 is Super Bowl Sunday, which means home "tailgate" parties will be breaking out all over America. At the same time, Animal Planet is counter-programming with its annual canine contest, the "Puppy Bowl" (celebrating its 10th anniversary this year).
Later in the week, on Friday, Feb. 7, is the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, so another whole menu might be in order.
Chef Marcela Valladolid of Food Network's Saturday show "The Kitchen" steps up to answer a few questions to help viewers navigate the challenge of feeding rabid sports fans.
Zap2it: If calories are no object, what's your optimal menu for a Super Bowl party?
Marcela Valladolid: It's all about the wings! I make these amazing chicken wings with an ancho chile glaze and top it with pecans; they are absolutely amazing. Serve them with roasted chipotle baby red potatoes and your favorite tequila cocktail, and everyone will love you.
Zap2it: How about if calories are a concern, but people still want something that tastes good?
Marcela Valladolid: The taco light is an absolute favorite at my family parties. Marinate a nice piece of skirt steak, put it on the grill, and instead of using a tortilla for the taco, use a fresh piece of butter lettuce. Top with a little avocado and your favorite salsa, and I promise you won't feel guilty about eating tacos at all.
Zap2it: What's the best menu for someone who can't cook but doesn't just want chips, dip and other prepackaged foods?
Marcela Valladolid: A meat and cheese board is always a huge success. Serve them on a nice wooden cutting board with sliced fresh baguette and a fig jam, and your life will be easier. You can also ask your guests to each bring something, and you provide the beverage.
Zap2it: Which are the top foods to avoid on a Super Bowl buffet menu and why?
Marcela Valladolid: Foods that don't hold up well at room temperature - seafood, for example. It's best to stick to salads, casseroles, appetizers. Things that need silverware [you need to be able to have food in one hand and a drink in another]. Avoid foods that need last-minute assembly.
Zap2it: What are the must-haves?
Marcela Valladolid: At my house, it's not a party without tequila. Always make sure there are enough drinks and food for your guests.
Zap2it: Later in the week is the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi Olympics. If viewers want to have a Russian-themed party, what do you needs besides vodka?
Marcela Valladolid: Caviar pairs perfectly with beer. I would highly recommend caviar.
Zap2it: What makes sports party food special for you?
Marcela Valladolid: Party food in general brings me back to when I was growing up as a kid in Tijuana. I have a huge family, so we would gather at my grandparents' home for parties all the time. Being that my grandfather was a chef, there was always an abundance of food at all of our family gatherings.
Photo/Video credit: Food Network
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