A celebrity chef's tips for scoring big with game-day partying
Whatever sports you like to watch – whether pro levels or big collegiate moments such as the NCAA Men's Final Four, NCAA Frozen Four or College World Series – they all have one important thing in common: watching with friends makes them even more fun. Hosting the perfect game-day viewing party is sure to score big with your friends, no matter what sport you’re watching together.
So what’s the perfect game plan for game-day partying? Chef Richard Blais, winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars and author of “Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate” offers a few easy tips and a tasty game-day recipe below:
* Put your guests to work. Set up an interactive buffet, like a taco bar or make your own pizza table. With all the toppings and sides prepped in advance, you'll reduce your active cooking time on the big day, and allow guests the freedom and creativity to satisfy their own individual tastes and cravings.
* Easy access. Make entertaining as simple as possible by stocking your fridge a few days in advance. Consider using appliances that will help you save time, such as LG’s super-capacity fridge that features a magnetically sealed “door in door” section for fast, easy access to commonly reached-for items.
* Beverage bliss. Punch is all the rage right now in beverage trends, and a great way to make a large-batch cocktail, alcoholic or not. You can use your favorite spirits and juices and finish with a nice carbonated beverage.
* Amp it up. If you really want to play up that sports theme, cut a few basketballs in half, insert some mixing bowls into the half spheres, lay them on ice and fill with punch. Now that's a way to ice a shooter by putting it all on the line.
* Courtside seats at home. Designate an area of the house for socializing and an area for the serious fans that want the best picture quality possible and no distractions. A really big “ultra high definition” screen like LG’s new 84-inch TV that displays 8 million pixels, is perfect for the serious fans that want to feel like they are sitting courtside.
* Prep like a professional. Get your shopping and prep work done in the days leading up to the big game. Having your to-do list done in advance will leave you more relaxed and the food will be even better because you took the time to do things right. As host, you'll set the cool, calm and confident tone you hope your team has.
Below is a recipe from Chef Richard Blais to help make your at-home gameday experience extra special:
English Muffin Pizzas (Makes 18 pizzas)
For the dough:
2 2/3 cups unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated until lukewarm
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
About 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
*Not enough time to bake from scratch? No shame in using your favorite store bought brand English muffins instead! If you’d rather go that route, feel free to skip down to step 7.
1. To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, yeast and salt together until combined. In a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl, stir the milk, olive oil and honey together until combined. While whisking, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, whisking until the liquid is absorbed and spongy dough forms. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
3. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda and warm water together until the baking soda dissolves. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the soda mixture into the dough until just combined.
4. Cook the muffins: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Grease four 4-inch English muffin ring molds into vegetable oil and dust the interiors with cornmeal, shaking out the excess. Place the molds in the pan and fill each one two-thirds full with dough. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cornmeal over the top of each muffin, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, about 12 minutes. With a large spatula, flip the muffins, in their molds, and cook for an additional 12 minutes.
5. Using the spatula, transfer the muffins, still in the molds, to a rack and set the pan aside. Cool for three minutes, then remove the molds, stand the muffins up on their sides to keep them from collapsing under their own weight, and let cool completely on the rack.
6. Meanwhile, heat the pan again over medium heat. Regrease the muffin molds and dust again with cornmeal. Place them in the skillet, fill them two-thirds with dough, and sprinkle with cornmeal, then reduce the heat to low, and cook as directed above. Let cool, and continue making muffins until the dough is used up.
7. To make the pizzas, preheat the broiler. Split the muffins and toast them lightly. Top with your choice of sauce and/or other ingredients and broil until the toppings are hot, the cheese is melted, and the edges are crisp.
Note: Store completely cooled muffins in an airtight bag at room temperature for up to three days or freeze them for up to one month.
Muffin Pizza Suggestions
* Tomato sauce with pepperoni or cooked Italian crumbled sausage plus shredded mozzarella
* Sauteed shrimp with snail butter
* Crisped bacon slices, poached eggs and bearnaise
* Country ham, ricotta cheese and Brussels sprouts
* Goat cheese and truffles with a squeeze of lemon
* Tomato sauce, sliced burrata and torn fresh basil leaves
Hungry for more?
You can find further facts, recipes and tips at www.lg.com/ncaa.