If you would have said to me, say three years ago, "Batya, how are the Broncos doing this season?" I would have shrugged and stared back at you blankly. The confused look might have been followed by something like, "You mean the football team, right? The one from Denver?" But that would have been the extent of it. I come from a long line of Yankee stock, and other than baseball, we didn't follow other sports. Football hardly registered at all.
Things changed exactly one year ago when my husband's cousin Melissa gave us tickets to see the Denver Broncos, a gift for our 5th anniversary. It was my first trip to the stadium, and even though I was hopped up on meds (following a diagnosis of acute tonsillitis with an extreme form of strep), I fell in love with the sport. Football is a religion around here, and I've become a pretty faithful practitioner. I'll admit that I don't know every rule or intricate detail of the game, but my heart is definitely in it.
In addition to cheering for the home team, Sunday football has become a catalyst for our weekend gatherings too. Sometimes we head over to our neighbors' house, other times we host at our home. And since there's never really enough time to clean the house and cook a meal, I opt for dishes that are big on flavor and easy to make.
Last week's menu included olives (the good kind), a cheese plate, hummus (2 ways), shakshuka (sauce made the night before), and this feta sumac spread from Bon Appetit. Though our team didn't win the game (don't worry, they're still in 1st place), we all had a great time. And isn't that what football gatherings are really about? (Sort of.)
Feta with Sumac and Black Sesame Seeds (Courtesy of Alison Roman for Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2014)
1½ pound feta, sliced ¼” thick
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or marjoram leaves (optional, I made it with and without)
1½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
1½ teaspoon ground sumac
Olive oil (for drizzling)
Crackers (for serving)
Divide feta among small serving dishes. Top with oregano, sesame, and sumac. Drizzle with oil; serve with crackers.
If you're looking for really good cheese, olives, crackers- that sort of thing- and you live in Denver, head over to the Truffle Cheese Shop on 6th Avenue. It's one of the best in the city.
Sumac, a tart, citrusy spice, is available at Middle Eastern markets or specialty foods stores. I have a friend who brings back sumac from the Middle East (Lebanon), but when I run out I head over to Arash Market in Aurora.