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Chef Jason Wyrick is an award winning vegan chef and the owner of Arizona's only vegan catering company, Devil Spice. Serving the state since 2004 as both a caterer and a prolific vegan culinary instructor, Chef Jason has garnered local and national attention. He was chosen as vegcooking.com's October, 2005 Chef of the Month and has been featured in the Arizona Republic and on ABC's local morning show, Sonoran Living Live. Formerly a diabetic, Chef Jason approaches vegan cuisine from both a health and ethical standpoint with an eye for taste and simplicity.

Wyrick is the editor and executive chef of The Vegan Culinary Experience http://www.veganculinaryexperience.com, a free vegan culinary magazine designed by professional vegan chefs. He has taught alongside doctors Neal Barnard, John McDougall, and Gabriel Cousens and is the first vegan instructor to teach in the Le Cordon Bleu program. You can reach Chef Wyrick at ChefJason@veganculinaryexperience.com.

Fans Whoop It Up at Super Bowl Party!

By Chef Jason Wyrick

Who would have thought the Arizona Cardinals would make it to the NFC championship game? Probably fewer people than thought they might be having a vegan Super Bowl Party! But there the Cardinals are and here we are. If you're a Panthers fan or a Falcons fan, I feel for you, but you need to cut it out. There's no crying in football. Sorry. Just admit that the Cardinals were the better team and move on. Of course, food is a great consolation; so let's talk about that!

Chances are, you're not just having vegetarians at your Super Bowl Party, and that means you need to provide food that everyone is going to like. You also need to make sure that you have fun, too! That means not only choosing food that will please everyone, but choosing food that does not require you to be in the kitchen all day and racing to finish everything before kick-off time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, if your Super Bowl Parties are like the ones I've attended, there will be drinking, shouting, and a little mayhem. Try not to choose foods that are particularly messy or easy to spill, or you may find your home paying for it after the party is over. Below are a few of my favorite recipes for serving at just about any party but are particularly fun for Super Bowl time.

Stuffed Potatoes
You'll need some potatoes that are small enough so they can be finished off in just a couple bites. I like using the small bag of mixed-colored potatoes sold at Trader Joe's.

Take three pounds of potatoes and wrap them in foil (I wrap them all in one big foil packet instead of wrapping each one individually; you are more than welcome to indulge in that craziness if you wish, but that is not for me!). Bake the potatoes at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

Allow them to cool down to the point where you can handle them, but they are still a bit warm. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the inside of each half, but try to leave at least a quarter-inch wall in the potato.

Mash the filling with 2 tablespoons of vegan margarine, 2 tablespoons of Vegenaise, one-half teaspoon of salt, and one-quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Fill the potatoes with this filling and then sprinkle paprika on top. Place them on a baking tray and bake them at 375 degrees for 10 minutes just before serving them.

Beer Brats
That's right, beer brats! Super Bowl time makes me think of tailgating food, and that puts me in the mood for beer brats. However, I want to serve a lot of people with these, so there's a fun way to turn them into an appetizer. Jason Wyrick

First, let's talk about the easy way. Get yourself two or three packages of Tofurky's Beer Brats and slice them into bite-sized pieces. Fill a pan with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and bring it to a medium heat. Sauté the brats for about five minutes, and then add half a bottle of beer to the pan. Sweet beers work best for this. If your beer isn't sweet, add one-half teaspoon of sugar to the pan. Allow the beer to reduce around the brats until a glaze forms. Place these on a serving platter with a toothpick in each one.

The slightly more involved way to prepare these is to lightly brush the brats with oil and then smoke them on the grill for about 15 minutes. Once they are done smoking, slice them and prepare them the same way as above. (Yes, you will still sauté them.)

I like serving a sauce alongside these that I make by mixing together one-quarter cup of brown mustard, 1 tablespoon of sweet agave nectar, and either 1/8 teaspoon of cloves or 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder. Everyone goes crazy for these little tempting bites, and I've met very few meat eaters who cared that these brats weren't made from meat. Of course, a beer glaze always helps in that department.

Decorative Sugar Cookies
These are really fun to make, and you can decorate them in the colors of your favorite team. If you're really good, you can even decorate them like helmets!

Take 2 3/4 cups of whole-wheat pastry flour and mix that with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and one small pinch of salt.

Take one cup of room-temperature vegan margarine and whip that with 1 1/2 cups of finely ground turbinado sugar.

Prepare 1 1/2 teaspoon of EnerG Egg Replacer by whipping it with 2 tablespoons of water. Mix this into the margarine along with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Slowly add the flour mix into the margarine mix until it is evenly incorporated. Cover this and refrigerate for one hour.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet with some of the margarine and heat your oven to 350 degrees. Separate the dough into one-inch balls. Place the balls on the cookie sheet and gently press down on them. Bake them for about 8 minutes.

While they are cooling, mix together your icing. Take one cup of confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar) and add in 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Add in 1 tablespoon of soy creamer and stir it together. Continue adding in 1 tablespoon of soy creamer at a time until you have a thick, sugary icing.

Add food coloring by separating the icing into different batches if you want to be really decorative. Once the cookies have fully cooled, spread the icing onto them in a thin layer. If you are decorating the cookies to look like your favorite team's helmet (you are decorating them in Cardinals' colors, aren't you? Of course you are! Good for you! You will need a pastry bag with one of the small tips attached.

Out of all the recipes to serve, these cookies are a definite winner. Well, they might get trumped by margaritas, but they are the stand-out food.

Now that you've got a start on your Super Bowl food, make sure you serve it with the right accompaniments. Super Bowl food should always be served with good drinks, good laughs, and a bit of trash-talking. Hey, didn't I tell you Panthers and Falcons fans to stop crying? Now get on with the game and have fun. Go Cardinals!

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