Lee MathisINSANELEE DECADENTGrand Junction Free Press Food Columnist

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January 17, 2013
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FOOD: Closing in on The Big Game

Even as we all try to keep warm in this freezer we call the Grand Valley, it will soon become obvious (if it is not already, sorry, Bronco fans) that there is a sporting event Sunday, Feb. 3, that will soon encompass all media!Yes, the Super Bowl is played that day and as good (and sometimes not so good) the game is, people will be flocking to their favorite sports bars or Super Bowl parties.Now one of the more frequent things people will be asking is similar to what the pig says on those insurance company commercials: "Will there be snacks?"I mean, come on, what is the Super Bowl without food!If you are going to go to a bar or restaurant, odds are in your favor that they will be having some kind of spread, but call around as I am sure the offerings will be different. If you are going to a Super Bowl party, check with the host to see if you can bring anything as many, including my sister, have a potluck gathering with people bringing dishes.If you are hosting a party, you gotta decide whether you want to go all-out yourself (which I, in the past, have done) or if you want to just do a few of your "Oh-You-Gotta-Try-This" recipes and have people bring some of their faves. Personally, I lean toward the latter nowadays. If it is not an event that we are catering, put the ego away and actually enjoy the day and not stress!But that is not to say that you cannot still show off! Our "Recipe of The Week" is actually two. What the hey, it is the last game of the season, why not go for it?The first is a great little appetizer called Ceci Fritos, which is usually fried, spiced chickpeas, but I have two versions, one fried and one baked. The other recipe is one that I have always wanted to try and will be doing for the party that I am going to - Sweet & Spicy Bacon Lollipops and I am using a smoked habanero powder that we made.So here's to a great game and a great time with your friends!Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. Reach him at decadencecheesecakes@mindspring.com, via the website at www.decadencecheesecakes.com, or by calling 970-256-4688. Follow the adventures of Decadence on Facebook and on Twitter. We're close to 1,400 friends on Facebook and when we hit 1,500, we'll do another giveaway contest!

These little nuggets are best straight out of the skillet, but they also keep for three days in an air-tight container so I often double the recipe, knowing I'll want another few peas tomorrow after work. And they sure are healthier than potato chips or cheese crackers when I need a mid-day snack. Serves two.1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzos, drained and rinsed1 Tbsp. olive oil1 tsp. garlic powder1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves1-1/2 tsp. ground cuminSalt and pepper to taste1. Drain, rinse and then dry chickpeas in a towel.2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peas begin to pop; about 7 minutes.3. Drain chickpeas on a paper towel, taste and adjust seasonings.4. For the baked version, same ingredients as above, but toss chickpeas in olive oil and other ingredients, maybe a little cayenne, then bake in 450 degrees F oven for 30 minutes.

1 lb. thick sliced bacon1-1/2 cup brown sugar1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (or your favorite spicy pepper)12 lollipop sticks or 6-inch kabob skewers(Optional - 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)Soak sticks or skewers in water for 15-20 minutes so they do not burn in the oven. Slice bacon into 3-inch strips and bake at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, not crispy.Drain on paper towels on a plate.Spread brown sugar on a plate and press bacon slices into it until lightly coated.Take a stick/skewer and skewer half-way each end so that they resemble lollipops. The bacon should just be on the top half of a stick.Broil for about 6 minutes, turning once (until sugar caramelizes). (You can also bake them for about 15 minutes in a 400 degrees F oven.)Put on a plate and dust with the cayenne pepper.Optional: Melt the chocolate chips and drizzle over after dusting with the cayenne.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 17, 2013 01:45PM Published Jan 17, 2013 01:43PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.