Cooks Corner

Plan your Super Bowl Sunday spread

Cucumber dip: Cleo chef Danny Elmaleh says to serve this tangy, cooling snack with the game.
Cucumber dip: Cleo chef Danny Elmaleh says to serve this tangy, cooling snack with the game. Cleo

For some of us, the Super Bowl munchies menu is as crucial as who is on the field.

For your gameday spread, chef Danny Elmaleh of the new Cleo at the Redbury South Beach provided easy and fast recipes for mushroom flatbread and cucumber dip, which can be made in advance.

He suggests a Mediterranean spread that includes lots of hummus with tahini, a selection of olives, chopped salad, braised chick peas, cucumber pickles with dill and a main course of a couscous tagine or kebabs.

Some of the ingredients in the mushroom flatbread may not be familiar to all. The maitake mushrooms are also known as hen-of-the-woods, and are an earthy mushroom that grows at the base of oak trees. You can find them at Asian and gourmet markets. Substitute any wild mushroom, Elmaleh says.

Taleggio is a semisoft Italian cheese that grates easily and melts nicely and has a pungent aroma but mild, almost fruity flavor. If you can’t find it, fontina would be a good substitute.

Lavash in this recipe refers to the flatbread, not the cracker. I found it in a 2-pack that weighed 16 ounces. You can easily double the topping recipe to use both pieces of lavash. In a pinch, substitute pita.

Reader Question

I am close to my 83rd birthday and have never been much of a baker or much of a cook, for that matter. But I did learn how to make amazing biscuits when my mother-in-law introduced me to the secret of Bisquick in the mid 1950s.

I also got the recipe off the box for making a cheese bread that my son talks about to this day. I’d make a “double” grilled cheese on that cheese bread and it made a very fine supper with some soup. He is coming from up north for a visit and I would love to surprise him with one of those sandwiches if you can dig up the recipe.

Beatrice Forester

I found the recipe here in a 1956 Betty Crocker recipe pamphlet which notes it is “wonderful warm, sliced 1/2-inch thick.” I didn’t try it yet for a grilled cheese because it disappeared just as soon as it was cool enough to eat!

The flavor is reminiscent of Red Lobster’s cheese biscuits, so I think next time I’ll spread a little garlic butter and a sprinkle of dried basil on top after I pull it from the oven.


Re: Homemade minestrone soup:

“There was an excellent Italian restaurant in Key Largo years ago that made the best minestrone I have ever tasted. I begged for the secret until I got the answer. They used prime rib bones as the base for the soup. They simmered them for hours until the meat fell off the bones. Then the rest of the ingredients you listed, plus a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of tomato paste. Whenever I cook prime rib I always freeze the bones for soup. Great stuff!!”

Ann Feltgen

I rarely roast prime rib but may make a point to do so — or bring a doggie bag home from a restaurant — just to try that rich broth. I always freeze picked over bones — chicken, turkey, ham, fish — to make into soup or stock when the whim hits, but I usually go out and buy an inexpensive 7-bone chuck roast to make a beef version. That, of course, means skimming off a lot of fat.

Re: Date nut logs

I love dates and your recipe for date nut logs for Kathleen Toomer, who wanted to find the recipe her Mom made, is much like one I bake. I thought I’d also pass along a no-bake version from the Ideals Christmas Cookbook Treasury, which I received in 1981.

Eunice Kollar

Sleuth’s Corner

Q. Is there any way to obtain the recipe for the famous Rascal House cherry, apple or blueberry crumb cakes? There has never been anything like the glory days of that restaurant. I’m sure I'm not the only one who misses it.

Barbara Bergman

Send questions and responses to or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

Easy Cheese Bread

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

3 3/4 cups Bisquick

3/4 cup grated sharp cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all the ingredients together in a bowl and beat for 30 seconds, until well blended. Pour into well-greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake 1 hour. Makes 1 loaf, 18 slices.

Per slice: 136 calories (37 percent from fat), 5.6 g fat (2.4 g saturated, 0.7 g monounsaturated), 17.3 mg cholesterol, 4.1 g protein, 17.5 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fiber, 351 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero for Cook’s Corner from a 1956 General Mills pamphlet.

No-Bake Date Log

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

1 (8-ounce) box dates, chopped

2 cups crisp rice cereal

1 cup pecans, chopped

Powdered sugar

Add sugar to melted butter and stir over medium heat in saucepan. Add dates. Boil 5 minutes and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add rice cereal and pecans. Mix well. Cool slightly. Form into the shape of a log. Roll in powdered sugar. Place on waxed paper. Slice and serve. Makes 16 servings.

Per serving: 185 calories (50 percent from fat), 10.7 g fat (4 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), 15 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 1.8 g fiber, 68 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero for Cook’s Corner from a reader recipe.

Cleo’s Mushroom Flatbread

1 lavash

3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

3 ounces (3/4 cup) mozzarella, shredded.25 ounce (about 1 teaspoons) grated Parmesan

1 1/2 ounces (scant 1/2 cup) Taleggio, grated

4 ounces maitake mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon chives, chopped

1/2 teaspoons chile flakes

3/4 teaspoon garlic oil

Pinch of sea salt

Line a baking sheet with foil or prepare a pizza stone. Brush the lavash with the olive oil and place on the pan. Spread mozzarella, parmesan and Taleggio cheese evenly onto top of the flatbread. Place mushrooms evenly over the cheeses and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees.

To serve: Garnish with chopped chives and chili flakes, drizzle with the garlic flavored oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Slice in 4 pieces as a small plate, or makes 1 entrée serving.

Per serving: 145 calories (43 percent from fat), 6.9 g fat ( 3.9 g saturated, 2.3 g monounsaturated), 23 mg cholesterol, 9.3 g protein, 11.5 g carbohydrates, 1.1 g fiber, 310 mg sodium.

Source: Chef Danny Elmaleh.

Cucumber Yogurt Dip

32 ounces Greek yogurt, drained

2 medium cucumbers, seeded, peeled and grated (about 2 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup or to taste, lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons, or to taste, fresh minced garlic

Salt and cracked pepper to taste

1 bunch finely chopped fresh dill

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on top

Line a mesh sieve with cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter and place over a large bowl. Spoon in the yogurt, cover with plastic wrap and allow to drain in refrigerator for an hour or two, or overnight.

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a non-reactive bowl, except the dill and olive oil. Taste and adjust lemon juice, salt and pepper as needed. When ready to serve, sprinkle on the dill and drizzle with olive oil to taste. Serve with raw vegetables or baked pita wedges. Makes about 5 cups, 15 servings.

Per serving: 45 calories (8 percent from fat), 0.3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6.6 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g fiber, 30 mg sodium.

Source: Chef Danny Elmaleh.