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Game for anything: Dishes inspired by Olympic sports

With the 2002 Winter Olympics in their own backyard, many Utahns learned more about events such as hockey, the skeleton and the luge.

Now you can rekindle some of those Olympic memories, thanks to some recipes from Associated Press that were inspired by the various sports.

While the games are on in Vancouver, you can cook up some dishes, then sit back and watch athletes compete on the ice and snow.

Crostini Sleds: These crostini resemble people flying head first down a hill on a tiny sled, as happens in the skeleton event. Let them fly right onto a platter for chowing while watching the games.

CREAMY TURKEY DIJON CROSTINI

Start to finish: 20 minutes

12-inch baguette, cut into 12 slices

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 ounces smoked deli-sliced turkey

12 fresh basil leaves

1 orange bell pepper, cored and cut into 12 slices

Heat the oven to 375 F.

Arrange the bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the bread, then season with salt and pepper. Toast until just golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the toasts from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese and mustard.

When the toasts have cooled, spread each with a bit of the cream cheese mixture. Wrap one basil leaf around each pepper strip, then wrap a slice of deli turkey around that to make little "cigars." Place one on top of each crostini.

Serves 12.

Hockey Player Potatoes: Hockey brings to mind two things — frozen lakes and big, hungry players. This hearty fish dish is sure to satisfy Olympic-size appetites. Any white fish works well.

PAN-FRIED CATFISH WITH SMOKY POTATOES

Start to finish: 25 minutes

1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced

Salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons peanut oil

4 catfish fillets (about 1 1?3 pounds)

In a deep medium skillet over medium, combine the potatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. They should be almost cooked through.

Add the olive oil, butter, paprika, onion, bell pepper and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until the onion and potatoes are tender, about another 5 minutes. Cover and set aside.

Place a large, dry skillet over medium-high. When the pan is very hot, add the peanut oil. Sear each catfish fillet for 2 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over a bed of potatoes.

Serves 4.

Skating Pond Pie: This pie resembles a smooth, glassy lake of ice perfect for skating.

BUTTERMILK PIE

Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)

8 ounces gingersnap cookies

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg, separated into white and yolk

3 whole eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk, warmed

1 teaspoon vanilla

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat the oven to 375 F.

In a food processor, grind the gingersnap cookies to fine crumbs. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. With the processor running, add the melted butter and process until well mixed.

Press the crumb mixture into a deep 9-inch pie plate, making sure to go up the sides.

In a small bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Using a pastry brush, paint the crust all over with the egg white. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust feels firm to the touch and is slightly golden around the edges.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining egg yolk, the 3 whole eggs, the flour, sugar and salt. Whisk in the warmed buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest. Pour into the baked pie crust. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the custard is set and only the middle jiggles slightly when shaken. Let cool on a wire rack. Leftover pie should be refrigerated. Serves 8.

Bobsled Bread: Intended to resemble a bobsled, this large loaf of bread is stuffed with a blend of mushrooms and shallots.

MUSHROOM AND SHALLOT-STUFFED BREAD

Start to finish: 2 hours (45 minutes active)

For the dough:

1 cup warm water (about 105 F)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

For the filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, chopped

8 ounces mixed mushrooms, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until the mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes.

With the mixer on low, add the salt and flour. Mix until the dough comes together, then increase speed to medium-low and mix for 3 minutes. Add the cheese and mix until incorporated. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and onion. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, then saute until the mushrooms are soft and any liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

To assemble loaf: On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 15-by-8 inch rectangle.

Spread the filling over the dough, leaving 1 inch of dough uncovered at the edge all the way around. Working with a long side, roll the dough up like a sausage. Moisten the end, then press or pinch to seal.

Place the bread, seam down, on a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise for 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 F. Use a sharp knife to make 2 or 3 shallow slashes in the top of the loaf to let steam escape. Sprinkle the loaf with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted at the center reads 200 F.

Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before slicing. Serves 6-8.

Biathlon Steaks: Biathlon competitors don't generally aim for deer when they ski and shoot, but accidents happen, right? These steaks also can be made using bison or beef.

VENISON STEAKS OVER SMASHED CAULIFLOWER

Start to finish: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and ground black pepper

1 to 1 1/2 pounds venison loin or tenderloin, cut into 4 steaks

Two 1-pound packages frozen cauliflower

2 tablespoons water

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

Salt and ground black pepper

In gallon-size zip-close plastic bag, mix the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Use paper towels to pat dry the steaks, then add them to the bag of seasonings, shaking to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, coat the grates of a grill with oil or cooking spray. Heat the grill to medium-high.

Sear the steaks 3-4 minutes per side, or until an thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 130 F (for medium-rare). Transfer the steaks to a plate, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare the cauliflower, place it and the water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until completely tender. Drain any excess water. Using a potato masher, smash the cauliflower. Add the Parmesan and cream, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the venison. Serves 4.

Luge Zucchini Sleds: There aren't a lot of foods that easily convey the high-speed downhill thrills of the luge. But you can get in the mood with these sausage and apple-stuffed zucchini sleds.

SAUSAGE AND APPLE-STUFFED ZUCCHINI

Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active)

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 medium carrot, finely diced

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed (optional)

4 ounces Italian sausage meat, crumbled

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced

3 cups stuffing-mix bread cubes

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

4 medium zucchini

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a large saute pan over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot, celery and fennel seeds, then saute until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and apple, then saute until the meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Add the stuffing, then mix well. Drizzle in the broth, then mix well. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or melon baller to scrape out the seedy center of each half, then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large, shallow baking dish.

Fill each half with the stuffing mixture, packing it well. Bake until the zucchini are tender, about 20 minutes. Serves 8.

Snowboard Blondies: You can dream up some killer snowboarding moves these easy-to-make blondies. Use the white chocolate ganache to turn any cake or brownie into a snowy scene.

BLONDIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Start to finish: 45 minutes, plus chilling

Servings: 9

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

12-ounce bag white chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat the oven to 325 F. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and thick. Fold in flour, butter and extracts. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set and just golden at the edges.

Meanwhile, to prepare the ganache, in the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate chips and cream. Stir until melted and smooth.

When the bars are slightly cooled, pour the ganache over the top and spread to the edges. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the ganache has set up. Serves 9.

Skis and Slopes: A mountain of soft white goat cheese paired with asparagus spear "skis" makes for a fine arranged salad reminiscent of Alpine skiing.

ASPARAGUS AND APPLE SALAD WITH PROSCIUTTO AND GOAT CHEESE

Start to finish: 20 minutes

8-ounce log chevre (goat cheese)

8 spears asparagus, bottoms trimmed

2 scallions

4 slices prosciutto

1 medium green apple, quartered and cored

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Cut the log of goat cheese into quarters, arranging each on a serving plate.

In a medium saucepan over high, bring 3 inches of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and blanch until the spears are bright green and just tender when pierced with a fork, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and cover in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again, and dry the spears.

Lean 2 asparagus spears on each portion of goat cheese. Cut each scallion in half lengthwise. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around a quarter of apple and tie with a length of scallion. Place on top of the asparagus "skis." Serves 4.