Oh geez, Olympics times again? It was the Olympics commission's worst move to split the summer and winter Olympics into off years. Now it feels like we're always watching the Olympics. It seems like just yesterday that the internet was packed with silly jokes about Michael Phelps' endorsement of Weedies, doesn't it?
Well they're back again, and to celebrate, might I suggest a totally appropriate pre-games meal of ring-shaped foods? You get extra points if you can take all of these ring-shaped foods and arrange them into the Olympics symbol.
They're ring-shaped, they're delicious, and it's impossible to find a decent one in London, which means you have no choice but to make them yourself. Fortunately, we have a great primer that'll show you how to do just that.
Guinness Onion Rings
I'd've loved to have found some London-themed onion rings for this menu, but these Guinness-battered rings will have to do instead. They're crispy, fried, oh-so-ring-shaped, and fried in a Guinness-based batter and we all know that Guinness is from England. Or Great Britain. Or ok, the United Kingdom. Or fine, none-of-the-above-but-they-speak-English-there-and-sometimes-Irish-so-it-counts-goddammit.
Ring-Shaped Pasta With Broccoli and Tomato
The Olympics are all about being healthy and competitive, right? Well there's no faster path to good health than to stop eating meat, and there's no quicker way to get into a good, competitive fight than to make a bold claim like that one, which makes vegetarian food (vegan, even!) the ideal choice for a first course during an Olympics-themed meal.
In this dish, broccoli is braised down until rich and meaty, combined with a fresh tomato sauce, and tossed with ring-shaped rigatoni.
Ok, fine—perhaps our meatloaf recipe is not exactly ring-shaped, but there's nothing stopping you from packing it into a bundt pan before baking it, am I right?
This recipe uses a combination of pork and veal (no beef!) for a meatloaf that's ultra-tender and moist. Just like my bum was that time I missed the mat after high jumping in middle school track & field. And no, this meatloaf is not not your mother's meatloaf.
Orange Blossom Bundt Cake with Peaches
Finally, finish off your meal with a dessert that celebrates both everything ring shaped and the best fruits of the summer season. This Orange-Blossom Sesame Cake is baked in a bundt pan and served with a sweet, aromatic fresh peach syrup.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.