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Gridiron cakes – either favoring the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals, or not taking a side at all – are a sweet Super Bowl treat available at several local grocery stores.

Pete G. Wilcox/the times leader

Lori Monka of Swoyersville decorates a Super Bowl cake in the bakery department of Gerrity’s Market in Luzerne in advance of the upcoming Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.

PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER

Earlier this month, Christa Cleeton found herself rooting for the Arizona Cardinals – but only for a few hours.

It happened Jan. 18, when the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles to earn a ticket to the Super Bowl and Cleeton, a former WBRE-TV producer who’s been living in Arizona since May, was swept up in the celebratory mood of her new home.

Later that day, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens, and Cleeton’s enduring loyalties came to the surface.

“I have to be true to my Steelers,” she said, explaining how she’ll wear her cherished, black-and-gold Steelers sweater – a gift her mom bought more than 15 years ago – to a Super Bowl party in Arizona, where she now works for a CBS affiliate, KOLD-TV.

She’ll likely be surrounded by Cardinal fans who, she expects, will be munching Tex-Mex cuisine.

“You’re not going to have hot-temperature food, because it’s in the 70s most days,” she said. “There’ll be chips and salsa, guacamole.”

And she plans to contribute a seven-layer dip, which should fit in nicely.

If she was back in Pennsylvania, Cleeton said, ideal game fare for a Steelers fan would be “chili and Sloppy Joes, food that’s going to warm you up.”

A warm dish is just what football fan Kathy Drosey of Hanover Township has in mind for her contribution to a local Super Bowl party. “I’m thinking of homemade pasta,” she said, adding that she likes both teams enough to be happy no matter which one wins.

For dessert, the folks at A Boulevard Bakery in Wilkes-Barre and Gerrity’s in Luzerne might suggest a Super Bowl cake.

At A Boulevard Bakery, owner Harold McNeill said, he’s making football-shaped cakes that combine the black and gold of the Steelers and the red and white of the Cardinals.

At Gerrity’s, bakery manager Helen Pace said, the cakes symbolize one team or the other. “We’re making 96 Steelers cakes and four Cardinals cakes,” she said. “We’re guessing that’s what people will want around here, and we don’t want to have too many left over.”

If you’re looking for a way to combine a hearty, cold-weather food, suitable for a Pittsburgh winter, with some Southwestern flavor, here’s a recipe for Black Bean Chili, which comes from the “Best of America Traditional Regional Recipes” cookbook.

BLACK BEAN CHILI

2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight and drained

2 tablespoons coarse salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds ground chuck

1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

2 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups chopped, peeled, fresh or canned tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1 bay leaf

Put the beans in a large pot. Add fresh cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add the coarse salt and continue simmering until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes or longer. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the onions and bell pepper. Cook the vegetables over medium heat until just softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking 1 minute more.

Add the beef and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until brown and crumbly. Reduce the heat and stir in the cumin, cayenne, paprika, oregano and salt.

Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, drained black beans, wine and bay leaf and stir well. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste for seasoning, Remove the bay leaf and serve immediately, with chopped fresh coriander, sour cream and shredded cheese for toppings, if desired.

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