Keep calm. Football and tailgating season is here!
Now that I have your attention…
We are a nation of football enthusiast who live for this time of year when fans gather together with the common interests of good times, good eats and victorious scores. PTO days have been building, work schedules cleared, weekend honey-do-list put on after football season hold, supplies gathered, parking passes purchased, hotel rooms, campground sites and flights booked, menus planned, grills and smokers cleaned, the ESPN college football app downloaded.
Now comes tailgating time.
Proper tailgating takes time to plan, and everyone has a method to their tailgating madness.
Fall means football and tailgating in the South as well as the North, East, and West! We are geared up and good to geaux for Louisiana Saturday night tailgating season.
Saturday kicks off this year’s college football and tailgating season. Tailgating is the good times and good food pass a good time prelude to the game. A good tailgate is defined in different ways, but festive camaraderie is the common ground game goal of all. Tablescapes impress, menus can rival five star restaurants, and the drink flows like the Mississippi River.
A hot chocolate bar is a big hit on cool fall game day afternoons and evenings. I buy a commercial size box of instant hot chocolate packets and prepare as directed in enamel camping mugs. Set up the “bar” with small galvanized buckets or the plastic metallic buckets from the dollar store lined with bandannas in home team or fall colors make super cute holders for marshmallows, chocolate chips, cinnamon and peppermint sticks.
For the over 21 crowd, spike the hot chocolate flavor into the Southern Comfort zone.
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana is the home to Woodland Plantation, the mansion depicted in the 1871 lithograph, A Home on the Mississippi. Post prohibition, the lithograph was licensed for use on, you guessed it, the label of Southern Comfort.
Tailgating Tunes Gotta Have It List
Tablescape ideas, menu suggestions and recipes run the field of creativity. The recipes in this tailgating post give a spirited and seasoned shout out to Louisiana.
LSU Spiked Blueberry Lemonade Recipe
2 oz. vodka
1 handful blueberries
1 pinch sugar
12 oz. lemonade
Add the vodka, blueberries and sugar to the bottom of the glass and use a spoon to muddle (or mash) everything, just until the sugar has dissolved and the blueberries are broken up. Add ice and lemonade, stirring to mix in the vodka-soaked blueberries.
This recipe from one of my quintessential favorite sources of Southern style and c’est si bon recipes, Southern Living.
Warm Gumbo Dip
¼ cup butter
6 green onions, sliced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 cup chopped assorted bell peppers
1 ½ pounds peeled, large raw shrimp, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
3/4 cup sliced pickled okra
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Toasted French bread baguette slices
Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add green onions and next 2 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until peppers are tender. Stir in shrimp and next 2 ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add cream cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat, and stir in okra and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with bread.
Can be reheated at tailgating site in slow cooker or by placing the dip in a pan and warming it on the grill.
This c’est si bon recipe for Creole Sugar ‘N’ Spice Pecans from The Farmgirl Cooks is a delicious stand alone appetizer or complement to a cheese board spread. I invite you to visit The Farmgirl Cooks for more farm fresh delicious recipes.
Creole Sugar ‘N’ Spice Pecans
Add as much cayenne or other spicy chile powder as you like. Pure ancho or chipotle powder are especially good here.
1 egg white
⅓ cup sugar
2 T Creole seasoning purchased or make your own
10 oz pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300° and place a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet. Alternatively, use a silicone baking pan liner.*
In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until frothy. Whisk in sugar and creole seasoning. Using a spatula, stir in pecan halves, making sure to coat them evenly and completely.
Pour the nuts onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, ensuring they are in a single layer. There shouldn’t be much gooey eggy spicy liquid, but if there is, don’t scrape it all out of the bowl and onto the pan. It will just stick to the parchment and will make for more difficult nut removal.
Bake the nuts at 300° for 15 minutes. Give the nuts a stir – I used a large off-set spatula to do the dirty work – then reduce the oven to 250° and bake the nuts for another 10 minutes. Immediately give the nuts another stir to release them from the parchment. Allow them to cool and store in an airtight container (something with a padlock would have been helpful here) for as long as you can stand not eating them.
1/3 cup paprika
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon granulated onion
4 teaspoons dried thyme
4 teaspoons granulated garlic
In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic. Stir to combine. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.
-Places In The Home
Sweet Potato Cajun Fritters
4 to 5 sweet potatoes (about 3 ½ pounds)
2 large egg yolks
¼ pound tasso ham, finely chopped
7 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups pastry flour
3 large eggs, beaten
3 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, roast sweet potatoes until tender, about 1 hour. While sweet potatoes are still warm, peel and pass them through a food mill into a large bowl. Add egg yolks, tasso, cheese, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Using a spatula, gently combine.
Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prepare 3 shallow bowls of pastry flour, egg, and panko. Roll each sweet potato ball in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze overnight.
In a large Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 4 inches, and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry or candy thermometer reads 325°. Add sweet potato balls, in batches, and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with Creole mustard, if desired.
Blackberry-Bourbon Boston Butt
1 cup bourbon
1 cup blackberry jam, melted
¾ cup local honey
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 (8- to 10-pound) bone-in Boston butt pork shoulder
1 cup Cajun seasoning
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
Pecan wood chips, soaked in water at least 30 minutes
In a medium bowl, whisk together bourbon, jam, honey, and pepper. Using a meat injector, inject bourbon mixture into pork on all sides, around the bone, and throughout the meat.
In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning and brown sugar. Liberally rub seasoning mixture on all sides of pork. Cover pork in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat smoker to 225° to 250°. Sprinkle soaked wood chips over coals. Place pork, fat side up, in a disposable aluminum pan, and place in smoker. Cook, covered with lid, for 7 to 10 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 190°. Remove from heat, reserve pan drippings, and let stand for 30 minutes. Shred meat, discarding fat and bone.
Serve with pan drippings, if desired.
2 (9-inch round loaves) muffuletta bread, halved crosswise
½ pound thinly sliced salami, divided
½ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, divided
½ pound thinly sliced mortadella
½ pound thinly sliced soppressata, divided
½ pound thinly sliced provolone
5 cups Four Generation Olive Salad, divided
On bottom halves of muffuletta bread, layer half of salami, prosciutto, mortadella, soppressata, and provolone on each bread half. Top each with 2½ cups olive salad, add top half of the loaves; slice sandwiches into quarters, and serve.
Muffulettas may be made up to a few hours in advance. Cover, and refrigerate until serving.
Four Generation Olive Salad
1 anchovy fillet
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cups coarsely chopped cured green olives with pimiento
2 cups coarsely chopped black olives
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrot
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup finely diced cauliflower (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup capers, chopped
10 baby artichokes, boiled and quartered
1 thinly sliced lemon
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
In a large bowl, combine anchovy and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mash with a fork until combined. Add olives, celery, carrot, fennel, cauliflower, garlic, capers, artichokes, lemon, and oregano, stirring to combine. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to just cover mixture, and stir well. Cover, and refrigerate 1 hour.
Taste mixture, and add lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed. Serve.
I use a seeded Italian bread loaf from the bakery at Walmart. When I have friends or family headed down NOLA way I request a jar (or 4) of one of these. Also available on Amazon.
Don’t Forget the Flavor!
Who wants a Bloody Mary?
Now for Something Sweet
Aunt Sally’s Chewy Pralines
When only the original will do, and no recipe I’ve tried quite captures that New Orleans sweetness, place an order for these original creole delights guaranteed to be a sweet hit.
Place your order online or by phoning Aunt Sally’s Original Creole Pralines direct at (800) 642-7257
Talk about easy!
Tailgating Season Food Safety Tips
Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or icepacks. The temperature should be kept below 40º F. A cooler placed in the back seat of an air-conditioned vehicle vs. a hot trunk will ensure cooler storage.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Two hours is the max time foods should be allowed to sit out. If it is an exceptionally hot day or evening I would adjust the max time to one hour. Our tailgating mantra is “chunk it” when the party is over. Food poisoning is never a welcomed guest at any party.
Here’s wishing all you football fans a happy tailgating season!