Food for Your Tailgate
Even though it’s still hot as Hades around here, the season has changed. There is a frenzy in the air, excitement. The long winter of college football has passed and a new season is upon us.
We live for football down south. As soon as the season ends, the countdown begins for the next year. On Friday nights starting in August, high school football reigns supreme, followed by college game day on Saturdays. Saturday schedules shift from revolving around summer fun and trips to the beach to game times. If you go out and about while crimson and orange are playing, the streets are empty. Mobile turns into a ghost town.
In Alabama you’re either crimson, or orange. Technically I’m crimson and orange. Now y’all don’t freak out (I think I can hear my cousins Chad and Jason having heart attacks right now)…I’m not one of those people that says they root for both Alabama and Auburn. I was born into an Alabama family, so I’m crimson, but I went to McGill-Toolen Catholic for high school, so I’m also orange. Even though I don’t watch every single game crimson plays (now I know Chad and Jason are having heart attacks) and I can’t make every single game orange plays, I still love game day.
I like listening to Eli Gold call the games for the Tide on the radio while I’m editing photographs, or running errands. It makes me think of Gramps and Pop. It’s nostalgic. If I can’t make it to see the Yellow Jackets on Friday nights, I tune into Archangel Radio to hear my former religion teacher Pat Arensberg call the game along with David Renshaw and Tom McDonald.
Football is tradition down here. It’s the essence of fall, my favorite season of the year. Football is a lazy Saturday, good food, time with family and friends. It’s the stranger in line at the grocery store greeting you with a jovial “Roll Tide!” because you have on a crimson shirt (because you wouldn’t be wearing Crimson if you weren’t pulling for the Tide on game day). Football is as much of the south as front porches, barbeque and sweet tea.
And so it begins again this weekend–football season, the most glorious time of the year for southerners. It’s time to don our fan apparel and cheer for our teams. In honor of the kickoff of the season, I thought I’d share a game day treat–a photograph of some of my dad’s mouthwatering ribs (the only ribs I will eat because they are the best!) and a couple recipes for some super yummy game-day appetizers. Now go declare your loyalty! Let the rivalries reignite!
White Bean Dip
I love hummus and this Giada De Laurentiis recipe for white bean dip has become my go to recipe for any occasion that calls for an easy to make snack. I’ve made this dip so many times that I don’t even get out the recipe for it anymore. I did make a few changes to the original. I use two 15 oz cans of beans, three to four tablespoons of lemon juice and one garlic clove (half of a clove if the clove is extra large). I add just enough olive oil until it is the consistency that I like, which is smooth and creamy. Using two cans of beans will serve a crowd of about 15. Serve with homemade pita chips or fresh veggies.
Greek Salad Skewers
I first made these little one bite wonders last Christmas when I needed an extra quick recipe. This is really all about assembly. I use block feta (cut into cubes), heirloom baby tomatoes and green olives, but any combo of Greek salad ingredients will work. I like to serve the skewers with a simple red wine vinaigrette.
For the skewers:
- 1 block of feta cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 pint of baby heirloom tomatoes
- 1 jar of pitted Sicilian olives
For the red wine vinaigrette:
Combine three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a dip bowl. No need to whisk it together.
Crimson Punch (recipe per 6oz glass)
- Pomegranate Juice
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Perrier, or other sparkling water
- Simple Syrup (optional)
This is a fun drink to make because you can prepare all the ingredients and let each person make their drink to their liking. Most Southerners like sweet drinks, but not me. I prefer my tea un-sweetened and my fruit punches tart. Fill your glass one third to one half with pomegranate juice, add one tablespoon of fresh lime juice, a tablespoon of simple syrup if you want it sweetened (if you like super sweet drinks add more), and fill the glass the rest of the way with Perrier. To turn this punch into a cocktail, add Prosecco instead of sparkling water. It’s delicious and refreshing either way!