Tailgating has come a long way

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

Today’s Special

Some sources say that tailgating started at a football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869 when food was served off the back of a horse, which I rather doubt.

Tailgating started on the back of a chuck wagon when meals were served to pioneers, then farm hands and cowboys.  When spectators started gathering for football games it was only natural to bring food because the games were played out in open fields on the outskirts of town.

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Cold meat sandwiches were probably served from the back of a wagon at those first football games. Then when pick-up trucks came on the scene, food brought from home was conveniently served from the dropped tailgate.  And the rest is history. Take a look at the recipes below for wherever and however you tailgate this fall.

The flavor of this creamy Roquefort dip will challenge any dip for the most valuable player at your tailgate. And all tailgaters love a good guac!  Bring plenty of good quality, sturdy chips for this one.

If you lug the grill to the game or just set up in the backyard, try a burger bar this season.  There are unlimited options with these personalized toppings.  Make as many burgers as needed and set up the buffet with all the trimmings and a variety of buns. That’s the game plan.

Edamame (eh-dah-MAH-meh) is the Japanese word for a green soybean and they are crunchy and delicious in this toasted corn salad. Find edamame in the freezer section of the grocery store. You’ll score big!

This hashbrown casserole is scrumptious whether served on china or Chinet plates.  Make at home, carry to the game in an insulated tote or reheat on a grill.

And for extra points, an easy-to-carry loaf cake.  This famous Mississippi State bakery delight makes 2 cakes, one with and one without praline crumbles. No fumbling here.

Creamy Roquefort Dip

Mash 1 medium clove of garlic in a mortar or with the flat side of knife into a paste, add a pinch of Kosher salt. Place in a small bowl, add ½ pound Roquefort cheese; mash the cheese into the garlic paste with a spoon.  Stir in 1 ½ cups crème fraiche (or equal amount sour cream) and freshly ground black pepper to taste; add ½ cup heavy cream. Should be thinner than sour cream.  Add more salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 1 hour; serve with raw vegetables.

Chunky Guac

Toss 1 cup diced fresh tomato with 3 tablespoons finely diced red onion, ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Let stand for 5 minutes.  Add 2 large avocadoes, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound); gently mash into the tomato mixture with a fork and it’s ready!

Burger Bar

Grilled burgers, seasoned with Kosher salt and black pepper with the following toppings.

Increase topping recipes to as much as you need to serve your team.

1.Traditional: mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, sliced tomatoes, onion, lettuce leaves, dill pickles and American Cheese slices.

2.South of the border: For chipotle ketchup sauté one thinly sliced onion in oil, adding 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in 12 ounces tomato puree, 2 teaspoons tomato paste, 2 canned chipotle peppers (seeded, minced), 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons ground coriander, cooked until thickened about 25 minutes, and cooled; serve with sliced jalapeños.

3. European: Slices of folded prosciutto, ground black pepper and fresh arugula leaves.

4. New England: Crispy cooked good quality bacon and Vermont white cheddar cheese slices (heat on grill to melt the cheese)

5. Deli-style: thinly sliced rings of one red onion marinated in 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sugar and pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for at least 30 minutes.

6. Mediterranean: Make sun-dried tomato & basil with 8 jarred, drained sun-dried tomatoes. Combine with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and fresh black pepper plus a few chopped fresh basil leaves.

Toasted Corn Salad

1 cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked per package directions, drained & cooled

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 ¼ cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 3 medium ears

2 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon minced garlic

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups quartered cherry tomatoes

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh mint

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet. Add cut corn, cook stirring occasionally until toasted to a medium brown, then cool. In small bowl, whisk yogurt, lemon juice, honey, garlic and salt. Slowly pour in the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, whisking constantly until well blended. In serving bowl, toss edamame with corn mixture and herbs.  Slowly add half vinaigrette, tossing gently. Serve at room temperature.

Praline Pound Cake

4 sticks butter, cut in cubes and softened; use 1 tablespoon for pans

2 ½ cups sugar

10 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 ½ cups all- purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 ¼ cups crumbled store-bought pralines

2 tablespoons dark rum

Butter two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. With electric mixer cream butter and sugar, scraping down sides. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks with vanilla until yolks are frothy.  With mixer on medium-low, slowly blend yolks into creamed butter mixture, mixing for 4 minutes.  In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and eggs whites alternately to the creamed butter mixture, about at a time. Mix batter until it is incorporated, stir in lemon zest.  Pour half the batter in one pan. Fold pralines and rum into remaining batter and mix well.  Pour praline batter into the other buttered pan. Bake plain cake in 350° oven for 1 hour and the praline cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes, then remove to finish cooling.