I'd like to start off a new weekly tradition here at Streaking the Lawn, which I call "U-V-A! Go, food! GO!". Though the moniker only singles out one of them, every Wednesday from now until the end of football season, we're going to be talking about the three most important things in college football, outside of the games themselves. In no particular order:
In our inaugural edition, we're traveling to Atlanta, Georgia and the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Georgia, for those of you unfamiliar with our friends from the Peach State, is the home to a wide variety of unique flora and fauna, is well known for their many contributions to American culture and society, and a public school system second to none.
Now, unfortunately, I don't have any recipes that involve the traditional Georgia Tech tailgating cuisine, and I'm not sure how one would prepare or consume actual yellow jackets without large quantities of Montgomery Country moonshine, so perhaps we'll have to go a little oblique on this one and do just some general, old fashioned, delicious freaking football food. My rules for good football food are simple; easy to make, easy to eat, tasty as hell, and NO FANCY SHIT! I see some of the folks in the Virginia Athletics Foundation parking lot with lumpia, or bruschetta with proschuttio, or even (God help me) gougères. I mean, come on, talk about playing to the stereotype. Ridiculous. Why not just crack out the Zima and caviar?
So this week, I think we'll start it off easy- Jalapeno Bites.
Why "bites"? Because "poppers" is the douchiest thing I've ever heard of. This ain't Shooters', son. There ain't any goofy shit on the walls. Y'aren't required to wear 37 pieces of flair. So these will never, ever be "poppers". Anyway, this is a recipe I picked up a few years back at a tailgate for this team, believe it or not- yeah, those folks take their high school football real serious like. It's become one of my main fare at tailgates and football functions. When I lived in Green Bay after I got out of the Navy, I used to make these by the gross for drunk Packers fans (though, to be fair, are there any other kinds of Packers fans?), and I always- always- ran out of them early.
Here's what you need- jalapenos, cream cheese, and bacon. Good bacon- spend a coupla extra bucks and get the stuff from the meat counter at Kroger. It'll be worth it, and those are excellent sized pieces of bacon that'll take care of two or three jalapenos, at least. What kind of bacon? Totally up to you. I tend to go for a nice applewood smoked bacon, as I've found a particular affinity for the taste combination that ensues when it's cooked. But you can use whatever you like; I always encourage folks to play with the recipe until you find a combination that works for you.
Anyhow, take the jalapenos and cut them in half length-wise. De-seed them and rinse the middle out real quick- for those of you unfamiliar with peppers, the majority of the capsaicin (and thus the "burn") are in the seeds. So this kicks a lot of the heat out of the peppers. Fill the middle of the pepper with cream cheese. Wrap the whole thing with bacon, stab it with a toothpick, and slap it on a grill or in an oven (at about 350 degrees). Cook it until the bacon is done and boom! That's it!
I like to put these offset on my propane grill whilst I'm making burgers or brats as my main course, because it adds to the flavor; I don't have to go back and forth between the grill and an oven; and they're easy to set up ahead of time and take to your tailgate to prepare on location! It's easy enough I suspect even engineering students could figure it out. On top of that, they're cheap and damn delicious. Still got enough of a bite to make them interesting, but it's mild enough that even a Yankee or Yellow Jacket could handle it.
Perhaps explaining their intensive concentration on football practice and having to resort to alternative methods for enticing new recruits to play at Georgia Tech, I've found an example of the elusive female Georgia Tech student.
Hmm... I think the next section will be particularly important.
Beer! You can't have football without beer. Now, understand, I'm talking beer, folks. Not the crap the frat boys load into multiple carts at Food Lion or Kroger with and giggle as they go up to the cashier. That's not beer. That's a couple steps up from filtered urine.
Now, I might be a beer snob, but I ain't gonna rain on more traditional fare like Miller or Budweiser more than I have to. They ain't the best, but I don't think anyone expects them to be. And they serve an important purpose; especially in this day and age, working people, when they get home from work, just want to be able to sit down and relax with a beer that they don't have to pay $14.99/six pack for, or hear a lecture from some pretentious jerk about the relative clarity of the beer, or the strain of yeast used, or where the hops was grown.
So on that note, this week we're going to choose an easy fare; Yuengling Traditional Lager. Often priced the same as the Big 3- Miller, Coors, and Budweiser- if you buy this beer, your money is going to an American company, rather than a South African or Belgian one. Yuengling also has the distinction of being the oldest operating brewing company in the United States. It's made, and marketed, as I mentioned above- for the working person, someone who wants something better than Miller or Bud, but something that's still affordable, even for folks on a budget.
Kroger's selling a 12-pack this week of aluminum cans for $12. Hard to beat. Great companion for the Jalapeno Bites from above, and, much more importantly- for a great day of UVA Football!
Finally, my line on the game- UVA pulls off the upset in Miami-fashion, wrecks Tevin Washington's day, and picks up our first win en route to the national championship game! Either that, or we have a UNC-esque game. Play a great game, but lose anyhow, kind-of like how Maryland did it last week.
Well, folks, that wraps up our first edition of "UVA! Go, food! GO!" As always, keep your hand on the beer and off the grill, I'll see you on Saturday!