So we didn't have an edition of GFG last week, due to the combination of a short-week, Thursday night away game against Miami, and the general depression and feelings of angst after losing to NC State (and being exposed to one of the dbagiest fanbases in the ACC). My apologies to all, I'm sure without tailgate and beer advice, you were all even more depressed; alas.
This week, however, is a red letter week! We play one of our three main rivals- the University of Maryland. I always rank the order of our rivalries as follows:
3) Virginia Tech
This is for a few reasons. One, we've had a rivalry with Maryland longer than anyone but UNC. Two, Terp fans are legendarily obnoxious. Googling "Maryland fans worst" gets you over 12,000,000 results. Paradoxically, even Virginia Tech fans and players agree on this point- not to mention Maryland natives themselves, and the national news media. Heck, even the Maryland faculty and executives get in on the hatin'.
Gosh. I might think we're rivals with all the above folks, but I sure as hell don't go out of my way to slander the crap out of their institutions and such- my God, people, this is college sports. And even the Clemson and NC State fans complain about 'em. Maryland? Here's a tip, guys- if even Clemson and NC State are complaining about it, you're doing it wrong.
Oh, and lastly, I only rank Maryland as second on their list because their mascot is a turtle. It's a turtle. Guys? A turtle. Okay, so a goat, yeah, but a goat eats frickin' metal and could really screw you up with it's horns, right? And a castrated turkey, I dunno... it's not inspiring. But a turtle? Nobody fears a turtle, unless it's because of salmonella poisoning.
Ooops! I've gotten a bit off topic. On to the good stuff!
Hmm, there's not really any turtle-based dishes to tailgate with- unless you're these guys- and kickoff at the Maryland game is at 12:30. So we're going to do a breakfast, brunch-ish theme today. Which is great, because it gives me an excuse to make one of my favorite dishes of all- Skillet Corn Bread!
This is easier to do at home, but if you've got a covered gas grill to take tailgating with you, this can be done on-site, too! Otherwise, make it at home and it's easy enough to warm up once you get where you're going! I love corn bread because there's an indefinite number of variations of how to make it, and everyone's got a little favorite extra they like to throw in- jalapenos, green chiles, fresh corn, grated cheese, etc.
Skillet corn bread is my favorite, because with the cast-iron skillet, you get nice, even heat, and your corn bread has an immaculate looking, almost artistic evenly-brown crust. Even better, like I said, you've already got a serving dish right with it, and the cast-iron will keep it warm, or allow it to be warmed back up after the fact.
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
Drop of vanilla
Package of instant vanilla pudding mix
Combine the buttermilk, eggs, and baking soda in one bowl and beat 'em well. If you want to, use the instant pudding mix here as well. It's not part of the original recipe, obviously, but I always use it, because it makes the corn bread moist as all get-out, and doesn't add or detract to the taste. Only use about a third of the mix, though- maybe half. That's all you need. Too much, and it won't cook right.
Anyway, mix together the cornmeal, sugar, and salt in another bowl, making sure they're well-sifted. Now add the buttermilk mixture, the butter, and the vanilla, and mix 'em all together. Grease the skillet, and then bake the whole thing at about 450 degrees until it looks beautiful- that's anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Just keep an eye on it, and as soon as it looks like you want it to- boom! You're done.
Here's another twist on this recipe- add another 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of milk to the mixture above, and the batter is thin enough to make awesomely delicious waffle corn bread. That's right- pour it into a waffle iron, and serve it with butter, molasses, syrup, beans, whatever you'd like. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside- oooh, it doesn't get better than that.
This dish absolutely should be accompanied by large quantities of bacon. I cannot stress that enough. Bacon bacon bacon. Beautiful, delicious bacon.
I have to apologize here- I got you all excited, especially after making you think about bacon, and then I have to tear your world down. Hard to find, but this is about the closest approximation to a Terp woman I could discover on tha intarwebz-
I guess you can see why I always have to put the sections in this order- we're definitely gonna need the next one.
So, again, since this is a noon game, I thought we'd do things a bit differently. Yeah, it's always five o'clock somewhere, but given the morningness of the tailgating, and the fact the Weather Channel says the morning temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-forties, I figure I'd change it up a bit. Now, mid-forties, that's almost shorts wearing weather to me- but remember, I'm a Green Bay Packers fan, and those guys are nucking futz. And while I still know how to drive when there's that odd white stuff falling from the skies everyone around here is so terrified of, I don't care for the cold.
So let's see if we can take the edge off of it with what I like to call The Wake-up Juice- sometimes also known as a Cowboy Bloody Mary.
So, this is mostly a standard Bloody Mary recipe, with some notable changes that Yankees and Maryland fans probably won't be fond of. This one includes horseradish, and it's garnished with pickled okra. This gives it a pretty unique flavor, and a very intriguing bite. There's also a virgin variation to this one called the "Bloody Shame", so-named because it's delicious, but it's a bloody shame there's no vodka in it.
A jigger of vodka (about 1.5oz for those of you not bartendingly-inclined, preferably Tito's)
5 ounces of V8 (or tomato juice, if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste
3-4 dashes of Tabasco
1 pickled okra
Moisten the rim of the glass you're going to use and coat it in celery salt. Combine the vodka, V8, and horseradish and mix well. Pour it over ice. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste. Add Tabasco, to taste. Garnish it with okra- or celery, if the grocery stores in your area are inexplicably out of it, or it's too expensive (ahem). If you'd like to make a 2-quart pitcher of this recipe, simply increase the sizes to: 1 1/2 cups Vodka, 48 ounces V8, 3 tablespoons horseradish, 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce, and 2 teaspoons of Tabasco.
That'll get you fired up and ready to watch a great game of football! Now, onto my prediction for the game. I've heard people say, "Look at their record!" Yeah? Three of the Terps’ six defeats are to top-25 teams – West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Clemson – and all three were competitive. Heck, they were ahead of Clemson until Clemson had their record-comeback of all time (which surpassed their record comeback against UVA from twenty years prior, so, yay for that, I guess). Another was to Florida State, which has looked significantly better as the year progresses, and whom I think will be (by far) our biggest challenge to finish off the schedule this year.
This is another one of those "we should win it" games- but then again, Southern Miss and NC State were "we should win it" games. Let's see if we can continue our success from last game into this one. If we play like we did last Thursday, and Maryland plays like they did on Saturday, man, it won't even be close. But remember, Maryland had some clutch players injured who are now back on the line, and in rivalry games, all the "on paper" stuff goes right out the window.
Either way, it'll be a great football game. So once again, thanks for stopping by, folks, and don't forget to keep your hands on the beer and off the grill. I'll see you on Saturday!