Rivalry weekend. Here we are, folks! Last game of the regular season, and we're on the cusp of going to the ACC Championship Game; man, if you'd have told me that a year ago... I dunno. I'd have wanted to believe you, but I thought progress was going to be a teeeny bit more incremental than that. Of course, none of that means anything if we don't beat Virginia Tech, in our house! Yes, that's right; old Vippy Sue, from down in Hooterville, winners of the past seven Commonwealth Cups, something that hasn't been seriously contested since George Welsh was head coach here in Charlottesville.
While our traditional rival has always been (and, as far as I'm concerned, will always be) UNC, there's always something to say about beating the folks down in Blacksburg and taking bragging rights for the Commonwealth. Personally, I'd like to see both programs thrive and show people just what Commonwealth teams can do (and apparently Frank Beamer agrees with me)- but then again, I'd also like to stuff one down their throats and watch 'em walk out of Scott Stadium in a daze.
Mostly because of their hubris, their arrogance; they claim to be the ones who are "downtrodden", not taken seriously by those mean old folks in Charlottesville with that old school! Those jerks think they're better than us! We have a decent engineering school and did you know according to one study conducted by Richmond BizSense Hokie grads make $200-500 more a year immediately following graduation than those cheese-eating, Zima-sipping, ascot-wearing jerks! And so, if you look around, you can see the byproduct of that; the "FuckUVA" hashtags on Twitter, the increased admonitions of what a ridiculous coach Mike London is (he cried once at a football game, what a baby), ranting and raving about how UVA's just overachieving and VT will "put them back where they belong". Chase Minnifield said once, "Winning programs, they don’t worry about big games." I think that's a pretty relevant quote, along with this beauty from Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." If the boys and girls down south were truly not concerned with the game, they wouldn't be screaming and hollering so much.
But I digress; I got on my soapbox and we're trying to talk about beer, women, and food! So, I'll get right down to it! Now, for those of you who are unaware, a Hokie is a castrated turkey. Oh, the Virginia Tech website and any fans you come across will angrily deny this (remember my Hamlet quote from above), but just ignore them, 'cos it's totally true. Lord only knows why you name your mascot after a castrated turkey; too much Montgomery County moonshine, I suppose.
In any case, I'm not sure why you'd bother to castrate 'em in the first place, since there's not much of substance there to being with (hey-yo!), but it gives me an idea for this weeks' tailgate offering. Now, when I lived in Texas, I was introduced to a variety of delectable treats, but this one takes the cake, so to speak, and it's often served at special occasions- like tailgating for a rivalry game. Heck, in Texas, that's about as big of an event as you can come by. They make Yankees a little nervous; I've made them for my friends from up north before, and they tend to love 'em until I explain a bit about 'em.
Calf fries! In the spring and fall in cattle country, when ranchers have a round-up or work the young calves, the cowboys will, ahem, "cut" the bull calves to help 'em grow bigger. The cowboys spare the biggest and strongest for future use, and the rest make calf fries. While they might look an awful lot like it, they don't taste anything like chicken tenders- more like sweetbread- but damn, are they good when done right.
Getting 'em can be a hassle; you can special order them from some grocery stores, move to Texas, or find a good butcher in the area who knows how to get ahold of them. Luckily, there's such a butcher in Charlottesville, but much to my dismay, I didn't get ahold of him in time to order more! Arrrgh! I used the last batch I had frozen during Final Ceremonies back in May. I was so looking forward to using 'em on some of my unsuspecting Hokie (and Hoo, for that matter) friends on Saturday.
Here's what you need:
Spices (salt, Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper, Oregano, Parsley, Garlic Salt, Paprika)
Remove the outer membrane and wash each calf fry thoroughly; the average calf fry is about the size of a hen or goose egg. Then slice it in half, and peel back the second thin covering. The calf fry can now be quartered into bite-sized pieces and rolled in the mixture of flour and spices. Fry it in a skillet until golden brown. Unlike most, uhm, meat products, I've found that these are a lot easier to peel and handle while cleaning when frozen.
Just as a bit of trivia- real cowboys will castrate the calves, put a shovel over a fire pit and cook the calf fries right there. Sorry, though; I ain't that tough. Not to mention bringing a whole cow to a tailgate, and then castrating it in the U-Hall parking lot is probably asking a lot.
Sadly, unlike real turkeys, Virginia Tech women don't appear to differentiate themselves from the men very much
At least... I think one of those is a woman. Maybe. Hmm, not really sure. Now, to be fair, I did find this picture as well
But as you might note, they may well be Virginia Tech women, but there's no way anyone could tell that from the picture. Perhaps maroon and orange aren't something you actually want to be seen in if you want to attract members of the opposite sex?
A tragedy has occurred here in Charlottesville, my friends; it's truly horrible. It has brought a grown man to his knees, in tears. The beer. It's ruined. Yes, Cavalier fans, yours truly had forayed back into the realm of home brewing. Ahh, the days of home brewing; truly, that was a halcyon time. That was when Ragekage was a well-adjusted, eager, and optimistic member of society. There were days, long ago, when he would run gleefully through fields of daffodils, gently playing the lyre, and reciting beautiful poems. Getting him to smile was almost as easy as getting him to volunteer.
Unfortunately, setback after setback turned gleeful Little Ragekage into the perpetually undercaffinated, cynical, and bitter Big Ragekage that lurks UVA sports forums, relentlessly trolling and mocking Tar Heels, Terrapins, and Hokies everywhere. What setbacks, you ask? Too many to recount- seriously, though, you have to be Catholic to seek the Papacy? Those pedantic little fascists.
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. So, in the wake of our win at Georgia Tech, and suddenly being buoyed by a sense of sort-of forlorn hope, I embarked on the journey home brewing once again. I had a recipe I'd wanted to try; an American style IPA with a nice blend of Cascade and Chinook hops, something rich and smooth. In the vein of Sierra Nevada, which uses Cascade hops primarily, but more of a bite behind it with the Chinook hops augmenting it.
All the intervening weeks, I've cared for the beer lovingly. I read it stories and sang it lullabies at night; listened to it gurgle lovingly as the yeast fermented and produced carbon dioxide; waited, oh so patiently, for it to be ready for Saturday, and my Hoos and Hokies tailgate in the U-Hall parking lot.
Yesterday, I went to crack open a bottle for the first time... six weeks! Six long weeks I've waited- and something contaminated my beer. It has an almost intolerable medicinal aftertaste. Perhaps drinkable if there was nothing else around, and you found yourself in another three seasons of Duke beating UVA in football- otherwise, not so much. Or maybe something to bring to a BYOB whilst hoisting a few of the host's microbrews instead (no, not really; that's one of the few offenses for which I think merits the death penalty). In any case... I have to start all over again. But it's okay. I've got a backup.
Now, it's not supposed to be as cold on Saturday as it was once predicted, but this next one works well anytime, anywhere.
Kahlua Hot F'ing Doughnut Chocolate
Mmmhmm- I said Kahlua, hot chocolate, and doughnuts. You heard me right. This might not be Epic Mealtime, but we're gonna see how many calories we can include in your tailgate this Saturday. I tried this once, one cold morning in Wisconsin nursing a hangover, finding that the only warm beverage I had was hot chocolate. On the theory that eating high-carbohydrate food helps to cure a hangover, I decided to save time by throwing a couple Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts into a blender, along with the hot chocolate mix, and a generous helping of Kahlua (that being the most "respectable" sort-of liqour, I figured, for eight o'clock in the morning), hit "Liquefy", and viola! I became Paula Deen's drunk second cousin, you know- or, as they call it down in Montgomery county, "friends with benefits".
Simple, and it was oh so delicious after I tossed it into a saucepan and heated that mother up until it was steaming. Rich and chocolately, with a nice coffee-Kahlua bite, and a distinctly doughnut flavor. Also it was probably somewhere in the range of 1,200 calories for that little concoction alone, but who the fuck counts calories when you're making a concoction like this? Just have a few sublingual nitro or some baby aspirin to chew nearby, and make sure when you begin to pass out from the palpatations and the EMTs are try to defibrilate you, that you tell 'em it was worth it- it was ALL worth it.
Here's a recipe that works better if you want to take the time to do it right. I suppose you could also add some sort of chocolate liquer, if you really wanted to. Or, hell, make a non-alcoholic version and give your kids juvenile onset Type II Diabetes instead of cirrohsis.
2 C. whole milk
1 glazed or sugar coated chocolate doughnut
½ C. semisweet chocolate chips
In a blender, combine the milk, Kahlua (to taste), and doughnut. Puree until very smooth, nigh on liquid. This could take a coupla minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan. Whisking constantly, heat over medium until it thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chocolate chips and salt, whisking until the chocolate has melted and the cocoa is smooth. Serve immediately. Makes two to four.
Now, you might have to fiddle with this, adding a little more milk or Kahlua if you want to make it a bit more liquidy. The original version I made was a few steps thinner than a milkshake, more of a thickish liquid. Do this, slap that sucker in a thermos, and BAM! Tailgate city.
Now, onto my Prediction of the Week! Our hardest game of the season, bar none- Virginia Tech's been a solid team for the last ten or fifteen years. They have the kind-of success I'd love for us to emulate. But if we play error-free football, and if we fight for it- if we continue to play like we have all season, and play with our entire hearts and souls, we'll pull it off for sure. We've got the potential, and the folks down in Hooterville know it. But, hell, at this point, we're playing with house money! How many of you could say, three months ago, that if I told you we'd miss the ACCCG by only one game, you'd have been disappointed?
If we don't make it this year, we'll make it next year. Or the year after. But that's where we're headed, folks; no doubt about it.
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!