As football season kicked off last weekend for Colleges across the country and the NFL, my mind naturally turns to tailgating. For me that is the best part of attending a football game. In fact, some of my fondest memories from college are of tailgates with my family and friends. The Google definition of tailgating is to host or attend a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium. At Purdue University, my alma mater, tailgating before a football game was an event. I was an expert at this before I even got to college as my family has been long time Purdue supporters and tailgaters. The parking lot behind Ross-Ade Stadium was where we would eat peanuts mixed with candy corn, cold fried chicken and sometimes hot chili. My grandfather would walk the aisles trying to sell or buy tickets to the game depending on our family’s attendance that week.
While my family certainly has our own tailgating traditions, here are some of the best from college football stadiums across the country:
Texas A & M – In College Park, Texas the tradition is to arrive well before the game, the night before in fact. At midnight before a home football game Kyle Field is filled with 40,000 plus fans for the midnight yell. A cheer practice of sorts before the big game!
University of South Carolina – Before a Gamecocks Game in Columbia, SC you can rent out railroad cars less than 50 yards from the stadium for your tailgate. Each car is decked out with a flat-screen television and full kitchen. This is where tailgating dreams come true!
University of California Berkeley- Just east of California Memorial Stadium is a small hill where fans for football climb for a free view of the game. Climbing charter hill has become a standing game day tradition and a great way to enjoy tailgate snacks throughout the game.
Who doesn’t love to grill…especially on a warm sunny day, am I right? At my house I typically do the cooking but my husband is always in charge of the grilling. It isn’t that I don’t know how to grill, it is just that he likes it and it is an easy task for me to delegate to him. In the city, we have a grill as part of our Wolf Range which isn’t quite as romantic as grilling outside (but better than not grilling at all). When we go on vacation, we always rent a house with a grill. On those instances I am pretty sure my husband loves being outside by the grill, sipping glass of wine and enjoying the weather.
With Memorial Day Weekend starting, summer has un-officially begun and that marks the start of grilling season for most. When I grill a protein I typically don’t follow recipe. The meat or fish is seasoned with one or more spice blends from La Boîte and some kosher salt. For side dishes I tend to be more of a recipe follower. Here is one of my favorite grilled side dishes. I first started making this when I lived in London and we had a charcoal grill on our roof top. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Grilled Romaine Salad
Makes 4 servings
2 heads Romaine Lettuce
1 red onion
2 ripe avocados
1 pint grape tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
-Pre-heat grill to medium high heat. While the grill is heating prepare the vegetables. Slice the heads of Romaine in half from the stem to the tip. Peel and slice the onion into ¼ inch slices. Season lettuce and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper.
-Place onion slices on the grill away from the direct heat. Allow to grill for about 20 minutes or until no crunch remains.
-Place lettuce on grill and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
-Slice grilled lettuce into 1-inch ribbons and put into salad bowl. Chop grilled onion and add to the bowl.
-Slice the grape tomatoes in halve and add to the bowl. Dice the avocado and add it to the bowl as well.
-Drizzle with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper if desired. Toss to coat and enjoy.
We’re just two weeks shy of Super Bowl Sunday and I’m already thinking about game day. I’m not particular if the Patriots, Saints, Chiefs or Rams make it to the big game, but I am particular about what is on the menu! There are lots of statistics about how much guacamole is served up on Super Bowl Sunday and I’m sure there are quite a few chicken wings and hot dogs gobbled up during the game as well. Here is a super easy menu for your Super Bowl Gathering. As you know when I entertain, my goal is always to make one or two really good homemade dishes and fill in the rest with some quality purchased items. The cake in the picture is from Super Bowl XLVIII when the Seattle Seahawks played the Denver Broncos. The game was on Ground Hog’s Day which is also my husband’s birthday, so we celebrated all 3 events with one cake! If you’re not hosting just put together one of these dishes to take to your friend’s place or bring some of this amazing Champagne bottle sized Miller High Life!
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY MENU
French Onion Dip with Potato Chips – Mix a packet of Onion Soup Mix with and 8 oz Tub of Sour Cream and serve with your favorite chips
Baby Carrots, Sliced Cucumber & Grape Tomatoes with Hummus
This past weekend we had weather that made it really feel like summer. I spent Saturday at a friend’s house soaking up the sun, warm weather and, most importantly, eating meat from the grill. Cooking over an open flame makes everything taste better, everything. One of my favorite meats to grill is skirt steak. It is super easy to prepare, and everyone likes it. The skirt is cut from under the breast of the steer and rarely is thicker than 3/4 inch, which makes for quick cooking. Try the recipe below to impress your friends this summer.