Take Me Out to the Game

30 Sep 2013

Tailgating is one of our favorite past-times.  Southern Folks like to eat and talk, and whenever possible, doing both outside makes the food taste better and the conversation more delightful.


Fruit and Nut Bread

We asked caterers, markets, cookbook authors and friends for favorite tailgate recipes to share.

And even if you’re not going to the big game, give these dishes a try.  After all, who wants to be working in the kitchen when your significant other is sitting on the deck, sipping a glass of wine.  With these make-ahead choices, you’ll be out there enjoying your own adult beverage.


Feta Dip

Use a deep clear bowl preferably with a lid or make them individually in wide mouth shallow jars

Layer one

12 oz. cream cheese blended with a tsp. of Greek seasoning and two tablespoons lime juice---spread in bottom of dish

Layer two

Spread twelve oz. of fresh or store bought hummus

Layer three

1 ½ cup feta cheese with minced herbs and sundried tomato

Layer four

One cup diced seeded, peeled and chopped cucumber

One cup diced red and yellow tomatoes

One cup black olives chopped

½ cup chopped green onion


Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil over and add a sprig of fresh basil if desired, seal and refrigerate until you leave for tailgating, keep cool!

Serve with pita chips.  Add a store bought grilled chicken, some really good pita bread and a wheel of brie and you’re set.

Vegetable Quiche


Healthy whole wheat pie crust

 4 oz. Split Creek Farm tomato basil cheese

4 Wil Moore Farms eggs

1½ cups heavy cream

1½ cups sliced veggies (your choice, including zucchini, squash, tomatoes and peppers, green chilies,  mushrooms, etc.)

Sal and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with cream and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Alternate layers of cheese and vegetables in the pie crust, beginning with cheese.

Pour egg mixture over and bake for 45 minutes, or until eggs are set.

(This can be made the night before and served at room temperature.)

Sonoma Chicken Salad


1 cup mayonnaise

4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

5 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted

2 cups red seedless grapes

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced


In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate. When the chicken is cold, dice into bite-size chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pecans, grapes, celery and dressing.

Chicken Villa Tronco

1 ½ Olive oil                                      

8 oz Boneless Chicken Breast                        

3 oz Artichoke hearts                         

2 oz Sundried Tomatoes                                

½ oz Fresh chopped garlic                             

1 cup Sherry                                                   

4 oz Heavy cream                                          

4 oz Sliced mushrooms                                  

2 oz Flour                                                       

Salt & Pepper to taste 

Method of preparation:

  1. In a sauté pan begin to heat up the olive oil.
  2. Using the flour lightly flour the chicken breast and add to the hot pan.
  3. After the first side of the chicken is browned flip over and add the mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper.
  4. After the vegetables sauté for two minutes, add your sherry.

(Note: If you’re working over an open flame you will want to take the pan off the burner before you add the sherry, if not, light sherry with a match to burn off  sherry.)

  1. Add the cream and let reduce for four to five minutes
  2. Serve with pasta or rice and salad.

 Add crusty bread and enjoy on a cool day.

Cabbage, Walnut and Cranberry Salad

Salad: ½ small-medium sized cabbage, cored and shredded (6 cups)

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1 cup of dried cranberries

Dressing: ¼ cup evoo

2 T balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Several springs of fresh oregano for garnish

Directions: Remove core and outer leaves of the cabbage. 

Cut the cabbage in half and soak in a pan of warm water.

Rinse the cabbage and slice thinly into long thin shreds.

{Stop and taste it. Its sweetish clean taste is very satisfying. You might like to keep a bag of clean shredded cabbage in your fridge to pull out for a crunchy snack, or to add to a salad. }

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.

Make the dressing by whisking together the evoo, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, dried oregano and salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage, walnut and cranberry salad, and toss so all cabbage is coated with the dressing.

Spoon into individual salad bowls and top with leaves of the fresh oregano pulled from the stems. Serves 6.

Recipe courtesy the University of SC Press Patricia Moore-Pastides, an accomplished cook and public-health professional, presents all new recipes focused on bringing the bounty of the garden to the table in easy and accessible ways. Targeting young adults but valuable for all novices, Greek Revival from the Garden focuses on the time-tested Mediterranean diet—recommended for great taste, good health, and long life—and on learning simple, delicious cooking methods that foster a happy and healthy relationship with good food.

Information on the book http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/books/2013/7190.html

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2 large red bell peppers roasted

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 lemon

¼ cup olive oil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less)

Directions: Preheat oven broiler. Wash and place whole peppers on a broiler pan in the oven.Broil peppers until they are charred then using a large fork, turn the peppers so they can char on all sides. 

When the peppers are completely charred, remove the broiler pan from the oven, and place it on trivets.

Using a long fork, place the peppers inside a paper bag, roll down the top of the bag and set aside.Turn off the oven.

Place the rinsed chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and then add the minced garlic, the lemon juice, and the olive oil and process until smooth.

When the peppers have cooled, remove them from the paper bag and using clean hands, peel the skin from the peppers and discard the skin.

Cut the peppers open and remove the seeds and core. Discard the seeds and core.

Cut the remaining roasted pepper flesh into large chunks and add it to the food processor.

Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper into the food processor.

Process all ingredients until well blended.

Transfer the roasted red pepper hummus into a serving bowl , cover and chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes so the flavors will blend.

Fabulous Fruit and Nut Bread

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup wheat bran
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Omega cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Super Sweet Apricots, diced
  • 2/3 cup natural cut date pieces
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup 100% Fresh Pressed Apple Juice
  • 3 tablespoons Mediterranean Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried orange peel
  • 1 large organic egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Sweet Spice Rub

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (flour through ground cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl. Stir in cranberries, apricots, dates and pecans. In a separate bowl, combine juice, oil, orange peel and egg. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5 inch lightly greased loaf pan. Sprinkle top with TFM Sweet Spice Rub (optional). Bake for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

This bread will travel well, and can only be enhanced with organic apple butter, or perhaps a sweetened cream cheese spread.  Yum!

Deep-Fried Cookie Dough

From bacon to butter, if it can be battered, it will be deep-fried and served at the state fair. Texas and Oklahoma fans might disagree about which team to cheer for, but I saw both sides enjoying fried desserts before kickoff of the Red River Rivalry. Of all the fried foods, my favorite is fried cookie dough. This eggless cookie dough is ideal for eating unbaked. Making the dough and rolling it into balls ahead of time will allow you to quickly fry it up on-site. There’s a bit of technique you’ll need to develop to coat the dough fully in the wash and dredge, so I recommend trying this recipe out at home before taking it to your tailgate.

Makes 8 servings

·         1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

·         1⁄4 teaspoon salt

·         4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

·         1⁄4 cup light brown sugar

·         3 tablespoons granulated sugar

·         1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

·         1⁄4 cup chocolate chips

·         1 cup milk

·         1 egg

·         1 1⁄4 cups self-rising flour

·         2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

·         Peanut oil for frying

·         Confectioners’ sugar and chocolate syrup for garnish

Make the dough the night before the tailgate. In a small bowl, mix together the flour and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. While mixing, add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Continue mixing the dough while slowly adding the flour mixture. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Mix in the chocolate chips. Remove the dough from the bowl and form into 8 evenly sized balls. Store in a sealable container and refrigerate overnight. In a separate sealable container, add the milk and egg and refrigerate overnight. In an additional sealable container, add the flour and confectioners’ sugar. Transport the refrigerated containers in a cooler to your tailgate.

When you’re ready to fry the cookie dough, stir the milk mixture, then dip the cookie dough in it. Roll it in the flour mixture, dip it back into the milk mixture, and then roll it in the flour mixture again. Repeat this process a total of 3 times, until a thick coating has formed around the dough. Make sure the dough is entirely coated.

Fill a Dutch oven 2?3 of the way full with oil and heat over a propane burner to 365°. Fry the battered balls of cookie dough for 1 1?2–2 minutes until golden brown on the outside. Remove from the oil and drain on paper bags. Serve the Deep-Fried Cookie Dough with confectioners’ sugar and your favorite chocolate syrup.

From The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South by Taylor Mathis.  Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis.  Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.  www.uncpress.unc.edu

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