Gridiron Grub: Southern Seven-Layer Dip

The beginning of fall is always bittersweet for me, because I love summer with all my heart. The silver lining to this new season, though, is that fall equals the return of football, which equals daydrinking, snacking, and of course, tailgating!

I love tailgating. Lounging outside in the sun, downing beer, and chowing down on indulgent snacks? Hell yeah. Now that I’m a Texas transplant, I have fully committed to the southern tailgate lifestyle, and I am here to tell you it is way more intense than anything I experienced in Washington. Here in Austin, a city with no pro sports teams, college football reigns supreme. It doesn’t matter if you attended UT or not, on game days you proudly sport all the burnt orange you can muster and hook ’em horns with the best of ’em. My boyfriend, Rob, is a born-and-raised Austinite and a huuuuge Longhorns supporter with a reserved tailgate spot and season tickets to all the games, so I knew it was important to make a strong “I’m committed to this, y’all!” statement among the other fans at my first UT tailgate.

Mulling over all the traditional choices got a bit tedious. Chips, queso, pulled pork, chili, salsa… I couldn’t make up my mind and didn’t want to just settle for one of those cliché (albeit delicious, don’t get me wrong!) choices. Suddenly it dawned one me: why not combine all my favorite fatty football foods in one epic dish?! If people can do that with Mexican food, why couldn’t I do that with Southern food?! And thus, the Southern Seven-Layer Dip was born.

Southern Seven-Layer Dip

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Gridiron Grub: Can’t Get Much Wurst

Anyone with internet access or two ears has undoubtedly heard of the recent travesty that  occurred at Penn State University. I will not waste much time discussing the issue on ES. but suffice it to say, it has been an extremely difficult week to spend much time paying attention to football, and particularly being a PSU fan. It’s even harder to add the typical fart jokes you’ve come to expect from ES. Come Saturday though, we’re still looking forward to watching some football.

Trying to think of a relatively simple dish for this week’s football get-together, I remembered I had a voucher for a package of The Original Brat Hans. I don’t normally shill for any specific products but their brats are a tasty guilt-free option for meat-eaters like myself. No antiobiotics, added hormones, preservatives, MSG or nitrates; even the chickens and hogs used are 100% vegetarian-fed. After seeing that voucher I ran to the store to pick some up and had the beginnings of an idea. I pulled out some of my homemade canned chili sauce to make a very typical German food truck dish: Currywurst.

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Gridiron Grub: Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skin Gnocchi

As I watch this manic season of the Philadelphia Eagles, I can’t help but feel frustrated. I guess that’s what happens though: some emotions just come standard with football.

Likewise, some foods are standards. Proven through the test of time, they please any crowd that comes along and can just be relied on. For me, one of the greatest examples of this is potato skins.

Every sports bar has them on the menu. They are so decadent with their gooey cheddar, salty bacon and creamy potato that very few people can resist. Here’s my take on potato skins that are just as tasty, but easier to make for a crowd.

Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skin Gnocchi

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Gridiron Grub: Top 5 Beer Cocktails

This is a tough point in the season for many fans; the excitement of the unknown has been replaced by either the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. I’ll admit it, I got cocky before the NFL season started. I believed the hype and  did not expect to be sitting here after Week 7 in the NFL with my Eagles at 2-4.

That means now is as good a time as any to drown your sorrows. If your team is on the upswing, celebrate away. If not, feel free to try some  all of these tasty libations, which make “drinking a cold one” much more exciting for any football foodie.  They’ll make sure you and your guests have a great time no matter what the score is.

1. New Orleans Style Michelada from A Mountain of Crushed Ice

Salty, savory and with just enough kick, this michelada with Peychaud bitters definitely lives up to its Bayou heritage.

 2. The Glazed Doughnut from Sips and Shots

The only thing we can say about this is, why the hell didn’t we think of it first?

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Gridiron Grub: Polenta Crab Fries

Starting Monday, you’ll hear all about the dining/debauchery that went on when the entire ES crew descended upon Philly for a weekend. To ease us into that, here’s a Gridiron Grub dish inspired by my favorite football-related Philly food stop: Chickie and Pete’s Crab Fries.

Chickie and Pete’s is a local restaurant that started in the late 70’s and has grown to include locations in all the city’s stadiums, Philadelphia International Airport, southern New Jersey and more. It sounds like a chain and out-of-towners grow even more perplexed by the fact that these “crab” fries don’t even contain crab. Despite this obvious omission, for locals they are synonymous with hot summer nights watching the Phils and cool fall afternoons with the Eagles. That being said, if you are not from Philly and you saw ES  put up a recipe about sprinkling some Old Bay on french fries, I know we would get even more complaints than we do about our potty mouths. So, here’s my updated take, with some much needed crustacean added in.

Polenta Crab Fries w/Horseradish Cream Sauce

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Gridiron Grub: Grilled Cheese BLT Dip

When I was in high school, we had a tradition every Thursday night before Friday football games.  Myself and a few of my  friends would finish up with practice and show up sweaty and famished at my house. For some reason my Mom not only condoned this, but encouraged it by offering to feed the huddled masses. Dinner was always the same on these nights; grilled cheese with bacon, lettuce and tomato on wheat bread. This tradition has permanently seared in my palate the sweet, smoky combination of late-season tomatoes, gooey cheese, thick bacon and chewy homemade bread as the perfect complement to fall days and Friday night lights.

Grilled cheese is somewhat difficult to pull off at a tailgate and even harder to bring when you are invited somewhere. Can you imagine the reaction to showing up to watch a game with a tray of soggy, lukewarm BLT grilled cheeses? From then on you would definitely be the asshole in charge of bringing the soda and chips. Because of that, I  have tinkered with a homemade grilled cheese/BLT dip over the years. It hits all the right notes, though early in the process I realized that lettuce just wasn’t a good fit so I switched to the dip staple: spinach. This has been my go-to takealong for last-minute tailgates and game-watching.

Grilled Cheese BLT DIP

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Beer Float Popsicle

Look around the blogosphere and you’ll see it seems like everyone is kicking off fall with pumpkin recipes. But we’re thinking football season here at ES. With that, we turned a beer float into a poptail.

We used a chocolate stout and vanilla ice cream, but your palate, your preference —so mix and match to suit your taste.

Beer Float Popsicle

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