October 11, 2012 4:26:20 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
Looking to freshen up your tailgate spread? Well, Southern Living and the Southeastern Conference have teamed up to help. "The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook" is a compilation of more than 150 game day recipes. They range from Mississippi State hush puppies to Alabama's Roll Tide breakfast roll, from Ole Miss mud cake to Tennessee's Rocky Top popcorn. All 14 teams of the SEC are represented, including the two new kids on the field, Missouri and Texas A&M.
"We're excited to join together two iconic Southern brands -- the Southeastern Conference and Southern Living," said SEC Commissioner Michael Slive in a press release. "Nowhere in the country will you find more passionate fans. Whether supporting your favorite team or enjoying the wonderful cooking the South is known for, this book captures the best of what we love about the region."
Of grills and gridiron
This first-ever tailgating guide approved by the SEC includes tips for grilling, make-ahead dishes, packing recipes for traveling and how to make it special at home.
The book, published by Oxmoor House, opens with advice for using a portable charcoal grill. There are handy tips in the margins and quotes from fans and players. Each school has a four-page intro, complete with game day traditions.
Eight categories include Countdown to Kickoff (on food safety), Early Morning Warm-Ups (breakfast and brunch), Cheers (sweet tea, lemonade and spritzers), Crunchtime (appetizers), Best Bowls (soups, chilis and stews), Hot Prospects (grill recipes), Sideline Favorites (side dishes) and The Sugar Bowl (desserts). They even remembered the deviled eggs, one version for each team. (Guess which team's is called The Cowbell.)
Mary Jones of Columbus is an avid MSU tailgater and endorses the cookbook.
"My other half came home with it, and I started flipping through it. I've now used several of the recipes; I've even used them for bunko," said Jones, whose cookbook copy is amply flagged with pink post-it notes.
One of her favorites so far is a broccoli, grape and pasta salad. "Oh, it's to die for," she laughed.
Southern Living Test Kitchen Director Rebecca Gordon is a self-confessed "obsessed fan" and frequent tailgater.
"When the opportunity came to get the book rolling, we drew off the recipes that were favorites over the years at Southern Living, and we partnered with the SEC to offer something really special for each team," she said.
Gordon and Southern Living staffers threw in some extras. "The 10 Commandments of College Football Fandom," for instance, offers pigskin philosophies such as "Thou shalt stay through the fourth quarter, rain or shine" and "Thou shalt mind your manners and act with class."
Each team's section offers a suggested game day menu to try out. Mississippi State's menu is buttermilk cornbread or sour cream cornbread, a selection of chilis, from-scratch oven fries and Mississippi mud cookies.
The Ole Miss menu includes herbed dip with veggies, molasses-balsamic steak kabobs, the broccoli, grape and pasta salad, a watermelon and pecan salad and Mississippi mud cake. Of course, half the culinary fun is in mixing and matching from other schools' sections.
"For me, planning a menu is the hardest part of tailgating, but with all of the game day recipes and tidbits about each SEC school, this new cookbook actually makes preparation for any event fun and easy," said Barbara Dooley, wife of former University of Georgia head coach Vince Dooley in the cookbook's press release.
With seven weekends of football left (and fingers crossed for post-season play), there are plenty of opportunities to put these Southern Living favorites to use.
Look for your copy ($19.95) in area book stores (and some grocery stores) or order at SECstore.com. In the meantime, try out this sampling of recipes from the cookbook, at home or on the road.
MISSISSIPPI MUD COOKIES
Makes 3 dozen
Total time: 40 minutes
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons miniature marshmallows
n Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels in a small microwave-safe glass bowl at high for 1 minutes or until smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.
n Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
n Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chopped pecans and 1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels.
n Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press 3 marshmallows into each portion of dough.
n Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely (about 20 minutes.)
ROLL TIDE BREAKFAST ROLLS
Makes 10 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
10 (6-inch) fajita-size flour tortillas
1/2 (16-ounce) package ground pork sausage
6 large eggs
Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded colby-Jack cheese blend
Sour cream (optional)
n Wrap tortillas loosely with aluminum foil, and place in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes.
n Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 minutes or until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain, remove sausage from skillet, and pat dry with paper towels. Wipe skillet clean. Reduce heat to medium.
n Whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. Coat same skillet with cooking spray; add egg mixture, and cook, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom. Gently draw cooked edges away from sides of pan to form large pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until eggs are thickened but still moist. (Do not overstir.)
n Spoon sausage and eggs evenly onto tortillas and sprinkle with cheese; roll up tortillas. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.
(Note: To lighten, substitute 1 1/2 cups egg substitute for eggs and reduced-fat pork sausage for sausage.)
MISSISSIPPI HUSH PUPPIES
Makes 1 1/2 dozen
Total time: 30 minutes
1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk or beer
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
n Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture.
n Combine egg and next 4 ingredients, stirring well; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. n Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven or large saucepan; heat to 375 degrees.
n Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry in batches 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels; serve immediately.
(Note: Substituting beer for milk makes these lighter and tangier.)
BROCCOLI, GRAPE AND PASTA SALAD
Makes 6-8 servings
Total time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 (16-ounce) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
1 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
n Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
n Prepare pasta according to package directions.
n Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems and finely chop stems.
n Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta and grapes and stir to coat.
n Cover and chill 3 hours. Season with salt to taste. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.