Chef James Tailgate Special – Florida State Edition

Triple Threat Tailgate Grub

This week I’m tripling up friends. I was down last week, but back with a vengeance this week. I thought, Florida? Lets do Cubano sandwiches. Nope, not practical. Besides, how many people bring what is, essentially, a panini press to a tailgate? Better yet, how many of you even own one. Fact is, it’s an essential part of the process, so I scrubbed it. We’re doing two side dishes this week, and a flat out awesome cookie recipe, that is also simple, and fast. I’ve cooked for quite a few tailgates, and the side dish game at most of them is weak, to say the least. I’m of course, not referring to the Harlow/DTT tailgate that can be found, EASILY, because of its epic proportion, and people, in front of Legends at ND. So here we go……

Three bean casserole.
Baked Three Bean Casserole with Crispy Bacon
INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

Kosher salt

2 cups Sweet and Sticky Cola Barbecue Sauce mixed with 1/2 cup water

Two 15 1/2-ounce cans baked beans

One 19-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One 19-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

6 slices lean bacon

Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, green pepper, onion, ginger and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the diluted Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce and all of the beans and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the beans to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and arrange the bacon strips on top. Bake the beans for 45 minutes or until bubbling and the bacon is crisp. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Cola BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a generous pinch for the garlic

3 Dr. Pepper

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus additional for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon old bay

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste.

Stir garlic paste, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, cola, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, and allspice together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, stir in the lime juice, and season with black pepper and hot sauce, to taste.
Next up, who doesn’t love cornbead? This is a “kicked up” version, obviously because of the cayenne and chipotle, but you can bring it down by adding less, or none at all. It really doesn’t affect the cooking process. This can be done the night before, and unlike most baked goods, this actually tastes better the next day……
Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

½ tsp. Cayenne

1 tsp. Dried chipotle powder

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Green onion and paprika for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, cayenne, chipotle powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

unnamed

Lastly, it’s dessert. Another thing that, at some tailgates is missing. Fact is, some of you consider cocktails and beer the dessert of the tailgate, but I’m going to throw this at you anyway. These cookies are ridiculously easy, and crazy good. White chocolate oatmeal…..

Ingredients

1 cup of butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup of white sugar

1 tbs. Vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour

½ tsp. Baking soda

3 cups of fast cooking rolled oats

2 cups of white chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350

In a stand mixer, or mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the sugars, butter, and eggs. Add the vanilla, then bring in the dry ingredients. Once it’s thoroughly combined, add the oats and chips a little at a time until they’re thoroughly combined. Use a tablespoon or ice cream scoop to portion out whatever size cookies you like on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes. It’s just that easy.

Enjoy! And of course, Go Irish!!! Beat FSU!!!

The Down the Tunnel Radio Show – Florida State Throw down Edition

-Kevin

The Down the Tunnel Radio show is back as we preview the big game against Florida State this weekend in Tallahassee. Had a great group of callers this week. We will be back on the air on Sunday night to review the outcome of Notre Dame and Florida State.

http://player.cinchcast.com/?platformId=1&assetType=single&assetId=7013195<div style=”font-size: 10px;text-align: center;width:400px;”>Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with <a href=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/downthetunnel&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>The Down the Tunnel Radio show</a> on BlogTalkRadio</div>

I Want Jameis Winston To Play This Week

There’s an old saying in sports.  It is “In order to be the best, you have to beat the best.”  These are words this Notre Dame football program will have to live by in order to be serious championship contenders.  So, as much as you’d like to see any opponent be at a disadvantage, it would serve no purpose to the Irish to play Florida State this week without Jameis Winston under center.

I’m going to save debating the moral issues behind Winston’s off field situation for another day.  Whether he should or shouldn’t be playing isn’t for me to decide.  However, it can alter my opinion of my team.  Coming into the season, I wasn’t expecting much from this Irish team.  I felt like they were an 8 win team, which isn’t bad, but it’s not where you want to be, especially in Kelly’s 5th season at ND.  What I think you’re seeing from this team this year though is a full squad of Kelly recruits in his system playing in a way tailored to his coaching style.  I think that’s part of the reason they came into the year a little under the radar.  They’re more athletic then any Irish team we have seen in a while. Kelly finally has his team.

If you look back to 2012, they had a great run.  Kelly was able to guide them to the title game with a team of mostly Charlie Weis’ recruits.  He dumbed down his offense and relied mostly on a physically dominating defense.  But let’s be honest with ourselves here.  The Irish caught plenty of breaks that year to get them to Miami.  When they finally played in the BCS Championship, they were overmatched.  It was like men against boys out there. Whenever you saw Kelly onm camera, he looked like he saw a ghost.  He didn’t know what hit them.  It was a real wake up call for the program.  Kelly saw that in order to compete with the teams from the south, you have to change the type of team you put on the field, which includes being faster and more explosive. Also, in order to do that and draw recruits, you have to play those teams, which you can see they are scheduling games against.

That brings me to this weeks game.  I want to play the defending national champions with the reigning Heisman trophy winner playing.  This game will show how far this program has come, and how much further they need to go.  If Jameis winds up suspended, and ND beats the Seminoles, it doesn’t really guage where this team stands in regards to playing with the big boys. Don’t get me wrong.  It is still impressive to beat Florida State without Winston.  He’s not the whole team.  But if they beat the  Seminoles at full strength in Tallahassee, It will make a statement that this program is back to being elite, and it can play with anyone.

This post seems pretty negative.  I’m not trying to be.  Consider me cautiosly optimistic.  But going into the game it’s hard to not think about that title game in 2012. If they beat a Winstonless FSU, they’ll probably win out and wind up in the playoffs. Then it’s a crapshoot.  There’s still uncertainty about where this team stands. The last thing I want to see though is them get the floor wiped with them by teams that are more superior. 

Winston or no Winston, I think the Irish will do alright this weekend.  I think the -12 point spread is a little much.  Florida State isn’t as good as they were last year.  It’s a winable game. They went into Oklahoma two years ago as big underdogs and pretty much dominated them.  This team is battle tested.  Kelly is a great strategist and will be prepared for the game.  I expect them to compete.  There’s no shame in losing a close game under those circumstances.  Win or lose, the Irish are better off if either result comes with Florida State’s best player on the field.

Talk Irish football with me on Twitter.  @GetsThruBuckner  -Tom

Ishaq Williams Will Not Play This Season. Hopes to Return in 2015

- Kevin

Brian Kelly announced today during his press conference that Notre Dame defensive end Ishaq Williams will not play for the Irish this season due to the findings of the academic fraud investigation that has been going on since before the start of the season. This news comes on the same day that Davaris Daniels announced that he too will not play for Notre Dame this season.

Ishaq Williams was a big time recruit when he arrived at Notre Dame but his performance never quite matched the expectations that went with his talent. There was a large amount of excitement for Williams to move back to defensive end in Coach Brian VanGorder’s new defensive scheme for the Irish but fans will have to wait until next season to see if the new scheme would allow Williams to finally live up to the big expectations that he brought to South Bend. It should be no surprise that Williams is planning on returning to Notre Dame next season. Williams wants to play in the NFL however his production has not warranted a realistic goal of being drafted. While he may not play this season having Williams return to Notre Dame next season along with KeiVarae Russell, who also stated he plans to return for next season, has got to have Irish fans excited about a defense that could possibly return 11 starts from this years team that has started 6-0 and played much better than people had anticipated.

Davaris Daniels Done at Notre Dame

- Kevin

daniels

After four long months Davaris Daniels finally received clarity on his status at Notre Dame after being investigated for academic fraud. Davaris Daniels will not play for Notre Dame this season and it seems that he he will not play for the Irish again. Philip Daniels, the father of Davaris, took to twitter and said, “Finally after over 4 months my son got an answer! He is done at Notre Dame and will weigh his options for the future!”.

This should really come as no surprise, especially after reports started surfacing that none of the five players in the academic fraud investigation would be returning to the Irish this season. Keivarae Russell announced last week that he would not be able to play this season but plans to return next season. While Davaris Daniels was surely a talented player, he had very been inconsistent during his entire career at Notre Dame. While he showed flashes of brilliance, he was not able to maintain it for a full season. Losing a player with the talent of Daniels is never good but Notre Dame is doing just fine in the receiving corps this season with Will Fuller, Corey Robinson, Amir Carlise, Chris Brown, and CJ Prosise all being productive in the passing attack.