Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tailgate Time!

The last Saturday in October dawned clear and cold.
It was a balmy 32 degrees when we arrived at the tailgate
just after 8 am.  

The Foodie Daughter was due to start work at 9,
so we needed to be there early for her.

The trees are wearing IU red.

The feast is spread.

But let's go back a couple of days
so I can show you how I made my offerings
for this veritable banquet.

First up is Ina Garten's Homemade Marshmallows.

The ingredients are:
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/2 cup water.

Meanwhile, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt
and 1/2 cup water in a sauce pan.

Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Raise the heat to high and cook until the temperature reaches
240 degrees.

Make sure that the thermometer is not touching the bottom.
You want to be taking the temperature of the liquid,
not the pot.

The gelatin is ready for the candy mixture.

Once the mixture has reached 240 degrees, 
slowly pour into the gelatin while
the mixer is running on slow.

It would be best if you had a stand mixer,
but it is entirely possible to make these with a hand mixer.
Just a bit tiring.

Continue mixing for 15 minutes.

After five minutes the mixture begins to turn white.

At the 15 minute mark the mixture is thick and 
the mixer is struggling.

And why is it that when you want an appliance to die
it just keeps on going and going,
but when you are trying to keep something alive
it croaks if you even look at it?

Add in the vanilla and mix in until well-blended.

I like this picture.
I hate the shadows in my kitchen, though.

Despite what Ina says, 
a dusting of confectioner's sugar is not enough to 
keep the marshmallow from sticking to everything and anything.
I recommend placing parchment paper in the 8" x 12" pan
and spraying that with cooking spray to keep the 
marshmallows from sticking.

Trust me on this.
Dust the surface with confectioner's sugar.

Let sit out overnight to dry out.

Spray a pizza cutter with cooking oil
and after turning the marshmallow out
of the pan, cut into squares.
Roll all sides of the cut squares in 
confectioner's sugar.
Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

The second dish was also from Ina Garten.
This was my riff on her French Apple Tart.

I opted to substitute a sheet of puff pastry 
instead of making the pastry as I was also making several
other things that day.

I also changed out a few other items,
such as substituting honeycrisp apples for
Granny Smiths.
I don't like Granny Smiths. Period. Dot.
I also didn't have apricot preserves,
but I do have F.R.O.G. preserves.
(Fig, Raspberry, Orange, Ginger)

The ingredients:
1 puff pastry sheet
4 honeycrisp apples*
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup F.R.O.G. preserves
2 tablespoons rum
*3 apples would have been enough.
Another nice thing about honeycrisps is their 
resistance to browning.
We snacked on the leftovers and had the rest for dinner.

I rolled out the puff pastry sheet to about 10" x 14" 
on a sheet of parchment paper.

Ina suggests trimming the edges so that the 
tart looks pretty,
but frankly I think that is a waste of good pastry
and doesn't that defeat the purpose of "homemade" anyway?
Homemade should look wonky and out of square.

Place in the fridge while prepping the apples.

Peel, core and slice the apples.
Arrange in a nice diagonal pattern on the pastry.
Sprinkle with the sugar and the small pats of butter.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
I found that the tart was done after 45 minutes.
But your mileage may vary.

Ina suggests turning the pan halfway 
during the baking process
and to prick any areas that are puffing up.
I forgot to do that, but life goes on.

The sugars caramelized as they seeped over the edge of the tart.

Heat the preserves and the rum before pouring over the tart.

Gently lift from the parchment and allow to cool.

The tart can be served either warm or at room temperature.

Another dish that I made was sloppy joes.

I started from a Rachael Ray recipe 
and jumped off the deep end from there.

The ingredients:
2 pounds ground chuck
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup onion, grated
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Cook the meat in a pan over medium-high heat, 
crumbling it as it browns.
Add the onions and the garlic and cook for two more minutes.

Drain off the excess fat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan
and simmer for 15 minutes to meld the flavors.

I reheated this dish in a pan on the grill at the tailgate
before putting it in a chafing dish.

The final dish was marinated mozzarella and tomatoes
which is a riff on this recipe.
I started with small mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes.
Then I added extra virgin olive oil and chopped
fresh parsley and oregano.
Allow to sit and let the flavors marry.

Homemade marshmallows.

Even pandas love these.
It's true!
After everyone else left for the game
a panda wandered over and hugged me - twice.
It turns out that pandas are very friendly and he asked
if he could try some of our food.
I gave him a marshmallow and he said I should start my own
I don't think Ina Garten would approve,
but it was a nice compliment, 
coming from a panda.

The finished apple tart.
Everyone loved this.

This recipe is a keeper.

Our tailgate buddy always makes "Touchdown Brownies".
Maybe she needs to put the opposing team's logo 
on the brownies?

As she noted, "At least we are losing better now."

And yes, IU did lose once again.

Other dishes on the banquet were sausage and biscuits,
pulled pork,
Buffalo chicken spread,
spinach dip,
chips and pico de gallo.

Pico de gallo is essentially uncooked,
or fresh salsa.
This is my preferred dip.

We also had a pumpkin cake.

The student tailgate fields are ramping up.

As this was both Homecoming and Halloween weekend,
the police and rescue were kept busy.
The ambulance had to stop twice across from us to help
injured or passed-out students.

The band marches across the still mostly empty parking lot.

It was early; it was cold.

We had fun looking at the different costumes.

Sadly, our tailgate neighbors were absent this week,
so the port-o-potties seemed that much closer.

A gaggle (giggle?) of clowns.

And an "old" lady.

I don't think these kids need more energy.

I looked up in the pine tree to see an oak seedling growing 
in the crotch of the tree.


Pretty clouds.

Pooh and Tigger ride away.
I didn't know Poohs could drive.

No comments: