In case you haven't noticed, I love tailgating. I hate to admit that I spend more time planning for it than a normal, sane person should. For you haters, I actually do watch football - I readily admit I am not comfortable enough to write our previews and our reviews but I pay more than enough attention to know what is happening (or in some cases, what is not happening). Anyway, I was procrastinating at work and figured this post might be the best way for me to meld the two. If you are here for the food, don't fret, there is a recipe at the end.
I didn't get to watch a lot of the Vandy-Sakerlina game because I was flying home, but it still gave me a warm fuzzy that football had returned. It was the same kind of warm fuzzy our own Everett Duke had on Saturday when I handed him my signature bloody -- a Mason jar carefully rimmed in Stirrings Bloody Mary salt, filled with Cholula coated ice cubes swimming in a mix of Fat & Juicy and Bakon vodka. He said, while munching on the Wickles pickled okra that served as the garnish, that my bloodys are the best and that they feel like home. We weren't in JOrdan-Hare Stadium, but we were in our fall home, which is the tailgate tent.
We always tailgate with a YETI cooler, and this year, we added another one to the lineup and started using dry ice. What? You tailgate with regular water ice? That's reeeaally cute. Or as Peggy Rossmanith likes to say, "Bless your little heart". Coach Chizik has two YETIs of his own - Brian Van Gorder and Scot Loeffler. These are our strongholds - both come in with excellent resumes and after last week's outing, hopefully "wildly stronger". Let's hope this week they can keep Miss St on ice a little longer.
Some things in the tent remain the same, much like on the field. I rely on Vegas Bombs as my go-to shot, a staple, if you will. The same can be said for our kicking game. Cody Parkey can be depended on for a FG (37, 46, 27 and 36 yards) and for consistently delivering kickoffs at 65 yards a piece (five of 'em). Steven Clark punted an average of 39.99 yards (45, 29, 44 yards) and never allowed Clemson outside of their own red zone (fair catches at the 11, 16 and 20, respectively).
Another thing I pride the tent on is the amazing selection of baked goods that Everett's mom prepares for us. She stepped up her game with Mississippi mud brownies, peanut butter rice krispy treats with tiger striping, chocolate covered strawberries and Toomer's Lemonade cupcakes (complete with little blue straws). She leaves no room for error, much like the Auburn Marching Band. They were fresher than fresh in their traditional white pants and white shoes and for a moment, I felt a twinge of sorrow for the Clemson crew in their bright purple bottoms. You have to puff out your chest just a bit more when, after all, it is your band that is playing the national anthem. Word Up!
If you know me, you know I swoon for a nasty, hard-nosed smashmouth defense. My goal is to always deliver that critical blow, the one that puts my tailgate on top each week. I brought my A-game in the form of King of Pops. We feasted on Thai iced tea (perfect Auburn orange!), strawberry lemonade, blueberry lemonade, banana pudding and chocolate sea salt frozen delights while blazing in the sun prior to the game. Auburn had some impressive strikes of their own with the assault the pass rush delivered. Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford were on fire.
Not one to neglect the offense either, I went in for a touchdown of my own. I introduced a new shot - the Thin Mint. The tent called it "outstanding." Pretty much the same sentiment we all felt when we saw Jay Prosch clear the way for Tre Mason. GIVE US MOAR. For those of you wondering, a Thin Mint is 1 part Kahlua, 1 part Bailey's and 1 part clear crème de menthe.
I can't say I was super pleased with the tailgate (I did run out of napkins and Mexican Coca-Cola) but I wasn't horribly disappointed either. I am in the same vein for my Auburn Tigers. It wasn't the best outing but I know it will get better.
As I look forward to this weekend's game, I am again brought back to planning a soiree for the crew. We are going to start the day with some breakfast burritos. We are kicking it up a notch with some spicy sausage (bring the heat, bring the pain). I hope that the defense follows suit. I am tossing in some breakfast potatoes for fillers (hey Kiehl and company, give me a few more touchdowns). I have asked everyone to bring their crock pots full of tailgate test recipes, just as I hope that Van Gorder and Loeffler are bringing everything to the table as well. Count on some Vegas Bombs (both the shots and the kicks delivered by Parkey and Clark). The defense, while at this point unproven, will defy odds and naysayers the same way I laugh at people that say do not try a new recipe when hosting guests. The pie listed below is going to dominate the sweet tooth, much like the defense is going to deliver bone-jarring gashes into the Bulldogs' o-line and mow down some running backs like last week's grass. We will close the morning with a round of fine Caol Ila scotch. Scotch is meant to commemorate special occasions. The occasion, you wonder? The silencing of the cowbells. War Damn, my friends, WAR DAMN EAGLE.
Momofuku's Crack Pie
Momofuku is a group of restaurants in NYC and this is one of the cult classics from their dessert maven, Christina Tosi. According to NPR.com, she hails from Virginia (I proclaim her to be a belle, despite her current residence in NYC). She was named the 2012 winner of the James Beard Foundation Rising Chef.
This recipe can easily be found by googling "Crack Pie" but I went with the one that has the simplest instructions, Thanks, BonApetit!
10 to 12 servings
PREP: 40 minutes
TOTAL: 15 hours (includes baking, cooling, and chilling time)
Oat Cookie Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Oat Cookie Crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.
Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.
Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.