Week Five. Welcome to the dog days of the NFL season. Maybe it’s because we’re getting into the bye weeks, maybe it’s the start of the hockey and basketball season, and maybe it’s because we’re enjoying post-season baseball (Kidding! Baseball never ends! Pitchers and catchers report in 177 days! Only 21 days after the World Series!), but for some reason I always struggle with October football. September sets up the storylines for the season, November and Decemeber are the buildup to the playoffs. October is the grunt work. The foundation. The grinding out game after game after game after exciting match-ups Cleveland-Buffalo and Philadelphia-Oakland and San Francisco-Houston and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
The good news is this is time of the year when the outside of the game stories become more interesting, because they could possibly influence how players play the game. Braylon Edwards gets into a fight outside of a Cleveland night club with a friend of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and is promptly traded to the Jets. Crabtree finally ends his hold out. Some old guy plays against his former team. (Larry Foote.) And of course the big story percolating just under the surface, the possibility of a player lockout in 2011.
Everyone’s favorite pro Twitter Chad Ochocinco sat in a NFL Players Association meeting earlier this week, and judging by his Tweets, the union is telling its players to start saving their pennies now. While this is not new news, his reaction caused a little bit of stir with ESPN’s Adam Schefter and New York Times’ Judy Battista.
Schefter weighed in –
What’s my point and what the hell does this have to do with the Friday Football Foodie?
Both Battista and Schefter are complete dips. Having worked with large staffs – both union and non-union – for more than a decade in a few different fields, I can say with great certainty that many people have no idea what the terms of their employment are. Does not matter if it is the janitor, the kid in the mailroom, a senior manager, or even a Vice President of Titles That Have No Weight, people do not know when their next payday is, how their extended benefits function, if they get Columbus Day off (and they will ask that question every year, even after being with a company for twelve years), how accrued time off works, how to approach their boss for a raise, and even what their current salary is. Really.
Chad has been playing ball for the Cincinnati Bengals for going on eight years now, the only NFL team he has worked for since college. While I am sure he has an understanding of the free agency market and player trades, it isn’t beyond reason for him to think the league would always take care of its players. Teams – and by extension the league – act very paternalistic towards players when they’re playing. Anyone in a long-term position can be lulled into thinking their job is always safe, and with the added camaraderie of being a part of one of the world’s most glorified sporting leagues, being locked out almost seems unthinkable. Almost.
(Battista’s comment was especially galling to me since the newspaper world is unionized, and later in the day she Tweeted about tough days in the media world with the closure of Gourmet magazine. By her standard for NFL players, anyone left at Conde Nast should have seen the layoffs coming years ago and left for safer ground. I wonder if she has ever asked how much vacation time she has left in a year. Schefter, as far as I can tell, has less of filter than Chad Ochocinco does.)
Okay, well that was a lot of words that could have been summed up as, “Hey, don’t judge.”
On to this week’s Friday Football Foodie! French Dip and Blood Orange Bourbon!
You will need…
1 (2 pound) boneless beef roast (This is good for 4-6 people. If have more people, you can buy a 4 lbs roast.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 beef bouillon cube or 1 can of beef broth. (I prefer the low-salt broth.)
1 bay leaf
3 – 5 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Submarine sandwich style buns
1 cup dark beer (optional, but highly recommended)
Onion, or onion powder (optional)
Provolone or blue cheese (optional)
Remove any visible fat from the outside of your roast.
Now, I used a slow cooker for my roast. If you do not have a slow cooker you can also use a big stock pot, but you must must MUST keep it over the lowest heat you can on the stove top.
Place your meat in the pot and add your marinade.
Add the beer.
Set to “low” and let cook for six to eight hours depending on the size of your roast.
So you can do what I did and just add a teaspoon of onion powder to your marinade. Or if you like, you can cut up an onion and put it in the marinade. Or you can leave out the onion, but caramelize the onion later to put on your sandwich. (But guess what? Week Five means I am – as is everyone else – over making wildcat references this season.)
Steelers played the late game last Sunday so I had my roast in the pot by 9 AM so we could be ready to make sandwiches around 4:30 before kickoff, because I was not going to jinx the team by being late with food again. So really roast through the morning and afternoon games. Or if you live on the east coast, it should be in the pot by Berman’s first throw to whatever sad remote feed they have Sal Paolantonio on.
Then you wait. And wait.
About an hour before your meat is done, if you want an easy side (okay, not as easy as opening a bag of frozen tater tots) put in a 350 degree oven cut up new potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, whatever dried savory herbs you have on hand, and some salt and pepper. Roast for 45 – 60 minutes.
Some people will want cheese, some will not. Toast the cheese on a couple of buns for those who do. You know who would want cheese? Naked Casey Hampton.
Once your meat is done, (you should be able to pull it apart easily) serve with a small bowl of the jus from your pot. Dip dip dip dip away!
Blood Orange Bourbon
I made the mistake of mentioning this cocktail on my Twitter feed (Hooray! More talk about Twitter!) last week and was talked into sharing the recipe early by several people who just could not wait. So act like it’s new to you, TSW Twitter fans.
The original recipe for this cocktail calls for plain blood orange juice. Since that is often difficult to find, we went for the sparkling blood orange juice they carry at my local market.
3 Tbls (Shot and a half) of blood orange juice
2 Tbls (1 shot) of bourbon
1 tsp of powdered sugar (Yes, powdered sugar. Everyone thought I had lost my mind when I didn’t say “simple syrup” here.)
Mix well in glass with ice. Drink. This is a nice cocktail for either a brunch game or an evening game aperitif.
French Dip adapted from All Recipes.com
Blood Orange Bourbon from the Better Homes and Garden’s Cookbook, Bridal Edition