It has been a hard, hard, hard month. The Steelers have lost three — three! — in a row and I’m having a hard time deciding what I find the most frustrating about this team.
Bruce Arians? A given, although last week’s loss to Baltimore cannot be held against the play calling. The fact that the Steelers have not lost a game by more than three points all season? Incredibly frustrating. The fact that I said during the preseason the team would go 10-6 but still win the AFC North to play in the wild card round? Well, I hate being wrong about the conference title and at 6-5 going 10-6 means a tough December. Sure the rest of the schedule looks “easy” but guess what? Losses to both the Chiefs and the Bears! BAH!
(Better watch this video of Jake Gyllenhaal talking about going to a Steelers game to make the pain go away. Again.)
December is also the toughest time of the year to be an NFL fan. While I love the idea of Thursday night games, in execution it really is too much football once you figure in Saturday college football and the Monday night game. On top of four days of football, all of your non-sports friends start expecting you to show up at holiday parties. Hell, even your friends who do like sports will throw holiday parties and expect you to attend, saying they’ll have a TV on in the corner. TV on in the corner? What is this? The 70’s? High-definition television was invented so you would not take your eyes off it. Ever. Which means if the “TV on in the corner” either, 1) Is the size of a toaster or, 2) Will create such a spectacle the rest of the party will have to watch what is shown on it. Neither one is a good option and can only lead to at least one of the hosts being offended.
Likewise, it is one of the toughest months to cook for football games. Between the parties, cookies at the office, and eggnog it is a month of pure fat, something you had reserved for your one “free day” of Sunday. (Or Saturday, depending on your football orthodoxy.) Calories aside, if you’re already interested in cooking for football, you’re probably the person making cookies, helping the hosts with canapes and bringing the extra bottle of gloog to your office party. Is it too much to rest when you watch football now?
YES, IT IS YOU PANSY. The players haven’t stopped playing, so where the cuss do you think you get off! Three seasons of the Football Foodie, so these recipes better be second nature to you now, especially this week’s two easy snacks.
Caramelized Onion with Apple Tart and Pear and Blue Cheese Squares
You will need…
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 crisp red apples, diced (A cooking apple is best, like a Gala or Cortland. I used a Gala apple here.)
Salt and pepper
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 – 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (I’ve found creme fraiche makes a much easier base to spread, and has a more neutral taste.)
Fresh sage (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Place your thawed puffed pastry on a cookie sheet, prick all over with a fork, and spread on a thin layer of your creme fraiche. Top with chopped sage.
Heat up the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and — say it all together — slowly cook your onions until they are transparent. About 12-15 minutes. Once they are almost done, add your diced apple and salt and pepper and cook for about 3-4 more minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Halfway through baking, check the puffed pastry for spots where you might have missed with the fork. Go ahead and stab those bubbles Ray-Ray style.
Cut into squares and serve.
But what if that seems like too much work? What if you don’t want to use both your stove and your oven? WAAAAAA.
Fine. You probably also hope either the Colts or the Saints go undefeated. WAAAAAA I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE ’72 DOLPHINS ANY MORE. Guess what? I don’t care a flying fig about the ’72 Dolphins! I wasn’t even alive yet! As important to me as hearing about Archduke Franz Ferdinand or the Ice Bowl or the damn Beatles! I’m glad they have the record, because I don’t want to go 35 more years hearing about Peyton Manning or Drew Brees? Have you thought about that? A perfect season for the Colts means we’re going to have Peyton Manning commercials up to and including his death.
“With Sony Ultra-Passing Away control, I can end my own arthritic pain now with just a flick of my right eyeball and record my own dream as I pass away to give to my grandkidssssss…” *gasp*
Peyton Manning is no Dennis Quaid Natalie Wood, that’s for sure. (EDIT – 30 minutes after I posted this I realized I was thinking of BRAINSTORM and not DREAMSCAPE, although both work. Besides, we know for sure Manning is no Natalie Wood.)
If you are pressed for time or hate apples (and America).
2-3 ounces of blue cheese or gorgonzola
1 ripe pear, diced
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 – 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
Salt and pepper
Same as above, but sprinkle with chopped pear and blue cheese without cooking (pears are already soft enough) and salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
No FFF cocktail this week, because we here at the StarterHousehold are too busy being happy for the crew at Lost Abbey for having not one but two beers on Wine Enthusiasts best 25 beers list this year.
Check out a couple of the photos from our tour there this past summer.
Plus, beer and kitties!
Caramelized Onion Tarts – Real Simple
Update on the Chili Contest next week!