Previously posted on Black&GoldTchotchkes.com.
It occurred to me after I posted my rambling piece about lazy jaded sports writing and the nonsensical whining about overwrought story lines, I should have included at least a couple of links to writers who have not only been outstanding in their coverage of the Super Bowl, but all season long.
Shutdown Corner and Football Outsiders, Doug Farrar
From his “The Road to Lombardi” series, a piece on Saints running back Pierre Thomas:
When Drew Brees(notes) and Sean Payton throw all those three- and four-wise sets at enemy defenses, it’s generally Thomas in the backfield, forcing defenses away from committing entirely to the aerial attack. As much as he benefits from those defenses backing off and playing pass, he also averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 50 carries in formations with only two wide receivers. And that’s the myth of the Saints — people assume that because Brees is among the best quarterbacks in the game and the offense scores so often, the Saints aren’t a physical team. Thomas ran behind two-tight end sets 60 times and averaged six yards per carry.
What has to concern Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is his unit’s inability to cover the middle of the field during the postseason. Green Bay and Minnesota torched them with ease by attacking with slot receivers and tight ends. No doubt that Dallas Clark will take on added emphasis when Indianapolis sees that vulnerability. The Saints, however, were able to batter Brett Favre consistently in the NFC Championship. Peyton Manning struggled early against the Jets when Rex Ryan’s defense was able to apply pressure. New Orleans is better able to do this without elaborate blitz packages and that may serve them well against the Colts.
Not a single reference to a Kardashian. Just solid, rugged, football talk.
Which segues right into today’s theme:
14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Smoky Cowboy Caviar
You will need…
1 can of black eyed peas
1 can of black beans
2-3 roasted red peppers (Or 1-2 chopped red sweet peppers, but roasted red peppers taste better.)
1-2 jalapenos, depending on your preference
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 scallions (Or 1/4 cup finely chopped red or white onion)
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, stems removed
1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (Or cider vinegar, rice vinegar)
2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Fresh ground pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Now, I’ve seen a lot of variations of Cowboy Caviar (or Texas Caviar, if you prefer) over the years. Some people add tomatoes, eggplant, tomatillos, corn, green peppers, bottled Italian dressing, and avocados. As far as I’m concerned, those people are just making salsa with beans. If I wanted salsa, I’d make salsa.
In my mind, cowboys mean two things; chuck wagons and beans.
(Despite spending my early years in the cowboy-heavy lands of Colorado and Wyoming, my earliest memories of cowboys comes from watching the dinner scene in BLAZING SADDLES at a family friend’s house on TV. I had no idea why the adults were all laughing, but good lord did they find those cowboys funny.)
Liquid smoke is one of those ridiculous items that when you see it at the store, you cannot help but think, “That’s the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Who needs liquid smoke? Bet it looks nice next a pet rock on the shelf.” Well, guess again! Even if you are a vegan, you’ve probably already tried liquid smoke. It’s used to flavor bacon, tempeh, and marinades; all totally awesome tasting foods!
Now, there is a good chance it might be bad for your health. (Good liquid smoke is nothing more than water and smoke that has condensed, then had the tar and ash removed. Other liquid smokes use sweeteners such as molasses, sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup.) The EU is reinvestigating the safety of using liquid smoke in meats and cheeses. But guess what else is not good for you? Eating anything off the grill! So if you’re already okay with the idea that grilling is not the worst thing for you, than you shouldn’t be afraid to use liquid smoke. If you are not okay with grilled items, then skip the “smoky” and make yourself just plain old Cowboy Caviar. But maybe change the name to “Ballerina Caviar” or “EVERYTHING GIVES YOU CANCER Caviar” because cowboys and smoke go hand-in-hand.
Rinse and drain your beans.
Coarsely chop up the cilantro and red peppers, finely mince the scallions, jalapenos, and garlic.
Mixed together with the white wine vinegar, lime juice, vegetable oil, and liquid smoke. Stir in the beans.
Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6-12 hours to let all the flavors open up and permeate the beans. Serve with chips and a smokey beer, such as the Rogue Chipotle Ale seen above or a dark porter. If you prefer something lighter, pinot grigio always goes well with grilled foods, so it pairs well with Smoky Cowboy Caviar. (Yes, you can have wine at a Super Bowl party. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar or lives in a house with five other dudes and is afraid of people questions their masculinity.)
Day 3 – 14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Citrus Marinated Warm Olives
Day 2 – 14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Fried Chickpeas (Ceci Fritos)
Day 1 – 14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Salted Honey Roasted Pecans