Hard to believe this is about to be the sixth season of the Football Foodie series, but here we are kicking off the 2012 CFB and NFL schedule with our most ambitious schedule of recipes yet. More dips, roasts, slow-cooked, grilled, fried, tossed, marinated and iced snacks than ever before. According to my handy little Evernote tracking list, there are 27 Football Foodie recipes that have survived multiple testing and are ready to go, 14 still in beta (including one I’ve been trying to nail down for three years now), and 159 recipes still in the idea stage. That’s a lot of snacks to cover in the next five months.
Few changes this season. I’m going to eliminate the step-by-step photo directions for most recipes and only post them for when technique is of importance or for recipes that call for a certain level of completeness before the final stages. I’ve tried get rid of them in seasons past — most notably in a few season four videos that ended up being too much work for just one person with a long galley kitchen with unfavorable camera setups, but it’s going to stick this year. I’m running out of Casey Hampton jokes to make between frying photos and I would like to believe that between six years of reading the Football Foodie and the general explosion of online food writing since 2007, you guys know what you’re doing by now in the kitchen. The upside is less time spent going through thousands of process photos should mean more time posting recipes.
I’m also going to make our Google Voice number, (323) 963-4756, available on the weekends starting from 9 AM Pacific Time until 10 PM for people to call for snack-making emergencies in response to the cooks who sometimes cannot get us via email, site comments or Twitter in a timely manner. Text support is available at that number at any time. Think of it as the President Bartlett calling the Butterball hotline storyline on the “West Wing”, but for hummus and fried pickles. However unlike Butterball, I make no guarantees on my level of sobriety during calls.
A few years ago, there was a little bit of dabbling with Flickr for readers to upload their photos of recipes made from this site. I’d like to bring back the shared tailgating and living room-gating (nope, still not giving up on that phrase catching on) photos, but this time include all food spreads no matter their origin. People have all sorts of good tailgating ideas out there and I like seeing them, like this Steelers 7th Heaven, 7-Layer Dip a reader sent in couple of years ago. I’ll collect everyone’s photos from email, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Twitpic or Lockerzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and put them together for a weekly roundup, just tag everything with #FootballFoodie and we should be all set.
And finally, the site is going through a bit of a redesign, so please bear with me while I get the place in shape over the next couple of weeks. Hoping to improve load time and fix a few other small bugs that have been bothering me for a bit.
Anything else? Nope? Have you signed up for the annual Football Foodie pick’em pools for fun and prizes? Yes?
Then time for the annual lecture about football and food.
The preseason. Supposedly “meaningless” games spent trying to impress the coaches, shaking the rust off of the joints, and players doing their goddamn best not to get hurt.
Well do you think you, the football fan, are any different? Are you ready for at least one – if not two – days spent entirely on your sofa? After a summer’s harvest of nothing but the freshest fruits and vegetables are you ready to settle in and allow yourself the unhealthy snack foods that are best enjoyed with copious amounts of booze and yelling? Can you whip-up something besides the number for Domino’s, (GOD HELP ME DO NOT TELL ME YOU ORDER DOMINO’S), that will feed you and your crew?
I doubt it.
If you go into September without at least one or two practice runs, you’re going to find yourself sad and lonely with just your box of Bugles and six-pack of Natty Light come kick-off.
Can’t lie, a few of the times I’ve re-posted this snippet, the idea of a box of Bugles doesn’t sound all that bad. Do Bugles still even come in boxes?
The 2012 Football Foodie Kickoff: Grilled Brussel Sprout Kabobs with Bacon Lardons
Last week, friend of the program Rob Iracane requested we start off the season with some recipes for the grill, so we’re going with what has become one of my favorite sides, grilled brussel sprout kabobs with bacon lardons. Brussel sprouts are no stranger to the Football Foodie menu, and these charred little cabbage-like buds take on a wonderful nutty favor over the flame which is accented further by the rich lardons marinating beside them on the sticks.
And as always, at least you can say you had a vegetable at some point during your football watching day.
You will need:
2- 2 1/2 pound brussel sprouts, even in size, cleaned with any loose outer leaves removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a generous pinch more for steaming the Brussels sprouts
1/3 – 1/2 pound bacon lardons
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Metal skewers or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.
In a large pot with a steaming basket or a pasta strainer insert, boil just about 1 inch of water with a dash of salt and add the brussel sprouts and cover. Steam for five minutes. (If you’re already pretty good about steaming your Brussels sprouts in the microwave, go for it. I just never get good results when I try to zap anything.)
Once steamed, remove the brussel sprouts from pot and allow to cool for handling.
Put the bacon lardons into the freezer for a few minutes to firm up a bit for easier slicing, and then cut into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces.
Alternating lardon pieces and brussel sprouts, thread the skewers.
Mix the salt and pepper into the olive oil. Brush on skewers.
Grill over medium heat for about three to five minutes a side, depending on how hot your coals are running. Don’t worry if any of the sprouts seem a little too toasted, the char is where some of the best taste is on the kabob.
Serves 6-8 as a side, 3-4 as a main course.
The meaty, fatty richness from the lardons seep into the brussel sprouts as they render over the heat of the coals. Plain old olive oil, salt and pepper bring out both the sweet and the slight tang of the sprouts without overpowering their natural brightness. Together they make for a great accompaniment to any game day grill.
Update: A reader on Twitter criticized the lack of capitalization for brussels sprouts, so here is the explanation. As part of Football Foodie improvements during the summer, I spent some time reading a couple of cookbook style guides and of course, they had conflicting information on proper usage. One said Brussels sprouts and another said brussels sprout, and yet again another one pointed out that most people actually just say “brussel sprout” when speaking. We no longer capitalize cheddar when discussing cheese unless it comes from Cheddar, and we don’t capitalize champagne unless it’s from the specific region in France with specific grapes. These sprouts didn’t come from Belgium, so I don’t feel bad about not capitalizing the word and I think we can all agree, “brussels sprouts kabobs” has a terrible rhythmic meter.
If anything, someone should be upset I said “bacon lardons” since it’s redundant, but often used to explain to Americans what a lardon is and honestly bacon is just good SEO.
You might also like: Roasted Dill Brussel Sprouts.
Google Voice number available for emergency recipe questions and texts (323) 963-4756, 9 AM PT – 10 PM PT, Saturday and Sundays.
- 2- 2½ pound brussel sprouts, even in size, cleaned with loose outer leaves removed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a generous pinch more for steaming the brussel sprouts
- ⅓ - ½ pound bacon lardons
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- In a large pot with a steaming basket or a pasta strainer insert, boil just about 1 inch of water with a dash of salt and add the brussels sprouts and cover. Steam for five minutes.
- Remove from pot and allow to cool for handling.
- Put the bacon lardons into the freezer for a few minutes to firm up a bit for easier slicing, and then cut into ½ - 1 inch pieces.
- Alternating lardon pieces and brussel sprouts, thread the skewers.
- Mix in the salt and pepper into the olive oil. Brush on skewers.
- Grill over medium heat for about three to five minutes a side, depending on how hot your coals are running.