Food & Football Week 13 2016: The U vs Duke

My Beloved Osito,

It’s week 13 and with this being the last game of the regular season, we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel of the 2016 NCAA Football season.  The grand finale will be a match up against the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, North Carolina.  This is an intmiracleriguing game solely based on how last year’s game ended with the “miracle“. It was a crazy last second play that ended with some officiating controversy.  The wildest thing about this game was not the play, but the backlash from the media after the game.  Many across the country were calling for The U to forfeit the game or for the ACC to give the win to Duke.  Anyone who has played sports or been around sports knows that you can’t focus on one play or call and ignore all the other calls throughout the game.  The U isn’t the first team to win (or lose) on a controversial call, yet this is the first time I’ve seen the ‘mob’ calling for a team to void a win.  It just feeds the narrative that the NCAA and the media is not very fond of The U, but I digress.

For the game meal, I explored a few options. The first was the “Devil” aspect of Duke’s mascotmascot named after the French soldiers of WWI, “Les Diables Bleus”.  This led me to explore devil’s food cake or maybe even loaded deviled eggs, but that didn’t intrigue me.  I reverted back to the state vegetable of North Carolina, the good ole sweet potato.  The game was right after Thanksgiving and everyone was shifting into the Christmas mood and I was craving a homemade pie.  It was a perfect match because I really wanted a sweet potato pie like I used to have at your great grandmother’s during the holidays.  The icing on the cake, or pie if you will, was that we also had a Weekend Adventure planned to Santa’s Wonderland in College Station, TX.

The game, with all the intrigue leading up to kickoff, was basic fundamental football.  You could tell The U had no intentions of putting the game in the hands of the referees again and took care of business.  Despite a very tight game in the first half, 16 -14 UM, The U ran away with it in the 3rd  quarter which gave more playing time to 2nd and 3rd string players in the last quarter.

The pie was very basic in execution as well.  I thought it was a complicated endkaden-patatoeeavor, but after talking with my mom, it is a simple dessert to make.  The game ended with a score of 40 to 21 and the U closed the regular season on a 4 game win streak.  The pie, coupled with all the nostalgia, ranked an 8 of 10 for me and it was Mami’s first time having sweet potato pie.  Next time I make a sweet potato pie, there will be a few tweaks I would like to make to enhance the experience.  For example, making the crust from scratch and adding a crunchy element of some type on top. But overall, this one was really good.  The U’s next game is a few weeks away as we wait for the start of the “College Football Bowl Season”.

crust-and-patatoe

Ingredients:

1.  Take two sweet potatoes and place them in the oven at 350 degrees until the peel starts to blacken and pull away from the flesh of the potatocooked-patatoe

2.  After the potatoes cool, peel and place in a mixing bowl

3.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg

4.  In a separate bowl, mix a cup of milk, two eggs, melted butter, and vanilla

5.  With the mixer on, slowly add liquid mixture into the potatoes and mix thoroughly

6.  Add mixture into the pie crust and sprinkle the top with a little cinnamon

oven-ready

7.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for ~30 min or until filling is set and the crust is brown

Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”

@Outer_space_dad

Food & Football Week 11 2016: The U vs UVa

My Beloved Osito,

After getting back into the winners column in week 10, The U looked to start a new winning streak against the Virginia Cavaliers, UVa, on the road in Charlottesville.  UVa’s football team has been one of the worse teams in the ACC, statistically, the past decade winning 2 to 3 (2.6 average) of their 8 conference games a year.  Virginia Cavaliers NCAA Football Vs William & MaryDespite their woes, UVa has been a tricky opponent for The U winning 6 of the last 10 games.  Speaking of tricky, the game meal almost caused me to lose my mind trying to figure out a plan.  For this
meal, the mascot route was a dead end.  UVa’s mascot, a Cavalier, is a mounted horseman named CavMan and through research, I found that this was the name given to supporters of King Charles I in England’s Civil War (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/civil_war_revolution/choosingsides_01.shtml) in 1642.  After the mascot route, I started down the road of UVa’s nickname, Wahoos.  However, the nickname was apparently derived from the schools rally cry in the 1890s.  So, here I was, with no good leads, and game day quickly approaching.  As Mami and I laid in bed, she asked me what my plan was for the game and I told her that I had nothing but information about King Charles’ supporters and a rally cry.  As I told her about the rally cry, she looked over and calmly stated “isn’t a Wahoo a type of fish?” (it is!).  And so the game meal was set.

The game did fish-marketnot start off well at all.  After a solid defensive stand on the opening drive, on The U’s first offensive play, UVa snatched the ball out of the receiver’s hands for an interception.  It appeared that The U’s bad luck with UVa was go to continue for another year.  My luck with the game meal did not start out well either.  Living in Houston, we are close to the bay where there are a ton of fish markets.  After doing my due diligence online, I found a fish market in Kemah that I thought had exactly what I needed (http://m.baybrookseafood.com/?url=http://www.baybrookseafood.com%2F#2804).  However, I was living the reality that you can’t believe everything you see on the internet.  After visiting 5 other markets in the area, with no luck, and talking to one of the owners, I realized that none of them sold Wahoo fish because it was mostly found in the Pacific and Caribbean waters.

WAHOO

Needing to adjust to this sudden bad fortune, I remembered that Mami was having pregnancy cravings for tuna salad so I decided to make grilled tuna.  Much like my quick adjustment, The U changed the course of the game by scoring the next 17 points of the game, but after another UVa TD, The U had a slim 3 point lead at halftime.  The U completely dominated the second half and with a 34-14 win started a 2 game winning streak.  The grilled tuna was amazing as well with a 9 out 10 rating.  This rating was despite the fact that half way through the cooking process Mami informed me that she was craving canned tuna and not fresh tuna steaks.  Next week, The U faces the Wolf Pack of North Carolina State.

Ingredients
Fish

  1. Take tuna and clean and cut into 2-3 in cuts of
    not done by the market
  2.  Coat the tuna in olive oil (so it will not stick on the grill) and place in the m
    arinate/sauce
  3. On direct heat, cook for 3-4 minutes on each side
  • It is safe to eat under cooked tuna (like sushi), but I cooked this one thoroughly because Mami was pregnant with Deuce


Marinade/sauce

  1. Add two table spoons of mayonnaise (also helps sticking) and 1 table spoon of Greek yogurt in a food processor
  2. Add minced garlic, dried onions, cajun seasoning, lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper
  3. Add a handful of lightly chopped dill and mix well
  • Note: I marinade the tuna in this mixture and I also used it as a sauce with the fish and air fryer fries (yea again)

meal

Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”

@Outer_space_dad

Food & Football: Week 2 2016 The U vs. FAU

My Beloved Osito,

With Week 1 in the books, The U switched focus to a pseudo in-state rival with the Owls of Florida Atlantic University.  The rivalry aspect is only added because the rosters of both teams are full of South Florida players that have played each other since Pee Wee league.  However, the talent level has been significantly better at UM than FAU and I hope that has continued.  Another rivalry aspect is the fact that the “Godfather” of UM football, Howard Schnellenberger, (you saw him in the 30 for 30 episode we watched) founded the football program at FAU.  While The U was preparing for the game, I had the daunting task of trying to figure out how to make “owl” the center of the game meal.  While I knew it couldn’t possibly be good to consume and possibly illegal, I did my due diligence and tried to see if owl meat was something you could purchase.  I quickly switched my focus when I started typing “owl meat for” and the word “magic” auto populated as the second most searched phrase after “sale”.  I nailed it down to two options for the game which were Cornish hen and Quail; despite the fact your mom called it food from the “Mid-west” prairie lands.  I could only find quail legs at the store so I ran a read option play and got both, Cornish hen and quail.  The hen was a good choice since your mom is not always up for trying the “exotic” things I make.  Both dishes came out just like the football game, amazing!  The hen I grilled as “beer can” chicken with indirect heat and the quail legs were grilled traditionally.  This was my first time eating, and obviously cooking, quail and I was oddly surprised that it tasted just like chicken.  I know that sounds cliché, but facts are facts. I’ll give the food a 9 out 10 and we won 38-10. The next game is against the Appalachian State Mountaineers.  Not sure what I’m supposed to do with the whole mountaineer theme.

Ingredients and Directions:

Cornish Hen:

  1. Fully thaw and clean the Cornish Hen then coat in olive oil and marinate overnight. My key marinating ingredients are Cajun Seasoning (greatest seasoning ever made, but if it isn’t Tony Chachere’s don’t trust it), garlic, black pepper, Adobo (your mom’s Hispanic roots got me hooked on this), Dale’s Seasoning (my liquid component) and beer.
  2. Remove hen and pour beer marinade mixture back into the can, ~3/4 full. Place hen on top of the can (see picture below). I patted the hen dry and added a mix of brown sugar and Cajun seasoning to the outside to get a good crust as it cooks.
  3. The fire should be made on the opposite end of chimney to allow some smoke to cross the meat as it leaves. (Your mom is not a huge fan of smoke flavor so this method satisfies my craving).
  4. Place the hen on opposite side of burning coals with its back facing the heat and rotate every 25-35 minutes pending on how hot the grill. My temperature ranged from 325-400 degrees.
  5. You should be able to tell when the hen is done, but the internal temperature should be ~165-175 degrees in the breast and thighs and the beer mixture will keep the hen moist.

img_4679

img_4682

Quail Legs:

  1. Fully unthaw and clean the quail legs then coat in olive oil and marinate overnight. See step 1 of Cornish Hen.
  2. Place on grill. Since they are really small I placed them on the top rack of the grill.
  3. Cook for ~5-8 minutes on each side

img_4747

Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”

@Outer_space_dad

Food & Football: Week 1 2016 The U vs FAMU

My Beloved Osito,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, leaves are starting to change colors, the temperature is starting to drop (not really, in Houston, Tx it’s still 90+ degrees), and most importantly it’s college football season and more specifically Miami Hurricanes’ football season.  As you get older you will quickly realize that this is also the time of year that my adventures in the kitchen and out on the grill peak.  Every Saturday (sometimes Thursday’s depending on game schedules) each adventure is centered on the team The U will be facing that week. I’m sure I’m not the originator of this idea, but I have made it my own.  The idea is that we get to “feast” on the opponent while we watch The U “feast” on them on the field.  The first time we started this was in 2013 at our tailgate for U of Florida game with your Godfather, his first time UM game. I grilled alligator tail that day, the other (other) white meat, and we watched the “upset” of #12 ranked UF.  Fast forward to 2016, the kickoff of the Coach Mark Richt era (I grew up with him when he coached the “home” team UGA for 15 the past years) and hopefully the start of the next 30 for 30 “The U: Part 3 The Dynasty Returns”.  You missed this game since kickoff was at 5ct and you were already in bed after we went to the #15 U of Houston vs. #3 U of Oklahoma game. This is another story in itself. On this day, The U faced the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Rattlers. I know what you’re thinking, “dad did you grill snake meat?” Well no, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. I found a place online (http://www.exoticmeatmarkets.com/rasnme.html) that sold Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake meat, but for 3 pounds at $299, I had to rethink my priorities. I ended up going the “cupcake” route. The term “cupcake” is used to describe a team that is knowingly inferior and not at the same talent level by design as its opponent. In college football, this is a team from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Basically, big football programs pay these FCS schools millions of dollars to play them as a “warmup game”.  For this game, I had to call your grandmama to get her homemade red velvet cake recipe to use for my cupcakes. The recipe was oddly simple except for 2 secret ingredients that I was told to keep under lock and key. You’ve never seen secrecy until you ask an old schooler her cake recipe. It’s under tighter security than the Secretary of State’s Benghazi emails (you’ll have to google that).  Naturally, as with all recipes, I made my own tweaks for game purposes like using green food coloring for the cake instead of red, and adding yellow and red food coloring to the cream cheese frosting to get orange for the FAMU team colors.  I also injected the cupcakes with melted white chocolate to ensure they were moist.  I only ate like 2 since it would counter my efforts of getting a 6 pack of abs before I turn 30, and then I took the rest to church.  Overall I’ll give them a 6.5, but as your mom said “they just weren’t [grandmama’s]”.  Oh by the way, we won 70-3. Next game is against the Florida Atlantic University Owls. I’ll have to check the exotic meat market to see if Owl meat is even legal to consume, yikes!

Ingredients and Directions:

  1. Beat 2 eggs, 1.5 cups oil, 1.5 cups sugar, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  2. Mix 2.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 tablespoons of *******
  3. Add step 2 to step 1 with 1 cup buttermilk (gradually)
  4. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 bottle of desired food coloring and 3-5 *********
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350 and cake: grease and flour pan: fill cups 2/3
  6. Cook 15-20 min (varies per oven) or until done. Use toothpick to check
  7. Frosting: mix 8 ounces (1 pack) cream cheese and 4 ounces (1 stick) real butter
    1. Add 1 box powdered sugar until desired consistency
    2. Add 1 cup pecans; (don’t add if you’re still allergic to nuts)

img_4704Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”

@Outer_space_dad