This week we’re paying homage to BSU’s shiny new rival, (depending on who you talk to), BYU. The Cougar faithful aren’t really allowed to tailgate, but if there’s anybody who understands the wonder of food that can travel (yay potluck dinners), it’s the Saints. I have never been a member of the church, but I am part of the first generation of my fam that wasn’t born in the covenant. This means I got the best of both worlds – not having to sit through church meetings, but definitely getting invited to events with all the food.
There is little else like sitting in a Stake center gym on a folding chair, surrounded by dozens of your closest extended family members, staring down a plate of surprise. Sometimes it was amazing, and sometimes it was your aunt’s mushroom casserole. There are tons of jokes about bland Mormon cooking, the land of Jello and canned vegetables. However, there is serious art going on in some of those kitchens. I remember pie crusts that floated lightly like little flaky clouds. Endless pans of brownies and cookies. It was fascinating to be in my grandmother’s kitchen, and is one of my fondest memories.
So, in honor of our opponents, let’s go through what I consider to be the best dish from my almost-Mormon past that should work well to savor with a side of Cougar Tears this weekend. Note: I am not as awesome as Derek and require recipes most of the time. His point remains no less important: play around with this stuff. Recipes are a guideline, not a rule (at least until we start baking things.)
There are approximately 8 bajillion different recipes for this dish. Everybody loves it, everybody wants a ton of it when it shows up at an event, and every cook puts their own twist on it. It’s simple and fetching delicious. A pan of this shows up at every family holiday, every barbecue, and is great because you can add whatever you want. Change up cheese types. Add moar meats. Sausage, shredded chicken, whatever. Throw some <insert hot sauce of your choice here> in. Other veggies maybe. Artichoke hearts? Zucchini? Pretty much anything works. Usually I wouldn’t lead you down a road of making food with cream of anything soup, but it makes Funeral Potatoes what they are, IMO.
1 pound frozen hash browns
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups sour cream
1 lb bacon
2 pinches Salt
2 pinches Pepper
2 pinch Smoked Paprika
2 pinch Parsley
Cook bacon to desired crispness, then allow to cool slightly and chop into bite sized chunks. Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased, 9×13-inch cake pan and top with more cheddar cheese. Bake 1 hour, uncovered, at 350° F.
Beer of the week: Wasatch Devastator Double Bock
Getting a hold of Utah beer in the Boise area is tough sometimes, but last weekend I got to try Devastator and it’s fantastic. The malt and touch of caramel flavor is going to work well with cheese and bacon, but then again, doesn’t everything really? This was on tap at Bodo Vino in Boise last week, so it is out there to try if you come across it. Or you could just drive to Utah real quick. Gotta love this sense of humor down at Wasatch:
If you’re going to sin, sin big. With 8% alc/vol and a creamy richness, this brew has developed a serious cult following. Imagine that – a cult following in Utah?!
Cocktail of the Week: Sherbet Punch for Grownups
This recipe will make a lot so prepare to either share with friends or have a forgettable evening because the alcohol said so. I tend to like destroying my nostalgic memories of childhood with borderline sacrilegious behavior, so let’s make like teenagers and add some liquor to mom’s punch bowl.
1 container of ORANGE sherbet
2 2-liters of 7-up, Sprite,etc.
1 large can pineapple juice
1 bottle fruit juice (fruit punch, cranberry, whatevs)
1/4 bottle of Vodka
Pour juices, Vodka, and 1 2-liter of soda into a punch bowl. Add sherbet and stir. Then pour in face and enjoy with football and victory.
Happy tailgating, all!