The time-honored tradition of tailgating is in full swing. 'Tis the season for Buffalo wings, burgers, tater skins and dips galore.
Does that sound like a broken record? Are you looking for a game change come halftime?
"Tailgating Done Right" (Fox Chapel Publishing, 208 pages, $20) is a new cookbook with 150 recipes for your game-day feast. The book, by Anne Schaeffer, offers recipes with photographs that reach out and tempt your palate. Each recipe has a football-themed title that gets a little weary from page to page; nonetheless, all of the recipes offer a different take on football fare.
With a couple of months left in the season, Schaeffer offers some tips to ensure a tasty and successful tailgate party. Some are obvious; others pretty clever.
* Prepare as much in advance as possible. Premix your drinks, marinate your meats, make the dips and pack the cookies.
* Before heading to the game, check the venue's website for tailgating rules to make sure there are no surprises when you arrive. Each stadium is different.
* Use frozen bottles of water to keep food cold. As they thaw, you'll have ice-cold water to drink.
* Make sure to pack more charcoal or propane than you think you'll need. Also, think about how you'll bring home your dirty grill.
* To keep chilis and dips warm, consider a slow cooker that you can plug into a car power socket.
* Be sure to pack plenty of trash bags, plastic bins and resealable food bags to bring food, cooking gear and garbage back home.
* Use a tablecloth for easy cleanup.
As for the recipes, here's a new take on hot dogs. Think about a Tex-Mex theme for your next tailgate party. These will fit right in.
3 poblano peppers
2-3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard (or your favorite)
1-2 tablespoons chopped onion
1-2 tablespoons salsa
Black pepper, to taste
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
16 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 (16-ounce) package shredded Colby-Jack cheese
8 hot dogs
Cheese dip, sour cream and salsa
Grease the grill grate, and heat the grill to high. Drizzle oil over peppers, and set them on the grill, cooking until they are nicely charred, turning occasionally. Remove and discard the skin, leaving some of the char in place; coarsely chop the peppers, discarding seeds.
Mix the mustard, onion, salsa, black pepper and refried beans together, and spread evenly over one side of each tortilla. Divide the cheese and chopped peppers over the beans on the other half of the tortillas, then stack those on top of each of the remaining tortillas, beans side up; set aside. You will have eight double stacks of tortillas.
Heat the hot dogs on the grill until they're cooked the way you like them. Remove from the grill, but don't turn off the heat if using propane. Place a grilled dog on each of the tortilla stacks and roll up to enclose the hot dogs tightly inside. Spritz the roll-ups with cooking spray, and set them back on the grill until they have nice grill marks all around, turning as needed. Set out cheese dip, sour cream and salsa for dipping.
Let someone else do the cooking
If you'd like some help with your tailgating cooking, Lookout Mountain's Cafe on the Corner has a new tailgate catering menu. Order your entire meal or just a few things to boost your offerings. The menu includes hot wings with your choice of ranch or blue cheese dressing along with celery for dipping, chicken salad on croissants, turkey-avocado subs, beef queso dip and chips, beef tenderloin sliders, chili, enchilada casserole and desserts.
Orders should be placed in advance by calling the cafe at 423-825-5005.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.