If you’re like me, you have the same feeling of dread the start of every October. Baseball playoffs signify the end of summer, really and truly. Time to get the ice scraper ready, and gird yourself for months and months of this:
Ugh. Nonstop football on TV. Guess it’s the way I’m wired. As much as I love baseball, I can’t stand football. Too clunky. Too barbaric. Too boring. Never understood the terminology. Countless people, starting with my dad, have tried to explain it to me, and I still don’t get it, nor do I want to. (Just had to ask Mitch what a first down was.) Mostly, what I have against football is that it’s played in winter.
My strategy this year: Grin and bear it, and share this fab-sounding salsa recipe I got from the chefs at Biltmore with all my football friends.
Mango & Black Bean Salsa
Ingredients:• 2 cups black beans, cooked
• 1 Mango, diced
• 1 red onion, diced small
• 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
• 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
• 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
• 1/4 tsp chili powder
• 1/4 tsp cumin, ground
• 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Method: Before the tailgating event: Mix all ingredients together.
At the event: Serve with chips, or as an accoutrement to fish, chicken or beef.
Here’s more from where that came from.
As for me …
I’m planning on wrapping myself up in a blanket of comfort food. Like this outrageous concoction, also from Biltmore. Croissants, cheese, bacon, cream … ahhhhh. Not sure what a water bath is, but I’ll sure as heck find out. A good Thanksgiving side dish, or midnight snack … take your pick.
Granny Smith Apple and Gruyere Pudding
Courtesy of Chef Michael Gonzalez of Bistro
Ingredients:• 9 large baked croissants, large diced
• 1 1/2 cups granny smith apples, peeled and medium diced
• 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
• 3/4 cup cooked smoked bacon, medium diced
• 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat
• 1/2 cup leeks, medium diced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
• 2 teaspoons garlic
• 2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 6 whole eggs, beaten
• 3 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup milk
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Method:Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add butter and reserved bacon fat. Add leeks, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and sweat until leeks are soft (approx. 10-12 minutes). Add apples, bacon, chopped herbs, and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and reserve.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs then add cream and milk. Whisk together until incorporated. In a separate large mixing bowl add diced croissants, cooked leek/apple mixture, and Gruyere cheese. Mix thoroughly. Add egg/cream mixture into croissant mixture, season with salt and black pepper, and gently incorporate until well mixed. Let pudding mixture sit for 5 minutes. Butter a medium sized casserole dish and distribute pudding mixture evenly in dish. Tightly cover with foil and bake in a water bath until pudding is set in middle (approx 35-40 minutes). When pudding is set -uncover foil, remove dish from water bath, and continue to bake for additional 8 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Or if you prefer something more basic:
Courtesy of Pastry Chef Heather Pennypacker of Deerpark
Ingredients:• 3/4 loaf bread
• 3/4 cup butter
• 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
• 2 1/4 cups milk
• 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup sugar
• 9 eggs
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Method:Scald the milk, heavy cream, and butter. In a bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Add in the egg and vanilla into the sugar mixture until everything is smooth. Temper the egg mixture into the milk mixture. Place bread in a sprayed 2 inch hotel pan and pour mixture over the top. Pour mixture over the top of the bread and let soak for about 10 minutes. Bake at 325F for about 30-40 minutes.