Anna's Tailgate Recipe for Auburn

It was a shock to hear the news from Denver about Kenny McKinley - smiling, jovial and enthusiastic Kenny. Honestly, can anyone who follows Gamecock Football remember anything greater than that wonderful smile? We'll miss you, Kenny.

I did not know Kenny personally, but he was one of our football boys. Every week, we got to see him come on the field, and when that camera chanced to focus on him, there was that smile. I think it was one of the most spontaneous smiles I've ever observed.

For whatever reasons known only to him, Kenny left us and he took that wonderful, magical smile with him. I cannot begin to tell you how grieved I feel for his family, and for his son, Keon, who perhaps has had the greatest loss, not the football world. If there is a praying soul reading this, please join me in lifting this child to God for comfort and that he will have powerful role models in his life to guide him.

R.I.P. Mr. McKinley. I am so sorry that no one sensed you were dealing with some strong undercurrents and emotions. You made your mark while at USC, and we were so proud of you. You were loved by many, and you will be missed.

In honor of Kenny McKinley, I have decided to present some recipes for tailgating that are pure Southern and easily found in Kenny's hometown and the Atlanta vicinity.

Long known as a Mecca for Soul Food, there is one dish in particular - I can't be positive - but I am almost 99.9% sure that Kenny would have eaten and claimed as one of his favorites. Have you ever eaten Chicken and Waffles at a football game? I think not. So, of course, I have to at least attempt to start a new tradition. I have figured out a way to assemble them easily truckside, carside, caboose-side, or RV-side… whatever mode of transportation you may park near the stadium. It's going to all be about the prep before you get there and some creative uses for your grill, turkey fryer or smoker.

Now, a Soul meal would not be complete without greens, fried corn, some seasoned green beans, and a sweet potato cheesecake to top it all off. I think I can find a little vino and perhaps an after-dinner drink to help wash it all down.

I love good Southern food, and I love a good showdown with Auburn even more. It wouldn't be a far stretch to know the next thing I love - I LOVE winning.

If you only knew my capacity to cheer during the games. A few packs of lozenges will take care of hoarseness, so what's to worry. I just get so excited when I see those receivers running down the field and connecting with the ball. WHOEEEEE!!

Now, we know that Auburn's crowd is going to really kick up a fuss and try to psyche us out, so, if you'll just follow my Soul Food plan, you should have enough get-up-and-go to make sure the Tigers are gone in the dust real soon.

Another reason I chose chicken this week is because it closely sounds like Coach Chizik's name. OK, that's a little weird thinking on my part, but remember, we're dishing it up and serving it up on the field. Our very best, just for you, Auburn. Hey, the hash worked for Georgia; might as well try the chicken on Chizik — it's all in the mind. I'm planting seeds of victory every week. Yes, they will say that the crazy Tailgating Recipe Lady strategically designed menus every week for the Gamecocks to get them in the right mindset. It's not subliminal hypnotism; it's in IN YOUR FACE Gamecock feeding frenzy. And I'm not talking chicken scratch, either.

So, here's another tidbit, my sweet team… you know they're gunning for the Frosh Marcus Lattimore. The coach even said in his Wednesday night interview after practice that they are sending more than one man after him. Well, my collard greens are going to put a stop to that. I'll feed that line a pot of greens that will pump iron into every one of them. Marcus, you need to get a second helping. I'll be darned if I don't at least try to take care of baby brother. No bullies are going to try and hurt you — I'm expecting your teammates to surround you and make sure you don't get hurt. I can't wait to see IRON MAN Marcus becoming molten metal and blazing Saturday.

Alright, I think we see what we need and where we need to go. Safe travels to all the Gamecock Nation that are going to cheer on the team while on the road. Don't get in trouble, don't drink and drive. I smell victory this week. GO GAMECOCKS! Do us proud!

Chicken and Waffles

Using an electric waffle machine, make up the waffles ahead of time. They can be stored in plastic zipper bags or containers. To reheat them, place them on the grill for about 45 seconds on each side.

Waffles: recipe makes 4-6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs separated, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
8 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat the iron/waffle maker.
Sift all dry ingredients and whisk wet, except whites.
Beat the whites till peaked.
Combine the wet in to the dry and gently fold in the whites.
Cook about 1/3 cup of batter till it waffle is browned and easily pulls from iron/waffle maker.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

(Cook this at the game in your turkey fryer or at home if you're having a tailgate party)

Hint: 1. Make up the dry coating mix ahead of time and put the buttermilk marinade in a plastic container (not a plastic bag) to travel in your cooler. 2. Always have a meat thermometer available to use when frying chicken.

1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic finely grated on a microplane
1/2 small onion finely grated on a microplane
2 C cultured buttermilk
2 Tbs kosher salt (half if using table salt)
1 Tbs sugar

4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick connected)
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 Tbs onion powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp celery seed grounds
1/4 tsp black pepper ground

1 L of vegetable oil for frying

Put the celery seed, rosemary, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a spice grinder and grind. Add the spices, onion and garlic into a gallon sized freezer bag with the buttermilk, salt and sugar. Seal the bag and shake to combine. Add the chicken legs and seal the bag, pushing out as much air as possible, so the chicken is submerged in the buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight.

In a gallon sized freezer bag, combine the flour, onion powder, paprika, celery seed and black pepper and shake to combine. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and use paper towels to dry off the chicken and remove any extra bits of spices. Add the dried chicken into the freezer bag with the flour one at a time and toss to coat. Shake any excess flour off as you transfer the chicken to a wire rack.

Strain the buttermilk brine through a sieve to remove the spices. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk mixture then put each piece back in the bag with the flour and apply a second thicker coating of flour. Place the chicken on the rack and let it air dry for at least 1 hour.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, add the oil. The oil should be at least 2? deep. Heat over medium high heat until it reaches 340 degrees F. Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil. The temperature will fall a bit, and you want to keep the oil right around 320 degrees F for the duration of the frying, so adjust the heat source as needed. The chicken will take about 12-15 minutes to cook through and should be golden brown on the outside. You can use a meat thermometer to check and see if the chicken is cooked on the inside, but take the chicken out of the oil once before checking, or the juices coming out of the chicken will make the oil splatter.

As the chicken is done, remove them from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined wire rack. Let the fried chicken rest for a few minutes and serve.

Parsley Dill Sauce for Chicken and Waffles

2 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. dried whole dill weed
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 stalk green onion, diced fine
1 tbsp. capers, drained well
¼ tsp. red pepper
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Seasoned Collard Greens

I don't think the fresh collard greens have started coming in good yet, we haven't had enough cold weather and they are going to be tough right now, so substitute frozen. These can be cooked in a crockpot, packed to travel, and then heated in a shallow pan on the grill or over a propane burner in a sturdy pot.

(Recipe serves 8)

9 cups water
2 smoked ham hock (split in half if possible)

4 chicken bouillon cubes
1-2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1/8 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon hot pepper vinegar
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
2 onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (1-pound) bag Collard Greens (frozen)
8 ounces turnips, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths – ( I prefer rutabaga pieces with Collards)

Bring water, ham hock, sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, celery seed, thyme and hot pepper vinegar to a boil in a stockpot. Cover, reduce heat to low and boil gently for 45 minutes, turning ham hock halfway through (it will not be covered by the water).

Meanwhile, in a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion for 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

At the 45-minute mark on the ham broth, remove ham hock and set it aside to cool (it interferes with stirring in the pot from this point on). Add onion mixture and collards to the boiling ham broth (add another cup of water if the liquid looks too meager for the collards), stir collards down into boiling liquid, cover, reduce heat to low and boil gently for 25 minutes. Add turnip pieces, making sure they are submerged in the broth, cover, and boil gently for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, when ham hock is cool enough to handle, chop it with a big knife and remove pockets of meat, adding the meat back into the pot. (This step may be omitted.)

Serve collards in bowls, making sure to get some turnip and some of the "pot likker" in each bowl.

Fried Corn

6 ears corn
2 tablespoons fresh bacon drippings or butter

1 jar chopped pimiento or ½ c. roasted red pepper, sliced and drained well.
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Slice the corn from the cob. Scrape the cob downward to get any remaining corn left near the cob. Heat a heavy skillet and add the bacon fat or butter. When hot, add corn and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. Add the pimientos or roasted red pepper and cook for 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and pepper. Serve hot.
Serves 4 to 5.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tablespoon water
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
4 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. To Make Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in coconut. Mix together egg yolk and water; stir into flour mixture. Form dough into ball.

3. Press slightly less than half the mixture onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with the sides removed. Place on shallow baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Attach sides onto pan and press remaining mixture all the way up the sides of the pan; set aside.

4. To Make Filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Blend in sweet potatoes and eggs. Stir in heavy cream. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Place pan in a shallow baking sheet.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 65 to 70 minutes or until center of the pie is nearly set.

6. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small spatula or knife, loosen the crust from the sides of the pan; cool for an additional 30 minutes. Remove sides of the pan and allow pie to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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