As much as I yearn to use this column to talk smack to our Clemson opponents, I'm going to restrain myself. There's nothing wrong with a little rivalry, but there is a difference between rivalry and taking it to a level that is disrespectful. Sadly, we have done this too many times — both sides. I have participated in it myself, and I don't doubt that I probably will get lured into the frenzy again at some point; especially if we win Saturday!
My sister-in-law went to Clemson, and I remember going to a game with her, sitting in heavy, pouring rain for most of it. USC beat Clemson that day and it was a long, long – no, I mean L-O-N-G ride home in soaking wet clothes. Of course, my obnoxious chiding and cheering in the middle of the Clemson section didn't have a thing to do with it….
I also want to practice restraint here because none of us want a repeat of the disgraceful brawl that took place a few years back. We've seen some real discipline on the field this year and I think part of our success this year has been practicing that discipline on and off the field. I applaud our team loudly for finding the discipline in playing and personal conduct, and I hope it continues to grow even more.
To the Gamecock players and coaches: The change in attitude by the players, the really positive recruiting, the excellent coaching, and the initiative and inspiration to move forward, have all culminated in the accomplishments we are seeing this year. The team has sowed hard work, and is reaping a harvest of accolades across the SEC and from fans. I personally want to thank you all for such an exciting season. The games have been a real high-point this fall, and if we can make it through the playoffs or foray into them in any manner, plus have a great bowl bid — I just don't know what else we could ask for.
It has been so great to have people speaking positively about the Gamecocks! That in itself is an accomplishment. USC is more than football, though, and hopefully some of the spotlight will spill over into some of our fantastic academic departments, law and medicine, fine arts, and performance groups. USC is also becoming quite notable for its food science, hospitality and culinary arts program, as well as several other areas. After football season is over, and all the basketball and baseball have been played, these are what are left. When I was at USC, I loved the athletic diversions as much as the next person. But I also loved the pursuit of my degree and my classes, as well as Concert Choir and other groups in which I was active.
We're going to have a great game this weekend. There are some great fans out there, and some great students — in the stands and on the field from both schools. Let's keep the change in attitude going — it brings a wonderful dignity with it. The dignity of success, accomplishment and achieved goals, all in keeping with what USC is really all about.
I've got some ORANGE and PURPLE food for this weekend. I thought we would devour a little Tiger for this weekend's tailgate.
Grilled Steak and Peach Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
• 12-ounce New York strip steak
• 2 peaches, halved and pitted
• 4 cups mesclun greens (avoid radicchio)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
• 3 tablespoons chiffonade basil
• 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
Pat-dry the steak, season with salt and pepper, and place in a shallow glass pan. Pour 2 cups rosemary oil over steak, cover, and refrigerate for several hours. Turn the steak occasionally to coat both sides. Allow steak to come back to room temperature before grilling. Reserve 1/4 cup oil. Place a ridged grill pan over moderately high heat until very hot. Season the steak again and grill steak about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove steak to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before cutting in slices.
Brush the flesh of the peaches with remaining rosemary oil. Place cut side face down on the hot grill pan for 3 minutes. Turn over and grill the other side just for 1 minute to soften. Remove and slice peaches into wedges. Toss the greens and herbs together and divide among plates. Fan the steak slices and peach wedges on top. Drizzle the dressing over steak and peach salad, garnish with remaining 1/4 pound crumbled blue cheese. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and serve.
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil:
• 2 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
To prepare the rosemary infused olive oil: Warm oil and rosemary over low heat in a small saucepan. Allow to steep for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing:
• 1/2 pound crumbled ( Clemon) blue cheese, plus 1/4 pound for garnish
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon minced chives
To prepare the creamy blue cheese dressing: Whisk together 1/2 pound blue cheese with sour cream, lemon, vinegar and cayenne until smooth. Fold in chives, cover, and chill until ready to serve.
Red Cabbage Slaw
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons celery seed
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 head red cabbage, cut into roughly 1 1/2-inch chunks
• 2 small carrots, grated
• 1 small red onion, chopped
• 1 cup golden raisins
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Slowly whisk in oil, celery seed, salt and pepper to taste. Toss in cabbage, carrots, red onion and raisins to coat well. Cover and let sit at least 1 hour.
Mac and Cheese and Lobster Bake
• tablespoons, plus 2
• 4 tablespoons flour
• 2 cups half and half
• 1¾ teaspoons salt
• 1¼ cups Tillamook Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
• 1½ cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
• ½ cup gruyère cheese, shredded
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 pound packaged dry gnocchi-shaped pasta
• Non-stick cooking spray
• 1 pound lobster meat, picked over and chopped
• 2 teaspoons chopped green onions, green tops only
• 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
• ½ teaspoon each paprika, dried basil and dried thyme
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and, with a wire whisk, gradually add the half and half. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring often. Remove from the heat, and add ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, ½ cup gruyère, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and well combined. Cover and let stand.
2. Fill a large pan with water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add pasta, return to a boil, reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until just undercooked. Drain water from pasta and return to the pan. Add the béchamel sauce and 2 tablespoons butter; stir until well combined. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl combine the Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and 1 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
4. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place one half of the pasta in the baking dish. Top with half of the mixed cheeses. Top with the other half of the pasta, followed by the remaining mixed cheeses. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the visibly bubbling and hot.
5. While pasta is baking, combine 1½ tablespoons butter and lobster meat in a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, or until lobster is heated through. Remove from heat; add bread crumbs, green onions, paprika, basil and thyme, and 1 ounce of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toss lightly to combine.
6. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the lobster mixture over the top of the pasta. Spread evenly.
Turn the oven to "Broil" and return the baking dish to the oven. Broil 10-12 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Root Vegetable Gratin
1. 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
2. 1 butternut squash neck (2 1/4 pounds) from a large butternut squash, peeled
3. 1 medium rutabaga (2 pounds), peeled and halved lengthwise
4. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5. 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6. 1/4 cup heavy cream
7. 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
8. 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes and squash lengthwise 1/8 inch thick. Slice the rutabaga crosswise 1/8 inch thick.
2. Spray an 8-by-12-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange half of the potatoes in the dish, overlapping them slightly; season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the rutabaga and the squash, seasoning each layer. Repeat the layering. Pour the broth over and around the vegetables.
3. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the vegetables are almost tender when pierced. Remove the foil and pour the cream over the gratin. Bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the liquid has thickened.
4. Preheat the broiler. Mix the panko with the oil and season with salt and pepper; sprinkle over the gratin. Broil 3 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until golden, rotating for even browning. Let the gratin stand for 10 minutes, then serve.
Orange Crush Pound Cake
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup margarine
2 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups plain flour
1 cup Orange Crush orange soda
1 teaspoon orange flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup margarine
1 (3 ounces) package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange flavoring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cream shortening, margarine and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time,mixing well after each. Add orange crush, alternately with sifted flour. Add Add flavorings. Put into greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Anna's Tailgate Recipe for Clemson
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