Gourmet Tailgating: Cocktinis & Skip Bites

What a weekend! This Gourmet Tailgater over-extended her social self; however, I still managed to pull off a sensational tailgating event that can only be described as SPECTACULAR!! From dinner parties to tailgating, this weekend was a win all the way around. Not to mention the beautiful weather which provided a magnificent backdrop to the drama that unfolded Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium when the Gamecocks took the Bulls by the horns ...

Life just can't get much better than that! I am certain that my new Gamecock friends tailgating along Berea Street were celebrating to all hours of the night; hopefully, with a Cocky Cosmo or COCKtini or both!

Many of us, while fully capable of creating an affair to remember, cannot always do it alone. Last week, I chatted about tailgating on the go. While this is an avenue for consideration, don't forget the art of delegation. Just like any successful business professional, a key to your upward mobility is surrounding yourself with strong people and capitalizing on their strengths and attributes. Entertaining, specifically tailgating, is no different. You must first set the ground rules: No PDP (PUBLIC DISPLAY OF PLASTIC) and as always no chicken in the bucket with biscuits if you can avoid it. You must ensure the individuals brought into your tailgating fold share the same goals and objectives. Should we cover these again?
  • Center piece-the focal point of the table
  • Fabric table cloths with coordinating colors of garnet and black
  • Attractive serving pieces
  • Unique tin beverage buckets, et al.
Once the ground rules are set, let the delegating begin. Have your creative members select the center piece and tableware. The "gourmets" (the ones that can cook) manage menu planning and execution. And you must always have someone accountable for the beverage station (I affectionately refer to my station attendants as the booze boys) which includes wine and beer selections, as well as the more potent stuff. This sharing of responsibilities takes the heat off so you can also enjoy the festivities. This is exactly how I managed a busy weekend and ensured I did not sacrifice the most import event of the tailgate PARTY.

Center piece people, stay tuned. I have a great recommendation for the Ole Miss game. I can't disclose anything about it just yet. I will tell you that I have contacted a master craftsman to assist in this endeavor as it is more complex and requires power tools. Peaked your interest? I think this weekend you can manage with an effortless arrangement. What about a galvanized floral bucket with a spray of garnet-colored eucalyptus? Just place the bunch easily into the bucket allowing the stems to haphazardly cascade in a whimsical fashion.

My wine pick of the week is Fetzer Vineyard's Valley Oaks Riesling. This fruity wine is flavorful and compliments a variety of entrees. Gingered salmon or marinated chicken breast grilled to perfection over hickory served with hot seared vegetables. This indulgence is easily achieved and provides a healthy tailgating alternative.

For those longing for a sweet treat, try my new garnet sensation, the "Skip Bites". These bite-sized red velvet cakes with cream cheese and mini chocolate chips are not only school-spirited but certainly compliment your table, they are scrumptious. Rooster actually described them as addicting.

Now next week, we play the Troy State Trojans from Alabama. Troy? Hmm… Brad Pitt comes to mind. Now Rooster, I am still not clear on your use of "Trojan" last week? I guess it must be a guy thing. Never the less, plan to delegate as much as possible for this weekend's tailgating party. You be the Party Project Manager ensuring the spread comes together, timely and without a hitch. Make the center piece people, gourmets and booze boys work for you.

Skip Bites
1 Box of red velvet cake mix
1 12 oz. container of cream cheese frosting
1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Mix red velvet batter as directed. Pour batter into a well greased mini muffin pan (filling each cup only half way with batter). Cook mini muffins as directed then cool. Spread the frosting between the 2 mini cakes and place the chocolate chips along the outer edges of the sandwich to create a garnet, black and white contrast. For a more dramatic presentation, pour batter in a jelly roll pan and punch cake with a rooster cookie cutter. Proceed as directed above. Serve on a white platter or plate with a delicate filigree design enabling the use of ribbon accessories in Gamecock colors. I purchased plates found at a local craft store and then tied ribbon through the filigree openings for a 3 dimensional effect. See how the use of polka-dots was carried from ribbon to dessert? Simple yet elegant.
Cocktini And Skip Bites
I got really creative this week. See how I customized the martini glass with a USC motif? Paint the letters on with an artist brush using chocolate syrup to the inside of the glass. Then place mini chocolate chips on the syrup to create a phrase. These would be great to customize with Greek letters for tailgating. Freeze for 30 minutes then pour the COCKtini mixture into your personalized frosty martini glass. Delicious! Didn't I tell you the Skip Bites would look fabulous on the ribbon-dressed filigree plate?

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