UT Tailgating Review

I think I died and went to heaven Saturday. While I regret the outcome of the game against the Vols, I had a marvelous time at the Jolly and Davis Cockaboose! Drs. Hank and Michelle Jolly and Dr. and Mrs. Bob Davis were such great hosts. The Jolly and Davis group rolled out their southern hospitality for a variety of guest including Lt. Governor Andre Bauer and friends. I heard Rooster making plans with the Lt. Gov. for a future radio show...

I really love hob-knobbing with the Rooster, he is so connected! The Jolly and Davis crew are die-hard Gamecocks. Their quarters sports a lovely garnet and black motif with beautiful hardwoods which date back to the original construction of the locomotive. Dr. Davis possesses an antique train set, which adds to the ambiance of the setting. I was so envious that I am working right now on the Rooster to justify a purchase of a cockaboose for GamecockNation purposes. I know this scares you Russ, but remember I am excellent at creative financing! I am sure I can justify this for tax purposes; you'll trust me on this won't you? Yeah, I know wishful thinking and dreaming!

I cannot let a weekend go by without mentioning the loyal GamecockNation tailgaters. While I could not be there myself, friends of mine, Deb and Cat attended the tailgating festivities giving me all the scoop. I read Pam's great article and was impressed that Bethel and uscboy secured a centerpiece. I hope this addition to the tailgate table is based on my influence, but I think the Nation tailgaters possess the ultimate gamecock class and have known all along the secret to a great tailgate spread: center piece, signature appetizer (Bethel's award winning pickled okra) and a shot of the Fighting Cock. I think my friends embraced the initiation ritual and plan to drop by again on Saturday when our boys take on the Arkansas. Look out Bethel, you may want to pack an extra bottle of Fighting Cock, these girls enjoy a good shot of whisky!

I heard Lil' Biddy really liked her ribbon belt. I hope others will follow and give Angie Byrd of TRABBEY's a call today and place an order. Becca has become my fashion role model.

Luckily, I have friends bringing an RV this Saturday, so we plan to cook up a mess of grits, eggs and sausage for our pre-game festivities. After the game, Mel has planned to grill hamburgers with all of the fixins. I read a post that Bethel and the Nation are planning BBQ. Absolutely appropriate! Are you preparing with mustard or ketchup based sauce Bethel? I have a really strong opinion concerning which is best. Let me know your thoughts; maybe we can share recipes.

I received a great drink recipe for a Bellini from Johnny Walker as well as some history about the origin of the drink. It sounds divine and perfect for another morning time party.

Bellini as described by Johnny Walker

"Take a cocktail shaker and fill halfway with a semi-sweet champagne (semi sweet or Russian champagne is best, but Martini/Rossi Asti Spumante will do if you can't find the Russian bubbly).

Finish out with Peach nectar. Find it in the juice isle of a finer grocery establishment.
Top off with a shot of Peach Schnapps (DeKuyper's Peachtree Schnapps is what I use).
Shake and serve. It's that easy."

History of the Bellini according to Johnny Walker
"Everyone loves a cocktail with a history. The Bellini was created by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1947 at Harry's American Bar in Venice, Italy. The name "Bellini" was taken from artist Giovan Battista Bellini (named "Giambellino"). Giambellino had a painting exhibition in Venice the same time Cipriani invented the drink; guess he was a fan of Giambellino's work.

It was very difficult to buy gin after the war for martinis (the drink of European swingers at the time), gin was extremely costly and difficult to imitate (as American bootleggers found out during prohibition... juniper berries are very toxic, especially if mixed/fermented improperly with grain alcohol). It was said that Cipriano wanted a pre-dinner drink to compete with the martini, and could be concocted at a cheaper price/higher profits (hmmm...higher revenue. Wasn't called Harry's American Bar for nothing!).

Fruit juices were plentiful and so was champagne/spumante. The peach Liqour used was considered to be a N. Italian "Obstler" ("obstler" is made usually from fermentation of pears), as it is similar in fermetation methods for "grappa" (made from grapes). Harry substituted Peaches for grapes and included sugar to speed up the process of fermentation.

He mixed the three ingredients, and the drink became an overnight success. American military stationed in Italy picked up on it, and the drink made it stateside for a brief period. The cost of French champagne and the lack of American champagnes and Italian Spumantes stateside probably killed this drink in America. One rarely sees it on a drink menu today, which is a shame."

Johnny, you are a master of words. Please keep your recommendations coming. You make my job easy! If you are in town for the game Saturday, I would love to sample a Bellini this weekend should you find yourself near my tailgating party on Berea Street.

With this being the last home game before we travel to Florida and the cow patty pasture land of Taterville (aka Clemson), I decided maybe we should spotlight a brew. Actually I have two in mind. Have you tried a Yuengling? This Asian sounding lager is actually domestic haling from Pennsylvania and is the rave among the 30 something crowd, which includes me. Another beer receiving favorable reviews from the Rooster is Guinness Stout draft. Rooster describes this beer as one where the foam cascades in a beautiful fashion. Not exactly his words, but I thought it sounded more Meredith. It's a little too dark for my taste, but apparently a guy favorite.

My Georgia buddy Deb sent another great recipe. We actually included the Cocky Quiche Cups to Go on our menu last weekend and they were a hit.

Cocky Quiche Cups to Go
Southwestern eggbeaters
1 package frozen spinach
¼ cup bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ teaspoon Tabasco, optional
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup ham, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together and spoon into Reynold's foil baking cups. Preheat oven to 350º, then bake for 30 minutes. Simply delicious!

Looking for a cheesy appetizer? My Aunt, with her persuasive nature, manipulated a local cater into giving her his signature appetizer used for weddings. The Mercer's pride themselves in this scrumptious recipe. I know you will love it too!

Hot Cheese Dip

1 qt. Hellmann's mayonnaise (can only use Hellmann's to achieve the correct consistency)
4 cups grated sharp cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 loaf sandwich sliced bread
1 teaspoon garlic

Stir together mayonnaise, cheese, chopped onion, garlic. Pour in greased 2-quart casserole (round) and bake at 350? until bubbly and light brown on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve at once with breadsticks or crackers.

Everyone in my family utilizes a silver chaffing dish with votive candle to maintain the warmth of the dip. While this may be a little too high brow for football tailgating and more along the lines of Carolina or Colonial Cup, it is serviceable.

Homemade breadstick for cheese dip:

Cut bread slice in 4 strips and bake at 300? for 30 minutes. Serve on tray next to cheese dip.

Ma's Brownies

My Grandmother made the best brownies ever. My oldest sister just cooked up a batch for our family Halloween get-together so I thought I would share this great recipe with you as well:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup self-rising flour
2 eggs
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped nuts
1 package miniature marshmallows
3 tablespoons cocoa

Mix sugar, butter, eggs. Sift flour and cocoa together. Add to creamed mixture, and then add nuts. Spread in greased 9 x 13-inch pan or casserole. Bake at 325? for 15 to 20 minutes. While hot, cover with marshmallows. Mix ½ cup butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 4 tablespoons carnation milk. Beat until smooth and spread over brownies.

Look for me Saturday, as I have been invited to tailgate with Marti Barr and her friends at The Coop. I know it will be a great time! Pictures will be forthcoming from their tailgating event in my next article.

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