As I sat down to think about tailgating recipes and how to make them better with cheese, I suddenly and mysteriously got hungry.
I couldn’t write or think at all until I got a snack. What I found on hand were some grand tomatoes bought on the side of the road just outside of Florence, Alabama. Rummaging like a mad woman through my fridge, I came upon some fresh basil and Belle Chevre’s Pimento Chevre. The joyous result of my “thinking about food that made me hungry” snack was an Alabama take on a classic – a Southern Caprese Salad. (See recipe at the end of this blog for the OMSG – Oh My Southern Goodness!).
Good things come to those who snack!
My snack diversion got my inner-entertainer (inner-tainer?) thinking, “What makes a good, memorable tailgating recipe?”
- It needs to hold up nicely – even benefit from being – at room temp for fairly long periods (at least four quarters, with pre- and post-game allowances!) of time.
- “No fuss” in preparation but appears “full fuss” to your fellow tailgaters.
- Can be made ahead of time and does not require last minute heroics to pull off.
- Should be familiar enough that people will eat it – don’t bring a dish you just tried on your trip to Nepal – but with a twist or two that surprises and delights.
The great thing about cheese is that it can help you deliver on all of the above. Cheese is:
- great at room temp. Actually, it is BEST at room temp and stays wonderful for hours and hours.
- no fuss. Just add!
- is made ahead for you, mostly because you rely on your cheesemaker for this step unless you made your own at home.
- is a simple way to update your traditional favorites.
A few perfect recipe ideas that meet my Inner-Tainer criteria:
Goat Cheese Flatbread
Store-bought flatbread goes from boring to unforgettable with a smear of goat cheese, sliced figs and a drizzle of good balsamic. Arrange on a platter and
impress your guests with all of your hard work. 😉
Better than Cream Cheese
Here is a great twist on an old standard. Top a chevre log, or a Brie round or even a hunk of good blue cheese, with your favorite pepper jelly. Serve with your favorite crackers and embellish with fruit and voila! Football never tasted so good.
Go South of the border. Try goat cheese baked in salsa (till it is bubbly and gooey), then top with sliced jalapenos and serve with nachos.
OMSG Tomato Salad
Slice tomatoes and arrange in a circle on a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. In the center of the circle, place a hearty dollop of Belle Chevre’s Pimento Chevre. Sprinkle tomatoes and chevre with torn or chopped pieces of fresh basil.