Posts Tagged ‘Football’

25th September
written by Arthur
I love watching football while a nice slow cook simmers away in the kitchen and fills the house with comfortable smells.  But the NFL games of late have rocked that comfort.
Over the past few days I’ve read a couple articles pointing out what the replacement refs need to do in order to gain back some credibility.  I think that is a little unfair.  The league created this mess with the lock-out of the professional refs and the league should step in to help.  Here are five suggestions:
1.  Eliminate the Pass Interference Penalty
Pass interference seems to be causing a lot of trouble for the replacement refs.  Both Sunday night and Monday night calls came when there was no interference and were missed when it was flagrant.  It’s unfair to expect the newbies to get up to speed with the fast pace that is NFL football.  So lets just get rid of this penalty.  No defensive or offensive pass interference would certainly make it easier to get the call right.
2.  Unlimited Challenges
If you can’t get the call right the first time, you might as well take another look.  The replacement refs already started trying this one out in the Vikings-49ers game.  If a coach or player yells really loud they are probably right and a review needs to be implemented–number timeouts or challenges remaining be damned!
3.  10 Point Lead Win Requirement
As the score at any given point in the game becomes more of an approximation than accurately reflection of action on the field, it would be prudent to require a larger lead before declaring a winner.  Take the questionable call at the end of the Monday Night game that handed the Sea Hawks a victory over the Packers.  The final score was 12-14. That’s way to close to determine an actual winner.  A 10 point lead should be required before victory can be declared.
4.  Penalties on the League and Referees 
As an incentive to get things right, penalties should be applicable to the league and referees for blown calls. A panel of made of a cross section of network commentators would have the power to propose a penalty with Adam Schefter appointed as ultimate arbiter.  Decisions to be released via Twitter.
 5.  Extension of the Coin Toss
Lets face it, we can’t expect the replacement refs to know every rule.  Game after game there seem to be long discussions between the refs of what call should be made.  In the event certainty cannot be reached, a decision should be made with a coin toss.  In the interest of expediency, the head-tail call made by each team at the start of the game can be utilized and the determinate toss made by the head referee.
With these modest changes football can go back to the being America’s fall pass time and I can go back to relaxed viewing over a good cook and cold beer.
Tags: ,
3rd February
written by Loren

IT’S SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!! This is like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and your first frat party all rolled into one. Throughout my whole life, this weekend has always been an epic party. When I was a kid my dad would take me to one of his friend’s houses out in the boonies and all the guys would stand around the deep fryer in the garage, watching crispy and golden delicious chunks of deep fried pheasant, grouse, walleye, and chicken-fried venison cutlets emerge from the bubbling witches cauldron of peanut oil while the game played on a projection TV. Side note: is there any better way to enjoy nature than deep frying critters?

But without a doubt, my favorite SB parties were in college. You get 15-20 guys together in a house, along with 15-20 cases of beer, and play beer pong and NFL Blitz for hours before the game even starts. And once the game does start, everyone picks a side and cheers for them as though they were your hometown team. Notice how I precluded the possibility of the actual home town team getting into the Superbowl, for we reside in the tundra – land of the Vikings.

So for this holiest of all weeks, we’re going with a trinity of appetizers: beer cheese dip, polpetini (tiny meatballs), and  a shrimp cocktail with honey chipotle cocktail sauce.

The beer cheese dip we’ve done before, here. Except this time I’m going to replace 25% of the cream cheese with sour cream.

The polpetini will be made roughly from:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork, veal or mild italian sausage
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

This is a slightly modified version of the Joy of Cooking recipe which has been previously posted. This time we’re going to roll it into smaller meatballs, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Then lightly coat them in either seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and fry them in a pan with just enough oil to coat the bottom. A minute or two each side should do, just long enough to get some good color. Then they go in the oven at 300 degrees, until a meat thermometer says they’re about 140 degrees inside. Take them out and let them cool a bit, then put them on a toothpick with a cherry tomato, small mozzarella ball and a leaf of basil. You can either roll the basil into a tight roll and skewer that, or kind of weave it over the meat, cheese and basil on the toothpick.

These are pretty good at this stage, but you can make them even better. Mix extra virgin olive with aged balsamic vinegar (which I happen to have laying around because my brother Danny knows EXACTLY what to get me for Christmas) at a ratio of about 3:2. Whisk this together and add it to a jar with a lid, then shake it up. Drizzle that over the tasty skewers, then top everything with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Now its time for the brand new recipe which I found on one of my favorite foodblogs, The Food in My Beard. Now, I love shrimp cocktails but my undying hatred of horseradish prevents me from enjoying the typical condiment associated with them. That makes this recipe perfect for me.

  • 1 7 oz can of chipotles in adobo
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 limes
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • cilantro

Take the peppers out of the can, split them open and remove all of the seeds. Add the peppers to a food processor along with the adobo sauce left in the can, the juice of both limes, the honey and the garlic. Process that until smooth, then add a few tablespoons of the cilantro leaves, and pulse a few more times. Once you put it in the serving bowl, you can garnish with a few more cilantro leaves. Serve with delicious shrimps. I’ll be buying mine frozen from the grocery store, because boiling my own would be just a bit too much work combined with everything else.

These look amazing... except for that red crap in the bowl.

One last thing to note about Superbowl food: the only acceptable choices in terms of recipes are the ones which you can make before the game starts. Several times in recent years I’ve done foolish things like deep frying snacks during the game or cooking something in the oven which needs to be checked on frequently. Remember, this is your last taste of football for the next 6 months, and your last taste of meaningful football for the next 7. That’s a long time to wait and I know I always felt pretty stupid after missing half the game to cooking.


[DDET Click to expand]

Dedicated readers (or maybe just the authors) will remember that at the beginning of the football season, I made 6 predictions for the 2011-12 NFL season. Let’s see how hard this NFL commentary business is:

  • Barring injury, Adrian Peterson will rush for 2,000 yards this year. While we don’t have the greatest O-line Minnesota has ever seen, the reports are that we have abandoned the zone-blocking crap which plagued us in the Childress era.
    • Outcome: Well this one obviously failed to come true, and I won’t even hide behind the hideous knee injury which ended AP’season and maybe permanently dimmed the prospects of his career. He wasn’t really close to the pace of a 2,000 yard season. 0 for 1.
    • As an aside, I am terrified about AP’s prospects for a comeback. He tore his ACL AND MCL. If you didn’t have a chance to see what happened in that game, check this out. Warning: you will feel his pain after watching that clip. Adrian is the most amazing running back I’ve ever watched. Pretty much half a dozen times every season I see him do something so amazing that I thank Odin that he somehow fell to the Vikings in the draft. And it seems like better than even odds that he won’t be anything special when he makes it back onto the football field.
  • The Colts will be in contention for the first overall draft pick by the end of the season. This team is GARBAGE without Manning. He ran the whole offense and he elevated a team that has drafted crap the last several years. (Sub-prediction: this will create endless ESPN contaversy about whether Peyton will allow them to draft Andrew Luck)
    • Outcome: NAILED IT ON BOTH COUNTS! Full disclosure – all of these predictions were written after the pre-season so there was already a hint of how god-awful the Colts were going to be, but that’s not going to stop me from claiming credit for this one. Seeing as how both prediction and sub-prediction came true, I’m 2 for 3.
  • The Houston Texans will finally make the playoffs. I mean, they kind of have to. Jacksonville and Indianapolis will be terrible, and I just don’t think the Hasselbeck-led Titans will steal the division away from them.
    • Outcome: Also correct. It’s intriguing to think about what would have become of this team if they hadn’t lost Mario Williams, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson for most of the season. Think about that! That’s arguably your best player on both offense and defense plus your starting quarterback, and they still won a playoff game. If the injuries had shaken out a different way, the Texans probably could have made the Superbowl. 3 for 4.
  • The Lions will still fail to hit the .500 mark. I know everyone is in love with them and they have certainly created a monster d-line, but Stafford is made of porceline and I still think they need another season to wipe out the stink of 0-16.
    • Outcome: Ouch, and I fall to 3 for 5. The Lions exceeded the .500 mark, made the playoffs and Stafford made it through the season without missing any appreciable amount of time. This team has lots of potential with an improving Stafford, Megatron hitting his prime and a solid core of Suh and Fairley on the D-line. They just desperately need a running back to make it through the season.
  • Lastly, the GB Packers will fail to make the Superbowl this year. Because they’re evil. Superbowl pick: New England over Philly.
    • Outcome: Ahhhh this is the sweetest one to get right. A Rodge was getting just a bit too cocky, and I’m glad the Giants came along to serve some humble pie. And that makes me 4 for 6. OVER .500 THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
I’m pretty excited about this year’s Superbowl. I love the rematch of 2007, I love any Supernowl featuring Tom Brady, I’m looking forward to seeing Belichick try to stop Cruz, Manningham and Nicks using his broke ass secondary, and I am super pumped for the prospect of seeing a pouty faced Eli Manning sulking on the bench after  he chokes away the game.


Please... no more of this.


20th October
written by Loren

Our glimmer of hope

This has been a disappointing football season so far, as any Vikings fan will tell you. Not only are the Purple stinking it up, but they’re doing so in the most frustrating way possible. They have some pretty damn good players (Kevin Williams, Jared Allen, AP, Antoine Winfield, Percy Harvin) but they prove week after week to be entirely incapable of playing like professionals. What’s more, they aren’t even in full blown re-building mode, as evidenced by the fact that before they re-structured Adrian Peterson’s and Chad Greenway’s deal they were right at the salary cap. I can accept losing from a team that’s trying to get young or is trying to free up cap space to make some moves, but we’re doing neither and sucking royally. 

But at least we have something to look forward to now that Donovan “Chunky” McNabb has been benched for our first round pick, Christian Ponder. He may not be any better than McNabb… no, wait, I’m not going to go with that disclaimer. He will be better than McNabb. He showed a couple of things in his debut last week which are going to be huge upgrades. 1. He’s accurate, or at least far more so than D McB. He was putting passes right in front of people IN STRIDE, as opposed to 2 feet above a receivers head and 3 yards behind them. 2. He’s got some mobility and he’s able to throw on the run. Did you see that safety McNabb took last week? He saw a blitzer coming up the middle and just laid down in the end zone. Ponder looked pretty good at avoiding the rush. Finally, I think Ponder cares about winning. If the Vikes wanted McNabb last offseason they should have given him a contract so loaded with incentives that he would have earned slightly above minimum wage in that week 1 stinker where he piled up 39 yards over the course of the game, because you can absolutely tell he does not give a shit what happens in these games because he’s making $5 million in his last year in the NFL.

Enough football talk, time for football food. The other week Rick and I had another of our patented football ho-downs with 10.5 straight hours of food, beer, smoking and football. During this particular one, I got to try out a new Food Network recipe which turned out amazing. The only downside of it is that it’s pretty heavy and somewhat greasy, so if you’re not careful you will eventually have wished that you had a bit more self control as you nurse an over-full belly.

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil*
  • 1/2 pound Spanish or Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 pound mushroom caps, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
*note: The olive oil is only neccesary if you are using the more solid  Spanish Chorizo which is a cured sausage like Andouille. All I was able to find was fresh ground Mexican Chorizo,

Spanish Chorizo

which has more than enough fat to render out without adding additional oil.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. If using Spanish chorizo, dice it and add it to a pan over medium-high heat. If using fresh ground chorizo, add it to the pan and break it up while it’s cooking. Add the quartered mushrooms to the pan after about a minute and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes.  At this point, you’ll most likely want to remove some of the excess grease from the chorizo-mushroom mixture which you can do by pouring everything into a colander or onto a plate lined with a few layers of paper towels. After you remove the grease, add the meat and mushrooms to a small to medium baking or casserole dish and top with the shredded cheese.  Bake until bubbly, then remove from the oven and top with the scallions. The Food Network recipe said to serve this with blue corn chips, but that seems like a bad idea to me. It’s a very thick and stringy mixture which seems like it would destroy corn chips. I served it with a take and bake ciabatta bread that was torn into small peices and that seemed like a great fit.
16th October
written by Arthur

Finally.  Only a modest amount of weekend work.  No trips to Atlantic City.  No out of town visitors to lure me off to adventures through the city.  And, best of all, the Vikings play the night game.  On a normal Sunday, the only way for me to watch the Vikes is to head into the city to Bar None (MN Vikings bar here in the Big Apple).  Don’t get me wrong.  I love taking down $9 pitchers of beer with fellow fans, but it’s a full day investment.  Today  is different.  Today I get football–at home–and some great fall cooking.

Today was chicken stock and some chili action which is to be shared with a few Bear friends as they watch Chicago fall to the mighty land of ice and snow.

Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is just a good thing to have around.  It pops up in more recipes than you might think.  And while you can buy it at the super market it just doesn’t have the depth of flavor of the homemade stuff.

The first step: cook a whole chicken.  I like to roast it with some veggies.  But it doesn’t matter much how you cook it; you’re after the picked-over bones.  If you’re not going to make the stock for a few days you can just freeze the remainder of the bird until you’e ready for stock time.

When you are ready to start, there isn’t a “right way” to make chicken stock.  Basically, you take whatever is left of the chicken and  put it in a pot with a bunch of water, some chopped celery (and/or celeriac), chopped carrots, and a few herbs.  Then you let it all cook for a 7-9 hours, run it through a fine mesh strainer to get a nice pure liquid that is free of all of the small chicken bones.  But for those of you looking for an actual recipe, below is an ingredient list courtesy of  Alton Brown:


  • 4 pounds chicken carcasses, including necks and backs
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • 4 ribs celery, cut in 1/2
  • 1 leek, white part only, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 gallons cold water
Today, I went a little hardcore on the garlic–using maybe 3/4 of a bulb. I used two fresh bay leaves and 2 dry and probably 6 carrots and 6 celery sticks.  But I stuck with the 10 sprigs of thyme since I feel like that flavor can get out of control.
So now you have a ton of chicken stock.  It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, but if you aren’t ready to use it all before it goes bad, it will keep in the freezer for months.  When freezing, keep in mind the volumes you are going to be using in the future.  One large container might become frustrating for a recipe where you only need a cup.
Six hours and one and a half football games after I put the pot on the stove, the stock is still simmering away.   Football Sunday is a prefect day to re-stock on stock.
11th September
written by Loren

The NFL won't be the same without you, Randy.


Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends! Well, actually it ends every spring. And this offseason it almost ended for a full year thanks to greedy owners. BUT IT’S BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER! I think every year I become more of a football fan. Back in the mid-90’s I followed the vikings very casually. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I became a rabid Vikings fan (even after the gut wrenching 98 NFC championship and the 41-doughnut debacle against the giants just 3 years later). In the mid to late 2000’s I started to get interested in the other NFL games not featuring the Vikes and now that I started fantasy football last year I am an unabashed football addict. Between the months of September and January, nothing can get me down because I always have Sunday and Monday to look forward to. And in a couple of years, when the NFL starts selling Thursday night games to non-premium channels, we’ll have that too. And there will be much rejoicing.

And now that football is back, we’re going to resurrect the on-again-off-again Football Food series. This week: Beer Cheese Dip. I tried this for the first time at a work potluck (love my job), and it was incredibly addictive. It’s a nice combination of tangy beer, sharp cheddar and onion flavor, and creamy cheesy goodness.

Combine in a bowl: 2 bricks of cream cheese, softened; 2 cups of shredded cheddar; 3/4 cup of beer, I used Summit EPA because a) it’s my Minnesota beer of choice and b) I wanted something with enough flavor to shine through all the cheesyness; 1 packet of ranch seasoning; 1 bunch of green onions, chopped. Reserve a bit of cheddar and green onions to sprinkle over the top when you’re done mixing.

Eventually I would like to work out a version of this dip that uses fresh garlic and herbs in place of the ranch seasoning packet, but in the meantime this is a tasty addition to your sunday football buffet. As for your dipping item, I think this would taste pretty good with plain ol’ potato chips but the dip is probably too thick to maintain chip integrity. Stick with pretzels or veggies. Also, this makes enough dip for 6-7 people. If it’s only you and Brundage watching football, you might want to cut the recipe in half.


Football Predictions:

I don’t know that we’re going to keep up the Vikings weekly football prediction segment we  had going last year, but here are some general predictions for the NFL season which we’ll re-visit at the end of the season.

  • Barring injury, Adrian Peterson will rush for 2,000 yards this year. While we don’t have the greatest O-line Minnesota has ever seen, the reports are that we have abandoned the zone-blocking crap which plagued us in the Childress era.
  • The Colts will be in contention for the first overall draft pick by the end of the season. This team is GARBAGE without Manning. He ran the whole offense and he elevated a team that has drafted crap the last several years. (Sub-prediction: this will create endless ESPN contaversy about whether Peyton will allow them to draft Andrew Luck) UPDATE: Houston leads Indy 34-0 at halftime. I like this prediction.
  • The Houston Texans will finally make the playoffs. I mean, they kind of have to. Jacksonville and Indianapolis will be terrible, and I just don’t think the Hasselbeck-led Titans will steal the division away from them.
  • The Lions will still fail to hit the .500 mark. I know everyone is in love with them and they have certainly created a monster d-line, but Stafford is made of porceline and I still think they need another season to wipe out the stink of 0-16.
  • Lastly, the GB Packers will fail to make the Superbowl this year. Because they’re evil. Superbowl pick: New England over Philly.
Tags: , , ,
22nd October
written by Loren

Howdy football fans! My deepest apologies for missing last weeks post. Words cannot express my sorrow, but I know you’ll forgive me. To make up for the absence, this week I’m posting my favorite Renzo Original of all time! I was going to save this one for the Super Bowl post because it’s so damn good, but here you go: Renzo’s Jumbo Skrimp Skewers!

This recipe came as a result of having a pound of jumbo shrimp, a grill, and a desire for spicy deliciousness. There may be an ingredient or two that might refine this recipe or add a little something, but all of the ingredients were what I had on hand at the time. The only reason I don’t make this every single week is because of how unfortunately expensive jumbo shrimp are. Sometimes I can find a bag of frozen jumbo shrimp for a few dollars less per pound,

These are about the right size

and when I see these things I pounce and stock up the freezer. Don’t try to substitute normal size shrimp for the Jumbos, they would be very dry and over-done by the time they get any grill marks and smoky flavor.

1 lb of Jumbo shrimp, the biggest you can find (peeled and deveined)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (damn Rachel Ray for tainting the acrnoym EVOO!)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp papeika
1 tsp red curry powder
5 cloves of minced garlic
2 serrano peppers, minced
1 large handful of chopper cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a Tupperware or ziplock bag and mix well before adding the skrimps, then let that marinate for 30 minutes or so. Do NOT let this sit longer than an hour. All that citric acid will essentially turn this into a ceviche and so the shrimp will be “cooked” before they even hit the grill. Take them out of the marinade and skewer them (if they’re really big skrimps you might not even need the skewers). Throw them all on a very hot grill (bright glowing coals or propane turned to high) and cook them for about 1.5 to 2 minutes per side. This is a delicate balance; you want a grill hot enough that you’ll get nice char marks with only about 100 seconds per side of the shrimp. They’re done when they’re opaque all the way to the center, which should match up with the cooking time above. Serve with whatever you like for a real dish, or just put the platter out in front of everyone watching the game for an appetizer.

I hate this guy. Only player to ever get kicked off a probowl team. Seriously.

I think our problems boil down to one main point: The O-line. It is horrid. Bryant McKinney is the most over paid (and overweight) player in the league, we can’t find a player to hold down the Center position for consecutive games, Loadholt might be good in a few years but he’s struggling right now, and Hutchinson is by far our best lineman but is past his prime. I know I’ve said recently that Favre is having problems with his arm, and I still think he is, but if we had a decent O-line we would at least be able to run the ball effectively when Favre is struggling to keep his head above water. As it is, there are practically no holes for AP to run through, Favre is getting destroyed  after every single passing attempt, and Randy Moss will never be a downfield threat because the QB has to remain standing longer then 4 seconds in order to chuck it deep!

The Packers are having huge injury problems, but their biggest strength remains they’re passing game and I think Aaron Rodgers is going to throw it at Lito Shepperd all game long. This week boils down to the simple fact that I don’t have confidence in our offense to put up more than 250 yards (only 190 last week!!!), and I think it’s going to take more like 400 to put this one away. Final Score: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Again please.

Arthur’s Two Cents:
The jumbo shrimp sounds awesome.  Citrus and some heat?  I don’t see how you can go wrong.

The game:  I’ve been saying the offensive line is the main problem since our first game versus the Saints.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to have been any improvement in the last 6 weeks.  And with Greenbay leading the NFL in sacks I don’t see good things coming this week.  Farve needs a few seconds to let Moss get down field, let alone to be able to throw to him.  It seems that in each of the last two game Farve was able pull him self together and pound out about 5 consecutive minutes of solid play, regardless of the O-line folding like superman on laundry day. If he can do that twice this game, well we have a shot.

Given the GB injuries I foresee a lower scoring game: Vikings 9, Packers 12.  While this is going to be a painful match-up to watch, at least I have the Packs defense in fantasy to dull the pain.

8th October
written by Loren


This week’s football food is an adaptation of a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs (besides this one), The Food in my Beard. There have been some really cool recipes over there, some of them far more ambitious than I am prepared for. He also seems to have a knack for coming up with dips, which are of course perfect football food. At one point I stumbled on his BLT Dip and it looked amazing so I gave it a whirl (check out the link, the pictures are what really inspired me to try it). Overall it was pretty good, with some awesome flavor combinations. There was only one problem: the mayo. I don’t know about you readers out there, but I am NOT a mayo fan. It’s one of those condiments I barely tolerate, sort of like sauerkraut or Dijon mustard. A little bit will usually help your cause, but a there is a very fine line between a little and way too damn much. And once you cross that line, you’re screwed. There is no going back so you might as well just throw whatever you were making in the trash, go brush your teeth and start over again.

In this case, it was not immediately obvious that this was a problem. I made a big batch of the dip for a game and everyone dug in. But after a few minutes all I could think of was the mayo flavor and mayo texture and it was just wrong. I ended up throwing a big tub of the dip out because there was just no way I was going to eat any more. This is certainly not a shot at the culinary skills of the recipe’s creator, just a personal taste thing. Anyways, I modified the recipe slightly to avoid a repeat of the over-mayo trauma I experienced. The recipe’s name? PTSDBLT Dip. It strays even farther away from religious adherence to the ingredients of a BLT, but its damn tasty in its own right.

[DDET Click for recipe!]

For the base of the dip, skin and pit two ripe avocados and drop them into a blender along with 1/3 cup of sour cream and 1/3 cup of mayo and the juice of half a lemon. Blend that until smooth and add to your serving dish. Add to that a carton of cherry tomatoes which you quartered, about 1 Tbsp of minced shallot, and half a pound of torn arugula leaves. I love arugula; it’s so peppery and unique for a green leafy vegetable. And this is a great recipe for it because you need something that will have a flavor capable of standing up to the creamy avocado/mayo/sourcream mixture.

The last thing to add is by far the most important: BACON. If I were you, I’d try to find something nice and thick cut. No Name makes pretty good bacon, and if all else fails most any butcher should have some top notch stuff. Cook up about ¾ of a pound of it, and just like for the Jalapeno Poppers, you want to cook it to fairly well done so that almost all of the fat is rendered out. Crumble that up and add it the bowl, then fold everything together. Finally, give it a taste and then add salt and pepper to your liking. By the way, this one definitely goes with sliced bread. It’s just too chunky and thick to pair well with chips, and with all that bacon the dip is plenty salty without adding potato or corn chips.




We got Randy. What the hell is going on here? Imagine that you’re back in 2004 and someone says to you “Don’t worry about trading him to Oakland. He’ll be back in 6 years and, oh yeah, Brett Favre will be tossing him passes.” WHAT?! Your head might have exploded then and there. Allow me to use this opportunity to publicly declare my love for Zygi Wilf. This man is a god send and 90% of NFL fans wish they had an owner like him. My only concern here is that the ownership is going to shell out for player after player to try to win now, and then we falter in the playoffs and the stadium bill goes down in the legislature. That’s when I see good ol’ Zygi throwing his hands up and deciding to cut his losses.

As for this week, I’m afraid I don’t see good things; and that’s only partly because I refuse to be the homer who picks the Vikings every single game. I think jumping to a new team, combined with facing Darrelle Revis is going to mostly shut down #84. There are three other main things going for Jets next Monday: 1) The Brett Favre incarnation of the Vikings has been absolutely terrible on national television, with the sole exception being the annihilation of the Cowboys in last year’s playoffs. 2) I think coaching does matter in the NFL and if I had to rank these two coaches I would say Ryan is top-five in the NFL and Chilly is bottom-five. That’s not a good matchup. 3) The Jets are a bunch of blitz-happy motherfuckers. They are going to put a hurt on old man Favre, and send extra defenders from all over the field.

Final score: Jets 20, Vikings 17.

Arthur’s Two Cents:  Having Moss back in MN is going to be a game changer.  And for third round draft pick?!?!  Until the offensive line learns how to give Farve more than a blink of time in the pocket here is how see things.  Moss won’t be used for his very deep threat potential, but for more modest passes.  Farve will be able to trust him and have just enough time to find him quickly.  With AP on the field and Farve’s ability to find the some other recivers he won’t be triple covered like he was in his last year with the Vikes!

On the game versus the Jets, I don’t know if we can pull it off, but I think that we have a real chance.  Revis got hurt covering Moss, maybe that will get in his head a little.  I see the Vikes at 21 and the the Jets at… well we’ll see what our defense can do.

On the food:  this sounds like a great dip.  Meg is planning on making up some bread this weekend.  But, since this is a Monday game that I’ll actually be able to watch at home, I was thinking of breaking out the old deep fry and getting some homemade wings going.  Though this might be great for Thursday poker night.

My other thought is that that the high mayo version might work great not as a dip, but to use instead of boring plain mayo on burgers for grilling time.

Tags: , ,
24th September
written by Loren

My dear god, I don’t know how many more games like that I can watch. You know, you get a couple 7-8 beers in you and fire up the grill and get ready to watch the game with friends, and then… pick after pick after pick. They showed Favre walking into the stadium before the game and I immediately texted a few friends, “Favre looks old, brittle, and gimpy”. That visual was enough to give me pause and make me wonder if we weren’t in for another brutal game and yeah, verily, it came to pass.

This week’s football recipe is much more blue collar than the goat cheese jalapeno poppers from last week. You will need: chips, salsa, hamburger and velveeta. Given how ridiculously easy this is, it almost feels like cheating to put it up for a recipe this week. On the other hand, its realllllly good and people always seem to love it when it’s brought to parties. It also meets one of the big tests for great football food: it does not distract from the game. You just throw everything in the crockpot, and stir it every 10 minutes or so. A few years ago I hosted a Superbowl shindig and between cooking 3-4 different things, I’d say I missed about 40% of the actual football game. NEVER AGAIN, I SAY!

First off, take your hamburger, about a pound, and brown it in a pan. To season it, you’re gonna want some salt and pepper, and possibly something else. Maybe some chili powder, or chipotle, or garlic powder. Don’t go nuts with the flavoring though, otherwise the meat won’t play nice with the other ingredients in the dip. Drain the grease off completely; you don’t want any of it in the dip. When that’s done, add the meat to the crock pot. Now cut up the velveeta and add that to the crockpot. I use the usual large brick size, I dunno if that’s a pound or 1.5 lbs, but it’s the main size and the ratio should be at least one to one with the beef. Finally, add the salsa. For this, I’m usually using a regular jar of medium Pace salsa, for a few reasons: one, Pace has a good consistency. There’s a good amount of veggie chunks and it’s not too watery. Second, it’s cheap. There’s no reason to buy nice habanero salsa just to throw it in cheese dip.

So, combine the “cheese”, meat and salsa in the crockpot and turn it on high. Stir it every 5-10 minutes and it should take about 30-40 minutes for everything to melt together. Once its melted, turn the crockpot to low and let people help themselves as the game goes on. You’ll want to check on it every now and again because if it sits for a prolonged period it will get an unpleasant skin over the top. If this skin does show its ugly face, just stir vigorously for a bit. Serve with tortilla chips. Recommended beer pairing: something cheap. Save the high brow stuff for fancier meals, grab yourself a Grainbelt if you’re in Minnesota or an MGD if not, and enjoy the game!


I really think the Lions might beat us in Minneapolis for the first time in a decade this weekend. Even without Stafford, they put up 30 some points on Philly last weekend, and this Jahvid Best kid looks like the real deal. I certainly wish we had him instead of the Great White Flop, Toby Gerhardt. But I am not, at this point, ready to completely give up the Vikes.

I think this weekend they finally get their heads out of their collective asses and realize its gonna take some effort to put up points. I see a heavy dose of AP this weekend, especially if Percy is out for the game because of his migraines. Plus, our defense has given up 21 points over two weeks! As long as Graybeard can remember to throw to the guys in purple instead of honalulu blue, we should be fine riding #28 to victory.

Final Score: Vikings 17, Lions 10. Sad Fact: if the Vikings manage to put up 17 it will be our best offensive production of the season.

Arthur Two Cents: I have had this tried and true recipe with Loren many a time.  A quick cooking item is just what you want for what should be the first non-gut-wrenching game of the season.  [For a beer pairing here on the East Coast I would recommend the Yuengling.]

After last  week, I see why there were so few long pass attempts in the first game. Maybe a little more conservative playing is what we need with the old man until he refinds his stride.

Hopefully this game will be a low key chance for Favre  to make-up for all of their absence from training camp and Percy Harvin’s miss of the preseason.  With the Vike’s D having been strong, the end results against the Lions should be OK.  I see the end score Vikings 14,  Lions 6.

Still, if Farvre collapses in this one, I say we pull him for the season put in Tarvaris Jackson and call this season a rebuilding year. (Not really, but kind of.)  But I don’t see that happening, Loren let me pick the pics for this week’s post and I decided to go for the glory we still can have this season!

Tags: ,
17th September
written by Loren

I googled Favre interception. There were lots of choices...

Well that last game sucked huh? If you would have told me that the Vikes would hold New Orleans to 14 points and have only one turnover, and STILL lose,  there’s no way I would have believed it. Oh well, at least my fantasy team seems to be doing well. Hopefully I won’t have to console myself this way all season long.

I hope you liked the buffalo chicken dip from last week. This week’s offering will be even more tasty, if for no other reason than it contains BACON! I absolutely love these little buggers, and every time I have made them they received rave reviews and inspired prolonged nagging that I should make them again. I like to make these when I’m going to a party or someone else’s place because you can make them completely beforehand and then just throw them in the oven when you get somewhere…. And also because I would eat the whole batch by myself if someone else wasn’t around.


  • 6 large jalapeno peppers
  • 5 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 4 oz goat cheese (I usually use Chevre)
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh herbs (basil, chives, parsley, oregano), optional
  • Salt and Pepper

Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and ribs. Set these aside and make the filling.

First off, cook those bacon slices on medium heat until they are pretty well done. You want all the fat rendered out, and good amount of browning on the bacon.  Remove from the pan, chop them up and then throw that in whatever mixing bowl you are using for the cheesy goodness.

Then mince the garlic cloves. Turn it into garlic paste by adding a pinch of kosher salt to the garlic and then grinding it into the cutting board. Some people use their knife for this; I prefer the back of a spoon. Pasting the garlic will bring out the juices to mix with the cheese, and make it more homogenous so people don’t get chunks of raw garlic in their mouth.  Add the garlic to the bowl, along with the minced herbs (if you like), a few grinds of black pepper, and the cheeses. Mix well to combine and – if you have the time- cover it and refrigerate for an hour or two.

We all need more bacon in our lives.

Then pile the filling into the jalapeno shells. If you’re looking for an exact amount to put in each jalapeno, you are a deranged and misguided person. Just eye it; it’ll be good for you.  Put the poppers on a baking sheet and put them in an oven you’ve preheated to 350. Let them bake for 10 minutes, then transfer the sheet to beneath a broiler and finish them off for 2 or 3 minutes, until they look a little golden.  DON’T START DOING SOMETHING ELSE WHILE THESE ARE BROILING!!! These things are small, and you will burn the whole batch before you get half way done with whatever it was you were going to do.

Note: If you have leftover cheesy-goodness, it makes a fantastic spread for a baguette or crackers. Try it sometime, and you just might forget about the jalapenos  in the future.


I’m not entirely sure what to expect for this game, mainly because I think it might take Favre until after the bye week to truly be on the same page with all of his receivers. Here’s what I do know: AP is looking good. Last season we saw way more of those runs for no gun, or +/- 1 yard. Last week it looked like AP in year 1, where you knew every time he touched the ball was good for at least 4-6 yards. Throw in a few busted tackles and he can easily rack up 150+ yards in almost any game. I like what I see from him and this week I expect the Vikings to make a concerted effort to stick with the gameplan of feeding #28 the rock ALL DAY long.

We can’t look past Miami as much as we once could, they are definitely on the rise, but I like how we match up here. Our front seven has gotten, if possible, even better since last year and I cannot see the Fins running their way to victory in this game. I also don’t think Chad Henne has what it takes to win the game through the air when that becomes necessary. Vikes win in a low scoring rushing game, 21-17.

Arthur’s Two Cents: Looking back at last weekend I think that half the problem with Favre’s game was the offensive line. Yes, he isn’t completely in tune with receivers. BUT this man can throw the ball to anyone if he has the time. I think that versus Miami he’ll have at least a few more seconds in the pocket, which will give him time to look down field and come-up with some big plays.

Versus the Saints Favre didn’t seem to go for many long passes (only handful of attempts beyond 5 or maybe 10 yards). I’m not sure if this was his own caution or if it was Brad Childress’ play calling. Either way I think that against a team that is, still a threat, but not the defending Super Bowl champs, we’ll see at least a little of Favre from last year.

8th September
written by Loren

With the football season approaching (GO VIKES!) I thought it would be fun to start a recurring article here on EatCookLive. Every weekend I’m going to try to post a new recipe for football food. These recipes will generally be fairly easy (no one wants to cook 5 hours before a football game, unless it’s the super bowl), incredibly unhealthy (all that beer should flush the cholesterol and sodium from your system) and will pair well with beer. I’m going to do my best to get them posted on Friday or Saturday so you can buy the necessary groceries before game-day. And, just because I can’t get enough football, I may break down the upcoming Vikings game. Maybe I can even get Arthur to tag-team this section with me.

For this week: Buffalo Chicken Dip!

This one is pretty simple, and very easy to make the day/night before and then throw it in the oven right before the game starts. It also definitely meets the necessary criterion of pairing well with beer! You will need:

  • 1 oz block of cream cheese
  • ½ cup  of blue cheese or ranch dressing (or ¼ cup of each)
  • 2 cups of shredded chicken (I have always used canned chicken for this because the combined buffalo/blue cheese flavor is pretty strong, but I wonder if this would taste even better if you bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded the breast meat.)
  • ½ cup of blue cheese crumbles.
  • ½ cup of frank’s red hot (you can use whatever hot sauce you like but, for me, Frank’s has that perfect buffalo wing flavor. However, use the regular stuff, not the buffalo sauce variety which has artificial butter flavoring added. Ick.)

That's the Good Stuff!

Bear with me on this one because the preparation necessary to make this is both extensive and very tedious. Ready? Take a casserole dish; add all the ingredients and mix well to combine. Throw it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Then throw it in the oven (preheated to 350) and bake for 20-25 minutes until it looks done in the middle. Hot damn that was hard, but I have faith that most of you can pull this one off.

Serving suggestions: you need something to put this dip on, and most anything will work in that respect. This can go with crackers, potato chips, baguette or other crusty bread, or you can use some crunchy veggies like celery and carrots. Word to the wise: as tasty as this dip is right out of the oven, it’s pretty bad as leftovers out of the fridge. You probably want to make this one when you have a few people coming over to watch the game.


I will admit that this game is making me pretty nervous, and it has a lot to do with the depth of cornerback and wide-receiver on the Vikings. Three healthy cornerbacks? Three? Vikings fans take note: when your team’s two best option for a 4th cornerback is to rush a player back from a torn ACL, or start a special-teamer who has never before played CB, things are dire. Add to that a Saints offense which likes to pass even more than Childress likes to toss out random 19th century literary references, and you have the recipe for a defensive melt-down. And as for wide receivers, why the hell did we cut Javon Walker and trade Darius Reynaud??? Granted, neither of them are by any means star wide-receivers, they’re only emergency back-ups, but WE NEED EMERGENCY BACKUPS!!! And why not pick up TJ Houzh? All he was gonna get was 1 year and $850K, and we turned him down! WTF ARE YOU DOING CHILLY!?

Having said all of that, I still think we can pull this one out. Look, we destroyed that New Orleans defense last year, racking up damn near 500 yards and being 15 seconds from the super bowl on unfriendly turf. You just don’t win games with that many turnovers. I’m counting on AP to get his mind right regarding the fumbles and Brett Favre to be steady but not spectacular, at least not in the first game when the decrepit old fart still hasn’t nailed down the timing with his receivers. I’ll take by Vikings by a field goal, 28-31.

Arthur’s Two Cents:
With football season fast approaching, I know there are a few emergency fantasy football drafts in the works. For those of you hosting the midnight hour drafts this recipe might be just the quick snack you need.

On to the football. I think that AP, even with his fumble risk, is enough of a threat to allow the Old Man to make the most of the passing game. Still, I honestly don’t know if we are going to be able to win this one. If we lose, I see the season going one of two ways: (1) responding by pulling together and working out the kinks or (2) staring a patented Brad-Johnson-era style downward spiral.

Tags: , ,