A few weeks ago, I was given a challenge to provide apple/pumpkin/bourbon fall dishes. I was not sure at first if I would be able to step up to the challenge. Then I remembered, I like challenges! I can do this!
My mother was a single mom with four kids and every now and then she needed a break from us. I blame my brothers they were hellions. I love you, bruders, but you know it’s true. So, every now and then we would get to spend the weekend with Oma and Opa. I remember waking up to the smell of fresh baking. Oma slicing us a piece of warm bread fresh from the oven. The butter melting into a pool of golden sunshine. There really was nothing like my Oma’s bread. It was airy and light and baked to golden perfection.
It’s that time of year! The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the sound of “Go, Team, Go” fills the air and echoes through the town. That’s right, it’s tailgate season. One of my more memorable tailgates was at Lambeau Field (I was there for my husband, more about that later). I do not know if you have ever taken part in a Green Bay Packer Tailgate but, I kid you not it is a town event. The businesses close and instead of pushing their wares they rent out their parking lots and join in the fun. Except for the bars of the east side of town, they are packed with enthusiastic fans.
Tailgating this weekend? Try these root beer marinated pork chops. This dish is perfect for tailgating because of how easy it is to bring along with you. Make the marinade the night before soaking the meat overnight. Throw the container in an iced down cooler and grill fresh at the tailgate party. The smell of these will have other tailgaters stopping by to say hi just to inhale the smells. Grill seasoned onions and black pepper bacon with the meat and you have a beautiful and tasty sandwich. Yum!
There are certain things that just go together. You can’t say one without thinking about the other. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Tailgates and Chili. This rich bean version is simmered in spicy flavors and cooks into a deep red stew. Thick, hearty, and delicious. It travels well and finishes cooking in a crockpot at the tailgate.
I am often asked how I come up with recipes and dinner ideas or am I afraid that I might run out of ideas. The answer is, no. I am inspired in many ways. A walk through a farmers’ market, a trip to the butchers, a picture, my garden for sure, childhood memories, and the list goes on. Today I was inspired by opening my spice cabinet and seeing a tiny little bottle of saffron threads.