The PREGAME TAILGATE!
It was our turn to cook for our regular tailgate crowd, and I LOVE to cook for them! It was a BEAUTIFUL Autumn day in Iowa City, and I planned a real dinner to celebrate the day.
Our daughter in law Sara sent two delicious appetizers to add to the menu...a feta cheese dip and some awesome caramel corn-always a hit at a party. And I started things off with a plate of deviled eggs. (COOKING TIP: When transporting deviled eggs to an event...don't add the filling until you arrive! I made the egg yolk/mayo/mustard/sugar mixture at home and placed it in a zip-lock plastic bag. When I arrived at the event site I simply snipped off a corner of the bag and "piped" the mixture into each eggwhite shell and sprinkled with paprika. No mess-no fuss. And clean up is a breeze.)
I prepared the two boneless pork loins on Friday by inserting slivers of garlic into slits I made in the meat. I then rubbed each pork loin with EVOO and liberally coated each one with my special dry rub and refrigerated overnight. (The dry rub recipe was previously posted to my blog...Check under the SEARCH box on the right under heading "Condiments".)
On game day, I let the meat come to room temperature (for about two hours at the tailgate since the air temp was in the '50's...) and roasted it directly on a cookie sheet on the grill, turning about every 5-10 minutes for about one hour. (This allows the meat to brown, but it keeps the fat from dripping into the grill and causing "flare-ups". I prefer this method, because if you wrap in tin foil to grill, I think the meat really "steams" instead of browning and roasting. ALWAYS USE A GOOD MEAT THERMOMETER TO TEST FOR DONENESS! I only cooked these loins to about 135-140 degrees and then removed and wrapped them tightly in tin foil. I put them in an empty cooler to stay warm and to "rest" for 20-30 minutes while I heated my par-boiled, quartered red potatoes coated with EVOO, diced onions, fresh herbs, and minced garlic sauteed in EVOO. When the potatoes and onions were almost done I sprinkled on grated Parmesan cheese and extra salt and fresh-ground pepper. YUM!!
My bleu cheese veggie dip (not shown) was a huge hit...even with two people who SWEAR they HATE bleu cheese! (I think that is SO funny!!)
We love our tailgating "next door neighbors", and we always share recipes and samples of our dishes. And I was pleased when a gentleman came over to tell me he enjoyed watching my cooking techniques, especially the fact that to a tailgate I brought a cutting board, a chefs knife, and my use of fresh herbs. He told me he is from Provence, France...and he said I made him feel at home! What a special treat that was for me...and he gave me "thumbs up" on both the pork loin and the potatoes when I shared them with him. I told him I learned many of my cooking techniques from my Mom...and I still wonder how she learned French cooking techniques as a land-locked Irish-German American so many years ago! I still don't have an answer...but I am SO glad she was my Mom! She taught me to cook with LOVE...and I learned that lesson very well.
For dessert, I wanted to try something new and different...so I went back to a REALLY OLD cookbook and found a recipe from 50 years ago. I made a huge pan of Bugs Bunny Carrot Cake Bars. I'll add that recipe to my blog later. (It's a "keeper".)
All in all...it was a wonderful day. (As long as you try VERY hard to forget about the game!)
GO HAWKS...Next Week...
|Garlic Infused Pork Loins...For a CROWD!|
|Red Potatoes with Garlic, Onions, and Fresh Herbs|
|A "Rainbow" on a Relish Tray|
|Fred...The MASTER of Tailgate Set-Up...and Take-Down|