Original Friday Football Foodie – Crostini and Balalaika!
I don’t understand people who play in leagues with multiple active defenses, quarterbacks, four kickers and just for shits-and-giggles eight receivers. Whenever I talk to fantasy players who have these kinds of – let’s face it – stupid leagues, I cannot help but picture two defenses on the field at the same time. Say the obviously weaker Seattle defense as the first line, but then the Ravens D anchoring the rear. Chaos would rule the field and soon a hole would open up (one would hope so with eight receivers, four running backs and three tight ends on offensive) for the somewhere, resulting in a game that would resemble the Italian Peninsula during World War II.
Crostini is the same way. It’s too easy to decide you want to have five or six different types of crostini at your party, but next thing you know the kitchen is covered in toasted bread, you’ve run out of platters, why did you decide to have three heated variations for Christ’s sake the game starts in five minutes, and how much more chopping needs to happen?!?
Stick with a simple game plan. One crostini that needs baked. One that you can make the night before. One that just involves chopping. One with only two ingredients besides the bread. And stick with a traditional fantasy football league.
You will need:
Crostini: (The bread part)
One (or two) loafs of a nice crusty baguette. (Avoid sourdough if possible.)
Clove of garlic.
Extra virgin olive oil.
It is incredibly important to have a sound base. A solid running game (THAT CAN PICK UP TWO YARDS ON THIRD DOWN MISTER-BRUCE-THROW-TO-THE-END-ZONE-ARIANS), some money stashed away in savings just in case you quit your day job, and bread that has been properly toasted.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
I wish just for once, I could cut something on the FFF and not think of a Peyton Manning commercial.
Still no word from nail polish fan this season, but just so they know, it just looks black in the picture. It’s actually a very deep red with black.
Toast in the oven until golden. About four to six minutes.
Sage, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto:
Bunch of fresh sage.
About 1/4 – 1/3 pound of prosciutto.
1 – 2 tablespoons of butter.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. (Or just keep the oven on if you just made your crostini.)
Some people love prosciutto wrapped around cantaloupe. Now I love cured meats and I love cantaloupe, but football foodie rules clearly state all melons served in conjunction with football watching must be properly soaked with Popov first. Hopefully you are not combining a handle of anything with your food that costs less than the prosciutto.
Remove the baked crostini from the oven and cover with the fried sage leaves.
Artichoke, Olives, and Capers
1 14-15 oz can of chopped artichoke hearts.
1 cup of ripe green olives. (Not the salty jars of green olives stuffed with pimentos.)
1 tablespoon of capers.
1 clove of garlic.
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Look! You’re done!
If you have leftovers from the artichoke, olives, and capers spread, mix it with a cup of cooked orzo for a nice side dish later in the week.
Three or four good, meaty tomatoes. You can even cheat a couple of hot house tomatoes if you sneak in one heirloom tomato. (Beef steak tomatoes should be avoided as they are mostly water.)
A bunch of fresh basil.
2 – 3 cloves of crushed garlic.
Extra virgin olive oil. (If you have extra light, extra virgin olive oil on hand now is the time to use it.)
Ground pepper, salt.
Chop up tomatoes, mozzarella and basil into small cubes. Add garlic, a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Salami and Ricotta
See above. Two ingredients.
Go ahead and yell it. This is a fun drink to say. BALAIKA! When we went to Vegas in the spring to meet up with some awesome college football bloggers, this was a drink that I enjoyed teaching everyone about. (That is, before we busted into the Sweet Tea Vodka by Firefly.) Since it is still hot as balls in LA, this is great cooling alternative to a margarita.
Equal parts vodka, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Serve over crushed ice. Pray for the end of 100 degree days, if only because hockey is already in the preseason.
Artichoke-Olive crostini adapted from Smitten Kitten, who adapted it from from Mario Batali.