Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Immersion Effect: September 1st Edition

This is something I've been waiting weeks for. The weekly staple of this blog that I think people will really enjoy. I know that every Saturday, especially when my alma mater is playing a scrub, I like to get immersed into the game of the week. I like to eat what people at the game would eat, drink what they'd drink, etc etc etc ad nauseum. So, I'm bringing that to you every week with at least 1 recipe and 1 cocktail recipe (unless the home city of the GOTW has a beer or wine specific to it). Anyway, so, this week, we're dedicating the Immersion Effect to the only game that truly lives up this weekend.

We all know what happened last season. Tennessee was coming off a 5-6, non-bowl, 365 day meltdown season. California was also coming off a disappointing, albeit, winning season. However, Cal had a Heisman candidate at running back, along with 999 yard rusher Justin Forsett, three good wideouts, and finally a defense to go along with the offense. Cal was ranked #9 in the AP poll, with Tennessee at #23.

Then Cal crapped their pants in Neyland Stadium. After Cal forgot how to pass protect, tackle, and focus, Tennessee was up 35-0 midway through the 3rd quarter. Now Cal wants redemption, in their home stadium/domicile. Cal and Tennessee are both ranked in the teens, and the winner of this contest will have momentum and the biggest win of the season to hang their helmets on.

Now that I've built up the game horribly, here is what you should be eating and drinking this weekend, and by weekend, I mean starting Friday at 5pm through Sunday 2am.

Drink of the Week
Bear Juice
You'll need:
Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
Peach Shnapps
Cranberry juice

Get your shaker, load it up with ice, and add 1 oz. of the Whiskey, 1 oz. of the Shnapps, and 1 oz. of the cranberry juice. Put the cap and shake that sum'bitch until your hand cannot be felt anymore. Strain the Bear Juice into an old fashioned glass, or what I would do, is strain it into a lowball glass. Drink drink drink many of these. But drink responsibly.

Recipe of the Week
Sourdough Bread
You'll need:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F), divided
7 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

In a 4-qt. non-metallic bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of flour until smooth. Cover loosely with a clean towel. Let stand in a warm place (80 degrees F-90 degrees F) to ferment for 48 hours; stir several times daily. (The mixture will become bubbly and rise, have a "yeasty" sour aroma and a transparent yellow liquid will form on the top.) Stir in milk powder, butter, sugar, salt, remaining water and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. (Do not knead.) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Turn onto a floured surface; punch dough down. (Do not knead). Divide in half. Shape each into a round loaf. Heavily grease baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough on prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes across tops of loaves. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Brush loaves with cold water; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Joe's Special

You'll need:
6 large eggs
Splash or two of Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper or more to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound lean freshly ground beef, preferably chili grind (a bit coarser than hamburger grind)
3/4 to 1 pound fresh spinach, preferably the crinkly savoy variety, trimmed of stems and chopped, or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the Tabasco, salt, basil, and pepper. Whisk just enough to combine; you should still see large bubbles. Set aside.

Warm the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and sauté until soft but not beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and continue cooking until uniformly brown, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Cover with the spinach, place a lid over the mixture, and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the spinach wilts. (If using frozen spinach, cook, covered, for 1 minute, just to take off its raw edge.)

Stir the spinach into the meat, cooking briefly to eliminate excess liquid if the mixture seems watery. Pour the egg mixture over all, stirring with a spatula from the bottom until the eggs begin to set. Remove from the heat and stir a few more times, as the eggs cook through from the residual heat. Serve immediately.


There were so many possibilities for this week's immersion recipes. If you truly dedicate yourself to immersing yourself into Bay Area foods, you'd want to make a sourdough bread BOWL with clam chowder in it, but I really don't think anybody is going to do that this week.

Joe's Special originated in San Francisco, but you could also make cracked crab, or the Italian dish, cioppino. Hell, you could even make a San Francisco mission style burrito.

I hope that this weekly feature is something college football fans will really get into. Enjoy the immersion, gents.

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