I know, I know...it's still summer...who in their right mind is thinking football and tailgate parties this time of year? This gal! Mieke & Tall Matt bought pre-season tickets for the Steelers/Colts game to help celebrate my birthday a little early this past weekend. Mieke, Tall Matt, Mark, Kimber and I kind of partied all weekend long, actually...and there's nothing wrong with that!
Never having been to a Steelers game or to Heinz Field, Matt (he's from MI - land of the Detroit Lions) wanted to do it up right...and so we did. Good Lord, we kicked off on Saturday morning for a Sunday night game! Meat & Potatoes and their magnificent Bloody Mary Bar brunch was the first stop and the beginning of one fantastic weekend. (http://meatandpotatoespgh.com/menus/brunch_menu.pdf ). We zigzagged through Market Square and the Strip District hitting several more fun spots, did some shopping - or looking before calling a timeout on Round One of the pregame festivities.
Dinner? We simply threw some good steaks on the grill, cooked up beautiful ears of sweet local corn on the cob and I whipped up a quick tomato feta salad with basil from the garden. Kimber surprised me with gluten-free chocolate birthday cupcakes filled with Nutella and piled high with Nutella buttercream. Wow!
After a good night's sleep, pregame Round Two kicked off! Brunch at Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina in the fresh summer air made for one perfect start. (Brunch menu: http://verdepgh.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Verde-Menu-Brunch-2012-07-14.pdf)
From there, we hit several other lovely establishments before ending at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy (great jazz & original eats & great cocktails, too): (http://jamesstreetgastropub.com/). Next stop, the North Shore!
Once in the Heinz Field parking lot, we raised the tailgate and unloaded the main event: fresh made guac (yes, I packed the molcajete!), salsa roja, Black & Gold Salsa (Matt LOVED it!), chicken salad with almonds, apple jalapeno coleslaw (I posted this one a while ago, here's the link: http://dinnerplan-it.blogspot.com/2012/03/apple-jalapeno-slaw.html ), melon chunks, rolls, tomatoes, even Rice Krispie treats...a variety of beers and Grilled Peach Vodka Basil Sweet Tea, too ( http://dinnerplan-it.blogspot.com/2012/07/grilled-peach-vodka-basil-sweet-tea.html). We did NOT go hungry (or thirsty)...and we shared with our appreciative neighbors, too!
The hit of the tailgate? Black & Gold Salsa. Here's the recipe. It even brought the Steelers a win!
Black & Gold Salsa
- 1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into chunks
- 1 large banana pepper, seeded and chunked - a nice yellow one
- 1 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed ( or not, if you want it hotter)
- 1 small onion, peeled, chunked
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, finely minced
- 1 large ear of corn, leftover, kernels removed (if you don't have a leftover ear of corn, use canned or frozen - 3/4 C or so)
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin (more or less - however much you like cumin!)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce, I used Cholula lime, but use your fave
Using a food processor, chop the pineapple coarsely, don't puree it! Keep some good texture to it. Remove to a mixing bowl. Process the jalapeno, but make that nice and fine - but not pureed by ANY means; add to bowl. Do the same with the onion and banana pepper, achieving a dice somewhere between the pineapple and the jalapeno sizes and add that to the mixing bowl, too.
Add everything else into the mixing bowl and stir until well-blended. That's it!
Serve with tortilla chips.