It’s been a long couple of months–good, but over-filled with activities and obligations. So as the weekend approached, my calendar remained empty. I told people that I hadn’t tried to get football tickets, and that if they were to fall into my lap I would think about going to the game.
Then they did. And very quickly, I said yes.
Who am I kidding? I can’t turn down Alabama football. Last weekend was the first time that Alabama had taken the field as a No. 1 team in my life. (Yes, we won a national championship in 1992, but we weren’t ranked No. 1 until we beat Miami.) We’ve lost to Mississippi State for the past two years. And though Auburn already ensured that State won’t claim the Alabama State Championship this year, I want to see us destroy them. (We better destroy them.) We could be–should be–on our way to a 12-0 regular season. I was there as we opened the season, I was there for the too-close Kentucky game, I hope to be there for the history-making Iron Bowl. But I better take every game I can get (especially as I remain camped out on the Tide Pride waiting list!).
After talking to the friend who came into tickets Thursday night, the official plan was to take it easy (our entire group is socially exhausted) and leave Birmingham at 5 p.m. for today’s 6:45 game. But even as I hung up, I suspected I was again lying to myself. And so this morning I found myself back in the kitchen, quickly preparing my favorite beer-cheese spread for this afternoon’s tailgate.
It’s been a while since I’ve added a recipe to my go-to list, and this one definitely merits a place. It’s incredibly easy and always a hit, especially with the boys. The ingredients are things that I typically have in the kitchen, save for perhaps a large quantity of cheese (easily remedied). Don’t have an amber beer handy? Sub in another, so long as it’s a good one! (Today I used Yazoo Dos Perros.) And it’s perfect for a cold autumn day spent on the quad.
Now, get me to Tuscaloosa!
Prep: 15 min., Chill: 2 hr. This recipe makes a lot, but it can be frozen for up to a month. It fits perfectly into 4 (10-oz.) ramekins. Try it over French fries, hot dogs, and chili too.
This recipe goes with Grilled Beer-Cheese Sandwich
Makes 5 cups
- 1 (2-lb.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 (12-oz.) bottle amber beer, at room temperature
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: thyme sprig
1. Beat together first 5 ingredients at low speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended. Gradually add beer, beating until blended after each addition. Beat at medium-high speed 1 minute or until blended and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill 2 hours. Garnish, if desired. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Abita Amber Beer. This spread can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw overnight in refrigerator.
Grilled Beer-Cheese Sandwich: Spread 1 tsp. softened butter evenly on 1 side of 2 bread slices. Place bread slices, buttered sides down, on wax paper. Spread 1/4 cup Beer-Cheese Spread onto 1 side of 1 bread slice. Top with remaining bread slice, buttered side up. Cook sandwich in a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese is melted.
Therese Halaska, Portage, Wisconsin, Southern Living, OCTOBER 2007