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Tailgating Recipes With A Twist

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

1836991_50 chef at rv.jpgThe recipes Ritsuko Robinson creates here may be new, but tailgating isn’t. Sports fans
have been grilling and frying and razzing the other team’s fans in the parking lot for
generations. And for many tailgaters, there’s not even a game to go to. Instead there’s a
concert, a Civil War reenactment, a flea market, an air show, a fishing derby, a class
reunion – any old excuse to pull in alongside the other rigs and cook up a banquet. Some
arrive early and leave late; others stay a night or two. Nobody does it like NASCAR fans;
they’ll stay a week or more for one race, clustering in mini-villages where one driver is
everybody’s fave. Some tracks provide water hookups and a dump station, others full
hookups, still others cable TV, a grocery store, even a mobile fix-it service.


RVers have a
home-field advantage; we bring our portable homes with us. You can bake in the oven, zap in
the microwave, grab a frosty libation from the fridge, brew java or spiced cider on the
stove, scoop ice cream from the freezer for dessert, and slip into your own restroom to
compensate. And with all that cheering and jeering, you’re gonna get thirsty. Soda, beer,
lemonade, iced tea – but wait; these are gourmet recipes. Chef Ritsuko recommends a fine
wine. So go online to www.charitywines.com and select a fine – athlete? Believe it. There are
quarterbacks, pitchers, hockey greats and all sorts of superstars on labels that will
really pop your cork, like “Schilling Schardonnay,” “Cajun Cannon Cabernet,” and “Manny
Being Merlot.” Best of all, the proceeds go to charities.


OK, you’ve scored a parking spot,
huddled with your friends, and spread a hearty feast with a Japanese twist. Now, the
two-point conversion: toasting in Japanese and eating with chopsticks. Hoist your plastic
wine glass and say Kanpai! It’s the traditional toast, pronounced “con pie.” And now, check
out the following recipes and dig into these tailgating delights. “We may not win every
game,” said one veteran tailgater, “but we’ve never lost a party!”



 1836991_17 soup serving.jpg

Chicken vs. Dumplings in the Souper Bowl 

1 lb
boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips thick as a pencil

1 medium onion, sliced

small carrot, julienne cut

10 snow peas, julienne cut

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 egg

6 cups

3 cubes chicken bouillon

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salt and black pepper to taste



1 cup flour

1/2 cup cold water


Drop bouillon in 6
cups water and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add chicken, carrots, and onion, and
cook for about 10 minutes until chicken is done. Add snow peas and soy sauce, and salt and
pepper to taste. Beat the egg with a fork and pour into boiling soup. Stir gently and
reduce heat to simmer while you prepare dumplings.


In a bowl, mix flour and ~1/2 cup cold
water until dough is stiff. When ready, heat soup back to boiling. Dip a spoon in the soup
to wet it, then scoop up a bite-size blob of dough and drop it into the boiling soup.
Repeat quickly, wetting the spoon each time. When all dumplings are in the soup, lower heat
and cook for about 5 minutes. When all dumplings float to the surface, it’s done. Be sure
to not overcook. Serve with your favorite crackers.

 1836991_40 crab dip.jpg

Pregame Crab Dip 

8-oz cream cheese block, room temperature

1 6-oz can crabmeat, drained

1 soft-ripe avocado,

1 cup chunky salsa: mild, medium or hot

1 cup mixed shredded cheese

1 teaspoon dry

1 teaspoon garlic powder


Combine cream cheese and crabmeat in an oven-safe
casserole dish. Mix in dry mustard and garlic powder. Layer the avocado paste over the
cream cheese mix, then pour the salsa over all. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 375° F
for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy on crackers or on thin slices of toasted French baguette bread,

 1836991_18 shrimp salad.jpg

Shrimp Salad on the Sidelines 

1 lb cooked shrimp

1 European cucumber,
julienne cut


Miso Dressing: 

2 tablespoons white miso

tablespoons mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking seasoning)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon
rice vinegar

1 tablespoon roasted white sesame seed

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Pull off shrimp
tails and mix shrimp with julienne cucumber. Combine other ingredients in a bowl to make
the dressing. Then add shrimp and cucumber, mix and serve. Dressing can be refrigerated up
to a week.

 1836991_59 salmon.jpg

Salmon-to-Broccolini Double Play 


1 1/2-lb salmon fillet

2 tablespoons soy sauce

tablespoons sake (Japanese rice wine, sold in many supermarkets and most liquor stores; ask
for “sock E”)

Salt to taste


Broccolini (also called Baby

1 bunch broccolini

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce


Line a baking pan with heavy-duty foil and place salmon in it. Sprinkle salt on salmon and
bake 15-20 minutes in 400°F oven. Gently pull open a slot in the thickest part; when color
is uniform all the way through, it’s ready. Mix soy sauce and sake, pour over salmon, and
bake 5 minutes more. The alcohol boils away, leaving a delicate sake flavor.


While salmon
cooks, boil a saucepan of water. Cut off about 2 inches of the broccolini stems and drop
these cuttings into the water. Wait about 4 minutes, then drop in upper parts and boil
another 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then shock for a few seconds under cold running
water to bring out the color. Mix sesame oil and soy sauce, and add to broccolini in a


Arrange broccolini and salmon on a platter for an appealing presentation, leaving the
salmon whole or broken into bite-size chunks. Pour off salmon juices in the baking pan and
serve as a sauce.

 1836991_69 sushi rice.jpg

Sushi Rice with Two Draft Picks 

4 cups cooked
short-grain rice

1/2 cup sushi vinegar (Japanese seasoned rice vinegar)

1 cup cooked
edamame beans, out of the pod

1 cup medium-size cooked shrimp, tails removed


Mix everything
together and you’re done! Serve in a super bowl.

Yakitori-Teriyaki Chicken Skewer
 1836991_52 skewer serve.jpg 

1 lb chicken breast, cut bite size

1 bunch green onions (scallions), cut
into 1-inch pieces

20 or 30 thin wooden skewers, 6 or 7 inches long

Salt and pepper to


Teriyaki sauce: 

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons sake
(Japanese rice wine, sold in many supermarkets and any liquor store; as for “sock E”)

tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder


Combine all teriyaki
sauce ingredients and cook for a few minutes to boil out the alcohol in the sake. Let stand
for half an hour, or make ahead and refrigerate. This sauce will keep in the fridge for a
week. You can double or triple the recipe and use the extra in all kinds of teriyaki


On each skewer, impale two pieces of chicken with a piece of green onion between
them. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Line a baking pan with heavy-duty
foil and arrange skewers with meat ends in two rows down the middle and bare ends sticking
out over the sides. Cover bare ends with foil strips to prevent burning. Bake at 375°F for
10 minutes. Remove from oven. One by one, take out a skewer, dip its underside in teriyaki
sauce in a shallow dish, turn it over, dip the other side, and put it back in the pan. When
all skewers have been dipped and turned, bake another 5 minutes and serve.


creatively. The bare ends offer endless possibilities for artistic presentation. Alternate
them down the middle of a platter like the lines on a football field, and the meat ends
become the fans in the stands!

 1836991_47 burger array.jpg

Extra Point Teriyaki Burgers


1 lb ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon
cooking oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup panko (“pahn-ko,” Japanese bread crumbs)

cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Lettuce, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, sliced
sweet onion

French baguette bread, thinly sliced at an angle



1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon dill-lemon
seasoning or plain dill weed

Mix well.


Teriyaki Sauce: 

tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons sake (Japanese rice wine, sold in many supermarkets and
any liquor store; ask for “sock-E”)

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon
garlic powder


Combine all teriyaki-sauce ingredients and cook for a few minutes to boil out
the alcohol in the sake. Let stand for half an hour, or make ahead of time and refrigerate.
This sauce will keep in the fridge for a week.


Sauté onion in cooking oil over medium heat
until translucent. Stir in garlic and set aside to cool. Beat the egg in a bowl, and mix in
panko and milk. Add ground beef, cooled onion, teriyaki sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Knead the mixture by hand to blend everything well.


For each burger, fill a 1/4-cup
measuring cup with the mixture, then shape a small patty by hand. Grill or pan-fry patties
over medium heat, flipping once, until cooked thoroughly, about 4 minutes on each side.


Slice the cucumber, tomato and sweet onion, and arrange all the veggies artfully alongside
the patties, with dill mayo and teriyaki sauce in little side dishes. Diners then concoct
their own mini-burgers between bread slices, with a dab of mayo and a dribble of sauce to
score the extra point.


Two-Minute Warning Dessert 


Have a potted plant full
of blossoms as a centerpiece. Then, when everyone is almost finished eating, yank out the
flowers – and eat the dirt for dessert! Here’s how:


Middle Mud: 

One stick butter One 8-oz cream cheese

1/2 cup of powdered sugar (Mix until smooth, and set
aside. Then in a separate bowl, mix the following:)

3 1/2 cups of milk

2 packages French
vanilla instant pudding

Two 8-oz tubs of Cool Whip (Combine the two mixtures and mix well.
Refrigerate overnight.)


Dirt Crust: 

Two packages of Oreo cookies

1 bag of gummy worms


On game day, put the Cool Whip lid in the bottom of a clean 8-inch
plastic flowerpot to block the drain holes. Crush the packages of Oreo cookies – the kids
love that job – and layer half of the dirt in the bottom of the pot. Layer the fridge mix
in the middle, then layer the rest of the Oreo “dirt” on top and stick in some artificial
flowers. Dish it up with a clean trowel. For a little extra grandstanding, bury a few
“gummy worms” in the “dirt.” Touchdown!


More info: American Tailgaters
And see www.tailgating.com for
general information; under “Parking Lots” click on “Stadium and parking lot information”
for details.

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