Side Dish: SEC tailgating

Tailgating season has gotten started, and Southeastern Conference football fanatics now have their own SEC cookbook in time for the 2012 season.

Southern Living and the SEC teamed up to publish “The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, $19.95, paperback).

In addition to more than 150 recipes, the book offers game-day traditions, hometown flavor and a suggested tailgating party menu for each of the 14 SEC schools. Yes, even the two new SEC member schools, the University of Missouri and Texas A&M, are included.

The 256-page book’s foreword is written by Lars Anderson, of Sports Illustrated, and it is illustrated with lots of full-color photographs.

There’s information on firing up the grill and food safety tips, especially important since tailgate parties usually are all-day affairs, often on hot days.

Recipes begin with simple grits with toppings and end with Rebecca’s black bottom icebox pie. In between, there are plenty of recipes for beverages, snacks, steaks, chili, burgers, dips, brisket, sandwiches, salads and desserts. The book even includes 10 ways to use “The Pâté of the South,” otherwise known as Southern-style pimiento cheese.

The section on LSU and Baton Rouge features Mike the Tiger, the university’s oak trees, the State Capitols, LSU lakes, USS Kidd, River Road, the LSU AgCenter Dairy Store, and nearby eateries: Louie’s Café, The Chimes, Pastime, Chelsea’s Café, George’s, Acme Oyster House, Sammy’s Grill and T.J. Ribs.

The tailgating guide also includes custom-created recipes for SEC team cupcakes, deviled eggs and spritzers. Uh-oh, that LSU deviled egg recipe with shrimp, celery, Cajun seasoning and hot sauce might cause a bit of cross-conference trouble. University of Louisiana at Lafayette fans certainly won’t be happy to see the LSU recipe is named The Ragin’ Cajun.

Less likely to cause problems is the LSU team cupcake recipe, The Mean Mocha Latte, which features a frosting with instant espresso powder and a garnish of chocolate-covered coffee beans and cocoa. Its team spritzer is LSU Purple Prowler, a concoction of fresh blackberries, turbinado sugar, lime juice, crushed ice and seltzer water or club soda. It’s up to the reader to make the beverages more spirited.

This is a fun book sure to please SEC fans, but I am disappointed it doesn’t offer an easy-to-find listing of the sections about each school (LSU’s begins on Page 110). The reader first has to go to Page 253 to find the index for the menus, which are included at the end of each school’s write-up. Also, there is no separate listing for the custom-created school recipes. I found them by thumbing through the book.

The book is available online through SECstore.com and major book retailers including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. Some grocery stores throughout the Southeast, including Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Sam’s Club, Costco and Walmart, will also carry the book.

Cookbook signing

Food blogger Kate Jones will be at Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe, 7707 Bluebonnet Blvd., at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 to sign copies of the latest cookbook she co-authored with Sara Wells, “Savoring the Seasons With Our Best Bites.” The book focuses on fresh, healthful, seasonal ingredients.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com.

Advocate-tested recipe

So-Good Brownies

Makes 16 servings. Recipe is from “The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.”

4 (1-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking squares

3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1⁄8 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

2. Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 11/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in flour, vanilla and salt.

3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 44 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil and cut brownies into 16 squares.