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Gridiron grub

“I had a date with a Plummer last Sunday,” I told one of my friends on the phone last week. “But he let me down.””You WHAT?” she shrieked. No doubt she was envisioning a beer-bellied man with droopy pants. “Uh, what was he like?” she asked hesitantly.”Well, I’ve been seeing him for a while now. He’s pretty big, and hairy. He plays the field and often scores,” I informed her, playing off her obvious assumption.I was met with stunned silence, so I finally gave in and told her I meant Jake Plummer, as in the quarterback of my beloved Broncos.I admit it – I’m a crazed fan of the orange and blue. I’ve been a loyal follower of the games most of my life, and stuck with the team through its ups and downs. The Elway heydays, the Orange Crush, the short-lived reign of running back Terrell Davis and the slump that followed the 1999 Super Bowl – I’ve been watching, keeping the faith. I rotate between my three well-worn Broncos jerseys (even though two now have holes in them) and scream “In-com-PLETE!” like only a Denver devotee can do.And this was going to be the year. Super Bowl XL – the chance to make an extra-large impression. This season was going to be the one where Plummer followed in John Elway’s sodden cleats. We were going to the Super Bowl.Or so I thought.After playing hard all season, even winning the last week before the playoffs, which was unnecessary, Denver forgot to show up at the AFC Championship. The Steelers rolled all over them.I invited friends over to watch the game and revel in our team’s glory. I screamed so hard my voice went hoarse (I hope my next-door neighbor forgives me). But the planned celebration turned into one big pity party. The Plummer let me down.But I’m not bitter.Oh, I’ll still watch Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5. I’ll probably throw a small Super Bowl get-together, complete with snacks and beer. After all, I still love football, and no self-respecting fan would miss the season’s ultimate game.But it won’t be the same without the Plummer I’ve come to love. I’ll just have to bury my sorrow in a bag of chips and a long-necked beer and half-heartedly root for Pittsburgh. Maybe make some nachos, because Denver, it’s na-cho turn.Maybe next year.Gabrielle Devenish is the food editor at the Post Independent. She swoons over Jake Plummer, even if he does look like a Yeti sometimes. Contact her at 945-8515, ext. 535, or gdevenish@postindependent.com.

La Brea Tar Pit chicken wings4 pounds chicken wings, split at joint and wing tips discarded1 cup soy sauce (Japanese preferred)12 cup dry red wine12 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar14 teaspoon ground gingerPut a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange wings in one layer in a large roasting pan.Combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over moderately low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Pour evenly over wings.Bake for 45 minutes. Turn wings over and bake until sauce is thick and sticky and some of the wings are crispy on the edges, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer wings to a platter.Makes about 48 hors d’oeuvres.Power nachos12 cup taco sauce2 teaspoons hot sauce or more to taste14 cup pecans4 cups lightly salted tortilla chips112 cups grated Monterey jack or sharp cheddar cheese12 cup minced red onion14 cup chopped fresh cilantroPreheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the taco sauce and hot sauce. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then chop coarsely.Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the chips in a shallow heatproof serving dish. Sprinkle them with half the cheese, drizzle on the taco sauce and top with the onion and the rest of the cheese. Place in the oven and cook until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the pecans and cilantro. Holler for the gang to help themselves, because you want these while they’re hot and gooey. Makes about 8 servings.- recipes courtesy Scripps Howard News Service


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