by the Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff
Welcome back to another season at the Buffet Table. The Pats are kicking off this season against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are best known for performing in the best season of “Hard Knocks” that will ever be filmed. I looked it up, and they also play football in the NFL. It turns out Herm Edwards isn’t just a motivational speaker and coiner of phrases, but he also coaches in the NFL. Herm puts on a great pre-season tv show, but it doesn’t carry into the season. He’s only 2-5 playing to win the game in the first week.
Just like Herm, we at the Buffet Table are still stuck in the summer. Labor Day came too early this year – September 1st come on, that’s almost the earliest it could be. Before we get into the cold weather menus and beverages we’re going to enjoy this final weekend in the sun. Put on your black socks with Crocs, fire up the grill and fill the cooler. The Patriots are finally playing again.
Kansas City is well known for barbeque, but barbeque takes hours to make properly and you don’t have that much time when tailgating. We need a sauce that we can add to our food to give it that Kansas City type feel.
A Kansas City style BBQ sauce is easy enough. It’s a sweet tomato based sauce. Adding a KC Chiefs signature was the tough part. I wasn’t sure what to add so I called up Herm Edwards. We met at 4 a.m., scaled the fence at Arrowhead stadium and headed to his office.
Herm got out some poster board, markers and glitter. Instead of helping me out with this recipe he started drawing a sign. I pressed him for food advice but he seemed to have forgotten why we were there. The sign was pretty nice, but I wouldn’t put it into BBQ sauce.
That’s when I noticed the package of Fig Newtons. Only by opening the package of cookies was I able to stir Herm from drawing time.
“It’s just a reminder to me of my days back in college when you didn’t have very much money and all we had around the place to eat was Fig Newtons,” Edwards said. “Sometimes that was breakfast, lunch and dinner. One thing about a Fig Newton, it will fill you up.”
“I always told myself, no matter what happens, if you have Fig Newtons in the refrigerator, you’ll never go hungry. Since then, I’ve always had them. They are a reminder to me of where I came from. If something happens in the world and there’s total chaos, I know one thing, my family will be fine because we’ll still have Fig Newtons.”
I walked out confused but also inspired. I don’t know what figs have to do with anything, but I know they taste good and that Herm Edwards is planning for the apocalypse by always keeping a package around. If it’s good enough for Herm then it’s good enough for the Buffet Table.
Herm Edwards Fig BBQ sauce
A sweet Kansas City type BBQ sauce, good for seafood and chicken. The sauce can be prepared before gameday and stored refrigerated, or made on gameday. Serves 4.
3 cups ketchup
2 large figs
1 bottle steak sauce (10-12 ounces)
1 bottle beer (see beer section below)
1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds U-10 or U-12 shrimp
6 to 12 wood or steel skewers
A ripe fig is a lot like a ripe pear. You want it to yield to pressure, but not be soft. They should be plump and unblemished, but the color will change from yellow to green to purple depending on the type of fig your store has. All figs are sweet and taste great when grilled, so don’t worry about the type.
Cut the figs in half lengthwise and scoop out the fruit with a spoon. Chop the fruit finely. You can substitute 1/2 cup of fig preserves if you cannot find or do not want to work with fresh figs.
Add all ingredients in a pot and heat to a simmer over low heat. The honey will blend easier if heated for a short time in a microwave before hand. Or if added to the sauce after the sauce has warmed.
Keeping with our ‘Summer can’t be over yet theme’ we’re going to cook some shrimp with this sauce. We last cooked shrimp for the Jacksonville playoff game. We will use the same U-10 or U-12 shrimp for this as they’re the best for grilling.
Skewer the shrimp on both the head and tail side, they’ll be in half circle shapes. You can also add quick cooking vegetables, such as quartered bell peppers. Alternate the vegetables with the shrimp on the skewer.
Shrimp cook very quickly, only taking one to three minutes per side. Herm Edwards has his own clock management coach because of his many clock management disasters. We don’t have to go to that extreme, just don’t walk away from the grill as the shrimp are cooking. Brush with the BBQ sauce as you grill.
Time for a drink!
This week we’ll cover the summer beers available from New England breweries. You can still find these on the shelves, and you might even find some on sale.
Unlike most weeks where we cover one beer style, summer beer does not have a singular style. There are a range of beers released as summer beers. Usually they have a few things in common – they’re light, crisp and refreshing. Hefeweizens, American Wheat Ales, Belgian Wits, light ales such as Kolsch, and light lagers such as Pilsner make up most of the summer offerings.
Light beers like these pair well with seafood. Their light taste and crispness matching well with the gentle flavor and sweetness in the seafood. These beers still have enough flavor to take on the sweet sauce we’re using but they won’t overpower the shrimp.
The most available of all summer beers is Sam Adams Summer Ale. This beer, flavored with citrus zest and grains of paradise (an old fashioned pepper substitute) fits in between the American Wheat Ale and Belgian Wit beer styles.
Another tweener is Summer Weizen from Smuttynose. This beer features the malts common to a German Hefeweizen but uses a Belgian Wit yeast.
One of my favorites in the Kolsch style is Geary’s Summer Ale. It is a heavyweight in the summer beer division at 6% ABV. The label changes every year, drawn by the winner of a design contest held at the Maine College of Art. The winning artist also receives a scholarship.
A lighter offering in the Kolsch style is Harpoon Summer Beer.
Even lighter, in the blonde ale style Anheuser-Busch offers Beach Bum Blonde Ale. A blonde ale is similar to a kolsch but lighter with American instead of Continental ingredients. You’ll find little mention of this beer on the A-B websites as they’re repositioning their craft-like beers under the Michelob label.
From the Hefeweizen category the always excellent Berkshire Brewery brings us Hefeweizen. Full of banana and clove aroma and flavor it’s a true German style Hefe.
This time of year Long Trail brewing company has 3 beers that would all work as summer beers. Their summer seasonal is Belgian White and it joins 2 year round beers: Blackbeary wheat, a fruit flavored wheat beer and former summer seasonal; and Hefeweizen a former limited edition beer.
Those are just a few of the hundreds of summer beers available. Head down to your favorite liquor store and browse the aisles. You’ll be sure to find a good, easy drinking, light and refreshing summer beer. These are great gateway beers for those new to craft beer, they have plenty of flavor but lack the strong and sometimes over the top characteristics of the stronger beer styles.
Herm quotes provided by KCChiefs.com.