Friday, November 12, 2010

Farm to Table Tailgate

For the 13 years I had Patriots season tickets, one of the things I enjoyed most was the pre-game tailgate. Sure I liked the fact that the Pats didn't lose a single home playoff game in those 13 years. But getting together with friends in 2-door cars stuffed with everything from beer and burgers, to flagpoles and firepits, with the smell of grilled food engulfing the ride down Route 1 in Foxborough is unmistakable.  Today, I have found a way to make the experience even better.

Recently I have been buying food from the local farmers market near my office in Dedham. Little did I know how much more fresh, colorful, and flavorful local foods can be. This market sells all local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and even pastas and sauces. I first thought of trying this food at a tailgate after years of eating frozen hockey puck burgers that sit at the bottom of a grocer's freezer for weeks and months, and are often saturated with preservatives and even growth hormones. As the Patriots prepared to take on the Vikings, I prepared our tailgate with local ingredients including bay shrimp right from the pier, the juiciest local tomatoes, fresh mozzarella from Foxboro Cheese Company(it doesn't get more local than that at Gillette Stadium), grass-fed beef, and italian sausages topped with yellow onions, red bell peppers, and fresh garlic. I also shouldn't forget the fantastic salsa from Lemon Thyme Farm in Whitman; fresh and flavorful with the right amount of heat. One recipe my wonderful wife helped me with was our feature dish on this Halloween afternoon. Here's how to make Italian sausages with peppers and onions marinated in beer.

2-3 Pounds of local Italian Sausages
1 tablespoon of butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 Large yellow onions
3 Red Bell Peppers
2 Cloves of fresh garlic
4 oz. of Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale or Sam Adams Octoberfest beer
2 Tablespoons of red pepper
2 Tablespoons of Natures Seasoning
6 submarine rolls

Prepare ingredients before the tailgate by chopping the vegetables(onions, peppers garlic) into bite sized pieces. Sautee the garlic in a large pan with the butter and olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the peppers, onions, red pepper, Natures Seasoning, and seasonal beer. Simmer for 7-10 minutes. Bring the ingredients in a pan or a container that can be heated on the grill to the tailgate.

At the stadium, grill the sausages on a charcoal grill for roughly 3-4 minutes on each side. Place the sausages into torpedo rolls, and add the onion and pepper mixture to the top. Enjoy!

There are so many reasons to enjoy local food for your Sunday tailgate or your regular meals. It's healthier for you and the environment and better for the local economy. But most of all, it just tastes better. Support your local team and businesses at your next tailgate, and see for yourself.

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