For those of you who have been on the Recipe Testing Email List for a long time you will remember the flurry of emails you received when Kellie and I were in the process of writing our cookbook, Football Food. The cookbook was Kellie’s brainchild and she worked on it diligently for three years. I was brought in at the 11th hour to provide extra recipes to balance out the book. It was a lesson in “cookbook publishing 101” for me and I had NO IDEA, nor did Kellie, the amount of work that would be required AFTER you send your final manuscript in to the publisher. Kellie wrote all of the intros and information in the entire book. After she pitched her original idea of a cookbook about Football Food she was copied by a number of people who wrote their own books after her. But she was the one who came up with the original concept of a cookbook dedicated to the food cooked for everything involving football from from Tailgates to Super Bowl parties.
It is with a heavy heart that I must write the sad news to tell you that Kellie passed away from pancreatic cancer.
I met Kellie through her cousin, Lissa Young, who was our Commander at Ft. Bragg. Lissa was in the fourth class of woman to enter West Point and she was adored by everyone. Lissa said “you must meet my cousin Kellie” and Kellie flew out to California to help me with marketing strategies when my catering company was in the early stages. Kellie and I became instant friends because of our similar backgrounds and shared interests. I don’t think either of us realized it at the time but we would both eventually endure painful divorces, hers about five years earlier than mine. She was already divorced by the time we were writing the cookbook together and the process of writing was a healing one for her. I still remember Kellie’s email to me when she eventually met Matthew Kraussman, whom she married. I was so happy for her. Matt has sent me the most beautiful pictures of Kellie and he was with her during her entire illness. She was somehow radiant in all of her pictures until the very end.
Below is an excerpt from her Memorial Service. And below that I’ve pasted some of her recipes from the cookbook. May she live on in the legacy she left of comfort food and favorite recipes. I know she will always be in my heart every year as football season begins. Maili
Inspired by the famous New Orleans muffaletta, this is the ultimate tailgate sandwich. Kellie makes it on Friday night and transports it in a cooler to Saturday afternoon stadium games. She serves it with coleslaw and red wine.
1 1/2 cups chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1 cup chopped black olives
3 anchovies, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup minced parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
for the sandwich:
1 8-inch round loaf of French Bread
2/3 pound sliced salami
2/3 pound provolone cheese
2/3 pound sliced mortadella
1/3 pound prosciutto
In a small bowl, combine the relish ingredients. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Split the bread in half horizontally. Remove enough of the soft inside to make room for the meats, leaving a 3/4-inch shell.
Brush some of the relish inside the top of the bread shell, then spoon half the mixture on the bottom round of bread. Arrange the salami, provolone, mortadella, and prosciutto in layers inside the bottom bread shell.
Spread with the remaining relish on top of the last layer and cover with the top shell. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a pan with something to weight it down–a heavy skillet works well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Slice the sandwich into wedges and serve.
CHILI CON QUESO
This is our quick and easy version of the time-honored Mexican dip. You can modify the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapeños or substituting other peppers.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
1 4-ounce can green chiles, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and jalapeños until they are soft, but not brown, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, green chiles, and cream. Heat through and then reduce the heat to low, stirring in the cheese until melted
Serve Chili Con Queso in a fondue pot or small crock-pot to keep it warm. Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes 3 cups.
Bratwurst is easy to grill, packed with flavor, and the perfect accompaniment to beef. Serve with caramelized onions and stone-ground mustard.
2 packages of Johnsonville Brats (5 per package)
1 bottle of beer
Place brats in a bowl or pan and cover with beer. Let sit for an hour.
Heat grill to medium-high. Grill brats on each side until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Baste with beer occasionally.
If you don’t have access to a grill, Beer Brats can also be made in a heavy saucepan. Heat pan and brown brats on each side. Pour beer over brats, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes over medium-high heart.
Makes 10 brats, serving 5 to 10 people