Football in America & Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam

Hatfield_ClanTouch Down! If it’s Sunday it’s FOOTBALL DAY and NIGHT in Ahhh-MERica. Except for an apathetic few, football it is a mighty unifier and a great divider. Most Americans are brought together by their love of the game. Then, they are forever separated by their fevered support for their favorite teams. Like Hatfields and McCoys, woe to any poor New Englander who falls head over heels for a Jets or Colts fan. The object of their affection will need to convert post haste or face probable, make that certain, expulsion from the living room on game day.

I say most Americans because, maybe I’m sorry (and maybe not) to say, I count myself in that motley group who are more or less are indifferent to the game. Throughout the fall, people will gather to watch the action on giant and not-so-giant screens. Walls will shake and floors will tremble with the thunderous support for the home team and loud jeers and curses for the enemy.

Not so at my house. There’s a pretty good chance that my dad, and housemate, will be more or less riveted to the game but he’s generally pretty low key. From time to time, he’ll give a yelp or a whoop but not much more. Last week, he quasi-admitted that the game is more or less interminable. Not in so many words mind you, but still, an acknowledgment of sorts. First, he confessed to taking a break at halftime for a nap. Then, he admitted that he made it back in time to catch the last few minutes of the third quarter. As far as I can gather, no other game in the world can stretch fifteen minutes into an hour.

So for me, I think it all comes down to patience. Between pregame, postgame and all those fits and starts and beer commercials, it seems to go on forever. At least it does for this girl. I just don’t have the patience for football. I can’t watch a sixty-minute game play itself out over three, four or more hours. It doesn’t matter that Tom Brady looks good in tights. Tempting, yes, but not enough to get me on the couch for hours on end.

Unlike the rest of the country, it’s business as usual for me on Sundays. I could be writing or reading, playing in the kitchen, walking around the lake or working in the yard. Who knows? Maybe this is the Sunday to finally switch out the summer t-shirts for turtlenecks. What’s the weather forecast? Have we seen the last of Indian summer? It’s even possible that I’ll spend some time in front of a not-so-giant screen. Don’t get your hopes up. It will most likely be tuned to a movie or one of the all too many crime shows I favor.

So don’t look to me on Monday morning for an insightful analysis of game strategy or tight ends. Sorry, as sad as it may seem, I’m one of those girls who just don’t care. Yes, I know that women are the NFL’s fastest growing audience. And yes, I’ve heard the arguments. Maybe not all, but plenty. I don’t care if a football game is a free pass for several lazy hours on the couch. It’s not enough that the game is considered a viable excuse to overindulge in junk food and beer. Or whatever else you’d like to come up with.

I could promise to make an effort this Sunday but I won’t lie. I think I’d rather make soup, finish my book in time for book club or invite you over to try a new recipe with a glass of wine.

Anyway, go Pats and bon appétit!

Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam
Forget the chips and dip; turn your football gathering up a notch with delicious savory shortbread and jam. Enjoy!Gorgonzola_Walnut_Shortbread_Savory_Fig_Jam_02
Makes about 3 dozen

About 4 ounces (1 cup) chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
6 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 or more tablespoons sour cream
Savory Fig Jam (recipe follows)

Put the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the flour, rosemary, salt, paprika and pepper and process until well combined. Add the butter and gorgonzola and process until the mixture begins to form small lumps. Add 1 tablespoon sour cream and pulse until the dough starts to come together in a ball. If necessary, add a little more sour cream and pulse again.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently pat into a ball. Cut the ball in two and roll each half into a log about 1 1/2-inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Slice each log into 1/3-inch rounds. Arrange the shortbread rounds about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Turning the pan midway through baking, bake the shortbread until the tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, transfer to a rack and cool completely. Serve with a small dab of Savory Fig Jam.

Savory Fig Jam
Makes about 1 cup

About 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces dried figs, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup dry red wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons honey

Gorgonzola_Walnut_Shortbread_Savory_Fig_Jam_04Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, add the onion and, stirring frequently, cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the figs, wine thyme and bay leaf, season with allspice, cayenne, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the figs are soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme twigs, transfer the jam to a small food processor, add the honey and pulse until almost smooth.

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One Year Ago – Lemon Pasta & Shrimp with Olives & Capers
Two Years Ago – Hearty Black Bean Soup
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Four Years Ago – Gingerbread Cupcakes
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Six Years Ago – Pork Stew Paprika

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How do you spend your Sundays? With or without football? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014

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