Friday, December 2, 2011

Football + Food=New Americana Cuisine

Friends, our tailgating preparations have come (for some) to a gradual end.  Only a few more college games, mostly conference championships, left in the country until bowl season.  When you think back on your tailgating season, always reflect on how you can improve for next season (I'm saying this tongue in cheek, folks..)  How can you amp up the style and outdo the SUV next to you next year?  Incorporate an honored James Beard House chef's cuisine into your repertoire.  

Chef Lee Richardson, of the Little Rock eatery Ashley's at The Capital Hotel, has claimed a term for his style, New Americana Cuisine.  He was recently featured on the Little Rock designer, Tobi Fairley's blog, right here.  He had some interesting things to tell Mrs. Fairley about his New Americana Cuisine:


"New Americana is a very deliberate, and otherwise almost unspoken arrangement of words. In a broader context, it would fall into “contemporary regional American,” but what I do is more than contemporary and it isn’t really with a twist or kicked up a notch, so to speak. With the New Americana Cuisine idea I mean first to honor, celebrate and curate our past. We have a lot of iconic food traditions that define our culture. These things nourish both our bodies and our souls. They comfort, heal and make us happy."


Football food--pure Americana---could certainly fall into this description and we should all take pride in our regional American food ways.  Chef Richardson, is a Razorback fan and he just posted over at his blog, New Americana Cuisine, a favorite recipe to serve along-side saucy tailgating confections from the grill in a post called Pregame Potato Heads.   




Tarragon Potato Salad Serves 6

Chef Lee Richardson, Ashley’s at The Capital Hotel
Ingredients
1.5 pounds Fingerling Potatoes
Salted water to boil the potatoes
1 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Tarragon, chopped
2 teaspoons Chives, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
Procedure
In a pot of cold salted water, bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until fork tender.
Remove from water and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the dressing.
Slice the cooled potatoes and coat them with the dressing.
Scatter cooked onions on and around the salad.



Just like your favorite team starts preparing for next season as soon as this season is over---you had better just start preparing now.  And impress your tailgating group and parking lot neighbors by throwing around the term, "New Americana Cuisine" and keeping your food delicious and interesting and beaming with local pride.