Absolutely YUM

Absolutely YUM

By Amy Blakely

What’s orange and white and moUThwatering all over? A Tennessee Vols tailgate! We asked John Antun, director of the UT Culinary Institute and assistant professor in the hotel, restaurant, and tourism program at UT Knoxville, to help us assemble some distinctly “UT” tailgate recipes. To spice it up even more, Antun chose recipes from his already award-winning, soon-to-be-published multicultural cookbook.

Antun received a grant from UT Knoxville’s Ready for the World initiative to publish the cookbook. The book contains 180 recipes from the families of Antun’s students, including matzo ball soup, homemade egg noodles, Maryland crab dip, and pav bhaji, a vegetarian dish from India.

The book will be available to purchase through the UT Culinary Institute and retailers in Knoxville. Each student’s recipe also comes with a description of the food and its significance to his or her family. Though not yet published, the book is already an award-winner. Antun nabbed second-place honors for it from the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFE). In June Antun presented the project at the CAFE leadership conference in Chicago.

Bear Chili

My grandfather lived in Chicago during the early 1900s and was probably one of the biggest Chicago Bears fans ever born. It was his passion to go to every Bears home game and have his “chili picnics.” They were a very early version of what we now call a tailgate party. He would make enough for 20 people, and they all showed up at every single home game. Then it became a Sunday ritual at home, watching the game on TV. Although to this day we still call it Bear Chili, it has evolved into what my dad now calls “GoVol Chili” and has become a Saturday ritual.
—Courtney Krich

Ground beef, premium grade 1 lb.
Tomato soup 2 (10.5 oz) cans
White rice, cooked 1 cup
Frozen corn 1 (10 oz.) bag
Chili seasoning packet 1
Chili beans 2 (16 oz.) cans
Cheese, shredded 1 bag
Onion 1 small
Tortilla chips 1 bag

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain (add chopped onion to taste).
  2. Put cooked ground beef into large pot.
  3. Add 2 cans of tomato soup.
  4. Add 1 can of water.
  5. Add chili seasoning and start heating.
  6. When hot, add 1½ cans of chili beans, the bag of corn, and the cup of cooked rice and start to mix.
  7. Cover and put pot on low heat for 60 minutes. Stir every few minutes so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  8. Uncover and let most of the water on top evaporate.
  9. To serve, spoon into bowls and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Serve with side of tortilla chips. Eat scoops of chili on chips or with a spoon.

Mom’s Egg-Strada

My great grandparents met in an orphanage, so they had very little heritage to draw upon. This recipe was one that my grandmother started making every Christmas morning. Sometimes you have to make your own customs and traditions. My grandmother has since passed, and now my mother has taken over the egg-strada, which we have eaten every Christmas morning for the past 65 years. The dish doesn’t really tell you much about our culture, but it shows a will to create something of a family tradition.
—Nick Robinson

Eggs (or equivalent egg substitute) 6 to 8
Milk, 2% 1 c.
Salt 1 Tb.
Pork sausage, cooked, crumbled, and drained 1 lb.
Cheddar cheese, grated 1 c.
Ground mustard 1 tsp.
Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp.
White bread 6 slices

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly.
  2. Add milk and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Spray a 9-in. by 13-in. baking pan with nonstick spray.
  4. Line pan with bread and sprinkle with sausage and cheese.
  5. Pour egg mixture over the entire pan.
  6. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; cook covered for 30 minutes or until set.

Maryland Crab Dip

I was born in Baltimore and lived very close to the Chesapeake Bay, so I grew up around seafood. This recipe is a must for anyone with a hankering for seafood. It best represents where I am from and the types of food we like to eat. If you are from Maryland, you cannot live without crab.
—Brittany Ecalono

Jumbo lump crab meat 16 oz. (two 8 oz. containers)
Cream cheese 8 oz. (one 8 oz. container)
Mayonnaise 4 Tb.
Garlic powder 1 tsp.
Lemon juice 1 lemon (or 1 tsp. lemon juice)
Old Bay Seasoning 2 tsp.
French baguette 1 loaf

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine jumbo lump crabmeat, cream cheese, and mayonnaise in a bowl. Mix well.
  3. Cut lemon into quarters and squeeze juice into crab mixture.
  4. Add garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of the Old Bay Seasoning.
  5. Mix all ingredients until creamy and evenly mixed.
  6. Spread into an oven-safe baking dish.
  7. Cook for 25 minutes or until bubbly and top begins to brown.
  8. Cut baguette into small pieces and put into oven for 5 minutes to soften.
  9. When the dip is ready, sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning on top for garnish and flavor.
  10. Serve on large dish. Enjoy.

M&M Cookies: The Hutchinson Family Recipe

The M&M cookies recipe is special to my family. My father’s taste for M&M cookies began in his early childhood . . .. When he joined the military and was stationed at Fort Knox for his basic training, he refused to eat any of the food that was available to the soldiers. His mother would send him M&M cookies every week. My mother started fixing the cookies for him after they were married . . .. M&M cookies are not just a popular dessert for my family; they are part of my family history.
—Rachel Hutchison

Crisco shortening 1 c.
Light brown sugar 1 c.
White sugar ½ c.
Eggs 2
Vanilla extract 2 tsp.
All-purpose flour 2 ½ c.
Baking soda 1 tsp.
Salt 1 tsp.
M&Ms 1 lb.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream together shortening and both sugars.
  3. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually, add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Add all but about ½ cup of the M&Ms to mixture.
  7. Spoon onto greased cookie sheets.
  8. Add a few M&Ms to top of each cookie
  9. Bake cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes (cookies will still be slightly soft in the middle—just lightly browned).
  10. After about 1 or 2 minutes, carefully transfer cookies to cooling racks.

Crawfish Étouffée

My mother and her side of the family hail from New Orleans, so I grew up around all things Cajun. The first meal my grandmother would make when we visited was always étouffée. When we walked into grandma’s kitchen and could smell the Cajun spices simmering, we knew that something delicious was in our very near future, and the leftovers would feed us throughout our stay. Étouffée was always just the beginning of a big family gathering, and with it came other Cajun traditions like king cake, crawfish boils, and Mardi Gras. But it was always grandma’s crawfish étouffée that I looked forward to most.
—Lane Francis

Onion, chopped 1 c.
Celery, chopped 1 c.
Green onions with tops, chopped ½ c.
Shallots, chopped 4 Tb.
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Butter 1 stick
Flour 2 Tb.
Chicken stock 2 c.
Ro-Tel tomatoes 1 can
Salt to taste
Black pepper 1 tsp.
Cayenne pepper dash
Worcestershire sauce 1 Tb.
Crawfish meat, rinsed and drained
(or shrimp, peeled and rinsed) 2 lb.
Cornstarch for thickening, if needed

  1. In a heavy 6-quart pot, sauté onion, celery, green onions, shallots, and garlic in butter. Cook until soft but not brown.
  2. Stir in flour and cook until light brown, stirring constantly.
  3. Gradually add chicken stock, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add salt, peppers, and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Flavor should be spicy.
  6. Add fresh crawfish to étouffée mixture, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes (shrimp can be substituted).
  7. Serve over hot cooked rice.