Good afternoon, internet. The NFL season is already more than a quarter over, and by now we've seen a few trends: The Denver Broncos are really, really good. You've seen this in every single piece of media you have consumed within the past three months. Every website, tweet, pizza commercial and tapenade jar have lauded or established brand associations with the team. As a fan of the franchise, I won't belabor points you already know. The Broncos are pretty alright. The Jaguars...well, they're less good. They may not be the worst team in the league (hi, Jags Twitter! Please don't hurt me) and they do have the league's 10th ranked passing defense, but we all know what the likely outcome is here. To add insult to injury, Shannon Sharpe will be helping to call the game, and I'm sure he'll have interesting, unbiased and insightful commentary.
Just kidding! He's going to fumble with putting team gloves on for three hours and continuously spit into the microphone. In any case, we'll need to drown our sorrows with comfort food for the fall. This week I've made two foods, homebrewed pumpkin beer and pumpkin Doritos.
STEP 1) Purchase a blendable pumpkin. You probably can't fit that giant jack-o-lantern squash into your kitchen blender. You have two choices: find a smaller one or overturn a lawnmower and toss a full-size pumpkin onto the spinning blades. If you have a landlord, I'd recommend option one so you are not immediately evicted.
STEP 2) Our first creation will be the beer. I don't know a thing about home brewing, so I googled it, read the page previews on the search page and extrapolated from that. There seems to be a lot of tubes and something stressing cleanliness so feel free to mix in some lemon Pledge to disinfect while you brew! (DISCLAIMER: It may not be safe to drink lemon Pledge. Use Pine-Sol for an earthier flavor.)
The first ingredient in any good beer is:
Steak! And it's bison steak straight from Colorado. You can tell because there's mountains on the package. Now, cut up HALF of the pumpkin into chunks and throw this into the blender with the bison steak.
STEP 3) Begin to slowly churn the steak and pumpkin together. You may find it surprisingly easy to liquefy buffalo. As it blends, you'll want to slowly mix in the next ingredient for any good beer:
Malt! Well...malt...and. Chocolate. JUST MIX IT IN.
STEP 4) You'll start to get a very clean (and bloody) consistency in the blender. Pour it out into a pan where we will begin heating our brew. Start adding water so you can bring it to a nice boil.
STEP 5) Now we'll need hops. They don't sell hops at the dollar store in Pennsylvania so I'll need something similar. Something small, green, round and made of plant matter:
STEP 6) Bingo! Capers! They're the same as hops, right? Sure! Pour it into the boiling chocolate pumpkin meat. Bring it back to a boil, but be careful not to cook the meat too much. You want to keep that silky fibrous blood texture in your beer.
STEP 7) Now, further on in my research (clicking google images of beer making), I noticed that it requires fermenting. You can use yeast, but goodness, that would take days - weeks even! Fermenting is just a fancy word for ‘making as many bubbles as possible', so we'll expedite this lengthy task:
STEP 8) Put these into a bowl and then pour the beermeat inside. It will start to foam up! Now you're brewing!
STEP 9) Cover and set aside to let the beer ferment. Now we're going to make the Jacksonville half of the meal. I asked Twitter to list some famous foods of Jacksonville:
That was less than useful, but eventually I got back a large and varied set of responses. One item that kept coming up was shrimp - so that's what I've decided to use for the chips.
STEP 10) Take the other half of the pumpkin you chopped up earlier and put it into the blender. You may need to clean the blender after pureeing the steak - sometimes bits of gristle will dull the blades making chopping up the shrimp difficult!
STEP 11) Once that's turned into paste, you'll want to mix in some seasoning. Instead of flour, corn, or other boring fillers, lets just use eight bags of ranch dressing mix!
Mix these all into a bowl. Be careful to manage the liquid with the ranch mix so you end up with a nice dough:
STEP 12) Carve up your dough into little triangles All tortilla chips must be triangles. "Tortilla" means triangle in spanish probably! Drop them into hot fat in a pan.
STEP 13) You may be concerned by the delicious and zesty smell coming from the kitchen. You'll panic. What if people like it? What if I've accidently started the pumpkin spiced Doritos craze? Don't get too ahead of yourself. We still have the most important part of any Dorito: the powder.
STEP 14) The problem with Doritos is that no one really wants a chip. They want a bag of day glow orange cheesoning they can pour into their face. Let's give America what they want. Use both of the cheese packs from two macaroni and cheese dinners and fully coat the chips. Then dump the rest on top.
STEP 15) Our Doritos are ready to go, but how's the beer coming? Let's pull off the top and check out our progress:
STEP 16) Mmmm, that's some delicious buffahol. There's one last ingredient we need here before we can sift out the meat and harvest our beer. Carbonation!
Why let things carbonate NATURALLY when you could just pour some in! Dump in half that bottle!
STEP 17) The last step is to strain out the meat and pumpkin from the rest of the beer. Normally I'd suggest just leaving it in, but some people have issues drinking meat straight from a glass. When you've finished, pour into a thematically appropriate glass:
Congratulations! You've survived Spilly's homebrewing! Now sit back and drink your sorrows away. And enjoy this week's Broncos / Jags massacre while you're at it.