The playoffs are heading into the Divisional Championship this weekend and being a huge fan of the NFL I wanted to let you all in on who I think will win this weekend. I will also let you know that when I chose teams this year or players for Fantasy Football purposes they were hit with the Curse of Baha 2012. None of the players on my fantasy team made it through the season unscathed. Just ask Big Ben, Stephen Jackson, Peyton Hillis or Roddy White.
Last week I went with my gut on the games and chose: NY Giants, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Pittsburgh. I came away from the weekend 2 for 2 but I know that I can do better with my picks so this week I am going away from my gut on the teams and going with the food of the city….this is after a ‘foodie’ blog right? It says so in the banner on the right hand side.
The games this weekend in chronological order are (Home Team Bold – Spreads by bodog.com, not that I condone gambling even with offshore accounts):
- Saturday 4:30p EST San Francisco v New Orleans (-4)
- Saturday 8:00p EST New England (-14) v Denver
- Sunday 1:00p EST Baltimore (-9) v Houston
- Sunday 4:30p EST Green Bay (-9) v New York Giants
Game 1 – San Francisco v New Orleans
San Francisco is home to a seafood dish called cioppino. This is a stew/soup that is tomato based and has all kinds of seafood in it. Can you go wrong with a bowl of steaming seafood in a tomato based stew on a cold day in San Fran? You probably couldn’t but can you go wrong with a bowl of Jambalaya? I mean you can’t go wrong with either can you?
For me this choice boils down to substitution. In the cioppino I cannot readily substitute for the seafood to appeal to my vegetarian diet but with jambalaya I can. Instead of putting chicken and sausage in I can add in mushrooms which have a meaty texture and even crumble tempeh to give that sausage like consistency.
My Pick: New Orleans
Game 2 – New England v Denver
Denver has Tim Tebow going for it, and I’m not sure that the team needs more than that right now but when it comes to food Denver is famous for its omelet. The Denver omelet is filled with diced ham, green peppers, onions and cheese. New England (or Boston) is known for a couple of items with one being the Boston Baked Bean but the other would be the New England Clam Chowder. Since the Patriots don’t actually play in Boston we will use the New England Clam Chowder dish as their representative.
Again, this choice comes down to substitution and with the clam chowder there really is no substitute for clams. Plus the cream based soup just doesn’t have the same pull as the omelet. I mean when you think about eating breakfast or brunch the omelet is a staple. Filled to the brim with vegetables, and again substitute mushrooms for the ham, and you are golden. Serve the omelet with a side of sweet potato hash and this is an easy pick.
My Pick: Denver (Plus Denver has Tebow. Nuff Said.)
Game 3 – Baltimore v Houston
Baltimore is another town known for seafood. You have the crab cake or the clam bake. Either one is a staple in the Baltimore area and can be chosen to represent the city. Houston is a Texas town and Texas is known for its BBQ. That BBQ could be brisket or it can be as simple as steak on the grill. In this game I am torn. I don’t eat either food and neither has a simple substitute. I could exchange crumbled tempeh seasoned and pan fried to resemble a crab cake, as long as I put a lot of Old Bay seasoning in the bread crumb mixture I think it would come out excellent. For a steak I could grill a Portabello mushroom or again marinate a block of tempeh and then grill it to resemble a steak.
Tough choice here but in the end I think that the pan frying of a tempeh crab cake would come out better than a grilled tempeh steak. I have made tempeh steak before and it was very good but the consistency is not like that of steak, where as if you crumble the tempeh it would resemble the texture and consistency of jumbo lump crab.
My Pick: Baltimore
Game 4 – Green Bay v New York Giants
You may know that I’m originally from New York as I have mentioned it once or 1,000,000 times but I will not let that affect my pick here. I am taking all gut and thought from this game picking challenge. New York is famous for a variety of foods from pastrami sandwiches at Katz’s Deli to Ice Cream at Serendipity, but I am going with pizza. The arguments between Chicago and New York are always over the pizza and never about smoked meat sandwiches. In Green Bay, people will jump on the cheese bandwagon immediately but that is too broad. Let’s instead focus on the boiled in beer bratwurst. When you think of sausage being boiled in beer then served on a soft bun with a side of french fries your mouth should water.
For me this was a very simple choice. Again, I could substitute tempeh or tofu or even seitan for the bratwurst and serve it with onions and mustard. The problem is that with pizza I don’t have to substitute and can actually ADD to it instead of subtract. Add mushrooms, spinach and onions to a slice and you are golden or just eat it plain.
My Pick: New York Giants
So come Sunday night we will be looking at Championship Sunday knowing that the Denver Broncos will be traveling to Baltimore where T-Suggs and Ray Lewis will try to make Tim Tebow cry. The other game will feature the New York Giants visiting the Big Easy and playing the New Orleans Saints.
A seafood stew representing San Francisco [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_unknown-21.jpg]150Jambalaya
A rice dish representing New Orleans [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_unknown-22.jpg]140Western (Denver) Omelet
An omelet typically filled with diced ham, bell pepper, onion and cheese [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_unknown-23.jpg]140Crab Cakes
A Baltimore staple. [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_unknown-26.jpg]140New England Clam Chowder
On those cold winter months a bread bowl of clam chowder can do wonders. [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_unknown-24.jpg]130New York Strip Steak
Grilled steak is easy to find in Houston [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_unknown-25.jpg]130Pizza
No food argument can be had without New York pizza in the mix. [img src=http://cooktraineatrace.com/wp-content/flagallery/nflfootballpicksdivround/thumbs/thumbs_images-34.jpg]130Beer Boiled Bratwurst
Bratwurst boiled in beer and served with a spicy mustard....a Green Bay staple.
Do You Agree With My Picks?
Who Do You Think Will Be Playing On Championship Sunday?