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Taste of victory

Enjoy a taste of victory with these tailgating recipes.

A very Happy Valley: Enjoy these tasty recipes at your next tailgate party.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

It all started with gallstones and football tickets.

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My friend since childhood, Barb, and her husband, Sam, bleed blue — Penn State blue — and are football season ticket holders. Alas, enter an emergency gall bladder operation for Sam, with his doctor’s orders not to travel. As a result, my friends offered me their tickets. So, of course, I accepted the tickets for the day that also included a Homecoming Tailgate Food Competition.

Those tickets explain why I was outside Beaver Stadium looking for an orange Jeep, Alumni Relations Director Sarah Leipham and her student Homecoming crew, who drove me to the winner in the Best Overall Food Category. With tailgates as far as the eye could see, we arrived at the LoPresti Family tailgate — the ultimate in tailgating food.

Tony LoPresti (along with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Julia, as “prep support”) cooks for home games. Tony said, “It’s a community thing and I invite everyone to enjoy the food. It’s what Penn State’s about — fun, support and community.”

Who says you can’t go back? Happy Valley on game day was like being in Neverland, as Penn Staters of all ages were caught up in the spirit and enthusiasm of present and yesteryear, chanting all together “We Are — PENN STATE!”


1 bag of fresh PEI or Canadian mussels, cleaned and rinsed

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

½ tsp. each thyme, oregano

Crushed red pepper to taste (depends on how much spice you want)

2 cups homemade marinara sauce

½ cup fish or chicken stock

White wine

2 Tbsp. butter

Sea salt

1 Tbsp. each fresh parsley and basil, chopped

Crusty Italian bread (to dip)

In large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, thyme, oregano and red pepper and sauté for 30–45 seconds (do not let garlic brown too much). Add the mussels, turn heat up to high and quickly toss through. Add a splash of white wine, marinara and stock.

Toss again, cover, and cook for 3–4 minutes until mussels open (discard unopened). Remove mussels to a bowl with slotted spoon. Over high heat, add to pan the salt (to taste), butter, parsley and basil. Reduce for about 1 minute. Pour sauce over mussels and serve with Italian bread.


2 10 oz. Angus rib eye steaks

2 cups leeks (white and partial green parts), sliced

1 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced

½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Marsala wine

¼ lb. butter, divided

2 Tbsp. olive oil

4 whole garlic cloves, crushed

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Cast iron skillet


1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 whole shallots, quartered

2 whole garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh rosemary and thyme

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup port wine

1/4 cup beef stock

1 Tbsp. butter

In sauté pan, heat 3 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add leeks. Sauté until soft, about 4–5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and rosemary. Sauté for another 3–4 minutes. Add a splash of Marsala wine. Cook down for another minute. Set aside.


In sauce pan, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme and red pepper. Cook over medium low heat for about 6–7 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and add vinegar. Reduce by half. Add port wine and cook down for another 10–12 minutes. Strain into a new saucepan and set sauce aside.

Heat cast iron skillet over high heat. Rub paper towel with olive oil and brush on skillet. Season rib eye with sea salt and fresh pepper. When skillet is hot, add steaks to skillet with crushed garlic cloves and thyme. Sear for 4–5 minutes on each side for rare ( longer for medium rare to medium. Or move to grill to cook further).

Bring sauce to light boil, add remaining butter and whisk together. Spread mushrooms on plate, slice steak and place over mushrooms. Spoon sauce over. Top with fresh chopped parsley.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, c/o Northeast Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.

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