The Edible Bracket 2011

Last year's winners of the MNCAAPG Best Bracket contest are back. This March Madness season, we will be documenting foods associated with the competing schools. Consider it March Madness, Top Chef Edition.

Temple University Owls (Philadelphia, PA): Soft Pretzels

many pretzels

Any thought we had that we absolutely had to make cheese steaks to represent a Philly team was dispelled by a recent episode of Top Chef, when Dale stated “when you think of Philly, you think of cheese steaks and pretzels,” proving that pretzels are a completely legitimate symbol of Philadelphia cuisine.  According to Wikipedia, pretzels were not actually invented in Philadelphia, but date back to the 7th century (way before Philadelphia’s founding in 1682), and were brought to the United States by the Pennsylvania Dutch.  Who knew? 

We brought these pretzels, along with Election Cake, to a party, and they were gobbled up almost immediately.  While making pretzels is labor-intensive, it is also an incredibly fun process, which involves dunking the adorable uncooked pretzels in a baking soda bath prior to cooking.  And when we had an unexpected visit from the FDNY during pretzel-making (due to some scarily low-hanging wires in our backyard), one of the firefighters remarked “smells good in here” as he traipsed through the kitchen, before quickly declaring the wires to be no risk (“don’t even bother coming to look at them,” he told the rest of the firefighters dismissively).  

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We’ve spent the last several months cooking, boiling, baking, pickling, frying, mixing, drinking, slurping, sipping and digesting our way through the 64 teams in this year’s NCAA tournament. 

A food or drink representing each of the 64 teams below has been prepared by Laura or Anna.  Some of them are delicious, some of them are wacky, some of them are downright disgusting.  All of them, however, were consumed. 

Click on the team names below, which link to a blog post for each of the teams (and also indicate Anna’s bracket picks—go Kansas!).

Bon appetit!

Round One

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

Final Four


Duke University Blue Devils (Durham, NC): Bleu Cheese Deviled Eggs

deviled eggs 2

We definitely wanted to make Deviled Eggs to use for our entry for the Duke University Blue Devils. And then our friend, Rachel, had the brilliant idea of making BLEU CHEESE Deviled Eggs, thereby making these even more Duke-ish and even better tasting. Seriously, these were a rich, cholesterol-laden delight (see ingredents below and recipe after the jump).

deviled eggs ingredients

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (South Bend, IN): Hoosier Pie

hoosier pie cooked

This may well be the weirdest, most state-specific, food item we make all season.  Hoosier Pie is, as its name implies, an Indiana specialty.  Basically, the pie is made by mixing together sugar, cream and vanilla.  We ate one slice of this and it tasted OK (could anything with sugar and cream not?), but the pie seemed so unhealthy that the remaining 7/8 of the pie sat uneaten in our refrigerator until we finally bothered to throw it out.  Suffice to say that this is probably not a recipe we’ll be making again. 

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Old Dominion University Monarchs (Norfolk, VA): Old Dominion Soda

old dominion soda

We were a bit stumped when it came to Old Dominion. But then Google told us of a lovely company called Old Dominion Brewing. Trouble was, they only distributed in Maryland and Virginia. Laura got on the phone, called up the very nice people at Old Dominion Brewing and they overnighted us a 12-pack of soda (unfortunately, we weren’t able to order up some beer because of state liquor laws). We got 6 Ginger Ales and 6 Root Beers. And they were DELICIOUS. Fit for a Monarch.

Thank you Old Dominion Brewing!

old dominion soda anna

Long Island University Blackbirds (Brooklyn, NY): Long Island Iced Teas


The Blackbirds play about 10 blocks from Edible Bracket HQ, so we were hoping they’d make it past round 1 (alas!). But we did (re-)discover our love for Long Island Iced Teas while making this drink in the Birds’ honor.  Seriously, why did we stop drinking these after college? Even Guest Pug Millie got in on the fun.


Long Island Iced Tea

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce gin

1 ounce tequila

1 ounce triple sec

1 ounce rum

2 tbsps. lemon juice

1/2 cup coke

Mix everything except coke together, with several ice cubes, and shake well.  Add coke.

University of Washington Huskies (Seattle, Washington): French Onion Soup

washington onion soup

We had wanted to make some french onion soup for a while. It’s so delicious and rich and during these winter months, proved a surefire bellywarmer. When we learned that onions (particularly Walla Walla onions) are the state vegetable of Washington state, we knew we had to make a special french onion soup for our bracket and to support the local economy of Washington.

washington french onion soup

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