Kevin and Cathy Brown were celebrating their ninth anniversary at The Capital Grille one night in June when a restaurant hostess visited their table with a message.She told me, The valet says there was a problem with your ticket. We have to give you this one, Kevin says. I didnt think anything of it.But when Kevin presented his new ticket to the valet attendant, the car they arrived in had disappeared. In its place was Cathys anniversary gift: a white ambulance and not for medical emergency reasons, though there was definitely some shock involved.It was to be the Browns new parking lot party pad.Cathy knew Kevin, always the grill master at their popular TCU football game tailgate parties, was looking to upgrade his tailgating vehicle to something with more space, convenience and flair. Plus, loading and unloading equipment from the back of a pickup truck was becoming increasingly cumbersome.Through her research online, Cathy located a used ambulance for $3,700 in College Station.Theyre really hard to find. I had to hide it all over town for a couple months, says Cathy, a TCU alumna. He was really surprised. He loves to entertain. Thats just part of his DNA.Over the past several weeks, the couple have officially transformed the ambulance into the Brown Tailgating Unit as they prepare for TCUs home opener Aug. 30. The ambulance came with paramedic equipment, such as oxygen lines and a suction pump, inside, as well as working lights and sirens.We are changing the red lights to purple per the law, as the red can be problematic regarding impersonating an emergency vehicle, Cathy says. The lights will be purple and white come game time and, in the future, we are hoping to change the sirens to mimic the locomotive Frog Horn.Now adorned with a custom purple logo designed by a friend and interiors decked out in purple and white, the ambulance easily stores all of Kevins tailgating gear. It has been furnished with purple and white throw pillows, a cushy purple rug, a bar area ready for cold drinks and a flat-screen TV with satellite service. Kevin eventually will add food warming cabinets and a soda fountain.As far as tailgate menu planning goes, that depends on game time and the opponent.We try to do things centered around who were playing. When UT was here, we grilled an entire rib-eye roast. I mean, you had to cook Bevo, Kevin says.And despite his Aggie roots, Kevin says hes proud to show his purple pride.I grew up in Fort Worth, he says. So TCU has always been the home team.As the area operator for Zoes Kitchen, he knows a thing or two about food.Thanks to several morning games last year, he became a pro at preparing breakfast casseroles paired with Cathys homemade cinnamon rolls. They shared with Indulge their recipes for two more tailgate favorites Caribbean pulled pork with fruit salsa and Horned Frog cookies. When TCU joined the Big 12 two years ago, football game attendance grew substantially, as did the Browns tailgate parties.At one of the games last year, we counted 67 people, Kevin says. Among those who participate in the family pregame festivities are his mother, Kay, and daughter Abigail, 6, and son Braeden, 4.Thanks to their larger party vehicle, this season which will no doubt attract attention, especially if they throw on the purple lights and sirens theyll be prepared for any tailgate emergency that should arise.I was absolutely astounded and incredibly grateful that I have such a wonderful wife, Kevin says, thinking back to the night he received his anniversary gift. I definitely married up.As for her part, his wife says, Kevin works so very hard each and every day, this is the least I could do to let him know that he is appreciated. Life is too short!
4- to 5-pound pork shoulder or
pork butt roast
Paprika, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 7.5-ounce can chipotle peppers
1 medium onion, peeled and
6 cloves garlic
4 cups water
1. Place pork in a slow cooker and season liberally with paprika. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. In a food processor or blender, add can of chipotle peppers, onion, garlic and water and process into a chunky sauce. Pour sauce on top of pork and cover with lid.
3. Cook on high for 1 hour then on low for 8 hours. Shred pork with two forks. Pork may be left in juices and served warm from the slow cooker. Serve with fruit salsa, in tortillas, if desired.
Makes about 2 cups
1 15-ounce can tropical fruit salad,
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small to medium red onion, peeled
2 tablespoons lime juice
Chop fruit salad until chunky. Add chopped cilantro and red onion to taste. Add lime juice and mix together. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Kevin and Cathy Brown
Makes about 3 dozen
Note: You can buy frog-shaped cookie cutters online through the Horned Lizard Conservation Society, www.hornedlizards.org.
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla or lemon extract, or a mixture
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the icing:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup purple sugar
1. Combine butter, sugar and egg. Stir in extracts.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and then stir into butter mixture.
3. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a horned frog-shaped cookie cutter to cut cookies and place each on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Make the icing: Beat all ingredients except purple sugar together until smooth. Thinly ice cooled cookies, then sprinkle with sugar. Allow to cool.
Kevin and Cathy Brown