July 05, 2014

It's the final day of World Cup quarterfinals! Hopefully we're all now on the road to recovery from Fourth of July hangovers excessive patriotism and can fully enjoy what looks to be two great games. Our feature match is Netherlands (a team that needed "theatrics" to edge out a wily Mexican side in the knockout round) against the surprise team of this year's tournament, Costa Rica. Should be more Dutch action today than that time Austin Powers took on Goldmember.

Today's first game features my spirit animal, La Pulga, taking on a Belgian squad I couldn't possibly like less if I tried. Am I bitter about the U.S. loss? Nah. Look for Messi to produce more magic and lead the Albiceleste to a semifinal showdown with my pick from today's featured match.

[Author's note: Wishing Neymar a speedy recovery after suffering a fractured vertebrae yesterday in Brazil's 2-1 victory over Colombia.]

Match to Watch: Netherlands vs. Costa RicaWhy is this the match to watch instead of watching Messi run circles around waffle-eaters? Because 'Merica loves a good underdog story. And it doesn't get more underdoggy than Los Ticos, folks. The Costa Ricans survived the combined might of Uruguay, England, and Italy in the group stage, outlasted a Greek squad in knockout penalties (playing with 10 men for half the game!), and now look to knock the Oranje out of this World Cup. I don't think they can do it—the Dutch have been dominant and dealt with adversity—but it'll be fun to watch. My Pick: Netherlands 3, Costa Rica 2

Player to Watch: Robin Van Persie 

This Flying Dutchman will be looking to put this game out of reach early, linking up with Arjen Robben on the edge and creating all sorts of problems for the Costa Rican back line. Los Ticos have had one of the tournament's better defenses, but RVP will find the cracks and exploit them. Look for him to add to his World Cup goal total en route to a Dutch semifinal showdown with Argentina.

Match Day Dish: Crab Eggs Benedict (Netherlands)Oh, I can already hear it now. "Matthew, Eggs Benedict isn't a Dutch dish. Hollandaise technically isn't even Dutch." Semantics. If Hollandaise was so named because the king of Netherlands took a state visit to France and was served something similar, it's Dutch enough for me. And if you've never had this delectable dish, try it and let its deliciousness eschew you from further questioning its country of origin. Make this dish, take some pictures, and post them to our Instagram account with the hashtag #CLKickingDishes for a chance to win prizes (details here). Happy World Cup quarterfinal day! Cheers.

Crab Eggs BenedictTotal Time: 21 minutes 

  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 English muffins, toasted
  • 8 ounces fresh lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring well with a whisk. Add butter; stir until ­butter melts. Keep warm.

2. Add water to a large skillet, filling two-thirds full. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. Break each egg into a custard cup, and pour gently into pan. Cook for 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 muffin, cut sides up, on each of 4 plates, and divide crab among muffins. Remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon. Gently place 1 egg on each muffin half. Top each serving with about 3 tablespoons sauce. Sprinkle with cracked pepper. Garnish with chives and tarragon, if desired.

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