For the most part, I absolutely love living in New York. But there are a few things I really miss about Texas. One is the food, of course. Texas has such wonderful culinary traditions, and I can’t find a good Tex-Mex restaurant in New York. The other thing I sorely miss is the fervent football culture. In Texas, football is a religion and I am a faithful and zealous congregant. My Dallas Cowboys fandom runs deep, but what I really love beyond measure is college football. The Big 12 is my conference, and two schools get my unmitigated adulation: The University of Texas Longhorns and the Baylor Bears.
Short history lesson: UT and Texas A&M (the Aggies) have a long standing rivalry. Basically, they hate each other. There are barbs traded, mascots stolen, mascots branded, and endless pranks pulled. Even both schools’ fight songs contain derogatory comments toward the other. It’s a very polarizing issue. And most Texans take sides even if they did not attend one of those schools. Basically, if you’re born in Texas, you’re either raised a Longhorn or an Aggie. As a few of my extended family members went to UT, I was raised a Longhorn. I desperately wanted to attend college there, but it didn’t work out. No matter, I’m still a fan.
Baylor University actually is my alma mater, so of course I root for the Bears. Aside from the football culture in Texas, I miss actually seeing the football games get televised. Big 12 games aren’t a high priority for the general Northeast, so it’s not all that often I even get to see a game on TV. But the Saturday before last, I got both the Texas and the Baylor game aired for me. It was a momentous occasion, one that deserved the finest tailgating fare. Enter jalapeno poppers.
One of Matt’s coworkers gave us some garden fresh jalapenos, so I thought it a fitting use for them. This truly is one of the better popper recipes I’ve tasted. Thanks to the smaller size of the garden fresh jalapenos, I had lots of leftover filling, so I made some delicious dips for the next day, aka the Cowboys game. The dip was also quite enjoyable. Add these to your tailgating/football watching roster, you will not be disappointed.
Source: The Book of Burger, by Rachael Ray
16 fat jalapeno chiles
1 Fresno chile, seeded and finely chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbs grated onion or shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
With the jalapenos on their sides, and cutting lengthwise, slice off one-third of the chiles. See the chiles to make “boats” for the filling. Finely chop the trimmings to make 3 to 4 tablespoons.
In a bowl, combine the chopped jalapeno, the chopped Fresno, the cream cheese, onion, garlic, cumin, and shredded cheeses. Stir until blended and season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully spoon the mixture into the hollowed out chiles.
Stir the panko and Parmesan together. Top the poppers liberally with it.
Arrange the poppers on a baking sheet and coat with a little cooking spray. Roast until the peppers are cooked through and the topping is browned and bubbly, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes then serve.