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Trilla Pando:

Stirring up memories


Thirty-eight super Sundays
January 28, 2004

            Will you be pulling for the Patriots, or howling for the Panthers?  Either way, the contest for this Sunday afternoon will not be politics but football.  Grab a chair, it’s time for the Super Bowl!  And even if you don’t care much for the play-by-play, it’s fun to watch the new expensive advertisements. 

            This will be the thirty-eighth winter Sunday that the country puts ordinary life on hold for football.  It used to be that we could say “January Sunday,” but two years ago when the game was in New Orleans, we had to wait until February 3 to watch New England take the football crown.  The earliest it ever fell was Super Bowl XI (traditionally we keep up with the games in Roman numerals) on January 9, 1977.  Three have barely made it in to January being played on the 31st—Super Bowl XXII (1988) in San Diego (Washington won), XXVII(1993) in the Rose Bowl (Dallas won), and XXXIII (1999) in Miami (Denver won).

         You can tell—I’ve been looking up Super Bowl trivia as we get ready for Sunday.  Here are a few more Super Bowl facts to throw out as we approach this year’s game.

            No one seems to know exactly how the event came by its name.  One legend has it that Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, seeing his young daughter playing with her “Super Ball” hit on the moniker.  It didn’t help his team much, they lost that first Super Bowl encounter to the Green Bay Packers.  Bart Starr was the Most Valuable Player that year.

            How about some Super Bowl records?  The most penalties?  Dallas Cowboys ran up twelve against Denver in 1978.    Most yards received in one game?  Jerry Rice made eleven catches for 215 yards playing for San Francisco in 1978.   Marcus Allen had the longest run from scrimmage—74 yards in 1984.

            Would somebody stop me?

            New Orleans is the champ in hosting the game—eight times.  But this year our eyes will turn to Reliant Stadium in Houston.   If you are getting friends and family together for the big game, try a Southwestern flavor for your refreshments to get into the Houston mood.

Black bean dip

2 cans drained and rinsed black beans

2/3 cup mild or hot salsa

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat parsley

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Freshly ground pepper to taste

            Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Serve with tortilla chips


All-time favorite Texas cheese dip

1 2-pound package Velveeta

1 can Ro*tel Original diced tomatoes and green chilies

            Combine in a slow cooker.  When the cheese is melted (if you can wait that long) stir.  Serve with Fritos corn chips, if you are a purist, or tortilla chips—the fancy blue ones are good.

            Some people add a pound of browned ground beef or sausage.  It’s good, but it certainly isn’t necessary.  The Ro*tel label says use two cans.  Don’t believe it.  It’s too hot and too runny.  Stick with my Mama’s recipe.

            If you make enough of the bean dip and cheese, you probably won’t need anything else.  But if you want to keep going, try this.

Buffalo Bayou white chili

1 pound dried White Northern bean (or other dried white beans)

7 cups chicken broth

2 cups chopped onion (divided)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 8-ounce can mild green chilies, drained and chopped

2 teaspoons oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

5 cups (approximately) chopped, cooked chicken or turkey breast

            Sort and rinse the beans.  Cover the beans with cold water and let stand for 8 to 10 hours or overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Combine beans, garlic and one cup of onions with the broth in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, stir and reduce to a simmer.  Let the beans cook until they are tender, about 3 hours.  Stir occasionally.

            Sauté the remaining onions in the olive oil until tender.  Stir in the green chilies, cumin, oregano, cayenne and cloves and add the mix to the beans.  Taste for salt.  Stir in the meat.

            Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve in Super-sized chili bowls.  Offer shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped onions mixed with cilantro, salsa, and/or sour cream as a relish and maybe some corn muffins on the side.

            This is also good with cooked and cubed pork loin.  In a pinch, use 5 or 6 cans of well rinsed beans and start with the sautéd onions.   If you make it the day before, it will be even better.

            You probably won’t need dessert, just set out a super bowl of these. (Only Georgia leads Texas in pecan production!)

Sweet ‘n spicy pecans

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cups pecan halves

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

salt to taste

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

            Melt the butter in a skillet over a medium heat.  Add pecans and sauté until lightly brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and cook until lightly caramelized.  Stir in the paprika, chili powder and cumin.  Add the vinegar and cook until all the liquid has evaporated.  Season to taste with salt. 

            Spread pecans on a cookie sheet.  Bake until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.  Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Post-script:  Impressed with my Super Bowl trivia facts?  You can be an instant expert too.  Just go to http://football.about.com/library/weekly/bl_sbtrivia.htm and have some fun during the Super Bowl warm-up.

Have recipes or memories to share?  You can e-mail me.

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Trilla Pando is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance & the Story Circle Network