Monday, January 27, 2014

Super Bowl My (husband's) Favorite Holiday

My wife hates football. Hates it. Always has, always will, no matter what I try to do to convince her to like it. Whether I’m trying to eloquently explain the subtle nuances of the game, or bribing her with free beer, football is just not a sport that she likes and over time I have learned to be okay with this. Our love for food has enabled us to enjoy football games together in a different way.  Now a days we cook together, entertain our guests, and I am still able to watch the game yelling and clapping extremely loud (which my "anti-football" wife doesn't seem to mind, sometimes).

Football has always meant a lot to me, whether it was playing in high school or watching my favorite professional team the San Francisco 49ers.  So when I think back to Super Bowls growing up I remember not only the football games, but my family getting together with all of our friends.  Super Bowl is not just a game but a wonderful reason for close friends to get together.  This is a tradition Rochelle and I have continued to share with our friends for the past few years.   

I could not think of a better way to get the bitter taste of the 49ers loss to the Seahawks out of my mouth than by creating something spicy to serve during this year’s Super Bowl.  I decided to feature two dishes, one that can be served as an appetizer, Panko Crusted Jalapeno Cheese Balls, and one right before kick off, Spicy Spanish Rice with Shrimp.  

We hope you all have a great time with your friends and family and enjoy this years Super Bowl!  And even though they are not playing in the Super bowl,  Go Niners!!!  

Panko Crusted Jalapeno Cheese Balls

1 - 11 ounce package of goat cheese, softened
2 Jalapenos, deseeded and minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground chipotle 
1 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten 
3/4 cup canola oil

In a large mixing bowl combine the jalapenos, goat cheese, cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Roll into one inch size balls and set on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate the cheese balls for 30 minutes until firm. 

In a shallow bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, ground chipotle, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt. In two separate shallow bowls place the flour and eggs. Remove the jalapeno cheese balls from the refrigerator.  Dredge the cheese balls into the flour, then the egg, followed by the panko seasoning.  Then re-dredge into the egg and panko seasoning.  This makes for a thicker, crispier crust.  

Heat the canola oil on a medium high heat in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet.  Add the panko crusted cheese balls to the skillet.  Cook until golden brown on all sides, gently turning them.  Serve immediately. Makes 20-22 cheese balls. 

Note: These jalapeno cheese balls are best served with a marinara sauce. 

Spicy Spanish Rice with Shrimp

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups rice, cooked 
1-2 pounds shrimp, devained and tails removed
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons pepper
1 lime, juiced plus 2 limes cut into wedges
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the bell peppers, red onion and garlic.  Saute for about two minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper, saute for another two minutes.  Add rice and saute for about 2-4 minutes until the rice is evenly coated with tomato paste.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Finish with the juice of 1 whole lime.  Stir to combine, cover and set aside. 

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine shrimp, oregano, salt and pepper.  Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Carefully place the shrimp into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes on one side and another 1-2 minutes on the other side.  Remove shrimp from skillet.  Roughly chop the shrimp and add to the rice mixture.  Stir to combine.  Garnish with cilantro and remaining limes cut into wedges.  Serve immediately.  Makes about 8-10, 4 ounce individual servings.  

Note: This dish can be served in a large dish family style or distributed evenly into individual servings as pictured here.