The other day I remembered when it was that I first started being aware of the seasons. Cooking seasonally, knowing which produce fit which time period, and looking forward to when that produce would be available. It all happened when we moved to NYC. It was the first time I truly was able to experience autumn colors and changing leaves, snowy white winter landscapes and the frigid icy January winds. It was the first time I truly appreciated spring, and its bright colorful blooms and the cherry blossoms in Central Park. While the summers seemed short to me, they were hot and sticky, with strange city smells and tons of tourists crowding up midtown.
It was in NYC that I really became excited about cooking, and good food, and (of course) photographing it. And it wasn't until we moved back to Texas that I realized why my love affair with food was so intense, and it was because of the influence of the seasons.
While central Texas doesn't have much of a four seasons, it has enough of a weather change for me to (hopefully) still feel connected to cooking seasonally. It gives me a theme, something to work off of and get ideas. Most of the time, I would buy vegetables or fruit that were in season, and come home to our kitchen and then figure out what to do with it. It's the best way to come up with fun recipes.
Now that we've been in Austin a little over two months, I have been influenced by the bright and colorful Texas food scene, the oak and cedar trees lining the hills and overlooking Lady Bird Lake, and recently, any and all Texas-inspired recipes.
Armadillo Eggs are cheesy, spicy, flavorful, and satisfy any savory craving. It's a great game-day food, and with football season rolling around in Texas, it's important to start having these recipes handy. The perfect combo of a jalapeno popper and a scotch egg; the cream cheese and jalapeno is wrapped in a layer of pork or sausage, and then coated in bread crumbs. It's delicious and completely addicting, and best when shared with others (because otherwise, you will need to go the gym after eating these!).
Spicy Armadillo Eggs
(makes approx. 7)
- 7-8 jalapeños, sliced open lengthwise and deseeded
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine ground pork, grated garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, chili pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Mix together with hands, until evenly combined.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and shredded cheddar.
Prepare a work station with the ground pork mixture, bread crumbs, cheeses, and sliced jalapeños. On a smooth surface covered with parchment paper, spread a thin layer of the ground pork into a thin layer, approximately 3 inches in diameter. Fill one jalapeño with the cheese mixture. Place in the center of the ground pork circle, and wrap jalapeño until it is completely covered by the pork. Coat in breadcrumbs.
Place on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, or until sausage is cooked thoroughly. Let cool before serving.