Gearing up for the big game on Super Bowl Sunday is only part of the fun.

I enjoy spending the day preparing for my annual cooking competition with family and friends.

The tradition started when I moved to Georgia after college. A co-worker hosted a Super Bowl viewing party and everyone brought their best chili for a half-time show cook-off.

It was intense competition with several categories and an ultimate prize — bragging rights for an entire year around the office.

Since moving back to Texas, I now enjoy the big game at my brother’s house in Austin. We don’t compete with any particular type of food, rather we battle over the best snack.

I like to stick with classic game-day fare — salsa. It’s pretty simple to make and easily survives the one-hour trip south.

Since the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year, I’m trying out a recipe with a little extra kick, adding Cajun spices and Tobasco.

But in case my salsa isn’t enough to score a victory, I’ll pull out my secret weapon in overtime — chocolate.

Super Cajun salsa


  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped fine (3 medium)
  • 1 bunch green onion bottoms, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup spicy pepper relish
  • 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon green Tabasco


  1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well blended. Serve with chips.

Makes about 4 cups.

— Adapted from

Chocolate cake


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to coat pan
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
  3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form. Whisk ¼ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack; remove sides of pan. Serve at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

— Adapted from

Contact M. Clare Haefner at or (254) 501-7551.

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