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Dotty Griffith, dining editor of The Dallas Morning News, shares this recipe, adapted from one in her book Wild About Chili.

Bob Horton, author of Basic Texas Red, has participated in one or the other of the Terlingua cookoffs each year since 1990. Bob's competition chili is a little spicier than this toned-down version, which he created for eating by the bowlfuls.

Al Hopkins became involved in chili cookoffs in the late 1970's, when he worked for Wolf Brand Chili, a cookoff sponsor. Now retired, Al continues to enter chili contests in Central Texas and to coordinate the Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolber-Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cookoff.

A favorite Jewish dish, Matzo Ball Soup is traditionally served at Passover. Plan to make the matzo balls while the chicken broth simmers.

Perfect for a special luncheon, this salad features two summertime favorites, corn and tomatoes. If you don't want to stuff the tomatoes, the corn mixture tastes good by itself.

This traditional recipe for fajitas hails from the wood-fire cookouts on northern Mexico ranches.

According to owner-proprietor Eddie Wilson, the secret to Threadgill’s acclaimed CFS is its wet-dry-wet method of preparation. (It seals in the juices.) Eddie uses this same basic recipe (adapted from a recipe in The Threadgill’s Cookbook) for frying chicken or center-cut, boneless pork chops.

2 eggs
6 c. milk (room temperature), divided
3 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. Meat Seasoning (see recipe below)
2 c. canola oil
8 (6-oz.) tenderized beef cutlets (room temperature)
1/3-1/2c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce, or to taste
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Savoy cabbage (optional)
Parsley (optional)

Whisk eggs and 2 c. of milk together in a bowl, and set aside. Combine 3 c. of flour and meat seasoning in another bowl, and set aside. Heat oil in a 14-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat (or heat oil to 375° in an electric skillet). The oil should pop loudly when a drop of egg mixture is dropped in.

Dip each cutlet in egg mixture; dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess; and dip again in egg mixture. Gently place cutlets in hot oil. (As you transfer cutlets from egg mixture to skillet, hold a plate under them to catch drips.) Cook 3-5 minutes, until breading is set and golden brown. (There will be regular "explosions" of oil as cutlets cook.) Gently turn cutlets with a long-handled meat fork or long, metal tongs. Cook another 3 minutes.

Carefully remove cutlets from skillet; drain well, reserving cracklings and 1/3-1/2 c. oil in skillet for gravy. Heat reserved oil over medium heat, and sprinkle 1/3-1/2 c. of flour over hot oil. Whisk until mixture becomes a bubbly, golden paste. Whisking as you pour, slowly add remaining 4 c. of milk, and whisk mixture continuously until it is smooth and thick enough to coat a spoon. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce, and whisk until smooth. Top steaks with gravy. For extra color, garnish with cherry tomatoes, Savoy cabbage, and parsley. Yield: 8 servings.

Texas Highways photo editor Mike Murphy is a member of the Hamilton Pool Jalapeño Squeezers, a group of friends who enjoys competing in barbecue cookoffs. The group agreed to share one of its award-winning recipes; however, Mike cautions: “You might want to wear some disposable food-service gloves when preparing these appetizers, and DON’T rub your eyes or anything else!” He adds, “These are fun to serve at parties—they tend to separate the real Texans from the wannabes!”

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