Earlier this week, news came out of Dallas that the Cowboys made a direct appeal to their fans to make more noise at Cowboys Stadium in order to maintain what should be a sure home field advantage for the Big D. In contrast to the quiet Dallas crowd, NFC East rivals Philadelphia Eagles have too much noise, and according to Eagles defenseman Jason Babin, it’s “some of the most vile things I’ve ever heard.

Babin went on to say, “Not just at a football game, but in life, in general. Talking about attacking Coach (Andy Reid), talking about people’s wives and kids and chanting them. And I just thought there was no place for that in the NFL, none whatsoever.”

But really, how bad can it be? Well, let’s take a look at some of the comments on the very CSN Philly article linked to above.

ThePhillyPhreak1985 sounds like a nice gentleman.

Damn…and here I thought that “bad section” of fans who were chanting “vile” things was something, “Babin, why don’t you earn your (BEEPING) money you piece of (BEEP)? Or better yet…”Hey Jason, I (BEEPED) your wife last night, she was good”.Because you know, the last one would be so ironic considering the pig is more worried about having an off-season “Babinette” contest to meet a female Eagles fan who will wear his fan merch all the while he has a really good looking wife.

Oh, and there’s that issue of him not doing anything on the field and actually making excuses, along with Cole and Tapp. Shame man. Shame. You’re a pro, if you don’t like it get the F out…

Well, maybe that’s not representative of the whole fan base. Let’s try Zmandar92.

Wow Babin, you just proved my theory about Roger Goodell pussifying the league with all of these “safety precaution” rules wrong. It turns out that the NFL players are just getting more and more soft. Big bad Pro Bowl pass rusher can’t deal with some criticism? Please…… So what if it got personal? Some people take the fact that you’re getting paid with their ticket money and not amounting to more than mediocre personal, too, and they’re airing out their frustrations (RIGHTFULLY SO!).It’s time to nut up or shut up, bro, or you might be riding Reid’s coattails out the door next year.

That wasn’t so nice either, it turns out.

Hmm, let’s skip all these next few commenters who purposely misspell Babin as ‘baboon’, shall we. No, no, can’t reprint the comment from Elisabeth_1980 which is not only racist, but wishes season-ending bodily harm on her own player. Have no idea what sort of insult “chinchilla face” face is supposed to be, but it probably isn’t good judging by the context. Not sure what good it does to call owner Jeffrey Lurie a “fairyboy” here since he wasn’t mentioned in the article, but sometimes an insult must extend all the way to the top. Oh look, a “MOMMA LUKE” reference. Someone’s seen RAGING BULL.

Honestly though, reading these comments, I have no idea what Babin is talking about. These sound like the nicest fans a player could possibly have in the whole league.

Kolokythokeftedes with Lemon Dill Greek Yogurt Dip

As snack-loving football fans, it’s easy to grow tired mozzarella sticks all the time. Usually everyone can agree to split a basket of them at a bar — even the worst dives can make a decent block of fried cheese — as a perfunctory pre-snack before ordering a sandwich or some wings. Making them at home usually ends with middling results for the amount of effort that goes into them and ready-to-bake frozen mozzarella sticks are never as satisfying as when ordered out.

And yet, there is few treats we look forward to more on game days as a melty, cheesy bite of sorts. Over the last couple of seasons I’ve been making Seared Queso Blanco at home in place of mozzarella sticks, but this year has been all about the Greek kolokythokeftedes. Bright zucchini, salty feta, fresh bits of dill, parsley and mint come together and offer the right balance of crunch and soft chewy texture we crave in our football snacks. You can pair kolokythokeftedes with a tzatziki sauce if you like, but I prefer this pared down version of a lemon dill dip, the extra kick from the lemon zest pulling all the flavors together in sharp relief.

We’re at the very tail end of zucchini season, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding zucchini at your local market.

Kolokythokeftedes

3-4 zucchini, approximately 6 ounces each, shredded (roughly 3 cups shredded)
Kosher salt, generous pinch or two
1 small white onion, approx 4 ounces, shredded (1/2 cup shredded)
6-8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/3-1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs; a combination of dill, flat-leaf parsley and mint are recommended
1 egg, beaten
Cracked pepper to taste
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Flour, as needed (no more than 1/4 cup)

Vegetable or canola oil for frying

For the herbs, use a combination of dill, flat-leaf parsley and mint, using more or less of each herb depending on which flavor you want to be a forefront or background of your zucchini patties.

Lemon Dill Greek Yogurt Dip

6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Small pinch of salt and pepper

Make the yogurt dip first by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and then refrigerating. This gives the flavors of the lemon zest, dill and cumin time to open up and develop while making the kolokythokeftedes.

There are two schools of thought when dealing with zucchini. Depending on what you are using your zucchini for, you may want to get rid of as much water as you can before combining it with the other ingredients. Some people just squeeze the heck out of it, some salt the zucchini then let it rest to draw out even more water before squeezing the heck out of it. Since we are frying our kolokythokeftedes and nothing hurts more than the splatter of hot oil reacting poorly to the introduction of water, I recommend salting and resting the zucchini for this recipe. Aside of minimizing the possibility of hot oil pain, I’ve found it also makes for a better fritter that doesn’t need a lot of flour to hold it together, helping ensure the taste of the zucchini and herbs shine through.

Once you’ve washed, cut the stems off and shredded your zucchini, place it in a large colander inside an even larger bowl. Toss the zucchini with a couple of a pinches of salt and let rest for 30-60 minutes. If you start to see too much water in the bottom of the bowl and your colander is sitting in a pool of liquid, pour out the water and continue resting. After enough time has gone by and you’re sure no more water is going to drawn out without manual force, squeeze out any remaining moisture and transfer the zucchini to another large bowl.

Mix together the zucchini, onion, chopped herbs, cracked pepper and whisked egg. Once thoroughly combined, stir in 1/2 cup bread crumbs. If you have nice, thick sticky mess there is no need to add any flour. If your kolokythokeftedes mixture is still a bit wet and does not easily come together when formed into small balls, mix in a tablespoon of flour at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large frying pan to 375º. (The oil should be shimmering and a small pinch of flour should sizzle immediately when tossed into the pan.) Working in small batches, form the zucchini mixture into small balls — about two tablespoons worth — and slightly flatten into patties.

Without crowding the pan, fry in small batches for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on clean kitchen towels or paper towels. If desired, kolokythokeftedes can be kept warm in a 200º oven until the entire batch is done.

Serve immediately with Lemon Dill Greek Yogurt Dip.

Serves 6-8 as a side. If you have any leftover kolokythokeftedes, they reheat nicely in a warm 325º oven or in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

Still have a lot of zucchini leftover from your garden or maybe are looking for a lighter zucchini snack that doesn’t involve frying? Try making these Stuffed Zucchini “Pizzas” instead. At about 60 calories a pop, you can fill up on them without damage to your diet.

Need more football watching-centric recipe ideas? Find the complete archive of Football Foodie recipes here.