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  • 6 long green chilis
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed and seeded and sliced into rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp. oregano, crumbled
  • 1 – 1½ cups chicken broth (homemade or canned)
  • ½ cup canned crushed tomatoes with the added puree
  • ¾ lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
  • Corn tortillas

In the open flame of a gas broiler, or under a preheated broiler, roast the long green chilies, turning them until they are lightly, but evenly, charred.  Steam the chilies in a paper back, or in a bowl covered with a plate, until cool. Rub away the burned peel.  Stem and seed the chilies and coarsely chop them.  There should be about 1 cup.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the onions, jalapenos, garlic and oregano and cook, covered, until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and chopped green chilies and bring to a simmer.  Partially cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 15 minutes.  The recipe can be prepared 3 days ahead.  Cool it and refrigerate it covered.

Over low heat, bring the broth mixture to a simmer.  Stir in the cheese, cover the pan, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the cheese is just melted and is “stringing.”  Transfer the chili con queso to a bowl and serve immediately, accompanied by corn tortillas and chips.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Posted in Recipes Tagged chili, tex-mex, trayf

Barbara Grant

Amazing people. Truly.

Barbara and Nick Grant are the parents of one of R’s good law school friends.  Of their four kids, there are something like 10 advanced degrees, including bachelors, masters, doctorates and JD’s.  With a successful family like this, you know that they’re eating well, and Barbara was more than kind enough to let us, and all of you, in on the secret.  Feed your children this pie, and watch their IQ’s, and educational debt, skyrocket!

Topping

  • 6 Tbs. cold, firm butter
  • ¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup coarsely broken pecans
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Blend all ingredients with a pie blender until crumbly.  Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pie Dough Recipe from Mrs. Hutton

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, well-beaten
  • 5 Tbs. water
  • 1 Tbs. vinegar

Mix the dry ingredients.  Cut the shortening in, then add the egg, water and vinegar.  Roll out the dough, one-third at a time.

Yields about 3 9-inch pie crusts with a little left over

Apple Pie

  • 2 cans of Apple Pie Filling (from grocery store)
  • Pie Dough (above)
  • Pie topping (above)

Preheat oven to 425

Put one of the 9” pie crusts into a pie pan

Add about 1 2/3 cans of Apple Pie Filling (from the grocery store), then bake for 25 minutes.

Remove briefly from oven, add the topping, then return to oven for 15-20 more minutes.

Posted in Recipes Tagged apple pie, dessert, texas, vegetarian

Few Tex-Mex dishes are so beloved as fajitas (fah-HEE-tuzJ, yet so commonly misunderstood. Recipes often try to make it more complicated than they are. Their beauty is in their simplicity. Many have tried to improve them with such things as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or teriyaki slobber. And you ‘d end up with a good, but different dish.

Flour Tortillas

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbs. shortening
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Mix ingredients in a large bowl.  If dough is sticky, add flour.  Form balls slightly larger than golf balls, then roll out round and thin on a floured surface.  Heat them on a large, flat and dry pan (cast iron works great here), pressing with a crumpled paper bag if necessary to bust up air pockets.  When one side gets lightly browned, flip over and cook the other side.

Yields: about 6 tortillas

Fajitas

  • 1½ lbs. skirt steak (or flank steak)
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Trim excess fat and gristle from the meat.  Pound meat to a ¼ inch thickness (you can put meat between saran wrap to pound), then sprinkle both sides of steak with lime juice, garlic salt and pepper.  Put meat in bag with the marinade, then tie up and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.  Drain off the marinade.

Grill whole, preferably over mesquite coals under a Texas sunset, or in a greased skillet.  Cut into thin strips.

Serve in a warm flour tortilla along with pico de gallo, grilled onions, guacamole and sour cream.

Posted in Recipes Tagged beef, fajitas, tex-mex, texas

No one knows the origin of chili con came. But the dish we have today is believed by Texans to have been invented in the Lone Star state. Chili expert E. De Grolyer contends it evolved around 1840, suggesting that Texans heading out to the California gold fields made a saddle-bag stash of “chili bricks ” composed of dried beef, fat, chile peppers, and salt, which was then brought to life with water over a campfire. A similar account is that a coosie or trail-drive cook, usually of Hispanic origin, had the same idea. The Pendery family of Fort Worth lays claim to retaing the first blend of chile spices around 1870 wh11e William Gebhardt sold his own version out of New Braunfels in 1902, then canning chili six years later. Both brands are available today. Texas chili traditionally is made with cubed or coarse ground beef, not hamburger meat, and never has beans.

This recipe won the 1st International Chili Society World Championship in 1967 in Terlingua, Texas, and was made by H. Allen Smith of Austin, Texas.

  • 4 lbs coarse-ground chopped sirloin or tenderloin
  • Olive oil or butter
  • 1-2 small cans tomato paste, with water, or fresh tomatoes, finely chopped, or canned tomatoes pressed through a colander
  • 3-4 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. oregano
  • ½ tsp. sweet basil
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seed or ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbs. chili powder or, to taste, some chili pods

In a 4-quart pot, brown the meat in oil or butter (or a blend of the two).  Add the remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 2-3 hours with the lid on.

Posted in Recipes Tagged beef, chili, tex-mex, texas

Julie Chisholm

Chefs, Tourguides, Godsends

We arrived late in Orange, Texas, expecting to stay at their fire department after a wonderful night before spent at the Lake Charles, Louisiana fire department.  When we got to Orange, we found only a construction site where the fire department was supposed to be.  Julie happened upon us, saw our plight, and took us back to her beautiful Victorian home and a sumptuous home-cooked dinner.  Julie is from West Texas, and this is a real local recipe.

One secret to good cornbread, according to Julie, is to have the skillet and oil already hot when you pour in the batter so that you get a crispy bottom to your bread.

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients by hand until just blended.

Heat a small amount of oil in a cast iron skillet until hot.  Pour in cornbread mixture and immediately place in hot oven (425°).  Cook until golden brown on top.

Posted in Recipes Tagged bread, texas, vegetaria

  • ¼ cup corn oil
  • 1 lb. boned chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 Tbs. margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 ½ cups canned tomatoes in juice, chopped
  • ½ small can of tomato paste
  • 1 “decent” sized piece of tasso (or pork sausage), diced
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Tabasco
  • 2 ½ cups cooked white rice

Heat oil in large pot.  Add chicken; stir and cook for 10 minutes, then remove.  Add margarine to pot and stir, then cook the raw vegetables until they wilt.  Add water, tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring well.  Return the chicken to pot and stir in seasonings and tasso.  Bring to a boil, then remove heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

When cooked, add the rice. Toss and heat thoroughly.  Serve with green salad and bread.

Serves 4-6.

Posted in Recipes Tagged cajun, chicken, creole, jamabalaya, louisiana, pork, sausage

This man is awesome. Heed his recipe.

Spencer is a bike mechanic in Lafayette, Louisiana who took us out to the local swamp to eat some crawfish and then showed us an amazing, drunken good time in Lafayette, full of wonderful Acadian (Cajun) hospitality.  Check for him on TV as he makes his move to the NFL as a kicker!

  • ¾ cup oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 2 Tbs. black pepper
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 dozen fresh oysters
  • ½ tsp. gumbo file

In a large, heavy (cast-iron if possible) pot, make a dark brown (chocolate-colored, but careful not to burn it!) roux with the ½ cup of the oil and the flour (check out the roux recipe on this site for more tips).  Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are transparent.

In a large skillet, brown the chicken with the remaining ¼ cup of oil.  When the chicken is brown, add it to the roux and vegetables.

Add hot water slowly, stirring well to dissolve the roux; season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat until the chicken is tender (about 45 minutes).

Add the parsley, green onions, and oysters; cook only until the oysters start to curl at their edges (around 5 minutes)

Remove from heat; add some file to thicken and serve over cooked rice in soup bowls

Serves 4-6

Posted in Recipes Tagged cajun, chicken, creole, jamabalaya, louisiana

Will A.

This recipe is so good, it will make you look like this

Will is the hilarious and generous owner of Recycled Cycles of Acadia in Lafayette, Louisiana.  We stopped in for advice one day, and ended up hanging out with Will and Spencer all day, then took off the next day to sail with Captain Will around the Gulf of Mexico on Will’s boat.  We spent an exhausted happy night at Will’s house, where he gave us this great recipe.

  • 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp. basil, dry
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 3 cups uncooked rice
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt and cayenne pepper, then brown in hot oil in a large,  heavy pot, removing the pieces from the pot as they brown.

Add onions and sauté until the onions are transparent; add tomatoes, celery, chicken, water, basil, bay leaf and more salt and cayenne pepper.  Bring the water to a boil, lower heat and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1.5-2 hours.  Add water during cooking to keep water at the same level.

Add rice, cover pot and cook on very low heat for about 1 hour.  Add green onions and parsley and continue to cook until rice is tender

Serves 6-8

Posted in Recipes Tagged cajun, chicken, creole, jambalaya, louisiana

Trixie Pochet

Our incredible hosts and friends, Wayne and Trixie

We met Wayne and Trixie at a campground in Mississippi, and they instantly made our trip along the Gulf Coast magical.  At the campground, they invited us over to their camper, where they served us some of Wayne’s jambalaya and boiled shrimp, and later we stayed for a few days at their home in the Cajun part of Louisiana.  Both are natives to that area, and Wayne spent his career as a sugar farmer.  They’re both fantastic cooks, and wonderful people. Trixie says that this recipe is an absolute keeper!

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
  • ½ cup chocolate syrup

Combine the following in a large bowl: dry cake mix, pecans, milk and melted butter.  Pour half the mixture into a greased 9”x13” baking pan.  Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with peanut butter chips and drizzle the chocolate syrup over all.  Top with small spoonfuls of the remaining batter mixture (it won’t cover all) and bake for 20 more minutes at 350°.  Cool and cut into bars.

Posted in Recipes Tagged dessert, louisiana, vegetarian

Roux is the beginning to a lot of Cajun (and of course, French) cooking.  You’ve got to be attentive when making the roux, so that it doesn’t burn.  Very simply, a roux is a mixture of flour and fat (usually oil) that is stirred and cooked over low heat until it reaches the desired color. Cooked roux can be kept indefinitely in a covered jar.  The oil will separate during storage, just stir it back into the roux to use.

  • ½ cup oil (shortening, lard or butter can also be used)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

Heat oil in a heavy skillet (black cast-iron is best) over medium heat.  Add flour, stirring constantly.  Continue to stir and cook until roux begins to lightly brown; lower heat and continue cooking until roux reaches desired level of doneness, which is based on the color called for in the recipe.  The entire cooking process should take between 30 minutes and an hour.

If a recipe calls for a light brown roux, it should have the color of peanut butter.  If a recipe calls for a dark brown roux, the color should be that of chocolate.  Be very careful not to burn the roux, since this causes a very bitter taste in the finished recipe.

Posted in Recipes Tagged cajun, creole, louisiana, roux, vegetarian