We were fiddling around doing a little site maintenance when we noticed our recent Zephyr Wright’s Chili Con Queso article was receiving astronomical traffic.

We vectored in on the sender to discover that the Houston Chronicle had featured us in an article on LBJ’s favorite queso recipe that was routinely trotted out by his legendary cook, Ms Wright.

Thanks for the hat tip Craig Hlavaty.

What we wouldn’t have given to have been in Lamesa, Texas for their big Chicken Fried Steak shootout held last month. The foodways of New Orleans have their charms but careful breading and frying of cube steak is not among them.

Chicken Fried Steak, one of the core foods of the Lone Star state, is held in the same esteem as Texas Red Chili and Oak smoked brisket. Continue Reading

2016 Rattlesnake Round-Up In Sweetwater Texas

2016 Rattlesnake Round-Up In Sweetwater Texas

This weekend March 11, 12, 13 2016 the Jaycees of Sweetwater, Texas are holding the 58th edition of their big rattlesnake round-up. Events to fuel the revelry are diverse with local beauties competing to become Miss Snake Charmer, rattlesnake hunts with guides who are savvy to the creature’s movements and the scorching Texas environment, a rattlesnake cook-off, a snake eating contest as well as a competition to see who can show up with the ‘heaviest bag o’ snakes’ Continue Reading

Fideo has a thousand mothers, each claiming primacy. One mujere insists that tomatoes are the most crucial ingredient while another claims that the inclusion of them makes the soup “not fideo” but indeed, the dish must include tomatillas to be considered part of the canon..

We’re late comers to the sopa de fideo tradition. It wasn’t until the late 90’s when a torrid affair found us in Brownsville Texas and at the table of a bona fide culinary genius that we were indoctrinated into the tradition. Efiginea was born in Mexico but has lived in USA for over 50 years. She’s raised 9 children and has countless grandkids and great grandkids. In a family filled with good cooks, this septuagenarian is still the Queen Bee.

When we’re in the presence of superior chefs one course of action must be taken. Out comes the pad and pen and the note taking commences. As Efiginea bustles about in the kitchen we scribble furiously hoping against all hope that we’ll be able to create a reasonable facsimile of this vaunted recipe at some point in the future.

Here’s Sope de Fideo, inspired by Efiginea of Brownsville Texas

Ingredients

1 6 oz packet vermicelli noodles

1 bunch celery

2 each 12 oz cans tomatoes, whole, peeled [ pureed or roughly chopped as to your preference]

1 roasting hen

2 each Onion, yellow, sweet, chopped

8 oz Mushrooms, sliced

1 Bunch, Green onions, giant, chopped

6 each Chiles, Hatch, chopped [poblano would be more traditional]

2 each Chiles, Cayenne, chopped [jalapeno would be more traditional]

4 each Leaves, Bay

1 T. Peppercorns, Black

Salt

Method

* In large kettle submerge chicken in cold, salted water with bay leaves and peppercorns

* Bring to boil, reduce to simmer

* Cook one hour or til chicken is done

* Remove hen from water, reserve water

* Shred meat off bone, reserve

* Return carcass to water, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook 2 hours

* Remove carcass, discard along with bay and pepper, you now have your chicken stock

* In separate pan cook onions on high heat for 15 minutes

* Reduce heat, cook for 45 minutes more

* Add celery and chiles cook 15 minutes

* Add green onions and mushrooms, cook 10 minutes

* Add onion, celery,chile, mushroom mixture to chicken stock along with tomatoes, vermicelli and chopped chicken

* Simmer everything on stovetop til vermicelli puffs up in broth

* Adjust flavor with salt

* Intense deliciousness is now at the ready

* Buen Provecho

Cooking notes:

1] I later discovered that it is traditional to fry the noodles in oil or butter prior to their being simmered in the broth. Efiginea did not follow this technique.

2] Also, a lot of fideo cooks add pinto beans, potatoes or both to their fideo. Efiginea added neither to hers.

3] There is also the phenomenon of fideo tacos where the fideo is cooked “down” to the point where the soup is viscous, the noodles are then ladled onto tortillas and served as tacos.

4] Typical garnishes for this soup include avocado, crema, lime juice, chopped fresh onion, cilantro, hard grating cheese and fried tortilla strips

5] There is also the phenomenon of fideo casserole, an intriguing dish if ever there was one and definitely a subject for another post in the future

How do you make your fideo?

Did you grow up eating it or are you new to the canon?

earlier installments in our Tex Mex cooking series http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Authentic-Tex-Mex-Recipes

The forty nine states that are not Texas have some catching up to do in the official state food category.

California is pitiable for any number of reasons but especially when it comes to state food as they have zero.

Maine has the whoopie pie, the old timey dessert enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment.

We’re not sure what spawned this revival but we’re all for it. Particularly now that some restaurants are offering homemade versions. Continue Reading

We’re not sure where this going to end but we have a feeling it won’t be pretty. The State Fair tradition of throwing things in a fryolator that have no business being fried is time honored and observed from coast to coast.

Especially in Texas where previous fairs have boasted of deep fried Lattes, deep fried butter and deep fried banana splits. No word on whether something as mundane as a potato has ever been cut into splinters and fried.

2011 has seen a bumper crop of entrants in the world of Texas State Fair food:

Buffalo Chicken In A Flapjack, no more really need be said of this horrific sounding dish.

Fried pumpkin pie, we’ve eaten fried pumpkin pie before and it’s really good. In north Mississippi there is a fried pie tradition where all sorts of native fruits and vegetables are harvested, fried and sold in country quick marts.

Hans’ Kraut Ball consists of pork sausage, onion, garlic and sauerkraut. It’s rolled into a ball that is then covered with bread crumbs and deep-fried. Call us louche but that actually sounds pretty good.

Deep Fried Pineapple Upside Down Cake, we have a deep love of pineapple and this sounds like something we could get behind. Plus it’s served with a cherry on top.

Deep Fried Texas Salsa, don’t mess with our salsa. It’s our lifeblood and when people start talking about hurling it into a fryolator we get good and pissed off. Totopos=fried salsa=not. End of story.

El Bananarito, we love bananas and find nothing odd about eating them fried. They’re a relatively common dessert at teppan houses. This one sounds good.

Not fried but still being served is the Walking Taco, this is little more than a frito pie rip off with carne molida, onion, cheese and sour cream stuffed into a Doritos bag. May or may not be good depending on your ability to pick up some high grade stank prior to attending fair.

and finally

Fried Bubblegum, it’s a bait and switch y’all. They take bubblegum flavored marshmallows and batter fry them. This is a pass.

We’ve attended state fairs all over the USA. The lines to get at the exotic fried foods of contemporary times are just to long to bear. You’ll find us ravishing simple, old timey fair foods like Tiger Ears, Funnel Cake, Candy Apples and Corn Dogs.

Preferably hunkered down over near the carney encampment. We love the ragtag group of men and women that make a good fair run right and they’re usually the rough and tumble sort.

This is who we like to hang out with.