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.

Over in East Texas my friend Amanda’s daddy is having trouble with a sounder of wild boar hogs on his farm.

It’s nothing a Winchester 30.30 can’t fix.

Which is how we came to have a pig brought into Austin for our latest effort on the big brick pit. The small hog is taken out while he is busy mowing down on a stand of sweet corn.

The high velocity round drops him in his tracks, he’s field dressed and brought up to the old farm house where he gets blocked down, wrapped and put in the freezer.

There’s only one girl on our cooking team and she decides it’s her turn to fire up the big brick pit and have a go at cooking this boar.

After 5 hours over a few hunks of old pecan, the hog is good and ready. Try as we might, the crowd of a dozen or so eaters can’t finish all the meat so we package up the rest, divvy it up and make our way to the house.

We’re always looking for an excuse to make enchiladas and with a pound or so of good wood-smoked boar hog in the fridge that’s exactly what we do.

Here’s our recipe for Smoked Wild Boar Enchiladas in Chile Arbol Sauce.

Ingredients

1 lb Wild Boar Hog, smoked, chopped

8 each, Chile, Arbol, dried

1 each, Giant Green Onions, bunch

2 c. Stock, Pork

1 c. Cream, Heavy, Whipping

20 each, Tortillas, Corn, from a Mexican grocery that does a brisk business to ensure freshness

1 lb, Cheese, Grated, Jack although a lot of Tex Mex cooks swear by Longhorn Cheddar

Method: Part I

* Bring pork stock to boil w/ Chile Arbol

* Simmer just below boil for 20 minutes or til chiles are softened

* Place stock and chiles in blender and run on high til chiles are totally pureed

* Add green onions, blend 10 seconds more

* Pour into saucepan, add cream, bring to boil, be careful as sauce will try to climb out of pan

* Simmer for 15 minutes or til a good thick consistency of sauce is reached

Method: Part 2

* Heat cast iron skillet on high til hot

* Using small amount of oil cook each tortilla for ten seconds per side

* Make stack of cooked tortillas

* Pour skift of creamy chile seca sauce in bottom of casserole pan [ we use a 9×14 Corning Ware]

* Roll 2 T of chopped wild boar meat into tortilla forming a tube

* Place in casserole

* Repeat til casserole is filled with little tubes of stuffed tortillas

* Pour chile seca sauce over the assemblage then top with grated cheese

* Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes

* Place under broiler and cook til cheese is nicely browned

This casserole really needs no side dishes but if you’re of a mind a kettle of borracho beans would pair nicely.

In the dead of Summer in Austin, Texas we drink Pearl Light like it’s going out of style

This would be a good beer to pair with these enchiladas

Help cure the pestilence of wild boars in Texas by transforming them into delicious Tex Mex cuisine

More authentic Tex Mex recipes here

http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Authentic-Tex-Mex-Recipes

https://twitter.com/#!/RLReevesJr

Austin Texas is rife with restaurants serving huevos rancheros.

Our former favorite; La Mexicana, the 24 hour taqueria and panaderia on South First Street’s downhill slide has been so steady and frightening that we’ve had to branch out around town.

We still daydream about their $3.25 rendition from a few years back. Extra cheese, extra bacon? No charge. We’ve found some good versions [ Tamale House, La Reyna, Habanero Mexican Cafe ] but none could stand up to La Mexicana’s clarion version from yesteryear.

So we hit the kitchen.

The following is the fruit of a week or so of efforts to make a pluperfect huevos rancheros

Ingredients

1 12 oz can tomatoes, whole, peeled

1 each Bunch, Onions, Green, Giant, white part, chopped, reserve green part for garnish

2 each Chiles, Jalapeno, chopped [ roasted if you like ]

2 each Chiles, Serrano, chopped [ roasted if you like ]

2 each Eggs

2 each Tortillas

Salt to taste

Method

* Place all ingredients,except eggs, in blender

* Puree til smooth

* Pour contents of blender into saucepan that has been heated with a skift of oil

* Cook at medium heat for ten or so minutes til sauce thickens and begins to stick to pan

* Salt to taste

* Reserve

* Fry eggs in cast iron pan flipping once if so desired [ we like them over medium ]

* Turn onto plate

* Pour as much ranchero sauce as you like over eggs, refrigerate the rest

* Enjoy with warm tortillas

Cooking Notes:

* Grate cheese over sauce if so desired, we like queso Salvadorena

* Serve with warm tortillas, home fries, refried beans, crispy chopped bacon and perhaps a dollop of Mexican crema

* You may garnish with chopped, green part of green onions

* If you’re so inclined you may want to substitute chipotle chile pepper for the serrano and jalapeno

Cooking time start to finish is 20 minutes

Enjoy

More Tex Mex recipes here:

http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Authentic-Tex-Mex-Recipes

Real carnitas are abundant in Austin Texas. They’re not fancy, no frippery is needed to construct the dish. All you need is pork, salt and maybe pepper if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.

I used to use Chef Miguel Ravago’s recipe from his cookbook “Cocina de la Familia” that uses Dr. Pepper in the roasting process.

His method makes some very fine carnitas but it is unnecessarily fancy. Country style pork ribs are generally my meat of choice. I like to start with about ten pounds of meat as you’ll be surprised how fast they get eaten. While it’s easy enough to run down to one of Austin’s dozens of Mexican markets and score a pound of prepared carnitas for 6 bucks, I like to hit the kitchen and make them from scratch.

Ingredients

10 lbs Ribs, Pork, Country style

Salt, Kosher or Sea

Pepper, Black, Fresh Ground

Oil, Peanut is best

Method

* Slather ribs lightly with oil

* Coat generously with good salt and perhaps pepper

* Place in baking dish

* Roast at 200 degrees for 4 hours or til the meat is spoon tender

* Drain fat that has roasted off the meat into metal bowl

* Place bowl in fridge, the next day remove fat cake from surface, it provides a delicious cooking medium for skillet potatoes

* There will be what appears to be some brown pudding in the bottom of the bowl, save this pork jus and put it in with your next kettle of beans

Your carnitas are now ready to eat. The 200 degree part is important. This is a good temperature to ensure your meat is meltingly tender.

When I’m eating them out of the fridge I hack them up with my chef knife, get my cast iron scorchingly hot and toss the pork in the pan. Once the flesh is crispy the carnitas are ready for tacos, tortas or whatever purpose you’ve deemed is the best way to get them in your gullet.

I like to eat them as tacos for a few servings then take the remaining carnitas and make a New Mexico style Tortilla Pie recipe http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2010/6/21/New-Mexico-Tortill
a-Pie here