Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lisa Fain - The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Imagine hot cheesy enchiladas topped with spicy beef chili, sprinkled with chopped onions. Now think of strips of fried tortillas cooked with an ancho and tomatillo salsa and scrambled eggs. How about corn chowder with roasted jalape?os and bacon? Now finish with a little peach cobbler or pecan coffee cake. Do I have your attention yet?


Because if you love these flavors as much as I do, you need to get yourself a copy of Lisa Fain's The Homesick Texan Cookbook. Do you know Lisa Fain? A 7th-generation Texan transplanted to New York City, Lisa writes the popular Homesick Texan food blog. Lisa has been delighting us for years with homespun stories of her upbringing in Texas, favorite Texas recipes, and beautiful photography. Now she's created a gem of a book, putting into print what we've so come to love through her blog.

Lisa's carne guisada, a Tex-Mex beef stew

Paging through the cookbook, practically every recipe is one that jumps out at me to make. Oh, I wanna make that. Oh this one too. Oh, that one looks good. Chicken-fried steak. Biscuits and gravy. Chile con queso. When I saw Lisa's recipe for Carne Guisada, a Tex-Mex beef stew, I had to make it. Best. Taco. Meat. Ever. Thank goodness there are plenty of big appetites around here or I would be tempted to eat the entire batch myself.


Lisa's Texas Caviar, a salad made with black-eyed peas, cilantro, green onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes, is supposed to chill for several hours before serving, to let the flavors blend. Hah! Most of it never made it past the half hour.

If you check out the "Click to Look Inside" feature on the book photo on you'll find previews of many pages from the book, including a complete table of contents and index. One of the most useful features of the book actually is the first chapter on ingredients, where Lisa describes the different types of chiles, herbs, and equipment she uses to make the recipes.

If you are searching for a cookbook for a chili, or chile, loving friend, consider this book. Even if you aren't from Texas, Lisa Fain's The Homesick Texan Cookbook will leave you wishing you were.

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Texas Caviar

4 cups of cooked black-eyed peas (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)8 green onions, just the green parts thinly sliced1/2 cup chopped cilantro3 jalape?o chile peppers, stems and seeds removed (wear gloves! do not touch your eyes after handling them!), finely chopped2 plum tomatoes, diced, or 1/2 cup of canned diced tomatoes, drained1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced3 cloves garlic, minced2 Tbsp olive oil2 Tbsp lime juice1 teaspoon ground cuminSalt and black pepper, to taste

1 In a medium bowl, stir together the black-eyed peas, green onion greens, cilantro, chopped jalape?o, tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic.

2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and cumin. Pour over the the black-eyed pea mixture. Stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Best chilled for several hours. Serve cold as a side salad or with tortilla chips.

Yield: Serves 4-6.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Salsa Verde Chicken Bake

While the chicken is cooking, prepare some rice or quinoa to serve with the chicken. You could easily make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs as well. You may need to cook them just a few minutes longer than the breasts.

1 Preheat oven to 350?F. Remove the tenders from the chicken breasts and cut the larger pieces in half. You should have 4 4-ounce chicken portions plus the tenders. Line a 8x8 casserole baking dish with the chicken pieces. Try to cover the bottom as completely as you can with the chicken.


2 Cover the chicken pieces with the salsa verde. Cover completely, there should be no exposed chicken or it will dry out. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, use it. The chicken should be removed from the oven when the internal temperature of the breast meat reaches 150?F.


3 Sprinkle cheese over the chicken, increase the oven heat to 400?F and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, enough time for the cheese to melt and the sauce to get bubbly.

Remove from oven. Serve immediately. Spoon over cooked rice or quinoa. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for crunch if you would like.

Yield: Serves 4.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fennel Gratin

Friday, December 2, 2011

Suzanne's Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

2 cups of pumpkin pulp pur?e from a sugar pumpkin* or from canned pumpkin pur?e1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar1/3 cup white sugar1/2 teaspoon salt2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg2 teaspoons of cinnamon1 teaspoon ground ginger1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest1 good crust (see p?te bris?e recipe)


* To make pumpkin pur?e from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard (save the seeds, of course). Cut the pumpkin in half and lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with silpat or aluminum foil. Bake at 350?F until fork tender, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp. (Alternatively you can cut the pumpkin into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft.) If you want the pulp to be extra smooth, put it through a food mill or chinois.

1 Preheat oven to 425?F.

2 Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin pur?e. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.

3 Pour into pie shell and bake at 425?F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350?F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

4 Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Serve with whipped cream.

Yield: Serves 8.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuffed Roast Turkey Breast

Even if you end up not eating the skin, it's important to wrap it around the turkey roll for roasting. It will bathe the turkey in flavor and will keep the breast from drying out.

1 Place dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl. Cover with hot water and let sit for 15 minutes or so while the bacon in the next step is cooking. Once rehydrated, then chop.

2 Slowly cook the bacon in a medium frying pan on medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Once cool enough to touch, chop. You should have at least a tablespoon of fat in the pan. (If not, add butter or olive oil to make up the difference.) Heat the same pan on medium (do not drain the fat rendered out of the bacon), add the minced shallots and cook until the shallots begin to brown. Add the chopped dried cranberries, minced sage and chopped mushrooms. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs, the parsley, and the turkey or chicken stock and stir well. You want a rough paste, something that will stick to itself. Remove from the heat and allow the stuffing to cool.

3 To make the stuffed turkey breast, remove the skin from the turkey in one piece and reserve. Put the turkey breast between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and gently pound with a mallet until it is about 1/4 inch thick. (It may be easier to butterfly the breast first, depending on how big the breast is.)


4 Trim the pounded breast until it is roughly a rectangle. Spread a thin layer of the stuffing over the breast, leaving about 3/4 inch border around all sides. Tightly roll the breast lengthwise. Lay the skin over the top of the rolled breast and tuck any under the edges.


5 Tie the rolled turkey breast tightly with kitchen string and set it on a roasting pan. Paint it with olive oil, or smear butter or bacon fat over it and sprinkle with salt. If you want more drippings for gravy, place pieces of a turkey wing on the roasting pan as well.

6 Roast at 400? for 20 minutes, then drop the heat to 325? and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast reads about 155? on a meat thermometer.

7 Once the turkey reaches that temperature remove it from the roasting pan and tent it loosely with foil. Let it rest at least 10 minutes, and up to 25 minutes.

8 While the turkey breast is resting, if you want, you may be able to make a little gravy with the drippings. If you are only cooking the breast, and not the optional turkey wing as well, you may not have much to work with. But even a little bit of drippings can flavor a gravy. (If you really don't have much fat to work with, you can melt two tablespoons of butter into the roasting pan.) Take the roasting pan with drippings and place over two burners on the stove-top on medium (if using turkey wing, remove first). Sprinkle with flour and stir until the flour is incorporated into the drippings. Slowly add stock, whisking constantly, until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning or ground sage or thyme. Let simmer on the stove until thickened to your preference.

Yield: Serves 3-4.

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Chipotle Turkey Pozole

Every Thanksgiving, after our grand roast turkey dinner, we fill up a huge stock pot with the turkey carcass and water, and make several quarts of turkey stock for soup. Usually turkey soup is a pretty standard affair, but if you are looking for a soup that might pack a little more punch, I recommend this pozole. It's made with turkey stock, leftover turkey, a little tomato, lots of hominy, and seasoned with smokey chipotle chile peppers in adobo. I've written about pozole before. It's hard to resist this soup, essentially "taco night" in a bowl (but not as messy!). Perfect for a crowd, which can be useful if your family is like mine?lots of siblings and friends who like to stick around because they know the food is good. Pozole is all about the toppings. Just set them out and let people add what they want to their soup.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Check out our other turkey leftover ideas!

Print Options

You can prepare the toppings while the soup simmers to save prep time. This recipe serves a crowd, you can easily halve the amounts for a smaller batch.

2 Tbsp olive oil1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)1/4 cup to 1/2 cup minced chipotles in adobo (to taste)3 large garlic cloves, minced1 15-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoesSalt4 to 5 cups leftover cooked turkey meat, shredded1 large (108 ounce, 6 lb 12 oz, 3 kg) can white hominy, rinsed and drained4 quarts of turkey stock or chicken stock3 bay leaves2 Tbsp dried oregano (Mexican if available)1/8 teaspoon ground cloves1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thin3 avocados, diced1 bunch red radishes, sliced thin8 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled1 large bunch cilantro, chopped (stems included)1 red onion, chopped4 limes, cut into wedgesA couple dozen tostada shells (can use tortilla chips or fried corn tortillas as well)

1 Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a large (12 quart) stockpot. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic. Add the minced chipotles in adobo (start with 1/4 cup and add more later to desired heat). Cook for another 3 minutes.

2 Add the tomatoes and cooked turkey meat to the pot, stirring to combine. Add the rinsed and drained hominy. Add the stock. Taste and add salt (at least a tablespoon if you are using unsalted stock) to taste. Add the bay leaves, oregano, ground cloves, and cinnamon. Add more water if the soup is too thick with hominy for your preference. Bring to a simmer. Taste and add more salt, herbs, or chipotle to taste. You may need more salt than you expect, if you are using homemade, unsalted stock. Simmer for 45 minutes.

3 Set the table with toppings arranged in separate serving dishes. Spoon out the soup into bowls. Let people add the toppings they want to the soup.

Yield: Serves 12.

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