Category Archives: TexMex

Melancholy

 For a lot of Texans, we are coming to the end of our Religious Pilgrimage.  Sure there is always a spring turkey to shoot or a big redfish to land, but for all intents and purposes, hunting season is all but over.  We must now return to our familial responsibilities and hope that the return of the season comes sooner than we might expect.

It has become a tradition within my group of hunting buddies to have a “Man Dinner” at the close of every season.  A time to bring families together and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  A time to enjoy the company of our wives, our kids and……blah, blah, blah.  Who am I trying to kid.  The Man Dinner has very little to do with bring our families together.  No, the Man Dinner has everything to do with drinking beer, eating good food and telling lies about all the good and bad hunts we had.  And from what I can tell, though I have never asked, I think the women folk may enjoy it too.

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Norman Rockwell

If you have followed my blog, you know that I have a very chaotic life.  One wife, four kids, three dogs and six exes, it is enough to drive any man crazy and lord only

Norman Rockwell

knows how you can keep them all happy at the same time.  However, the other evening while finishing up dinner, I noticed something highly unusual.  Siete wasn’t bitching at me, the kids weren’t fighting and the dogs weren’t under foot.  For a brief moment I thought this must be what normal families eat like…….then Meat (the youngest) fires off a big one, sending everyone scurrying for safety.  So much for our Leave It To Beaver meal.

I am a firm believer that if someone were to serve me goat cheese ala poopoo or bacon wrapped turd, I would probably eat it without hesitation.  And although most may not subscribe to my line of thinking, goat cheese and bacon do make most things better, which is reason enough to try this gem.  It is a takeoff from Tin Star’s Chipotle Chicken Scaloppini.  Its fairly simple, it is spicy and it is sure to create your own family bliss.

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Old Man Winter

I now know why poets, authors and painters are notorious alcoholics and druggies……..being creative is an ass whip’n to the highest degree, especially after the holidays.  So please forgive me if this post seems rather drab and mundane.

As seasons go, winters in Texas aren’t too bad.  Unlike the northern states, Texas winters tend to be mild and pleasant.  But on special occasions, Old Man Winter will pay us a visit.  That visit came this past Sunday and The Old Man seems to be rather pissed.  Typically, he comes and goes quickly, 30 degrees one day, 70 degrees the next.  Not this time.  No, it seems that someone has pissed him off good and he ain’t leaving anytime soon.  

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Love or Lust

Being Twisted, I have a few odd behaviors:  going to bed before my 5 year son,  wearing black dress socks with tennis shoes, giving Dramamine to my neighbor’s barking dog……these arebut a few of a rather lengthy list.  However, according to my most recent wife (we will refer to her as “Siete”), one of my oddest behaviors happens to be my love of the grocery store.  Now, for someone like her who hasn’t seen the likes of the food store in ages, this comes as no surprise; but for foodies like yourself, I am sure this is as common place as dipping your french fries in your chocolate shake……try it, it’s damn good.

As I have said before, I love perusing the isles of my local Fiester and/or the Skaggs, but I do feel a bit deprived.  See, I live in the Metroplex and we do not have an HEB Grocer.   Now for those not from Texas, this may not seem like a big deal.  But for those who do, you know that HEB is like Fiesta on steroids; a truly inspiration shopping experience for foodies like you and me.  In its stead, HEB has decided to bring us an up-scale version grocery store, Central Market.  A treat in and of itself, Central Market has few rivals; but given that I am on the government payroll (unemployed), Central Market doesn’t currently fit in my food shopping paradigm.  Being the holidays, I thought what the hell.   Anyway, most people today have little qualms spending what they don’t have (especially that be-ach from California and her cronies on the Hill), why should it matter to me?  Surely our kids won’t mind cleaning up the mess we leave behind.

As with most Democrats, blowing my government paycheck on booze and cigarettes seems like the appropriate thing to do.  Much to my chagrin, I found out that Central Market doesn’t sell cigarettes, so a crap load of holiday beer and a vat of Love Dip had to suffice.  Fun Fact # 1:  Did you know that fermented grain and Love Dip are WIC approved?  Isn’t it amazing what the government tit will allow!  Yet again, I digress.

Getting home, I was eager to show off the fruits of my labor.  Much to my amazement, Siete was none to pleased with my shopping wares and to my surprise, she appears to have a temper similar to that of Cautro……maybe this marriage thing isn’t for me????  Knowing that working on my marriage gives me tired head and in most instances ill advised, I decided to focus my efforts on something more meaningful.  Knowing times are tough and the payola is short, I have decided to make a run at re-creating this Central Market powerhouse.  Here is my twisted version of Love Dip.

Lust Dip

2  8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

2 T  Bayou Cajun Seasoning

1/8 t  cayenne

1.5 t  lemon juice

3/4 c  sour cream

3/4 c  mild salsa

1/4 c  purple onion, chopped

1/4 c  cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.   Refrigerate for one hour to allow ingredients to marry and cream cheese to firm up.  Serve with crackers and/or pretzel chips.


Tired Head

I am no Conan, but I think that I have a pretty good line of BS.  However, I am stumped.  I am at a loss for words.  

The Season is in full force, with holiday parties and gatherings aplenty.  At least for me, this means over drinking, over eating and a whole lot of tired head; which may be the reason for my lack of imaginative thinking.  So with little fanfare and no made up, bullschit storyline, here is my latest blog entry and hope you enjoy.

Spiced Pecans

3 c  Pecan halves

1 c  Sugar

1 T  Bayou Cajun Seasoning

1     Egg, separated

1 T  Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites and water.  Pour pecans into egg white mixture and stir.  Once whites have thoroughly coated pecans, combine sugar and Cajun seasoning, sprinkling half of the mixture on top.  Stir several times, sprinkling remaining seasoning mixture as you stir.  On parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread pecans evenly and cook for 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times as they cook.  Allow to cool and store in plastic Ziploc bag until ready to serve.


Exceptions To The Rule

Unless it is to avoid traffic or shave a few minutes off a long road trip (kids in tow of course), I am not typically a fan of shortcuts; especially when it comes to my cooking.  But between running kids to and from school, back and forth to various soccer, football and baseball practices and whatever other activities those little bastards can’t do without, there are exceptions to this rule. 

Being  under employed and an inquisitive foodie, I often find myself milling about my local Skaggs, observing the latest culinary trends and searching for my next inspiration.  Though this activity tends to be  more about the passing of time than the discovery of my next culinary masterpiece, from time to time, I do come across something that peaks my interest.  One particular day not so long ago, I passed by the deli counter and observed the infamous rotisserie chicken contraption.  Like you, I have seen those infomercials where for 4 easy payments of $89.99, you too can be the proud owner of a Roto 10,000.  Touted as an exceptional culinary device, this austonishing machine can not only cook a full meal for 4 in under 20 seconds, but it can teach your kids Algebra and make your whites brighter than ever before.  Wow, I will have four please.

Being the Nancy Negative that I am, how possibly could a overcooked, sunburned bird be any good, right??????  However, as it happened to be this particular day, my schedule was packed and I needed a quick meal.  “Give me two fine sir”.  Much to my amazement, when I got those bad boys home, they were not only juicy and flavorful; but at $4.99 per apiece, they were a damn good bargain.  Now, I am no math whiz, but sounds like to me the makers of the Roto 10,000 are selling me a bill of goods.

The recipe that follows is a perennial favorite come winter time.  It is something that can be made for a quick weeknight meal or simmered low and slow on a cold, lazy Sunday afternoon.  The longer it simmers the better it gets, but the recipe below will get you started.  You can adjust the cooking time based on your schedule.

El Jeffe’s Tortilla Soup

1T  vegetable oil

1  28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1  15.5 oz can white hominy, drained

1  medium white onion, diced

1  small packet Sazon seasoning*

1  jalapeno, seeded and diced

4  garlic cloves, diced

1  chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced

1t adobo sauce

2  bay leaves

¼ c  cilantro, chopped

2  32 oz boxes Swasons Chicken Broth

1  rotisserie chicken, shredded

Garnishments:  sour cream, cilantro, Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, purple onion

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-high.  Add chopped onions and jalapeno, sautéing for 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic, chipotle and adobo sauce, sautéing for another 5 to 7 minutes.  Once the juice from the tomatoes has evaporated, add chicken broth, bay leaves, hominy and cilantro.  Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth, beer or water if needed.  Just prior to serving, add the chicken.  Garnish with cilantro, Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, avocado and/or purple onion.

Sazon is a mexican soup seasoning made by Goya.  There are several different flavor combinations.  I use the one with corriander and annatto.


Good O’ Day Syndrome

There are very few movies that stand the test of time….It’s a Wonderful Life, Smokey and the Bandit, Braveheart and my perennial favorite, Lonesome Dove.   On occasion, the wife and I will bust out an old favorite and subject our squids to a little “forced family fun”.  More often than not, the wife and I find the movie every bit as entertaining as it was the first time we saw it; on the other hand, the kids can’t seem to stop bitching and complaining because the movie isn’t “kick ass” enough to hold their attention.  As much as I hate to admit it, by today’s standards, the little bastards are probably right and if we are honest with ourselves, the misses and I are probably just reliving the glory days.  As true as it may be, give me Caddy Shack or Raising Arizona any day over Hangover or 40 Year Old Virgin.

Much like movies, I have found that family recipes also have a very short shelf life.  Most that get passed down from generation to generation can’t hold up to the “kick ass” recipes of today.  However, on occasion, there will be one family jewel that is timeless.  Though I use “family” somewhat loosely for I am unsure of the recipes origin, South of the Border Fettuccine has long been a family tradition in our household.  Like most recipes that have been handed down (see the blog entry “To Make Amends”), I have taken the liberty to bastardize it a bit and call it my own.  It is simple, it is good and aside from a few candy asses I know, I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy this perennial favorite.

South of the Border Fettuccine

14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes

15.5 oz can black beans

16 oz box of dried fettuccine

2t Yard Bird Seasoning

2T  butter

2  garlic cloves, minced

1  medium jalapeno, seeded & minced

1/4c  cilantro, chopped

4 oz sherry cooking wine

4 oz chicken stock

2 chicken breasts

Preheat grill to 400 degrees, season chicken with Yard Bird Poultry Seasoning and grill chicken for about 3 minutes per side.  Place chicken on plate and allow to rest.  Please note, chicken will not be cooked all the way through, but will finish cooking when added to the sauce at the end. 

While chicken is resting, place water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Cook fettuccine according to the box directions.

While chicken is resting and the pasta water is coming to a boil, preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add butter and jalapenos and sauté for 3 minutes.  While jalapenos are sautéing, pour tomatoes and black beans into a colander and rinsed thoroughly.  Once rinsed, add tomato/black bean mixture to pan and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic, ¼ cup of the cilantro and continue sautéing.   After an additional 2 minutes of sautéing, deglaze the pan with sherry, add chicken stock and simmer for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.  While the ingredients are simmering, chop chicken and add to the sauce.   Once chicken is cooked all the way through (approximately 2 to 3 minutes), serve over cooked fettuccine noodles.

Please note, for those who are short on time, store bought rotisserie chicken is a good substitute for grilled chicken.

For more “kick ass” recipes and accoutrements, visits us at www.schitbird.com.


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