Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jalapeño bacon Brussels sprouts gratin

Jalapeño bacon Brussels sprouts gratin | Homesick Texan

If your family is like mine, the week before Thanksgiving is filled with a flurry of messages deciding what everyone is making. There’s been lots of give and take and back and forth. Most of my family has a signature holiday dish but there is always room for improvisation and so I’ve been pondering what I could offer.

When thinking about my contribution, in the past my cranberry and poblano salsa has been popular, so it’ll make a return appearance. This hominy casserole is always welcome. And in my first book, there’s a green chile macaroni and cheese that was a huge hit a year I made it, so that’s an option, too. Those are all welcome choices, but I wanted to cook something new.

Enter Brussels sprouts.

Jalapeño bacon Brussels sprouts gratin | Homesick Texan

Brussels sprouts are a fall vegetable that are a member of the Brassica family, which also includes kale, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Indeed, Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbages because basically that’s what they are. As such, they can be cooked like cabbage, which means they are often boiled or shredded to make a slaw.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chipotle cranberry sausage balls

chipotle cranberry sausage balls | Homesick Texan

Behold the sausage ball. It’s not the prettiest treat on the appetizer table but it’s certainly one of the more popular. Indeed, I dare anyone to stop eating after popping one of these savory morsels into their mouth. Nope, if you’ve had one sausage ball then I’m going to assume that you’ve had at least two and perhaps even three. They go down easy and invite you to try at least one more.

For those of you not familiar with the sausage ball, if you are looking at the photo above in all its ugly glory, you may be thinking that I’ve lost my mind. As I said, they’re kind of lumpy and odd. But it’s not always about looks. And with the sausage ball—it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

If you grew up in Texas or the South, then chances are you spent some time making sausage balls with a loved one as a kid. I know that I did, as my grandma and I would produce batch after batch before people came over for special occasions.

chipotle cranberry sausage balls | Homesick Texan

To prepare the basic sausage ball, you take a pound of breakfast sausage, spoonfuls of biscuit mix, and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese. You mix it all together, preferably with your hands, and then form the meaty, cheesy dough into little balls. After a few minutes of baking in the oven, they’re done.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Apple cake

Apple cake | Homesick Texan

A year ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. Usually when you’re told you have an incurable ailment, it’s cause for concern. But learning my thyroid wasn’t working was actually a relief. See, for several years, I’d been gaining weight and had lost most of my energy. It was frustrating, as no matter how much I dieted my clothes no longer fit and I couldn’t find the energy to get up off the couch.
This sluggishness was both strange and depressing. But I just assumed it was simply part of getting old and it was time to settle into a heavier, slower life. So when I learned that my thyroid was the culprit, it was very good news. And after hearing that all I needed to do was take a pill every day to keep my thyroid running, I was over the moon.

Now, I can sometimes be a little dramatic. When I told my family and friends that if I didn’t take my thyroid pill every day I would die, I discovered that having hypothyroidism is quite common and many people were in the same situation. Of course, they all thought I was being ridiculous with my dire proclamations, so I soon decided to keep quiet about the whole thing.

That said, as my energy returned I began to question if I was on the correct path. I felt like I’d been given a new lease on life and that perhaps I should make some changes. So I went to the hairdresser and got bangs for the first time since I was a kid. I also bought some skinny jeans, a style I swore I’d never wear. And despite my better instincts, I decided to help some people open a Tex-Mex restaurant in NYC.

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