Monday, November 23, 2009

Tex-Mex pimento cheese

I’m heading home in a couple of days, and since I won’t arrive to the farm until late Thursday morning, I’ve been trying to figure out dishes I can contribute to the Thanksgiving feast that won’t take a lot of time and effort. As I was going through my list of recipes, I came across that old favorite—pimento cheese.

Truth be told, I hadn’t eaten any since my grandfather’s funeral back in 2008. A woman that goes to my grandparent’s church had read my earlier blog post where I remarked that pimento cheese makes for fine funeral food. And so she made my recipe and brought it to the farm.

It was a hit—so much of a hit that my uncle Richard and I got in a huge fight over who would get to eat the last couple of spoonfuls. (Now lest you think my family and I don’t get along—we were all a bit stressed because of the funeral and were behaving like five year olds. This is not to say, however, that it wasn’t indeed a fine batch of pimento cheese.) That day was over a year ago, and that’s just too long to go without eating pimento cheese. So I decided to whip up a batch.

Pimento cheese is simple, really. At its most basic it’s just shredded cheddar cheese, some mayonnaise and chopped pimentos. But when I opened my refrigerator, I realized that I didn’t have any pimentos on hand. So I improvised.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chipotle sweet potato soup

chipotle sweet potato soup
Tonight I made one of my favorite soups, a thick sweet potato soup made fiery and smoky with chipotles. I make this soup often in the cold-weather months, but for some reason I’ve never shared it with you. Well that’s about to change.

I’ll be going home next week and with my clothes a bit snug and my complexion splotchy, I decided to do a quick, two-day detox before the holidays. Over the weekend I drank furry apple juice spiked with cayenne, sipped dandelion tea mixed with lots of lemon and ginger, and downed the occasional glass of almond milk for a bit of protein.

I didn’t have much energy, so I just lay on the couch reading my friend’s new book. The weather was mild with high temperatures and gentle breezes, so in the afternoons I’d go for walks by the river. I made up this regime, so I don’t know if I was following proper detox form, but after a couple of days I was less puffy and possessed a sense of peace and restfulness I hadn’t had for quite a while.

But enough about my detox—you want to know about the chipotle sweet potato soup! It’s recommended when you conclude a detox that you shouldn’t overburden your system. So smoked brisket and a big bowl of queso—no matter how much I was craving them—were out of the question.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tex-Mex chicken and dumplings recipe

Is there a cuter word in the English language than dumpling? Nope, I didn’t think so. And when you pair it with chicken to make chicken and dumplings, you have one of my favorite belly-filling, spirit-warming, cold-weather dishes.

As befits a homesick Texan, I spend chunks of time thinking of places I’d like to visit when I’m at home. My latest obsession is taking road trips on many of the state’s two-lane highways, motoring through some of the smaller towns that you wouldn’t normally see if you stayed on the interstates.

One of the best things about these towns is that they usually have a café that specializes in classic Texan cooking. You know the kind of joint I’m talking about—it’s a place where you can get a cheese enchilada to go with your chicken-fried steak, the lima beans are dripping with a bacon-rich broth, the iced tea is served in a bottomless glass and the toughest decision you’ll make that day is whether to order the pie or the cobbler for dessert.

Oh, and of course, these cafés always serve chicken and dumplings.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Peanut butter pie recipe

peanut butter pie

I have a new favorite pie that I will be sharing with my family at Thanksgiving—it’s peanut butter pie. But before I tell you how to make it, first a little background.

Two years ago, I received a cookbook in the mail. It was spiral-bound with a lavender cover that had a black and white photo of a woman pulling a tray of rolls from an oven. The title of the book was “Gennie’s Bishop Grill. The Best Buns in Town!!!”

Inside the front flap was an inscription: “Lisa, We hope you enjoy a little bit of Texas home cooking! Thanks, Rosemarie.” I scratched my head. I had not ordered this cookbook, nor was I familiar with either Rosemarie or Gennie’s Bishop Grill. It was strange.

A couple of days later, my dad called. “Lisa, did you send me a cookbook from Gennie’s Bishop Grill?” I told him I had not. Now I was really confused! Who was Rosemarie and why was she sending my dad and me cookbooks?

But before I had a chance to say this, my dad continued. “I love Gennie’s Bishop Grill! I used to eat there all the time!” He went on to tell me that Gennie’s Bishop Grill was a restaurant in the Bishop’s Art District that served up excellent home cooking. It was known for its chicken-fried steak, yeast rolls and its pies—namely its peanut butter pie.

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