Sunday, 2 October 2011

Wonderful Comfort Food from The Homesick Texan

The Homesick Texan Cookbook
Lisa Fain
Hardcover, 368 pages

What do you do when you are miles away from home and missing the comforting cuisine that you grew up with?

For Lisa Fain, now living in New York, finding homestyle food in her new neighbourhood was next to impossible.

So she did what any enterprising young woman dreams of doing - she recreated it herself. Scouring the boroughs for the right ingredients, and setting up the award-winning food blog Lisa embarked on the delicious adventure of a lifetime.

The book is a gorgeous love letter to good old southern cuisine and, for a northerner like me, an adventure in itself. I love the comforting creations, and the introduction and explanation of true Texan ingredients and food styles. This is a family-friendly book to fall in love with.

As part of the cookbook spotlight for the Homesick Texan (hosted by my pal Heather/Girlichef), my friends and I have been cooking up a storm. They wrapped up last month and links to all their delicious creations are supplied by Heather, below.

I whipped up Lisa's Smoky Deviled Eggs, deliciously sharp and smoky and totally addictive. We then went on to the Poblano Mac and Cheese - my new favourite mac and cheese. I love the addition of lime and cilantro and peppers - amazing! And we topped the adventure off with her Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style. Dark and rich and smoky and authentic, they were a huge hit in our home.

We had a great time cooking with The Homesick Texan, and you will too. With the summer fading and the leaves turning colour, now is the time for some serious comfort food.


Blogger's Choice

girlichef: Pasilla Garlic Shrimp + Fried Catfish & Hushpuppies
Kahakai Kitchen: Green Chile Chowder
EKat's Kitchen: Seven-Chile Texas Chili
Stirring the Pot: Mexican Fried Potatoes + Carnitas, Jalapeño Pinto Beans, & Red Chile Rice + Breakfast Tacos & Refried Beans + Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeños + Chipotle Pimento Cheese
Sweet Life: Fried Shrimp
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Pasilla Garlic Shrimp  + Tomatillo Cheese Grits
Mangoes and Chutney: Cheese Enchiladas w/ Chile con Carne
Foodness Gracious: Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Cooking for My Peace of Mind: Pan de Campo
Nutmeg Nanny: Sweet Potato and Fig Muffins  
Fudge Ripple: Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas
Rook no. 17: Pumpkin Empanadas
Year on the Grill (posting at other blog): Corn Chowder w/ Roasted Jalapeños & Bacon
Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor: Tomato Cobbler
Creative Kitchen: Migas
Anchovies and Butter: Smoky Deviled Eggs
A Platter of Figs: Mexican Chocolate Chewies  
Bo's Bowl: Carne Guisada    
Smoky Deviled Eggs
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Anchovies and Butter

6 large hard-boiled eggs,peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp yellow prepared mustard
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1 clove garlic,minced
salt,to taste

1.Scoop the yolks out from the eggs into a bowl and mash until smooth.
2.Stir in the lime juice,cilantro,mustard,mayonnaise,ground cumin,smoked paprika,chipotle powder, and garlic.Mix until well combined. Taste and add the salt and adjust seasonings.
3. Scoop or pipe the mixture into the halved eggs and sprinkle with additional smoked paprika.
 Poblano Macaroni and Cheese &/or Sopapillas

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Heather/Girlichef
serves 8

2 poblano chiles
8 oz. elbow pasta
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1½ c. whole milk
1 tsp. mustard powder
¼ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. lime zest
½ c. chopped cilantro
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. grated white cheddar cheese (I used half white, half yellow)

for serving:
Cotija cheese
Tortilla chips, crushed

Roast the poblanos under the broiler until blackened, ~5 minutes per side.  Remove and cover them to let them steam, for ~20 minutes. Peel/rub off the skins and remove the stems and seeds, then dice into ~1" chunks.

Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until just al dente.  Preheat your oven to 375° F.  Grease a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet and set aside.

In a pot set over low heat, melt the butter.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the flour and cook until light brown and toasty smelling, ~1 minute more.  Whisk in the milk and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and stir in mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and prepared poblanos.  Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, as needed.

Stir half of the cheese into the sauce until melted.  Throw in the pasta and stir until coated.  Pour into prepared dish.  Top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.  Sprinkle with Cotija right when it comes out of the oven (to help it melt in a bit) and crushed tortilla chips (you could also sprinkle these on top before baking, if you wish), if you wish.

 Austin-Style Black Beans &/or Pork Tacos, Gas Station Style

Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Heather/Girlichef
makes 4-6 servings

for the pork
4 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into ½" chunks
1 canned chipotle in adobo
4 garlic cloves
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. ground cumin
small pinch ground cloves
¼ c. orange juice
¼ c. pineapple juice
1 Tbs. white vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
salt, to taste
1 Tbs. vegetable oil

for the tacos
6 jalapeños
tortillas, flour or corn
cilantro, chopped
yellow onion, small dice
1 lime, cut into wedges/slices

Toast pasillas in a dry skillet over high heat for ~10 seconds per side, or until they start to puff and change colors.  Fill skillet with enough water to cover chiles and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let chiles rehydrate until soft, ~30 minutes.

Place re-hydrated chiles in blender (discard soaking liquid) along with the chipotle, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, orange juice, pineapple juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Blend to a smoth purée.  Add salt to taste.  Toss pork with purée (I put everything into a gallon ziploc bag).  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Before cooking, let pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Fry pork in the skillet for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Now...when it comes to pork shoulder, my personal preference is a longer cooking time, otherwise the meat is a bit chewy and tough. So, after the pork cooked down for 15 minutes, I added two cups of water, covered the pan and let it simmer down.  I repeated this for one hour, adding more water as needed, until the pork wound up just coated with the "sauce" as it was after the first 15 minutes.  The pork was super tender and retained the fantastic flavor that (I believe) was intended.

While pork is cooking, place jalapeños under broiler and cook for ~10 minutes, or until blackened, turning once.  Serve pork in warm tortillas, topped with cilantro and onions, along with the roasted chiles and lime wedges...and salsa, if you like.

Participants' Cookbook Reviews

*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted  at girlichef*