Fricasé-Inspired Chicken Casserole

The “Fricasé” of Latin America is the inspiration for this casserole.  I take a slight turn away from the Carribbean and Bolivian flavor profiles, but keep the briny green olives and pimientos.  In another post we will discuss the French basis of this dish and why we don’t use cream at all, but rather tomatoes.

Most often potatoes and rice are central ingredients.  In Bolivia hominy is traditional and that is a wonderful, low GI food.   Here I’ve substituted riced cauliflower.  My purpose is not to change this traditional dish, but to give an option to lovers of Fricasé who may be borderline diabetic or who otherwise have to closely control their blood sugar to prevent diabetes. It’s a contemporary alternative based on Latin Ameircan traditions, and I think it’s delicious.  FricaseConColiflorRecipe (serves 6)

1 cut-up chicken
1 large white or yellow onion, thin slices
1/4 tsp ground chile de arbol or chile japonés (Thai bird chile)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
4 Roma tomatoes, small dice, OR one 8-oz can of commercial tomato sauce
1 cup chopped brined olives with pimientos
1/4 cup parsley, minced

1.  In a cast iron casserole or large, Dutch oven, or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer, then add the cut-up chicken pieces a few at a time and brown them, turning them as necessary.  Don’t put too many pieces at once because that will crowd the pan and force the release of juices.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep it warm.

2.  Add the onions and chile de arbol (or chile japonés) and cook on low heat until the onions are translucent.

3.  Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.

4. After the bottom of the pan is completely free of the brown bits, add the chicken, chicken broth and tomato.  Simmer on very low heat, covered, until the chicken is completely cooked, about 25 minutes.  After the chicken is completely cooked, remove the cover, add the parsley, olives and pimientos, and allow to cook until the liquid evaporates a bit, leaving a slightly thickened sauce.

5.  Rinse the cauliflower, cut it into small pieces, and boil it in salted water until it just begins to turn tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Force it through a ricer or chop it into small pieces.

To serve, place a dollop of cauliflower on a dish and pour the chicken atop.  Serve it steaming, with green peas.

¡Buen Provecho!



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Crab Cakes with Yerbaniz Mayo – Tortas de Jaiba con Mayonesa de Yerbaniz

From time to time I scan my archives for dishes that I like to “reheat” and share again.  I think you’ll like this recipe because the cakes are super light and crispy.  Last Fall the chef at the Abilene Country Club prepared this for one of my book events and paired it with a Texas Trempranillo wine. Delicious!

Gulf Coast crab reminds us of our history.  Most anthropologists assert that the Karankawas, lean, dark and tall (6 feet),  lived on the Texas coast for thousands of years (La Vere, 2004).  European explorer documents describe their food and their cooking techniques but we’ve lost much detail because the oral culture and traditions are lost.  I can imagine Karankawa families enjoying crab cooked in different ways, much as they did corn cakes, perhaps roasting them, seasoned with the surrounding herbs.  Tragically, their life and culture reached a bloody end.CrabCakes

Between 1824 and 1827, the Texas Rangers under John H. Moore and Robert Kuykendall attacked them, killed most of them and and drove the survivors south.  The history of this period is still being written and needs more study.  We know that the surviving Karankawas fled their centuries-old ancestral homeland while Kuykendall is quoted as proclaiming that “Indian hunting” had become a “sport.” (Anderson, 2005)

When I’m in my kitchen cooking any type of seafood from our Texas coast, these important memories are with me and I think they make my food more substantial, nuanced and I want it to be flavorful and enjoyed by all.  It was the French food philosopher, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who wrote in 1825, “Gastronomy is the intelligent knowledge of whatever concerns man’s nourishment.” “…the action of foods on man’s morale, on his imagination, his spirit, his judgment, his courage and perceptions…” (Brillat-Savarin, re-published 2009)

Let’s serve the table, a table for all.

Recipe ( serves 8) Excerpted from the book, “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes
10 oz fresh large lump crabmeat
2 shallots, minced
2 Tbs fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1 Tbs fresh chives, minced
1 Tbs fresh chives, cut into 1/2 pieces for garnish
1/8 tsp powdered Chile De Arbol or Cayenne chile
egg whites of 2 small eggs
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 Tbs Canola oil

1. In cold water, wash and pick over the crab meat gently so it doesn’t break apart, set aside.
2. Sauté the shallots in 1 Tbs Canola oil until they are soft.  Set aside and allow them to cool to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl mix together with a spatula the egg whites, parsley, chives, Chile de Arbol, salt, pepper and cooled shallots.
4. Fold in the crab meat and when it is covered with the egg white mixture, gently fold in the panko bread crumbs.
5. Make 24 round cakes and set them aside.
6. In a sautée pan, preferably non-stick, heat 2 Tbs Canola oil on high heat.
7. Add the crab cakes in batches and sautée until golden, about 2 minutes on each side.  Don’t overcrowd them in the pan because this will lower the oil temperature too much. I use a rubber spatula and a fork to turn them gently. Add a little more Canola oil if needed, just a little.

Serve immediately with Mayonesa De Yerbaniz, recipe in my previous blog. You won’t be able to find yerbaniz at the grocery store, so make a leisurely trip to the nursery and buy a small plant.  The scientific name is “Tagetes Lucida,” and it’s sometimes called sweet mace, Texas tarragon and Mexican tarragon. It has attractive yellow flowers, so it’s a great addition to your flower and herb garden. ¡Buen provecho!


Anderson, G. C. (2005). The conquest of texas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Brillat-Savarin, J. A. (2009). The physiology of taste. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

La Vere, D. (2004). The texas indians. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

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Chile Dulce Con Queso – Pimento Cheese Spread

This is a hearty, delicious chile con queso, chile-cheese spread. Yes, it is another of the “chile con queso” variations.  It’s common all across the southern US, known as Pimento Cheese, and it is so beloved that folk get into nasty fights and feuds about the correct ingredients and taste.  I love the passionate affinities that food creates!

I retrieved it from my archives this morning because I realized that it is not often noted that the foundational ingredient is Mexican.  The “Bell Pepper” is really a Mexican chile called “Chile Dulce” that is native to Yucatán.
ChileDulceConQuesoThis recipe is rich and bold, contrasting the roasted, pungent sweetness of Chile Dulce (red bell pepper or pimento) with really good Cheddar cheese.  I add some Chile De Arbol for a slight fiery kick that heightens the taste.

Chile Dulce  was taken to Spain  by Christopher Columbus.  The Spaniards loved the sweet, non-hot taste of this ChileDulceStripssmlchile, and eventually made it an essential ingredient of their traditional cuisine.  They call it Pimentón.  By the 1560’s, these chiles had reached the Balkans where they were called peperke or paparka.  Hungary was particularly creative in making a home for the Chile Dulce, calling it “Paprika,” and it is now central to Hungarian cuisine.

The name change from “chile” to “pepper” is based on the confusion of the Europeans upon encountering the Mexican chiles.  Columbus and others were actually looking for India, so when they landed in the Caribbean and South America they called us “Indians.”  The name stuck.  Also, the only hot, fiery spice the Spaniards knew was the Black Pepper of India, “Pimienta.” So, they applied that name to the chile, “Pimentón.”  And that’s how we now  have “Pimento Cheese” instead of what I call it: “Chile Dulce With Cheese.”  Hmmm, language and food.

Enough talk.  Let’s eat!

Recipe (Makes 3 cups)

1 lb Cheddar Cheese, grated.  Use really tasty cheddar.
10 ounces Roasted “Red Bell Peppers,” small dice. Store-bought, usually in a 12-ounce jar.
3/4 cup Mayonnaise.  You’re probably not making your own, so buy a high quality brand.
1 Large Chile De Arbol (1/4 tsp) ground to a fine powder using a molcajete or spice grinder
Salt to taste
A generous grind of Black Pepper, “Pimienta”

1.  In a large bowl,  blend together the mayonnaise and chile de arbol
2.  Add the cheddar, the chile dulce, and mix thouroughly using a rubber spatula.
3. Taste, and add a little salt if needed.  I usually add about 1/4 tsp, depending on the saltiness of the cheese.  Give a good grind with the Black Pepper mill.
3. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Before serving, make sure to bring it back to room temperature to release the aroma and flavors.

Serve it as a spread with a variety of crackers or make sandwiches, cut into quarters.


Filippone, P. [Web log message]. Retrieved from


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Guacamole: from Avocado, from Aguacate, from Aguacatlán

In Texas gaucamole is omnipresent.  There are as many recipes as there are bragging-prone hermanas and hermanos.

I myself not being one to brag,, Ahem.., my recipe is based on 3 simple rules.
1.    Purchase them Green and Hard.
Rodolfo Fernandez is the top Avocado expert in our region.  For many years he provided the best-tasting avocados to Mexican restaurants throughout San Antonio.  I follow his advice.  At the produce section, purchase Mexican or Haas aguacates while they are still green and very firm. Store them in a plastic or paper bag and wait two days, maybe three, at which time they’ll begin to ripen and soften.  It is then that they are at their peak of flavor. There is no substitute for this direct, natural taste.  You’ll say, wow.
2.  No Masks.
The fresh, full flavor of the avocado takes nicely to complementary seasonings and accompaniments but be judicious. At all costs do not mask the texture or flavor of the aguacate.
3.  Use a Molcajete.
In the recipe below I explain how the foundational flavor is developed in a molcajete.

Avocado is aguacate in Spanish and aguacate is derived from the original Nahuatl name, “Ahucacahuitl.”
The name appears in early writings, MesoAmerican hieroglyphs, documenting that the Avocado is native to Puebla, Mexico.

Here is an original glyph of anavocado tree linked to the place where the tree originates, the town of “Ahuacatlán.”  The earliest remains of avocado consumption, 8,000-7,000 BCE, have been found in a cave in what is currently Coxcatlán in the state of Puebla, Mexico.

From there the little lush fruit travelled and developed.


mapmexavocadoThere are three botanical types of avocados, Mexican, Guatemalan and Antillean. This map (2) lists where the origins of each of the types may have developed. Notice that the Mexican avocado is within the current Texas Mexican area.
So enjoy this recipe knowing, again, that for millenia our land has nurtured us with delicious fruits and wonderful cooks.  Hmmmmm!


Recipe: serves 6

2 Mexican or Haas avocados
1/2 Tbsp Green Serrano chile, sliced
1/2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tspn white onion, small dice
1 tspn salt
1/4 cup tomato, small dice
2 Tbsp white onion, small dice
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1.  Using a molcajete, make a fine paste of the onion, chile, cilantro and salt.  Here is wheremolchileverdesml I mentioned that you can molchilehandsmldevelop the flavor direction that your guacamole will take.  You may add other seasonings to the molcajete, but keep in mind that you are following many years of tradition.  Make sure your variations are culturally relevant, enticing to the palette, and not just vacuously trendy.  Vacuously trendy will include broccoli and green peas.

2.  Dice the avocado and add to the molcajete, scraping and folding to make sure the avocado is covered with the seasonings.
3.  Add the remaining tomato, cilantro and onion.
4.  Serve immediately with freshly made corn tortillas, or with crisped tortilla chips.


Guacamole in a molcajete. Photo by: Lynn Lane

(1) HISTORIA DEL AGUACATE EN MÉXICO, Salvador Sánchez Colín, Pedro Mijares Oviedo, Luis López-López, Alejandro F. Barrientos-Priego.

(2) HISTORIA DEL AGUACATE EN MÉXICO, Salvador Sánchez Colín, Pedro Mijares Oviedo, Luis López-López, Alejandro F. Barrientos-Priego.

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For All Fathers Anyday: Huachinango A La Veracruzana

I used to cook at a Houston shelter for homeless men and women called Casa Juan Diego.  The shelter is a project of “The Catholic Worker” movement, and it includes a residence for homeless refugees and immigrants, men with advanced cases of AIDS.  One of the men asked me if I would please make him “Huachinango a la Veracruzana” because the dish reminded him of home and he knew he was facing his last days.  That was a memorable, graced request that humbled me.

I made this dish for him, and it is just one example of how food is memory and love.

HuachinangosmlBI’m sharing this recipe for this Father’s Day weekend to honor all fathers who find themselves homeless, refugees, immigrants.

It is a celebratory and visually beautiful dish, an example of the Moroccan, Arab influence on Mexican cuisine.  There is no cilantro in this recipe but rather flat leaf parsley, reminiscent of the Morrocan “Tagine” this dish resembles.

Note that the Mediterranean coast of Morocco resembles the coast of Veracruz.
Moroccomap-281x300 veracruz-300x211
The similarities to Moroccan, Mediterranean, cuisines continues with the delicious addition of onions, black pepper, briny capers and green olives.  But then it’s really the main characters that give the dish its identity.  Absolutely fresh and sweet Red Snapper from the Gulf of Mexico, ripe tomates (tomatoes) and the chile Jalapeño.  I can understand how this dish is a source of memories and gives you a sense of belonging.  I love to make it. For Father’s day, it’s an inspired change from steak.

(This recipe is from a previous blog post and is excerpted from my book: “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes”

 Recipe  (serves 8 )


8 six-to-eight-ounce Red Snapper fillets

1/4 cup  juice of Mexican limes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4  cups diced white onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

12  cups Roma tomatoes (about 12 tomatoes), diced

1 1/2 cups Manzanilla olives, some sliced, some whole

1/2 cup Spanish capers, whole

8 bay leaves

1/3 cup Flat parsley, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup Jalapeños en escabeche (pickled), sliced

1 Tbsp salt,

ground black pepper, t.t.


1. Dry the filets and season with 1/2 Tbsp salt and some freshly ground black pepper

2. Drizzle with the lime juice, cover and refrigerate for one hour or even up to four hours if your dinner party schedule requires it.

3. Preheat oven to 350º F

4. In a large skillet heat the extra virgin olive oil and  cook the onions until translucent.

5. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

6. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, capers, olives, and 1/4 cup of  the parsley and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are tender.  You can hold the mixture warm for up to an hour if  you need to enjoy your guests and then proceed to the next step.

7 . Spread one half of the tomato mixture on the bottom of a casserole and lay the filets on top skin side down.  Spread the rest of the tomato mixture over the filets, cover tightly and place in the oven.

8.  Cook for 30 minutes or until the fish is thoroughly cooked.

9.  Uncover the dish. Sprinkle the top of the filets with the rest of the parsley and the pickled Jalapeño slices.


Serve immediately over white rice.  Enjoy!

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Frijoles Borrachos, Frijoles Charros – Drunken Beans, Charro Beans

Dishes have provenance and memory.
The most mouth-watering and delicious ones evoke family, context and relationships.

The recipe was initially told to me by my sister, María, when both of us were in our twenties.  It was a delight to have entered the grown-up world and cook a recipe that included beer.  There was a bit of transgression in the idea of “borrachos”/ “Drunk.  Served piping hot in a small bowl, this dish is just plain delicious.  It also serves as key memory of Chicano experience.  My non-Chicano friends tell me that they’ve made these for office parties and also for home dinner parties and the “borrachos” are a hit.
(I use the term, Chicana/o here to refer to a Mexican American who seeks a certain degree of cultural awareness and political activism.)

Oh, if you omit the beer, you have “Frijoles Charros” which are also delicious. No transgression.

Like all Texas Mexican family foods, this one depends on fresh ingredients and on timing.  Follow the advice of my sister, Esther, who taught me this particular recipe: “Avoid over-cooking the tomato and onion, and add the cilantro at the very end to enjoy the aromatic oils of the herb.”

Frijoles Borrachos, Frijoles Charros | Drunken Beans, Charro Beans (
Recipe excerpted from the book, “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes”

 Recipe (serves a party of 8–10)


1 pound pinto beans, picked over for debris and rinsedtomatechile2

3 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup beer (if you omit the beer, you will have Frijoles Charros)

2 tablespoons salt

1 cup white onion, small dice

4 coarsely diced small tomatoes (about 4 cups)

1-1/2 tablespoons finely diced chile serrano (remove seeds if you want a less hot, or “menos picante,” version)

1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped


1. Pick through the beans to remove any little rocks or debris, rinse them, and then place them in a large pot and cover them with water rising 2 inches above the beans. Add the beer, bacon, and salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a slow simmer and cook for about 2–4 hours until they are completely soft. Add more water during the cooking as needed so that they do not dry out. I place them in a crockpot, medium or high setting, and cook for 6–8 hours.

2. When the beans are cooked, add the onion, tomato, and the chile and cook for 20 minutes. Just before serving, add the bunch of coarsely chopped cilantro. As I mentioned above, my sister, Esther, who taught me this recipe, cautions anyone who makes this recipe to avoid overcooking the onion and tomato.

Serve in small bowls and just watch the smiles on everyone’s faces.



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“Huevos Indios”- Curried Deviled Eggs

Serve these at a barbecue as appetizers, and make sure to make plenty.  They’re also great for an evening party because you can store them in the fridge until you’re guests arrive.  The zing comes from not just the curry but also from the capers.  Of course, all Indian curries (99%) will have Chiles as part of the mix.

Curried Deviled Eggs

Curried, Chile, Deviled Eggs.

Chiles are an integral part of Indian curry dishes, and they entered that Asian cuisine around 1500 when the plants were traded there as part of the burgeoning spice trade between the Americas and Asia and Africa.  I call these “Huevos Indios” not because I’m relating them to the chiles of Native American, “Indian,” cuisine, but to the curry of Asian “Indian” cuisines.  It’s confusing because we use the same name, “Indian,” to refer both to Native Americans of USA and to natives of the country, India.

Recipe (Makes 24 deviled eggs)

1 dozen Eggs
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Tbl Capers, drained, mashed into a paste
3 tsp Brine from the capers
1/2 tsp Curry powder (use your favorite blend)
1/2 Tbl Fresh Lemon Juice
1/8 tsp Salt or to taste
Paprika for garnish

1.  Remove the eggs from the refrigerator, place them in a saucepan and cover them with cold water.

2. Place over heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and start timing.  Simmer for 12 minutes.

3. Place the cooked eggs in a large bowl filled with iced water.  This will stop the cooking and keep the eggs from developing a green ring around the yolk.  If you don’t have ice, just let the eggs cool.

4.  Peel the eggs, slice them in half, remove the egg yolks and place yolks in a large bowl.

5. Mash the capers by smearing them on a cutting board with a chef’s knife, as in this picture.Smearing CurryWithKnife  The video at the end of this recipe shows how to use the knife.

6. Add the mashed capers and all the remaining ingredients to the yolks and mash them with a spatula, then whisk the mixture until it is smooth, light, almost fluffy.

7. Using a piping bag with a serrated tip, fill the halved egg whites with the curried yolks and garnish with a pinch of paprika.

You can hold these in the fridge for several hours, covered with plastic wrap.  I guarantee that they’ll go fast.  I love these “Huevos Indios,” Indio from the country of india!


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The Texas Mexican Table–5 Reasons Why It’s Ancient, and Also New

Texas Mexican cuisine is at the heart of our community.  Like us, it has roots going back 10,000 years, and also like us, it is ever evolving, ever new.

ShrimpSalsatomate (1)

Shrimp with tomato and chile de arbol

“Camarón Con Tomate y Chile” is an example.  I made this with ingredients that are native to Texas and have been here for millenia:  shrimp, tomato, squash and chile.   Although ancient in their roots, these ingredients are still very much contemporary.  There’s a twist to this dish with the addition of green peas (why not!) and wonderfully aromatic basil.  The combination of basil with chile de arbol is wonderful.

The Karankawa  Indians and other Native Americans, ancestors of today’s Mexican American community, caught and cooked shrimp for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. They used techniques that were common at the time: steaming, boiling and open-fire (grilling).  We still use those techniques and that is why our cuisine has ancient roots but is also in step with the times.

These are five reasons why the Texas Mexican table is ancient and also new.
1.  Culinary Technique is the first reason that the Texas Mexican table is ancient and new.  Our ancestors invented grilling, steaming, grinding and boiling, many generations ago;  we use them today and our use keeps them new.

2.  Ingredients are the second reason. The flavor profile of our food is characterized by the use of tomate, calabaza (squash), salt, seafoods natural to this land like our gulf coast shrimp, and chiles.  It is these native ingredients that contribute to the flavor profile.  We often combine them with imported ingredients brought here by the immigrant Europeans in the 1500s.

3. The Molcajete is the third reason:  creating harmony out of difference.  In this recipe I use a molcajete to grind theMolcajeteChileArbolHand chile de arbol and the salt.  To me, the molcajete is the metaphor for Texas Mexican food.  It is the crucible in which we bring together various ingredients, some mightily different, and with them, create a harmony of new, unique flavors.  The molcajete is a metaphor not only of how we create the flavors of our cuisine, but also how we continuously create and celebrate the identity of our community and culture.  The molcajete is essential to our cuisine, both as a tool and as a metaphor.

4.  The fourth reason is: We don’t get carried away with frying.  As a technique, frying belongs to Tex-Mex food served in restaurants where it’s use is central to their menu.  Almost everything is fried, from the appetizer corn chips to the combination plates.  As a culinary technique it was never used by Native Americans of Texas, but now we do sometimes use it.  As a new technique, we happily incorporate it into how we prepare some of the more traditional dishes like chalupas and chile relleno.

5.  The final reason is a self-evident one.  The Texas Mexican table is both ancient and new because it is a reflection of who we are as a community.   We, the Texas Mexican people, have been here for 10,000 years but we are not trapped by our rich heritage, we are empowered by it.  As we change with the times, our food changes, faithful to tradition yet ever new.

Recipe for “Camarón Con Tomate Y Chile” (serves 4)


Chile De Arbol

1 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 Roma Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 White Onion, large, thinly sliced
3 Zuchini squash, sliced into ¼ inch sticks
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 Chile De Arbol, seeds removed
2 Tbl Canola or vegetable oil
2 cups Green Peas, fresh or frozen
3 cups water
8 leaves fresh Basil, rolled into little cigars and sliced thinly into strips (Chiffonade) or you may use 4 dashes of dried


1. Heat a large, deep sauté skillet over medium heat and add 1/4 cup oil and the sliced onions.  Lower the heat to low and cook the onions, uncovered, until they are very soft and translucent but not browned, about 20 minutes.
2.Slice the squash, lengthwise, into 1/4 slices.  Then, holding the slices together, on top of each other, slice them again, lengthwise, making long 1/4 inch square sticks.  Set aside.
3.  In a molcajete, grind 1 tsp salt and chile together to a fine powder.  You may use a spice grinder for this if you do not have a mocajete.
4.Add the tomatoes and the chile-salt powder to the onions, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Cook, uncovered, for three minutes.  Do not overcook the tomatoes because you will lose the fresh tomato flavor that makes this dish pop.  The mixture should be soupy.  If it is too thick, add ¼ cup water.
5. When the tomato mixture is boiling, add the shrimp and cook, uncovered, for about 3-4 minutes until the shrimp become bright white and just opaque.  Stir as necessary.  Don’t overcook the shrimp because they will become rubbery.  Adjust the salt.
6.  To cook the squash, place the squash sticks in a skillet and cover half-way with water, add ½ tsp salt.  Bring the water to a boil, cover the skillet and turn off the heat.  Let steep for 5 minutes.
7.  To cook the peas, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add the peas and cook, uncovered for 2-3 minutes until cooked but still slightly firm.

To serve, lay the squash on each of four plates and top with the shrimp. Spoon the peas on the sides.  Sprinkle the tops with the fresh Basil strips or the dried flakes.


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Hispanic Women’s Network Of Texas hosts “Truly Texas Mexican” Reception

hwntA Reading from the book, “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes”, followed by a Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring dishes from the recipes in the book.
All proceeds benefit the HWNT Scholarship Fund.

Click here for Info   A Reading and Tasting Reception: Truly Texas Mexican


Click Here For Tickets To The Reading and Tasting ReceptionMedranoReadingandTastingHWNT





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“Fideo” Is A Texas Mexican Classic

Fideo is a delicious family favorite and one that emphasizes our native tomato.  I first wrote about this some years ago, but decided to post this recipe again because I suddenly realized that our “Fideo” probably predates the Italian dish,  spaghetti with tomato sauce.FideoTexMexThis realization came after I heard a paper delivered by Laura Sanchini (Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21) at the annual meeting of the American Folkore Society in Santa Fe. Descended from Italian immigrants living in Canada, Sanchini described how the tomato did not appear in Italian cuisine until the late 19th century, and it began to take hold among most Italians only in the early 20th century.  This view of history, coupled with the fact that “Fideo” (Pasta with Tomato Sauce) appears in Mexico already by the 1700’s, leads me to the view that we combined pasta with tomatoes long before the Italians did so.  Both Mexican and Italian uses of tomato are a delicious way to enjoy culture.tomatechile2

I grew up with this flavorful tomato broth with coiled vermicelli. The stewed tomatoes, onions and garlic gave every Mexican American child a boost of delicious identity and confidence.  Your kids will love it.


2 roma tomatoes, diced
small white onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
8 black peppercorns
1/8 tspn or slightly less cumin
1/2 Chile Serrano (optional)
1/2 lb fideo (coiled vermicelli), broken a bit (ok, in my picture tonight I used homemade pasta I had leftover from the night before, but vermicelli, fideo, is the traditional dish)
5 cups water
2 Tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
4 eggs


1.  in a large saute pan heat the oil and saute the onion until translucent.
2.  In a separate skillet toast the vermicelli slightly in a bit of oil.
3.  In a molcajete mash the black pepper, garlic and the cumin (also chile serrano if you are using it) into a fine paste. Use any mortar and pestle or small food processor if you don’t have a molcajete.
4. Add a few tablespoons of water to the molcajete paste and then pour it into the onions.
5.  Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce and the rest of the water and bring to a boil.
6.  Add the toasted vermicelli and cook uncovered until done and the broth is reduced.
7.  Hard boil the eggs, slice them and place them atop the cooked fideo. I grew up with the eggs being optional, but some families include the eggs religiously.

¡Buen provecho, and be thankful for immigration and human encounters that create new dishes!

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