Holiday Tamales , Tamales de Frijol

Hello, fellow Vegans, welcome to traditional vegan cuisine, an oft-overlooked dimension of Texas Mexican cuisine.  They are special for holidays and bring friends and family together.

TamalesmlThese bean tamales are in every Mexican American home in Texas.  Well I can’t make such an absolute statement, but I can say that  they were definitely in my home and in every home of my large extended family and neighbors.  Even when we went to Nava, Coahuila, 45 miles south of the Rio Grande, our relatives who lived there served Tamales De Frijol.

Bean tamales are also in southern regions, like in Puebla, Mexico.  But they are slightly different and, of course, in Puebla they are sometimes served with Mole Poblano which is a truly wonderful combination.  We serve ours as is, or with Salsa Ranchera if you really need some additional tang. Either way, your taste buds will will have a holiday celebration.

Recipe: (makes one dozen tamales, or up to 16 if you stretch the masa)

For Masa and Husks:
16 dried tamale husks, Hojas de Maíz, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
1 lb masa for tamales. This is a coarser grind than masa for tortillas. It is called “masa quebrada.”
1/2 cup Canola oil.  I actually use organic palm oil shortening.  It works really great and has no transfats, since it is not hydrogenated. Also, as a solid fat it harkens back to pre-1500, before pigs, when we cooked with absolutely no lard anywhere to be seen.
1/4 to 1/2 cup water if needed

For the Chile Paste:
1 garlic clove
3 Chiles Ancho, cleaned, seeded and deveined
3 Guajillo Chiles, cleaned, seeded and deveined
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cups water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt or to taste

For the Beans:
1/2 lb beans.  If you want to, soak the beans overnight so that they will cook more quickly, 1 1/2 hours. If you don’t soak them (I never do) cooking time will be 4 hours.
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

First, place the corn husks in a large container and cover them with hot water. Let them soak and soften for at least 30 minutes and overnight if you like.
For the Beans:
1. Pick over the beans to remove any small stones or debris.  Rinse them in a colander.
2.In a large pot, add the beans and salt. Cover the beans with 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered. If the beans have been soaked overnight you will cook them for 1 1/2 hours. If they have not been soaked, it will take 4 hours. They are done when completely soft when you press one between your fingers. Note: As they cook,keep checking to make sure you maintain the water level at least 2 inches above the beans.  Add additional water as needed.
3. When the beans are completely cooked and soft, heat a deep skillet on medium heat and add the beans and 2 cups of the liquid.
4. Using a masher, smash the beans until they are smooth and soupy, adding more liquid as needed.
5. By this time you will have made the chile paste, so add 3 Tbs chile paste to the beans and blend. If you don’t have the paste made, just set the beans aside until you are ready to add the chile paste.
6. After adding the chile paste, cook on low heat, uncovered, until they thicken and make a workable spread for the tamale filling.

For the Chile:
1. To devein the chiles, first lay the chile flat on a cutting board and, using a paring knife, cut a slit lengthwise. Then grab the chile with one hand and with the other break off the stem.  Open the chile along the slit and take out the seeds and veins.
2. In a large saucepan, cover the cleaned chiles with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the chiles steep for 15 minutes so that they re-hydrate and become tender.
2. Drain the chiles, discarding the water.  Let the chiles cool a bit so as not to damage your blender, then place the chiles in a blender along with the garlic and cumin.
3. Blend to a very fine paste, adding water as needed. You will need to add 1/2 to 1 cup water.
4. In a Dutch oven, heat the Tbsp Canola oil and fry the chile paste until it begins to change color and most of the liquid has evaporated. There will be splatter, so be prepared for it.
5. Add the water and simmer for about 15 minutes and then adjust the  salt. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon, have a complex, non-green, non-pungent flavor. I think it tastes delicious.

For the Tamale Masa:
1.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, add 1/4 cup of the chile sauce to the masa and mix thoroughly.
2.  In a saucepan heat the oil to the point just before it shimmers.
3. Adjust the mixer to low and SLOWLY pour the hot oil (not warm but hot) into the masa to incorporate. It will sizzle as it makes contact. (watch out for splatter).
4.  When the oil is incorporated, turn up the mixer to medium and mix well.  Add water as needed to make a thick batter, a bit thicker than pancake batter.

To assemble the Tamales:  
1.  Beginning 3 inches in from the pointed end of the husk, use a small spatula or spoon to spread 2 Tbs masa on each corn husk.
2.  Spoon about 1 1/2 Tablespoon of the bean filling lengthwise on the masa, then curl the husk, enveloping the filling.
3.  Fold the pointed tip up laying it on the side opposite the seam.  This will keep the seam closed.
4.  Stand each tamal, open-end up, in the steamer basket, forming a circle of standing tamales leaning inward. Place some corn husks on top, then a kitchen towel and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
5.  Steam on high heat,for 45 to 50 minutes.

¡Buen Provecho! y ¡Feliz Navidad!

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Scallops “À La Provençale” – The French in Texas

I think everyone loves and enjoys scallops.

This recipe is from my favorite chef champion of French cuisine, (next to Jacque Pépin), Julia Child.  The one tip is that the oil must be very hot when you add the scallops.  This keeps them crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  The French in Texas have a story that begins in the 1600s when the native Karankawas on our Gulf coast, found the first French immigrants near Matagorda Bay (Port Lavaca). CoquilleProvencalesml Matagorda Bay is where scallops are most abundant today.  They are the smaller bay scallops, juicy and delicious.  Archaeologists have found mounds of discarded scallop shells, called middens, evidence that they were a substantial source of food.  The middens date back to what is called the early Archaic period, 10,000 to 8,000 years ago.  That’s a long time that we’ve been eating and enjoying scallops on our Gulf coast. ¡Me gusta!

I learned this recipe from my favorite chef champion of French cuisine, (next to Jacque Pépin), Julia Child.  The one tip is that the oil must be very hot when you add the scallops.  This keeps them crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  The French in Texas have a story that begins in the 1600s when the native Karankawas on our Gulf coast, found the first French immigrants near Matagorda Bay.

The scientific name for our Texas bay scallops is Argopecten irradians amplicostatus. They are found from Galveston down to the Laguna Madre along the Texas Gulf Coast.

In 1686 the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, better known as Sieur de la Salle, set up a small fort, near Matagorda Bay.  Things didn’t turn out very well with the French-Karnkawa relations.  History reports that the French stole canoes and other goods from the Indians and even attacked some of them.  Smallpox  killed nearly all of them as well as Karankawas.  In 1688 the Karankawas went ahead and “destroyed the fort, killing many of the colonists, adopting others, and carrying off most of the manufactured goods.” (La Vere)

But on a happier note, there are many signs that French and Indigenous cuisines have enriched one another, and we can all sit at the table to savor these scallops, bay or sea, that everyone enjoys.

Recipe (For 8 Large Sea Scallops)
8 Fresh Sea Scallops (about 2 cups)
4 ounces  Olive Oil
2 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Shallots,  minced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbs Parsley, minced
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 Lemon
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

1.  Wash in cold water and dry the scallops. Season them with salt and black pepper, drizzle with lemon juice and place them in the fridge until ready to cook.
2.  Just before you are ready to cook them, dredge the scallops in the flour so that they are thoroughly coated.  Then place them in a sieve and shake them so that all excess flour falls off.
3. In a 12″ skillet, heat the olive oil on high heat.  When the oil begins to shimmer in the pan, making waves, add the scallops, taking care not to crowd them. Keep the heat on high.  After about two minutes the bottom will be golden brown, so you can turn them over and cook for another two minutes.  I then toss them to brown all sides.  After 5-6 minutes they are done.
4. Turn of the heat.  Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute, then add the butter and parsley and swirl.

Serve immediately with steamed rice and snow peas.

Bon Appétit!



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Chipotle Turkey Tostadas


Chipotle Turkey Tostada is a variation of the Puebla dish, “Tinga” whose base is tomatoe, onion and chipotle.

I made these with turkey leftover from yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast.  The combination of tomato, onion, garlic and chipotle  is the basic flavor profile that is used in the classic dish known as “Tinga.”  Served in Puebla and central Mexico, It is usually made with shredded chicken or pork, sometimes beef.

Guajolote, turkey, is of course native to Mexico and so it takes well to chiles and tomatoes and that’s why I like to treat it as a “tinga” dish, served on tostadas. If you like the “slightly gamey” flavor of turkey, I  think you’ll like how the chipotle accentuates the flavor of the wild.  I add laurel and just a bit of tomillo (rosemary) for aroma. Served on the crispy tostadas the textures are interesting and delicious.  The crispiness of the tortilla begins to soften in the areas that meet the soupy chipotle turkey, so you’ll taste partly crunchy, partly melting, hmmmm.


Dried chipotle (top) with two chipotle in adobo

Ingredients (makes 8 tostadas)
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
Canola oil to brush the tortillas
4 cups turkey meat, shredded or thinly sliced
1 Tbs Canola oil
2 1/2 cups yellow or white onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
3 canned roma tomatoes with 1/2 cup of the juice (of course you can use fresh ripe tomatoes)
3 chipotle chiles in adobo
1/4 tsp fresh Rosemary, minced
1 large laurel leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water


Baking the corn tortillas makes them perfectly crispy and reduces the amount of oil.

Preheat oven to 350°F
1.  Place tortillas on cookie sheets and brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with Canola oil.
2.  Bake for 15 or 20 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.  Set them aside.
3. In a blender, add the tomatoes, tomato juice, garlic, salt and water and blend into a smooth purée. Set aside.
4.In a large skillet heat 1 Tbs Canola oil on medium heat and cook the onions until they are translucent.
TurkeyTingaPanSpoon5. Add the tomato mixture, laurel leaf and rosemary, and bring to a boil.
6.  Add the turkey, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken slightly.

To assemble the tostadas, just spoon a generous amount of the steaming turkey a including the tomato liquid, onto the tostada. Top with the shredded lettuce.  Each of your guests can assemble their own.  Sometimes you can place a side dish of queso fresco or shredded queso panela to top the tinga before you add the lettuce.


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Smoking A Thanksgiving Turkey, “Guajolote Ahumado”

AMSmokingTurkeyandPorkKarla McLaughlin continues a practice that began here in 800 B.C., the domestication of turkeys.  I’m grateful to Karen who drove all the way from Montgomery to my home in Houston to deliver this 15 pound organic-fed, free-roaming turkey and two pork loins.  She generously took the time because I was in a pinch, facing a party deadline. She is a one-of-a-kind farm owner.  Knowledgeable, caring and meticulously strict about raising the turkeys and other animals that she and her husband, John, tend on their farm.

They call it “Olde World Farms” and it is located in Montgomery, Texas. No antibiotics, no animal products in their feed.  The turkeys stay inside large barns until they are big enough so that the hawks won’t swoop them up. Then they grouse around and eat freely on the farm.  On Saturdays Olde World Farms sells at the Urban Harvest Eastside Street Farmers Market.
SmokedTurkeyBordersmlTo prepare the turkey for smoking, this is what I used to make the
3 gallons warm water
1 lb salt
12 ounces light brown sugar
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
Stir until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved then let the brine cool down completely.
1.  I used a syringe to inject some of the brine into the meat. the total amount of brine should be 10% of the weight of the turkey.  Here’s the math for a 15 lb turkey.
15 X 16 ounces = 240 ounces
240 ounces X .10 = 24 ounces of brine. (FYI: One fluid ounce of water weights exactly 1 ounce)
2.  Using a plastic or stainless steel container, submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 3 days. The container was too heavy and large for my refrigerator so I partially filled a large ice chest with ice and a little water and set the container in it.  Closing the ice chest, the temperature is maintained at a safe 37-39 degrees F
3. After the third day, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it thouroughly with fresh water, pat dry and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 16 hours until a pellicle forms on the skin.  This tacky glaze will help absorb smoke and keep in the moisture.  I hate to say this but in the interest of efficiency, omit this step if you don’t have time to do this or if there’s no room in the fridge.
4. Smoke the turkey in Pecan wood at 185 F for about 6-8 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
Ok, yes,  you can enjoy a beer meanwhile, and ponder this:
A)  The habit of cooking and eating turkey predates us by centuries and
B) The bird came from Mexico and is native to this land, Americas.mapCaboMexicoI’ve placed a dot on the location of Coba, Mexico, near Cancún.(1) This is where archeologists have found the earliest evidence of turkey remains.  They are dated 100 BCE-100 CE.  From there the turkey went north and populated North America, evidence of the vibrant trade and communication withiin the region pre-1400’s.   By the time the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, we had domesticated turkeys not just in Mexico but also in what is now the US New Mexico and Texas (2).  Thereafter the turkey, wild and domesticated, populated the whole of the US and some of Canada. By your second beer, you will have pondered that we and the turkey go back a long way.Let me know how it turns out if you decide to smoke for Thanksgiving.  ¡Feliz Día de Dar Gracias!


(1) map used by permission of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

(2) “Native Americans First Tamed Turkeys 2,000 Years Ago” Feb 1, 2010 by Jennifer Viegas

(this post first published November 16, 2011)


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Crock-Pot Carne Guisada, Salsa con Aguacate

In the morning I place all the ingredients in a crockpot, low heat. When it’s ready at suppertime I make a quick, fresh salsa that has bits of avocado, giving this taco a creamy mouth feel.

Taco de Carne Guisada

Carne Guisada is great in the crock pot, and it’s really exactly the technique that Texas natives were using in the Archaic and Prehistoric periods, 6,000 B.C to 1,500 A.D. (Mercado-Allinger, Aten, Avery, Bement, Blaine, …. & Weir, 2008)  They’d construct a bowl and use hot  stones to slow-boil meat and vegetables.

If you don’t have time in the morning to brown the meat and sauté the vegetables, skip that step and just place all the ingredients in the crock pot and turn it on.

Recipe: serves 4

1 lb round steak
1 green bell pepper
1 small white onion, sliced (approximately one cup in volume)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs peanut, canola or other vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

For the Salsa:
1 Haas avocado (here’s a tip on how to select avocados at the grocery store)
1 small Serrano chile
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1/4 cup white onion, small dice
1/8 tsp salt

1. Dry the round steak and sprinkle with salt
2. In a skillet, heat the oil to the point that it shimmers and brown the steaks, just about 30 seconds on each side, then place them in a crockpot.  (Browning the beef gives it additional color and flavor. Omit this step if you’re in a rush.  You can also omit sautéeing the vegetables)
3. In the same skillet sauté the onions and green bell peppers until the onions are translucent.  Transfer them to the crock pot, covering the beef.
4. Deglaze the skillet with the water and add it also to the crock pot along with the garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook on slow heat for about 6-9 hours
5. With tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the beef and set aside.  It will be falling-apart tender.
6. Pour the liquid into a sauce pan or skillet and boil on high heat, mashing the ingredients a little to help thicken the sauce.  Cook uncovered until the sauce is reduced by half.  Add salt and pepper to correct the seasoning as necessary.
7. Add the beef to the sauce and heat through. It is ready to serve.

To make the Salsa con Aguacate:
1. Using a molcajete or other mortar and pestle, mash the salt and chile Serrano into a fine paste.
2. Add the tomato and smash it a bit to combine with the chile.
3. Fold in the onion and avocado dice.

Make tacos using hot flour tortillas and recount what happened during your day!

¡Buen provecho!


Mercado-Allinger, P., Aten, L., Avery, G., Bement, L., Blaine, J.,.,, & Weir, F. (2008). Cook stone. In Texas Beyond History. Austin: The University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved from .html

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Fried Chile De Arbol Salsa

The variations are many for developing flavor in chiles for adobos, moles or salsas.

In this salsa, the flavor of the Chile De Arbol is deepened by frying it together with onion and garlic. When it is served, the black flecks in the salsa make it look earthy, and I even detect some smokiness in the flavor.

Recipe: (makes 2 cups)

2 Chile de Arbol
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs white onion, diced
1 Tbs Canola or vegetable oil
4 roma tomatoes, canned or fresh, roughly cut up

1.Heat the oil in a skillet, add the chile de arbol, onion and garlic and fry them until the chile darkens in color and the onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool.
2. Add the tomaotes to the same skillet and cook for 4 minutes on medium heat. Remove and set aside to cool.
3. When the ingredients are cool, place them in a blender and blend until you have a smooth purée. There will still be some small flecks of fried chile, adding nice texture and color to the salsa.

This is the type of salsa that you’ll want to add to egg tacos, potatoes, beef casseroles and any type of grilled fish or meats.  Make a batch and keep it handy in the fridge.  It will keep for 7 days.  ¡Buen Provecho!


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“Truly Texas Mexican” Dishes Help Raise Money For Libraries


Guests and Members of the San Antonio Public Library L3 Committee enjoy a tasting of “Truly Texas Mexican” dishes

One of the pleasures, honors really, that this book has brought me is to be able to help raise funds for libraries.  Last month the L3 committee of dedicated volunteers raised funds for the San Antonio Library Latino Resources Center. The glittering evening was amazing and so meaningful because it will help the San Antonio Library for generations to come.

Next week I will be in Abilene, Texas, invited by the Friends Of The Library, for a book signing event and a gala dinner, black tie, that will feature four Texas cookbook authors.  It’s a privilege to join the other authors, whom I admire, and help the Abilene Library.  It will be held at the Abilene Country Club.


Black Tie Gala Dinner, Abilene Country Club, features four cookbook authors

I thought I’d share the menu that the chefs of the Abilene Country Club have decided to prepare for the black-tie gala.  The chefs pored through the hundreds of recipes in all four cookbooks and selected the following dishes to prepare, serve and pair with Texas wines. I’m looking forward to this marvelous gala dining experience.  Signing my book will be in the context (as it always is) of interesting conversations and sharing of varying perspectives.

September 25, 2014 – 6:00 p.m.
Abilene Country Club – 4039 Treadaway Blvd.


℘ ℘ Hors d’ Oeuvres
Polenta Rounds with Cheese, Chive Pesto, and Red Pepper Pastry Queen Parties
Ancho Chile Meatballs — Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes
Landon Sparkling Red Moscato
Lost Oak Blanc du Bois

℘ ℘ Dinner Menu
Soup: Sopa de LimaThe Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours
Traditional Pairing: Yellow Rose, Landon Winery
Daring Paring:   2012 Chenin Blanc, Becker Vineyards

Salad: El rancho Chopped Salad with Cornbread Croutons and Creamy Poblano Dressing Pastry Queen Parties
Traditional Pairing: 2013 Vermentino, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards
Daring Paring:   2013 Provencal Becker Winery

First Entrée:CrabCakes2smlCrab Cakes with Chipotle Yerbaniz Mayonnaise— Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes
Traditional Pairing: 2012 Viognier, Becker Winery
Daring Paring: 2012 La Reina Tempranillo, Red Caboose

Watermelon Ice with Blueberries — Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes


This “Raspa De Sandía” takes me back to the San Antonio Westside.

Second Entrée: Jalapeno Pesto Stuffed Pork Roast with Orange Asparagus — The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours
and Purple Chipotle Garlic Mashed Potatoes   The Texas Holiday Cookbook

Traditional Pairing: 2012 Dawson Red, Lost Oak Winery
Daring Paring: Riesling, Landon Winery

Capirotada — Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes

Traditional Pairing: Port Style “Some of that Red”, Red Caboose
Daring Paring: Besitos de Chocolate, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards

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Fricos With A Touch Of Chile

Serve these little curved wafers with sparkling wine.

FricoAndChampagnePoursmlThe lace-work texture is crispy, light, and perfect for enjoying the subtle flavors of wine. Parmesan cheese and black pepper are a natural combination, and I add a little chile de arbol to brighten things a bit.  It’s advantageous that these parmesan crisps can be done in minutes.  It’s like: “Enchílame otro!”

Recipe (makes eighteen  4″ fricos)

1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of finely ground chile de arbol powder

Pre-heat oven to 375°
1.  Mix together the three ingredients so that they are evenly distributed
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place 1 Tablespoon of the cheese mixture in a mound, then spread into a 4-inch round. There should be no holes in the round. The lace-work holes will form during baking. Leave a 2-inch space between each round.
3. Place in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, until you see the cheese bubbling and getting just bit of color.FricoPlateClose4. Remove from the oven and, while they are still hot and pliable, use a spatula to lay each one onto a rolling pin, giving them a curved shape.  Allow them to cool, after which they will hold their shape.
5.  The fricos will keep for several days in an air-tight container.

Pop the bubbly!



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Camarón y Calabacita – Shrimp with Squash Noodles

Sometimes, when you want a break from wheat and gluten, you can enjoy a variety of delicious dishes that harken back to the days before wheat was grown in the Americas.
This is one of them:  Shrimp with Tatuma Squash Noodles, “Camarón y Calabacita.”  The basic ingredients are all native to the Texas Mexican region:  tomato, Tatuma squash, chile, salt and Texas Gulf shrimp.  Onion, garlic and yummy olive oil, as ingredients arriving in the 1600s, chime in to make this a delicious dish for company.ShrimpCalabacitasml I use Chile De Arbol because of its light, subtle flavor.  Slow cooking the onions releases the sugars and adds a sweetness to the bite of the tomato and the mild chile (remove the seeds.)  You’ll find Italian dishes that are a variation of this original Mexican dish, like the delicious Pasta Fra Diavolo, named after an Italian opera, spicy and rogue.  This “calabacita” dish is only slightly spicy and certainly not rogue.

Recipe (serves 4)

"Calabacita" is also called "Tatuma" and is an heirloom squash native to MesoAmerica

“Calabacita” is also called “Tatuma” and is an heirloom squash native to MesoAmerica

24 Shrimp, peeled and deveined (30-35 per pound)
10 Roma Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise into 4 or 6 slices
1 Yellow Onion, large, thinly sliced
3 Calabacitas or Tatuma Squash, large, unpeeled, sliced into 1/8″ inch square noodle shapes (you can subsitute Zuchinni)
2 Chiles De Arbol, seeds removed and ground into a fine powder using a molcajete or spice grinder
3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil and an additional
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sautéing the squash
1 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste


1. Heat a large, deep sauté skillet over medium heat and add 1/4 cup olive 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 Tatuma squash, lengthwise, into 1/8 slices.  Then, holding the slices together, on top of each other, slice them again, lengthwise, making long 1/8 inch square strands.  Set aside.
3.  Add the tomatoes and chile and 1 tsp salt to the onions, raise the heat to medium high, and cook, uncovered, for five minutes.  The mixture should be soupy and watery.  If it is too dry, add 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil.
4.  Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute.
NOTE:  You can do this up to 6 hours before your party.  Hold both the tomato and the squash in the fridge until you are ready to finish the dish.
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.  Heat a skillet over high heat and add 2 Tbs EVOO.  When the oil begins to shimmer, add the squash, 1/2 tsp salt, and cook until the squash is tender, stirring to insure even cooking, about 7 minutes.

Place a mound of the squash on each plate and top with the shrimp. Serve immediately.

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Texas Mexican Breakfast: Migas con Chile

Migas is a traditional Texas Mexican breakfast.  I’d like to see more kitchens preparing it because it’s

1.  zesty and delicious,
2.  high in easily digestible protein1,
3. low-fat, and
4. rich in vitamins and minerals.

The word means crumbs and it refers to the pieces of corn tortillas that are used to make the dish.  Many cultures have developed their own crumb dishes as, for example, the Spanish with their version of migas and Italians with panzanella.  Ours is quick for breakfast and it’s nutritious.  I grew up eating migas this way. Notice there is no cheese (ugh) and there is no cilantro or oregano or cumin.  Who needs that for breakfast.

Recipe (serves 2)
(This recipe is excerpted from the book, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes, published by Texas Tech University Press in the series: Grover E. Murray Studies In The American Southwest)

4 Eggs (You can do what I do and discard two of the yolks to reduce fat and cholesterol. )
4 corn tortillas, each cut into eighths
 1 Tbs Canola oil
Salt to taste

For the Salsa de Chile Verde:
1 Chile Serrano, sliced
3/4 cup diced tomato
1/8 tsp salt


To make the salsa
1.  place the salt and Serrano chile in a molcajete and grind to a fine paste
2.  add the diced tomato and smash to blend well.




To make the migas.
1.  Heat a comal or griddle on medium heat and toast the tortilla pieces, turning them once and cooking  just enough so that they develop flavor and become crispy.  (NOTE It’s traditional, and easier, if you  toast the whole tortilla and once it is crisp just crumble it into pieces, making “migas.”  I’m doing triangles here because they look more snazzy in the pic.)
2.  While the tortillas are toasting, heat the Canola oil in a non-stick skillet on medium heat.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tortilla pieces and toss for a few seconds to coat.
3. Turn down the heat and add the eggs and scramble until all the tortilla pieces are coated with egg.  Add the salt.  Cook the eggs through without drying them.

Serve with the salsa de chile verde,  a hot cup of coffee, and then go out and make this a better world!

¡Buen Provecho!






1.  Most corn tortillas you buy are prepared in the  old traditional way, a process the indigenous people call nixtamalization.  Look for “cal” or “lime” or “calcium hydroxide” in the ingredients.  The maize or corn is soaked in “cal,” calcium hydroxide, to dissolve the hard outer indigestible shell. This process was invented by indigenous peoples thousands of years ago.  The protein in the corn is more digestible and all the levels of vitamins and minerals are heightened.

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