"If everything isn't black and white, I say, "Why the hell not?"" ~ John Wayne
Up until a few weeks ago, the Duke's sentiments pretty well summed up my philosophy on purchasing cookbooks -- stick with black and white for substance and true grit.
It's all there in black and white, my collection of favorite cookbooks (pictured above) -- Julia Child: The French Chef Cookbook, America's Test Kitchen: The New Best Recipe, The New York Times Cookbook, The Cake Bible, The Frugal Gourmet: Our Immigrant Ancestors, and the ubiquitous culinary cannon Larousse Gastronomique. Then along came The Homesick Texan Cookbook: The glossy, full-color whirlwind that dropped a house on my black and white stocking clad doctrine of cookbook snobbery AND opened the door to a world of full color, full flavor, substance, and page after page of "I-can't-wait-to-make this" recipes.
I have a heap of gratitude for the book's publisher, Hyperion, and to Heather of Girlichef for bringing me on board "The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off". Over the past few weeks, I've been in league with what I've affectionately dubbed "a tortilla slingin' team of culinary vaqueros" from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, as we've cooked our way through an advance copy of The Homesick Texan Cookbook that was generously given to us by Hyperion.
In week one, we delved in to Dallas Gas Station style Tacos and Austin Black Beans, which were good enough to make me consider ditching my coastal digs with an ocean view for a spot in closer proximity to an actual Dallas gas station.
Week two had us thinking way outside "the box" with a bubbling skillet of Poblano Macaroni & Cheese...
...and Sopapillas for dessert (and breakfast the next morning)!
In Week 3 everyone got to try a recipe of their choice. I went with the Pumpkin Empanadas, which will henceforth be an annual fall tradition for my family!
You can see what the rest of the Culinary Vaqueros cooked up below:
1. Migas at Amazing Kitchen Adventures
2. Seven Chile Texas Chili at EKat's Kitchen
3. Sweet Potato & Fig Muffins at Nutmeg Nanny
4. Ruby Red Sweet Rolls at Sweet Life
5. Pan de Campo at Cooking for my Peace of Mind
6. Carne Guisada at Bo's Bowl
7. Tomatillo Cheese Grits at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
8. Tomato Cobbler atLife in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor
9. Smoky Deviled Eggs at Anchovies & Butter
10. Summer Squash Pickles at Kahakai Kitchen
11. Chorizo Stuffed Jalapenos at Stirring the Pot
12. Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas at Fudge Ripple
13. Sour Cream Enchiladas at Foodness Gracious
14. Mexican Chocolate Chewies at A Platter of Figs
15. Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Con Carne at Mangoes and Chutney
16. Pasilla Garlic Shrimp at Girlichef
17. Corn Chowder with Roasted Jalapenos at Inspired by eRecipeCards
18. Mexican Fried Potatoes at Stirring the Pot
Assignments aside, I couldn't help but try a bunch of other recipes for the sheer pleasure of it. I've twice made the Salsa Fuego, an outrageous fire-roasted salsa that is as perfect with a bowl of chips as it as pureed down to a rich and smoky enchilada sauce. On the lighter side, my family has a new favorite salad dressing -- The Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing is so creamy and delicious (you'd swear there's avocado in it) and is out-of-this-world when tossed with crisp Romaine, black olives, green onions and tossed with crisp tortilla strips.
Simply put, I LOVE this cookbook. It is a new favorite that will forever have a place next to Julia, Larousse, and their black and white brethren.
The Homesick Texan Cookbook is in stores now. If you love Mexican food, Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex, you must add this cookbook to your library! Forget the page-marker post-its - There are over 100 recipes, and chances are you'll want to make every single one.
Hungry for more?
You can check out Girlichef's interview with Homesick Texan author Lisa Fain HERE.