This is a delicate, beautiful, sweet yet savory soup. It is the perfect balance between sweet and savory. You have a hint of sweetness from the pear and maple syrup contrasted with the savoriness of the bacon, blue cheese, stock, veggies and herbs. It is bowl licking delicious! You can serve it as a starter for chicken, pork, and milder fish. It combines beautifully at lunch with with cold cut sandwiches, or you can simply eat it by itself. Try it and you will see it is one of those WOW moments in dining. Continue reading Pear Soup with Bacon Crumbles & Blue Cheese
This recipe is a Texas-style chili, commonly referred to as a “bowl of red.” True Texas-style chili includes only meat, chile peppers, and spices. Like cajuns and their gumbo, Texans take their chili seriously and there are numerous disagreements over what is and what is not chili. The debate continues to rage over beans vs. no beans; tomatoes vs. no tomatoes, etc. and, over time, a whole chili lore has developed. Texans take their chili so seriously that chili was officially designated the state food of Texas by the State Legislature in 1977. Also, to most Texans, the fact that a genuine “bowl of red” can only be found in Texas has never been in doubt. In fact, it is generally accepted that, despite its Spanish name, chili con carne originated in San Antonio Texas. Indeed, in the 1800s when San Antonio was host to the Mexican Army, the Chili Queens of San Antonio (as they became known) made large pots of chili at home by day, and clad in brightly colored dresses, trundled their carts to San Antonio’s Military Plaza, ladling out their vendibles from cast iron pots heated over wood or charcoal fires in the evening.
Chili became so popular in Texas (and later elsewhere) that chili parlors and chili cook-offs sprang up everywhere. Legend has it that outlaw and desperado Jesse James refused to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite chili parlor was located. Beginning in 1967, as a joke with a chili-cooking duel between humorist H. Allen Smith and journalist Wick Fowler, chili cook-offs are now popular all over the country, with state-wide and International contests. The Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) cook-off is held in Terlingua, TX and the ICS (International Chili Society) Cook-off was normally held in CA. Even US Presidents have gotten into the fray over chili
“Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing. One of the first things I do when I get home to Texas is to have a bowl of red. There is simply nothing better.”
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States
Try this recipe and you, too, can enter a chili cook-off with possibly the winning bowl of red. 😉
Have I mentioned I love Mexican food? Pozole (Pork and Hominy Stew) on a cold winter day is fabulous. Pozole is a traditional soup that originated in the pacific region of pre-Columbian Mexico. It is a well known cure for hangovers and is often eaten in the wee hours of the morning as a preventive. There is Pozole Blanco (white), Pozole Verde (Green) and Pozole Rojo (Red). Opinions on Pozole run the gamut among Mexicans like Chili with Texans and Gumbo with Cajuns. Pozole Blanco is colored mainly by the corn. Pozole Rojo adds blended rehydrated red chiles darkening the color adding an earthiness, richer character and depth of flavor. Pozole Verde adds tomatillos, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro. This recipe is a very authentic, traditional Mexican Pozole Rojo (No canned hominy here). I hope you enjoy it.
When I was a young man I worked and lived in Louisiana just southeast of New Orleans in Houma past the Intercoastal Canal. It changed my life and the way I cook. The people were friendly, spoke in an odd language (using words like fais do do and coo-yôn), liked to party and had all kinds of festivals, i.e. The Crawfish Festival in Chalmette, Lagniappe on the Bayou in Chauvin, The Shrimp Festival in Delcambre, and, of course, Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The scenery was beautiful and the food was wonderfully unique using predominantly local foods, i.e. seafood, beef, pork, alligator, various game birds and meat and lots of cayenne pepper and Tabasco Sauce with names like gumbos, crawfish pie, blackened fish, and jambalaya. At times it was hard to believe I was still in the United States. Regardless, I fell in love with Louisiana and her food. This is my recipe for Seafood File Gumbo that I have worked on for years. I won’t tell you this is the best Seafood File Gumbo you will ever eat because Cajun cooks are very proud people. Each one of them thinks s/he makes the very best Seafood File Gumbo. What I will tell you is that everyone I have ever served this Seafood File Gumbo (including native Louisianans, oil field workers, restaurant chefs, friends and my children) has asked for more and most wanted the recipe. In fact, every time I make this recipe and word gets out about it I get requests to come over for dinner. I hope you like it and am pretty confident you will. 🙂 Oh and by the way, that is one VERY large oyster in this bowl of gumbo. Just call me a fortunate son. 😀 Continue reading Seafood File Gumbo