archive

Proud Member

Chili de Las Comadres

IMG_6794

Sisters Maria and Sylvia Calderon cook side by side in their tiny eatery located on the banks of the Ramos river in Allende, Mexico under a towering tree. At their one-room, one-table restaurant, they only serve one dish–chile con carne–though sometimes they call it “carne con chile.”

It comes in a bowl with [...]

Talking About Tex-Mex in Old Mexico

c_programa

I’ll be attending the Foro Parallelo Monterrey this week. I’m giving a talk on chili con carne and its role in Tex-Mex to the gastronomic conference. Should be amusing! Come see.

Chili Americana: Landmark Chili Parlors

IMG_6647

Opened in 1958 in a former theater at 1213 U Street, Ben’s is a Washington D.C. landmark and an icon of the golden age of chili parlors. Ben’s signature dish, the original chili half-smoke, is a quarter-pound link of the griddled sausage on a steamed bun, with mustard, onions and chili sauce. The [...]

Hungarian Cowboy Stew

IMG_6324

In Prague, I ate a spectacular venison goulash with Carlsbad dumplings at a cozy inn by the river. Goulash is everywhere in Prague–the Czech equivalent of a burger.

Goulash and chili have a lot in common. The Hungarian word gulyás means cowboy. The dish is named after the cowboys who prepared it while [...]

Firing Up the Goulash Canon

The Goulash Canon in action.

The Goulash Canon in action.

This website has been quiet over the summer–my family took a vacation in rural Holland, Prague, and mostly Leipzig, Germany. (We swapped houses for a month with a Leipzig family.) One day, while driving through Leipzig’s industrial district, I noticed a food stand called Gulaschcanone Leipzig. The menu, [...]

Walsh Family Venison Pâté

Photo1

By Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

Up to my elbows in bits of raw venison, trimming away pieces of membrane and feeding chunks of clean meat into the sausage grinder, my adventures with meat had reached their peak. It was pâté day.

My friends crinkle their noses when I recall that afternoon on the back porch (where Dad and I had preemptively banished ourselves to contain the mess), and my fellow veggie-heads seem downright bewildered that I describe it with excitement and not trauma.

Photo2

Dad showing me how to skim away the slimy membrane

But raw meat don’t give me no willies; in fact I got some sort of primal pleasure out of handling the flesh and bones myself, and especially out of creating something from an animal I’d all but known personally. This deer and I had travelled great lengths together.

When I told my Uncle Dave that I was heading to Houston to cook meat with Dad, he promptly began arranging to send me down with some of the spoils of his latest hunting trip. As I’d dragged my luggage up to the Megabus in Austin, the cargo guy raised his eyebrows at me.

“What’s in the cooler?” he asked.

“Deer meat,” I said simply.

read more Walsh Family Venison Pâté »

Photo1

Katie’s Meat Series: Wild Duck Gumbo

 

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

With a fridge full of fresh daikon pickles, the next lesson on Dad’s list was wild duck. And what better to do with wild duck than make a big pot of gumbo?

We opened Texas Eats to Chapter 5: The Cajun Invasion and read through a recipe from Jim Gossen. It called for 6 wild ducks—the exact number we had on hand.

As they defrosted, I asked my dad whether they were hard to clean—ours seemed ready to go except for one feathery wing still attached. He explained that usually, a kid at the hunting site charged a couple bucks each to clean them for you, stripping them down to the breast (where most of the meat is) and throwing the rest aside.

One wing had to remain in tact so that the game warden could identify the breed. So the first step was to chop it off.

Lots of teeny feathers had plastered themselves to the clean meat, so after that I carefully plucked them clean, rinsing each bird under water to make sure they were fuzz free. We seasoned the duck breasts inside and out with Cajun seasoning. Then, we covered them with water in a big pot to get the stock started.

Cooking wild duck takes forever. It’s very lean, and very tough, so in order to get it nice and tender you really have to be patient. It would usually take 3-4 hours, but lucky for us we had a pressure cooker, which took it down to a quick 30 minutes.

We lifted them out, replaced them with a whole chicken, and topped off the pot with water. The chicken would continue to flavor the stock and also tone down the strong gamey flavor of all that duck.

Once they were cool enough to handle, I broke the duck breasts away from the bone and pulled the meat apart.

We did the same with the chicken. Meanwhile, we made a copper penny-colored roux and cooled it down with the holy trinity (onions, green pepper and celery) and a couple of minced garlic cloves. We seasoned the roux with white pepper, red pepper, dried thyme, and a little more Cajun seasoning. Then we added the roux a little at a time to our stock to thicken it. Finally, we added all that chopped pulled poultry meat.

To serve it, we would mound rice in the middle of a soup bowl, slide a couple of raw, shucked oysters and then ladle in some hot gumbo. But duck gumbo is one of those dishes that tastes better after a few days in the fridge. So we stowed it away in anticipation of the big party we’d started to plan for the coming weekend.

It was time for a little lunch, anyway.

 

read more Katie’s Meat Series: Wild Duck Gumbo »

Pickled Daikon: Meat’s Perfect Pal

We got them radishes all day, son!

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

Strangely enough, the first step on our meat program was pickling daikon. Dad has a small, raised-bed organic garden in back of the house that was overflowing with daikon radishes. (Thanks to gardening guru Jim Sherman for suggesting that we plant daikon this year!)

Inspired by the julienned pickled daikon served on Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches, Dad had experimented with several recipes. The most successful were radishes cut into thin coins. He said he asked Kelly (my step-mom) to taste them and she proceeded to kill a whole jar in one sitting. They rock.

We’d planned on making a venison pâté, and thought that daikon pickles would taste great with it. Plus those babies were just dying to be harvested. First ya pull ‘em out. Grab down by the base, near the ground.

Now that's a dirty daikon.

Then ya wash ‘em off. We had a big bowl of water we dunked them into. Cut the tops off, give ‘em one more rinse and throw them in a clean bowl.

Now it’s time to put ‘em up.

read more Pickled Daikon: Meat’s Perfect Pal »

Creamer Peas with Wild Boar Country Ham

My friend Dr. Ray Hambuchen of Conway Arkansas has an impressive sausage making and dry curing operation in his suburban garage. Every year around this time he clears his freezers and walk-in (yes, he has a walk-in in his garage) of last year’s surplus venison sausage, wild boar hams and the rest  to [...]

Lump Oak Charcoal from Weimar

I learned about B&B Charcoal from the old-timers at the Washington Lodge of the Sons of Hermann. These guys have been barbecueing on an open pit since the 1950s and their lodge has been holding barbecues since the late 1800s, so maybe they know a thing or two.

The modern Texas barbecue smoker [...]