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Hungarian Cowboy Stew

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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 [...]

“Robb Walsh is a Three Napkin Name”

Much obliged to Paul and Angela Knipple for the review of Texas Eats in their blog from the southern table.

There was one passage in the review that really made me smile. The authors were discussing the various kinds of cookbooks on the market and what makes one stand out from the others, here [...]

Praise for Texas Eats!

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A new review of Texas Eats by Mick Vann appeared in the Austin Chronicle today:

Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook by Robb Walsh Ten Speed Press, 304 pp., $25

“For 20 years or more, food writer and culinary historian Robb Walsh has branded himself as the culinary expert on all things [...]

Update: Kudos for Hot Sauce

Review in the Oregonian: “In a nutshell: If you like to pour on the heat, you’ll dig the firepower in this new cookbook of pepper sauce recipes. Rather than offering creative uses for bottled sauces, hot sauce authority Robb Walsh shows how you can create fresher versions using chiles, fresh veggies and basic [...]

Walsh Family Venison Pâté

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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.

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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 »

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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 »

Texas Eats Recipe Video: Sweet Potato Cobbler

Mama Sugar’s Sweet Potato Cobbler from Keeley Steenson on Vimeo.

While she was working on the Mama Sugar film for Foodways Texas, filmmaker Keeley Steenson put together this short “recipe video” about Mama Sugar’s legendary sweet potato cobbler. (The recipe appears in my book Texas Eats.)

A preview of the Foodways Texas [...]

Indonesian Deviled Eggs

This hybrid of Indonesian telor balado and Deep South church picnic deviled eggs will rock your cocktail party. The egg yolk filling is seasoned with Indonesian sambal, Squid brand fish sauce, chopped green onions, anchovy paste and Thai chiles. You can make them hot, very hot, or ridiculously hot.

Indonesian sambal is a complex hot sauce that combines a base of shallots, garlic and ginger with tamarind and your choice of other flavorings, all ground together in a mortar and pestle with a lot of red hot chile peppers. I added a little tomato to my sambal to smooth it out. And I used a Vitamix instead of the mortar and pestle because I am lazy.

The sambal recipe is for my new project, The Hot Sauce Cookbook from Ten Speed Press (May 2013). Once I had the sambal ready, I used it to make Sambal Eggplant and Telor Balado, an Indonesian dish of fried hard-boiled eggs topped with Indonesian hot sauce.

This morning I was working on a deviled egg recipe for the Louisiana pepper sauce chapter of the book. I started with the very old church picnic recipe in James Beard’s American Cookery that combines mayo, mustard, grated onion and Tabasco sauce. Beard listed a bunch of variations, including a “Mexican” version with cumin and sour cream and another with chopped green chile. Then I remembered the deviled eggs I ate at Grove restaurant in Discovery Green, made with mayo, anchovy and fish sauce.

The connection between American deviled eggs and Indonesian telor balado is so obvious, I am sure somebody must have come up a hybrid like this before. But tell me about it later, right now I am enjoying my breakfast.

(Recipe after the jump) read more Indonesian Deviled Eggs »

DIY Tabasco, Sriracha and Texas Pete: Making Homemade Pepper Sauces

What do you think about xanthum gum?

After months of experiments with fermentation and pepper processing, I am making Louisiana and Sriracha style pepper sauces at home that taste better than the stuff you buy in the store. Rice vinegar, Steen’s cane vinegar, and Spanish sherry vinegar are a huge improvement over the [...]