I recently decided to review Lisa Fain’s “The Homesick Texan Family Table Cookbook” through Blogging for Books. As a Texan for 23 years, I am pretty sure I know Texas cooking; from the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast area where I lived a majority of my life, to the Dallas Fort Worth Area where I have extended family, West Texas where my Mother’s family has a home and Central Texas where Travis and I lived for 4 years while he was at Baylor/Truett.
My well-rounded Texas experience gives me an awesome perspective for Fain’s Cookbook. Especially now that I am residing in California, this girl is homesick for some really Texas Style Cuisine and Tex-Mex Food.
Right off the bat, I can tell you this is a BEAUTIFUL cookbook; hard back with a dust jacket, full color images of my home state and recipes, introductions to each recipe, index and instructions on how to rehydrate peppers and canning. Fain also has a large variety of recipes;
Breakfast foods (Potato-Chirizo Breakfast Tacos, Apple-Jalapeno Dutch Baby Pancake and Granola), Starters and Sides (includes Mac + Cheese, Bacon Chipotle Corn Pudding, and Ancho Chile Applesauce)
Salads and Sides (yes Texans eat salads at least some of them, notice bacon or meat is included in most salad recipes)
The Main Event (recipes featuring Flank Steak, Beef Enchiladas, Brisket, Steak Fingers because you can fry everything in Texas, Coffee Chipotle Pork Chops, Ham, Chicken Spaghetti, Pollo Asada, Tamales, Catfish Tacos, Tuna, etc.)
Sweets (Cobblers, Pies and even Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream)
Fain also gives some simple hot sauce and accompaniment recipes at the end of the book as well. Travis really wants me to make the Corn-Black Bean Salsa.
I sat down after receiving my book and read through the recipes; the list of ingredients and instructions and picked 4 recipes to try before submitting my review. Items I knew, me and my husband would enjoy and would cover a good range of the cookbook.
- On a Sunday I made us the “Chipotle Blue Cheese Wedge Salad” for lunch; I have never made myself a wedge salad at home. I have always ordered it from a restaurant, as I despise bottled Blue Cheese Dressing. Plus Mr doesn’t like Blue Cheese. So I decided to make a few altercations for our sake and local availability. I substituted Iceberg with Butter Lettuce as it was available at our farmers market and Gorgonzola for Blue. The dressing was pretty thick, even after adding a bit more buttermilk to smooth it out. My husband even ate the tomatoes on top of the salad. He would tell you the best part was my brandy coated bacon. (This was not something mentioned in the cookbook but we seem to be adding brandy to the pan every time we cook meat)
- If you have ever lived in the South you know Mac & Cheese is a Vegetable. Ask anyone. Fain’s “Creamy Mac and Cheese” was easy to make and was creamy, I even took her advice and substituted Gouda for Gruyère, as it was available at our local farmer’s market. I did not top mine with the optional bacon because we selfishly ate all the left overs from our salad earlier that day.
3) Chicken and Dumplings
- Of course I can’t review a cook book without trying out a staple item, and this ‘Chicken and Dumplings’ were far from the bland meal I remember eating as a kid. Remember I cook for me and my husband, that is it. So I reduced this recipe down to 2 chicken breasts, I did add carrots and celery while the broth was simmering down and I made the dumplings. We like a heartier soup base as Fain says. The chicken cooked in broth and veggies, the dumplings were flavorful with an amazing cilantro flavoring to the zany taste of the soup. Dumplings will never been the same after you have had these.
- Easy, yummy and perfect. I substituted plums for Pluots (plum and apricot hybrid) and Peaches, as they were fresh and local from our farmer’s market. It turned out great. I have never made cobbler before. It was so easy I will be making it again and I think we will try a variety of fruits, nectarines, peaches, apricots, did I mention peaches?
- Recipes are easy to understand and easy to change if you want to sub an ingredient or reduce.
- Number of servings are given
- Fain does not give a total cooking time and prep time for her recipes, so plan ahead and read the recipe throughly before beginning
- Ingredient’s are not to difficult to locate
- If you are a Homesick Texan, I recommend this book for you. And to make your recipes more culturally relevant to where you live in the USA or the World try using local ingredients and add your own flair.
Buy your copy now from Amazon, HERE
I received this book for free from Blogging for Booksfor this review.
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