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Books That Cook

By February 2004Comments

The Texas Travel Industry Association’s Texas Cooking is a cookbook with an agenda—to make you want to experience Texas. Organized by regions of the state rather than by dishes, this cookbook combines descriptions of the state’s geography, history, and tourist destinations with interesting recipes.

The cookbook begins with an overview of the Prairies and Lakes region, home to Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum (where masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse, and El Greco line the walls), Arlington’s Six Flags Over Texas (where thrill seekers revel), and Granbury’s lake (where city folk go to relax). Readers learn that Dallas is the alleged birthplace of the frozen margarita and the chicken fajita and there are approximately seven thousand restaurants in Big D, including the world-famous Mansion on Turtle Creek. If you simply can’t be in Dallas, head to the grocery store, buy one small jicama, and cook these culinary dishes by the Mansion’s chef, Dean Fearing: Lobster Taco, Yellow Tomato Salsa, and Jicama Salad. Not to be overlooked are chef Stephan Pyles’s Rock Shrimp Taquitos With Mango Barbecue and Avocado Salsa, his Arugula-Fried Okra Salad With Roast Corn Vinaigrette, and his Pumpkin-White Bean Chowder With Roast Garlic Croutons and Pomegranate Crema.

Don’t let the pictures of the Alamo and Shamu distract you because the South Texas Plains chapter has much more to offer. Mexican-inspired treats from Terrific Tostadas to Chilies Stuffed With Texas Chevre Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes combine the traditional with the innovative.

In fact, all geographical sections in the book (Prairies and Lakes, the Gulf Coast, South Texas Plains, Panhandle Plains, Big Bend Country, Hill Country, and Piney Woods) offer recipes indicative to that region, from the Gulf Coast’s Port Aransas’ Grilled Ling With Gulf Shrimp and Sea Scallops to the Panhandle Plains’s Tom Perini’s Ranch-Roasted Ribeye.

In the front of the cookbook, a helpful index divides the recipes into categories. One of the most enticing categories, desserts, illustrates the wide variety of flavors represented in this book and in Texas cuisine: Dr Pepper Museum Fudge, Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies, Mole Cake With Tamarind Anglaise and Orange Caramel, and White Chocolate Eruption promise sweet rewards.

Open this book and you are in for some culinary adventures through Texas. Read about sites yet unseen, learn a little Texas trivia, and cook up something fabulous. Here are some of the recipes you can expect to find:

Tom Perini’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Summer Fruit Salad With Raspberry Dressing

Texas Blue Crab Salad

Pasta With Yellow Squash, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fresh Ricotta

Pecan Crusted Beef Tenderloin With Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Corn Sauce

Seared Sesame Crusted Tuna

Spinach Bread

Peach Jambalaya

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

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