Amber Byfield

Articles by Amber Byfield

Seasonal Texas Sides for Turkey Day

Nov 17, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Next week, we celebrate my absolute favorite food day of the year. The turkey’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of that particular bird the day after Thanksgiving, served between thick slices of white bread slathered with a healthy dose of mayonnaise…

Sweet and Spicy and Everything Nicey: Is it Beans and Cornbread Season Yet?

Sep 14, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Inspired by the beginning of fall (or, at the very least, football season), and the ever-so-slightly cooler air that seems to be hinting that the end of summer is nigh, I turned on the oven for the first time in months this week. For good measure, I brought out my cast iron skillet and my pressure cooker to make a meal that reminds me of Saturdays growing up. It's a meal that's full of family tradition, and one that I like to add my own little spin to: jalapeños. My grandmother made a pot of beans almost every Saturday for as long as the family can remember; the tradition continues even though she's not at the helm of the kitchen. Pinto beans, cooked in the pressure cooker, seasoned so simply with a little bit of salt pork and served with a side of sweet cornbread. Pretty standard, right? Except here's where I divulge a family secret, one that may have you raising your eyebrows, but trust me when I say that you have to try this. All of us—my parents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, the neighbors who stopped by, and eventually our spouses—top the bowl of beans with spoonfuls of dill relish. My husband tried it one Saturday. After the first bite, he had concocted a plan to cook beans and cornbread for his family so they could try it too. Now all our fridges are stocked with a jar of dill relish, in the event that we have pinto beans for dinner. When it comes to the accompanying cornbread, I like it to be both sweet and spicy—so here's how I'd recommend making it to go with that simple pot of beans this weekend. Sweet Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal 1/2 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar (or 2 cups buttermilk) 1 egg 2 tablespoons honey 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional) 3 tablespoons butter, lard, or vegetable oil

Beaucoups Basil (And That’s About All!)

Jul 11, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Here’s the thing. Not only is it summer in Texas, but it’s the hottest, driest summer we’ve seen in, well. . . Maybe ever. My husband and I had such grandiose plans for this summer. We’ve lived in our house for about one year now, and we were bound…

Get Yourself Into a Jam

May 24, 2011 By Amber Byfield

For years now, I’ve been trying to grow my own strawberries. And year after year, it’s a disappointing “harvest” of one or two small bites of tart berries. In fact, this year, my niece and I ogled two berries on the vine. I told her she could have one,…

Meat and Greet

Apr 25, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Years ago, I was under the impression that every Texan knew what a salt lick was, loved the smell of hay in an old barn, and knew better than to request chocolate pie for dessert, lest one be handed a cow patty from the fields. But a dear friend…

Eat (All) Your Spring Greens

Apr 11, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Yesterday evening, while my husband and I were out admiring our highly productive (read: are you tired of lettuce yet?) raised vegetable gardens in the backyard, the neighbor called us over to ask us a very important question. “Say,” he started, beer in hand, “Would y’all mind it if my…

Root Beer: Not Just for Floats Anymore

Feb 14, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Forget chocolate-covered strawberries, dozens of roses, and the fondu pot. No, all you need to woo your Valentine today is this recipe. Sure, it’s a little labor-intensive, but trust me. It’s worth the time, the effort, and all the pre-baking finger-licking you can handle. And here’s a plus: if…

What’s Cooking When It’s Cold Out?

Jan 31, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Rumor has it that temperatures are going to drop rather drastically tomorrow. While most of us Texans enjoyed a spring-like Sunday, now we’re going to have to face the bleak fact that we are, indeed, still in the middle of winter. Who knew? A native Texan, I’m a fan…

Holy Kohlrabi!

Jan 17, 2011 By Amber Byfield

Call me unadventurous, but I’d have to be three Shiners in before I’d consider trying a calf fry. Same goes for liver and onions, or caviar, or sweetbreads. I guess I wouldn’t make a very good reality show contestant. But this week, staring me down in the kitchen…