Even though she is an expatriate, Lisa Fain is the most Texan Texan I’ve ever met. Her roots go back seven generations, and her identify has only solidified since she moved to New York, following a life-long dream, in 1995. In 2005, she started a blog in which she waxed nostalgic about her Texas childhood and posted recipes that reminded her of home (she loves to cook). The blog became so popular that it led to The Homesick Texan Cookbook, published in 2011. This April she has followed up with The Homesick Texan’s Family Table (Ten Speed Press). The hardback book’s 278 pages are extensively illustrated with her own color photography (lots of food, plus a few cows and some great Texas landscapes). It contains more than 125 all-new recipes, some traditional and others updated Texas classics. With Lisa’s cooperation, we have selected a sampling for a lazy weekend Texas brunch. Enjoy!
—Patricia Sharpe

Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Casserole


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup (8 ounces) breakfast sausage
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 slices (12 ounces) Texas toast bread or French bread, cut into 1‐inch cubes
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper Jack cheese
salsa, for serving

In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium-low heat and add the breakfast sausage. (If using breakfast sausage that comes in a cas- ing, remove the casing.) Cook, occasionally stirring and breaking up any large clumps, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage into a large mixing bowl.

Leaving the skillet on the heat, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil (if there is plenty of grease in the skillet after cooking the sausage, you don’t need to add the oil) and then add the jalapeños. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the chiles are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

Turn off the heat and scrape the vegetables from the skillet into the bowl with the cooked sausage. Add the cubed bread and toss together until well combined. Once the skillet has cooled, about 5 minutes, transfer the bread, sausage, and vegetables into the skillet.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne and pour over the bread. Stir in half of the cheese and then top the casserole with the remaining cheese. Cover and allow the bread to rest, refrigerated, for at least 2 and up to 8 hours, or until the bread has absorbed the milk and egg mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and take the skillet out of the refrigerator.

Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes, until it’s puffed and golden brown on top. (The casserole will deflate as it cools.) Serve warm with salsa. 

Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photography by Lisa Fain.

Cranberry-Gruyère Scones

These cranberry scones stem from one such experiment that she created at my grandma’s farm one morning. They were delicious, and I asked her if she could give me the recipe. Unfortunately, my attempts at recreating what she had done were a complete failure.

Not to be deterred, however, I decided to make my own cranberry scone. I kept the cranberries, but decided to go for a more sweet and savory scone, so I threw in some salty and nutty Gruyère cheese, along with a handful of crunchy pecans, two things that go quite well with the tart cranberries. They make a fine addition to any cool-weather holiday breakfast table. While these might not be my mom’s cranberry scones, I’m okay with that; even though they’re different, they’re still just as good.


2 cups all‐purpose flour, plus more for rolling the scones
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 cup unsalted (1 stick) butter, chilled, cut into slices
1⁄4 cup half‐and‐half
1 egg, beaten
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1⁄2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into pieces, and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender, until the flour mixture has the texture of pea-size crumbs.

Add the half-and-half and egg, mixing until the dough is a bit loose and sticky. Stir in the pecans, cranberries, and cheese, and mix until well combined. The dough will be slightly stick and wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently roll out until it’s 1⁄2 inch thick. With a 3-inch biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out the scones and place 1⁄8 inch apart on the baking sheet. (You may have to gather the scraps and roll out again.)

Bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm. They are best on the day they are made, but they can be tightly wrapped and then reheated, up to 2 days after baking. They can also be frozen.

Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photography by Lisa Fain.

Ancho Chile Applesauce

Loaded with bags of apples and little storage space when I returned to New York City, I knew that I’d have to find a dish that would use some of them. Applesauce seemed like a good choice. I’ve always preferred cinnamon applesauce and decided to make that. And I threw in some ancho chile powder to give it added color, depth, and spice.

This is a wonderful fall dish that pairs well with meat, such as Coffee-Chipotle Pork Chops (page 152), or can be spooned into yogurt for breakfast, as well. Though for me, the best thing about this applesauce is that it reminds me of an enjoyable day with my mom.


1 1⁄2 pounds red baking apples (about 4), peeled, cored, and diced
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the apples, ancho chile powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne, lemon zest, and water in a pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the apples are cooked down to a soft substance, depending on how ripe they are. Gently mash out any lumps. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. This dish is delicious served warm or chilled.

Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photography by Lisa Fain.

Peach Ice Cream

Before the advent of air-conditioning, on summer afternoons Texans would sit on the porch to keep cool. They would sip tall, cool glasses of iced tea or lemonade, and if they were feeling especially industrious, they would crank up a batch of ice cream, too.

While Texans love many different flavors of ice cream, peach ice cream may be the flavor most connected with Texan summers, as this delicate, sweet fruit can be grown in a large portion of the state. While today most folks have electric ice cream makers and tend to stay inside on the hottest days, there is something to be said for sitting on the porch and eating ice cream with your family and friends, and saying howdy to the neighbors as they stroll by.


2 cups sliced peeled peaches
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half‐and‐half
1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toss the peaches with 3⁄4 cup of the granulated sugar, the lemon juice, and cinnamon. Cover, refrigerate, and let macerate for 2 to 8 hours, until softened.

divide the peach mixture in half. Pour half the mixture, both peaches and liquid, into the blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Gently mash the other half, and then refrigerate.

To make the ice cream base, pour the peach puree into a saucepan and add the cream, half-and-half, remaining 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until warm but not boiling, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the vanilla. Take the cream mixture off the heat, mix 1⁄2 cup of the cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and then add the egg yolk mixture back into the pot with the rest of the cream mixture. While stirring, continue to cook until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. refrigerate the ice cream base until cool, 2 to 4 hours.

Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Halfway through the freezing process, pour in the reserved mashed peaches and their syrup.

Serve immediately, if you want a softer ice cream, or chill in the freezer for 2 hours for a firmer ice cream

Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.