Lisa Fain, who just published her second cookbook, "The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours," on her deep Texas roots, how easy it is to make delicious beans and homemade flour tortillas, and chile pepper injuries.
To me, the most delicious part of the Texas Book Festival (Oct 22 & 23) is its great round-up of food-related talks and sessions and cooking demos. Rather than slog through the full schedule, focus on food with our easy guide. FOOD SESSIONS FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2011 Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender & Southern Food 11:15–12:00 in the Capitol Extension Room E2.030 An associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Engelhardt discusses the origins of Southern cooking and their relations to gender, society, and race. Alton Brown, Good Eats 3: The Later Years 11:30–12:15 at the Paramount Theatre The Food Network personality and chef talks about his third Good Eats book, based on his often-hilarious, always-informative TV show. Lisa Fain, The Homesick Texan Cookbook 12:45–1:30 in the Capitol Extension Room E2.036 This Texan turned New York blogger has written a cookbook featuring the classic Texas favorites she missed after her move to the Big Apple. She talks about her experiences in a Q&A with Texas Monthly food editor and writer Pat Sharpe. Gabrielle Hamilton, Blood, Bones, and Butter 3:15–4:00 at the Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004 Chef and New York City restaurateur Gabrielle Hamilton describes how she got into the culinary world (through some “illegal” ways), and details recipes from her restaurant Prune.
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
Tailgate season is upon us. Since a Texan can never have too many recipes for queso and cheese dip, herewith are three magnificently gooey ones from three great new Texas cookbooks published this fall. Fort Worth chef Lou Lambert’s Big Ranch, Big City, cowritten with collaborator June Naylor ($40, Ten Speed Press), is an outgrowth of Lambert’s cooking classes, catering, and two eponymous restaurants, in Austin and Fort Worth. Lambert calls his style “elevated ranch cuisine”; another way to describe it is refined but full of gusto and big flavors. (Lambert and Naylor will be doing book signings and some Central Market cooking classes this fall: Sept 15, A Real Book Store, Dallas; Sept 19, Central Market Fort Worth; Sept 20, Central Market Dallas; Sept 21, Central Market, Austin; Sept 22, Central Market Houston; Sept 23, Central Market San Antonio; Oct 1, Texas Fall Fest, Horseshoe Bay; Oct 13, Market Street, Colleyville; Oct 22, Texas Book Festival, cooking tent, Austin; Oct 29, Fresh, Tyler.) Photograph, left, by Ralph Laurer; used by permission. Seventh-generation-Texan Lisa Fain blogs from her home in New York City under the moniker “the Homesick Texan,” and her sassy, popular website, which centers on how much she misses Texas, especially Texas foods, has now given rise to The Homesick Texan Cookbook ($29.99, Hyperion). (Fain will do book signings on Sept 22, Cookbook Gala, San Angelo; Oct 20, Le Crueset on Lovers Ln, Dallas; Oct 22, Texas Book Festival, at the Capitol, Austin; Oct 24, BookPeople, Austin; Oct 25, Twig Book Shop, San Antonio; Oct 26, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston.) Journalist Ellen Sweets had the fortune to be a great friend and cooking chum of the late liberal columnist Molly Ivins. Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir With Recipes ($29.95, University of Texas Press) focuses on personal stories and anecdotes but still has plenty of recipes, fancy and plain. (Sweets will do book signings on Oct 23, Texas Book Festival, at the Capitol, Austin; Nov 4, BookPeople, Austin; Nov 13, Savory Spice Shop, Austin.)
Blogger Lisa Fain’s new cookbook.
Lisa Fain on arguing with people about why Texas chili is superior to all others, serving chicken-fried steak to some New York friends, and starting to think that maybe her blog was more than a hobby.