Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Chicken Fricassee???

March 14, 2022

My family isn’t at all French. We’re probably 75% Cornish and 25% Norwegian. The meal I most requested from my grandmother, a truly wonderful southern cook, was Chicken Fricassee though. Or that’s what she called the bone in chicken in gravy, cooked in a bag if memory served, over rice that she whipped up to my constant demands. I’ve chased whatever that was for my entire adult life, though I don’t frankly remember very much about it except how satisfied it made me feel. It was hearty, and savory, and like any good southern girl “smothered” is my favorite adjective. This is my version.

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs patted dry w/ paper towel
2 tbs bacon fat
2 leeks, quartered/rinsed/sliced
16 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 lemons, juiced
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs cornstarch in 2 tbs water slurry
1/3 cup chopped tarragon

Set a straight sided sauté pan on a medium heat. Liberally season the chicken thighs on all side. Add bacon fat to pan and allow to render. Then place the thighs, skin side down in the fat. Brown them on all sides until a deep mahogany color forms. Also great… encourage that brown-ness on the bottom of the pan. That’s the flavor.

Remove browned thighs to a plate and add the diced/cleaned leeks. Soften the leeks, then add the mushrooms until they’re also browned. Sometimes I need to lid the pan w/ the leeks and sometimes not. Just don’t let them burn. Drizzle in a little more bacon fat or butter if necessary to keep it all from sticking. Squeeze in the lemon juice to deglaze, then add the stock and mustard. Let that come to a boil and reduce slightly. Add S&P, and cream. Add the starch/water slurry and stir until uniformly thick.

Add the browned chicken back to the pan with the skin side up. The darkly colored tops should sit proud of the liquid. Put the lid on and cook on low, just barely a simmer, for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 5 or 10 minutes. Sprinkle with tarragon.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Spirit of Aggieland

January 29, 2010

Even in the cold cold north, one man shows his Aggie Spirit.

Jeffrey honors the 12th man.

Olive is suddenly grateful for her undercoat.

The view from my dream house.

July 8, 2009

Near Oakalla Tx

Near Oakalla Tx

Kolaches!

August 5, 2008

If ever you drive I-35 from Waco to Dallas, you must stop in West for kolaches. It is a pilgrimage to fine Texas road food. My favorites are poppy seed, cream cheese, and saurkraut with cheese.

Czech out: http://www.czechstop.net/home.php

Tomato Panic

June 9, 2008

56 people in Texas have been hospitalized due to a less than common strain of Salmonellosis. That’s not pleasant. I’ve had Salmonella, and it basically made me want to lie in the bathroom with my burning face pressed against the cool tile underneath me. I lost 8 pounds in a weekend, and had a non-consensual nap in the kitchen floor. I still eat runny eggs though, and can’t imagine not doing so. Salmonella doesn’t kill the healthy, and very rarely kills the immune suppressed. Diarrhea doesn’t scare me, I guess.

56 people have been hospitalized in a state of over 23 million, and I can’t get a raw tomato in any restaurant north of the Rio Grande. A friend called from the parking lot of her favorite taco shop to tell me that she couldn’t get salsa for her chorizo and egg. That’s ridiculous. The illness causing tomatoes are thought to be roma tomatoes not grown in Texas, New Mexico or a long list of other states. Seems it should be easy to bypass those and give me a salad with more than lettuce for lunch.

For now I’m carrying tomatoes in my purse and slicing them up with my Leatherman. The clients of Austin Java ( www.austinjava.com ) seemed to find this strange, but understandable.

95°F and Sunny

May 9, 2008

Warm weather starts sometime in the middle of February in my little bit of Texas. It gets broken up with weeks, then days of gusty cold until late March. Sinking into May though, Spring is almost over and the world is so impossibly bright a shade of green, you just know that tomorrow you’ll wake up and everything will have suddenly burned into the particular brown I believe should be the state color.

Its probably not for everybody, but extreme heat is in my blood. I feel a kinship with lizards and snakes sunning themselves on hot rocks in the desert. I even love the kind of heat that’s so dry and fierce you can feel your eyeballs drying out a little as you walk from work to your car. It will be so hot in a month or so that I won’t do anything strenuous outside while there’s any sun showing at all. On those days I’ll spend my non-working daylight hours slathered with SPF 30, and soaking myself beside some body of water.

In New Braunfels, that means toobing (spelling intentional) on the Comal river. A friend works the river, so I can usually get my tube for a few dollars or a few beers. When that doesn’t pan out, the 2 or 3 hours spent in spring fed water with a cooler of beer is well worth the $11. My favorite toob bin is Texas Tubes. www.texastubes.com

When I’m in Austin, like today, I enjoy flinging myself on the shores of Barton Springs. This is a beautiful natural free flowing swimming hole in Zilker Park. The people watching is fantastic, with occasional visits by the head to toe tattooed couple, countless topless sunbathers in the bathrooms, and a cadre of Austin oddballs. The water is often filled with a gauzy green moss, and an endangered salamander lives in the muck. I’m not a fan of chlorine, so this is a perfect spot for me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barton_Springs_Pool