Archives for posts with tag: Homesick Texan

Here is the Homesick Texan’s Texas caviar I talk about all the time. She’s really good with assertive, balanced flavors.

Texas caviar with the first fruits of my heirloom Chimayo chile, which I am drying per Laura Hudson’s instructions at Mas du Diable.

At this altitude (Macondo is the other mile-high city >:-() cooking beans is something that pretty much does not occur. I don’t know how the millions of Mexis here do it — and they do do it, but me I never could get them cooked in under three days. So I got a pressure cooker and they’re cooked to perfection in 10 minutes. I got the one recommended by Cooks’ Magazine, the Fagor Splendid 6-quart pressure cooker.

I always feared pressure cookers but that was stupid. Soak beans overnight, have them cooked in 10 minutes = instant bean-based soup, chili, humus, what have you, much less expensively than canned beans, and with more delicious beans, too. I cook a pound of dried whatever — the one$ from the food coop are, in fact, prettier and ta$tier — and stick half in the freezer. There’s nothing more delicious for dinner than Hoppin’ John, if you’re wondering what to do with extra black eyed peas.

My other Healthy Lunch Meat Chronicle discovery was at the prepared food cold case in the local hippie dippie food coop. They call it Burmese Crunchy Ginger Salad, but Uncle Google tells me the Burmese call it gin thoke.

My name is Jeannette, and I’m a crunchaholic. Honest to God, I need to crunch at least every other day or there’ll be hell. to. pay. As in, sleepwalk to the 7-11 in my footed pajamas and rifle the potato chip rack in my sleep, awakening with a circle of Cheeto-colored salt around my lips that can’t be accounted for. Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine could make you want to slit your wrists mainly for the LACK OF CRUNCH.

Gin thoke to the rescue. There are several recipes for it on the internets. The ingredient list from the Fante Se hippies who make it is as follows:

Here’s one with tomato and sesame with chick pea flour sprinkled over it:

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/gin-thoke-ginger-salad/

And one with toasted chickpeas as part of the crunchies, as well as toasted chick pea flour, and not as nummy a fish sauce/lime dressing as most:

http://globaltableadventure.com/2012/05/31/recipe-burmese-ginger-salad-gin-thoke/

This one is my favorite so far, with sauteed dried lima beans and Napa cabbage:

http://youngpoorhungry.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/burmese-days-gin-thoke-ginger-salad/

The Fanta Se hippie gin thoke comes with the ginger and jalapeno nestled on the very finely shredded cabbage, with the sauce in a little lidded cup and the crunchies in their own baggie. I have to say, there is nothing, nothing, like crisp sizzled thin slices of garlic, carefully drained. Something I was making called for a garnish of these and I acquiesced to what seemed like another eon of labor just for decoration.

But no. Crunch Nirvana.

So any version of gin thoke that goes down here at the Rancho Atomico will haz garlic AND shallots, crisp fried. The peanuts, coconut and shrimp flakes are keepers too. The crisply fried yellow split peas are hilarious and absolutely delicious. Those Burmese!

I wonder what the toasted garbanzo flour is all about? I have some.  Maybe I’ll try it. I think I’ll try toasted chickpeas and tomatoes too.

But this week it’s Texas caviar, mmmm hmmmm.

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Lunch. Texas caviar awaiting its homemade pita chips.
http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2006/12/black-eyed-peas-for-new-years-day.html

Dinner. The first hors d’oeuvre in Elizabeth David‘s Summer Cooking, a work of genius.
A.) I was way too hungry to style this properly. B.) Eggs for dinner only if you have two dozen farm-laid ones given by friends.

Next up, omega threes per the really stinky French healthy lunch meat, anchoaide de Croze, which is even less photogenic.

I wouldn’t say meatless is cheap. The fresh ingredients for the Texas caviar, the olives, radishes, French bread, cultured butter and some other non-meat groceries ran me nearly $60 at Whole Paycheck. But both are meals I can have a couple of times — let’s say they’re six meals. I really should work out the financials. Next year in Jerusalem.

Nothing I’ve eaten lately falls under the cuisine dolce far niente rubric. Except that really excellent, sublime, actually, dinner of mango sherbet and honey-roasted almonds on a day I didn’t feel like cooking. Mmmm.

This is my quest, for budget, health and happiness, in 2012. I don’t want to fall back on purchased lunch meat or leftovers, but rather to have something special for lunch, with an emphasis on omega threes and greens. The previous fallback has been home-roasted org turkey breast, which is very easy and which I’m very fond of, but which can be pricey and less greeny and fishy than variety suggests.

So far we have had

  • home-made Spam (Fannie Farmer‘s ham loaf with Costco ham ground at home and frozen in 1 lb. packages),
  • ditto salmon loaf (not cheap, but better and cheaper than the traditional canned salmon, with frozen wild-caught filets: I need to investigate Costco’s farm-raised filets),
  • home-brined tongue
  • ricotta spinach pie (>:-P)
  • very garlicky hummus made in 10-minutes with beans soaked overnight and cooked in the pressure cooker, served with demi-peeled cucumber dice
  • Cafe Lula’s awesome peanut butter, sambal, sprouts, cukes, and when in season, tomato Tineka sandwich,
  • chick pea and lentil dal, with Basmati rice, broccolli, and tamarind-date chutney, which may be the perfect vegan meal…except for the quantities of CLARIFIED BUTTER in the dal
  • Fergus Henderson‘s lima bean/cauli/leek salad with lemon/garlic vinaigrette
  • and etc.

Goals have been to steer away from cholesterol and nitrates. (Successful: I had a slice of bacon about two months ago and I nearly passed out. WOW.) And to up fish and greens. (Remind me to add sardines, smoked, in oil, to my grocery list. Licious.)

The least successful of the purpose-built for lunch dishes was the ghastly ricotta-spinach pie, which was also too ugly to want. Given two dozen farm-laid eggs two generous friends gave me, I splurged choles on a frittata with a ton of Parm and broccolli rabe, which is possibly among the best leftovers on the planet and full of greens.

Some of my favorite greens ingestion methods are

  • Glory brand canned collards, nuked for lunch, with Vidalia onion chopped on top
  • a bag of defrosted frozen spinach mixed into a nutmeggy, garlicky turkey/pork/beef loaf
  • beans and greens, like chard in pureed white bean soup, or escarole sauteed with garlic and white canellinis and, finally,
  • a huge veg soup, tons of celery, carrot, onion, beans, thyme with a bunch of kale in chiffonade.

A big veg soup, with beefy stock and tomato and a few beans with lots of veg makes a very satisfying light hot cheap lunch. As the Asians know. Salad I find disheartening for lunch.

I have re-invested in this cookbook, which I deacquisitioned two moves ago, because as I recall she has great menus, good recipes for cold green soups and summery picnic dishes for keeping in the fridge, and obvs everything is cooked ahead. I like to cook every two days and freeze my own Lean Cuisines. I think this book will work for me.

Maybe I’ll cook my way through this and Elizabeth David‘s Summer Cooking this summer.  There’s an anchoiade with figs I’m up for. Mmmmm.

Elizabeth David, circa 1960

Elizabeth David, circa 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, it’s Texas caviar, with frozen home-cooked black-eyed peas, and the Homesick Texan’s bumpin’ recipe. You have got to try it. Do the Rotel. You know you want to. And read the chile’s blog.

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