Food Matters: New cookbook explores foodways of Big Bend


COOKBOOK

Cookbook explores foodways from the Heart of West Texas

You might know Tiffany Harelik from her work with food trailers from here to Portland, but in the past few years, she’s been spending a lot of time in West Texas. All those months out near Big Bend, Marfa, Marathon, Fort Davis and Lajitas inspired her to write a cookbook about the foodways of this particular region of Texas.

As with most books about food culture, “Big Bend Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of West Texas” (The History Press, $24.99) is as much about the people who are carrying on the food traditions as the traditions themselves. We learn about how the couple behind Fat Lyle’s food truck in Marfa make it through the slow winter season and what it’s like running a historic hotel in Alpine. Harelik compiles both the recipes and the stories in a way that will make your fingers itch to grab that steering wheel and head west.

Until then, find a chile pequin bush (the one at my house is overloaded with bright red chilies right now) and try this recipe for spicy scrambled eggs.

Chile Pequin Egg Breakfast

Maurine Winkley’s 94-year-old grandmother Maurine Thomason was the first to introduce her to the chile pequin. One of her tried-and-true breakfasts involves chile pequins and the fluffiest, tastiest scrambled eggs you will ever put in your mouth.

1 Tbsp. milk

1/8 tsp. cornstarch

2 eggs

1 tsp. butter

1 to 2 chile pequins, finely chopped

2 shakes salt

Tortillas and salsa, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk the milk and cornstarch together. Add the eggs and whisk the mixture together until the clumps from the cornstarch disappear. In a small cast-iron or sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the butter and the chile pequins. Cook for 2 minutes and then move the butter/pequin mixture around in the pan to cover the bottom. Add your eggs and salt. Cook the eggs until they no longer show any translucence. Immediately remove from heat and enjoy. Serves 1.

— Recipe from Maurine Winkley in “Big Bend Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of West Texas” by Tiffany Harelik (The History Press, $24.99)

NEW PRODUCT

Deep Eddy launches lemon vodka

Although Deep Eddy Vodka co-founder Chad Auler is always playing around with new flavors, not all of them end up in bottles sold across the country. But the upcoming Deep Eddy Lemon caught on with him and others at Deep Eddy as a refreshing new option, and it’s releasing at the Dripping Springs distillery this month and on store shelves in January.

And like past Deep Eddy flavors, this one incorporates a natural ingredient that’s always been traditional in vodka drinks. Deep Eddy Lemon, featuring real lemon juice and Texas aquifer water, is “like biting into a sweet, ripe lemon or sipping on your grandma’s homemade lemonade. It’s got tartness balanced with sweetness,” Auler says.

“The citrus-flavored vodka category is a huge category, so when we look at the others, to my knowledge we’re one of the very few or maybe the only one that uses real lemon juice,” he said. “It’s the same with our other products. We couldn’t find anyone out there using real ruby red grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and now lemon juice, and the difference is notable.”

— Arianna Auber

GIFTS

Countryside brings back popular holiday charcuterie box

Not sure what to bring to your next Christmas party? Every December, Countryside Farm assembles a holiday charcuterie box with various cured meats and accoutrements. This year’s gift box ($55) features some of owner Sebastien Bonneu’s signature products, including champagne mustard, onion marmalade, rabbit rillette, wild hog terrine, pork and fig rillette or pâté de campagne. You can order the boxes online (countrysidefarm.wazala.com) for pickup at the downtown, Sunset Valley, Cedar Park and HOPE farmers markets this weekend and Dec. 20 and 21. Next year, the farm in Cedar Creek plans to offer monthly classes and happy hours that might include cooking and butchering lessons. Stay tuned to their Facebook page (facebook.com/countrysidefamilyfarm) for details.

AUSTIN360 TASTE TEST

Will sugar cookie, candy cane teas end up on Santa’s naughty list?

Celestial Seasonings helped boost the popularity of tea in the U.S. more than just about any other company, except perhaps Tazo, but have they gone too far with holiday-inspired sugar cookie and candy cane teas? We try them, along with a few other candy cane products, for this week’s Austin360 Taste Test video series.

Last week, Dale Roe and I loved the beef jerky trail mixes from the Austin-based Epic, but we weren’t as enthusiastic about two new flavors of their meaty protein bars. To watch these videos and the rest of the taste test series, go to food.blog.austin360.com or youtube.com/austin360video.


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