Dateline: October 1, 2003

The long, hot summer is coming to an end in Texas. It happens about this time every year. I don't know why I wasn't expecting it.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, come November I will expound on the care and feeding of turkey to your friends and family over at the Traditional Texas Foods page. Turkey questions will be answered there. Check it out before you come all the way over here to the office.

Nice people waiting with questions, let's get to them.

Doris wrote in looking for a recipe for jalapeño poppers.

Hey Doris: Here's a good popper recipe. You might also want to try beer batter on them. Just flour mixed with enough flat beer to make a thick batter, dip the cheesed peppers in the batter and fry. (You get flat beer by opening a can and letting it set on the counter overnight.)

Jalapeño Poppers

Stem jalapeños and carefully remove seeds and membrane. Stuff peppers with cheese. Heat oil in deep-fat fryer or large pot to 375F degrees. Meanwhile, place beaten eggs in small bowl. Place crumbs in shallow pan. Drop 4 peppers in the beaten eggs and toss to coat. Using a fork, lift one pepper at a time out of the egg, letting the excess drain off. Drop into crumbs and coat. Place on sheet pan. When all peppers are coated, set aside for 15 minutes to set up and dry. Repeat with remaining peppers. With slotted spoon, slip peppers, 5 or 6 at a time, into hot oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Remove to platter lined with paper toweling to drain. Repeat with remaining peppers. Serve immediately.

Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Elmer writes: I am looking for a recipe for Armadillo Pie, which I hope is not a joke. I live in Indiana, and my dad collects stuffed armadillos. He has a pie plate with one on it. I am not going use armadillo meat, but want to mix to get an odd texture and taste for a family gathering.

Here you go, Elmer: .

Armadillo Pie

If armadillos aren't plentiful where you are camped, beef, pork, rabbit, chicken or rattlesnake can be substituted. Cut meat into small pieces and sauté in a dab of bacon grease until lightly browned. Pour in a cup of water, the chopped onions and mixed herbs. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender. More water can be added if needed.

Add the mixed vegetables and continue to simmer until they are done. Adjust the liquid to slightly less than one cup and stir in the brown gravy mix. Simmer until the gravy is thickened.

Line a deep pie dish with pastry and pour in the meat and vegetable mixture. Put on the top crust, seal the edges and make slits in the top crust to let the steam escape. Bake 30 minutes in a 450F degree oven or until nicely browned.

Katherine writes: I have a beautiful pressure cooker/canning kettle. I want to pressure cook a whole, 13-pound turkey. However, I only find information on cooking parts of the turkey. Could you please tell me how long I would have to cook a whole, 13-pound turkey?

[The Doctor answered Katherine telling her that he didn't have much experience with pressure cookers and couldn't find an answer on the Internet or anywhere else. Katherine did what a good cook does. She used her experience and took a shot at finding the right recipe and replied as follows]

Well, I gambled. I put two 13-pound turkeys in my pressure cooker, cooked them at 15 psi for one hour and 45 minutes. They turned out perfect. I also stuck one onion in each turkey cavity. Salt, pepper and liquid smoke. They were moist, cooked through, and tasted like I spent hours on the grill. Take broth, make gravy with Wondra flour and away you go. You have delicious gravy, sauce and turkey. How's that???

amv2 writes: I live in Europe where they cut beef differently. What kind of meat do I have to buy to make brisket?

Greetings from Texas USA. The brisket comes from the breast section of the beef under the first five ribs. It should come with bone removed. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Judy writes: I grew a wonderful crop of Anaheim peppers this summer up here in the great Northwest. The only trouble is I can't find any recipes that include them except salsas. I like your website. Any suggestions?

Hey Judy: I didn't think you grew anything up there but Alder trees and Spotted Owls. The Anaheim is full of possibilities.

Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

If you would like to direct a question to Ask Doctor John, e-mail it to John Raven, Ph.B.