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If you have a question for Doctor John, send an email to moc.oohay@nevarkeerc

October 1, 2008

October is upon us once again. In a couple of weeks it will be time for the Spooks and Goblins to venture out for their annual shopping trip. Those critters can live for a year on nothing but candy and chewing gum. Here's a good get-rich-quick idea for free from the good doctor. Invent a kid's Halloween plunder receptacle that you can put stuff in but can't get it out unless you have the key. That way you can check the plunder and ration it out.

Okay. Enough. Let's see what kinds of problems our patients are having.

[This happens a lot]
Virginia writes:

My husband put much too much chili powder in a large batch of chili. What can I put in the chili in the next warming to take out some of the chili flavor? Will a potato do the same as it does for salt?

Hi Virginia: We have had some success using instant potato flakes to tone down chili. You will need to add water to keep it from getting too thick. This will dilute the whole pot and more than likely will make it acceptable. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

John has a lot of company coming. He needs a big batch of chili.

Hey John: Here's a recipe that should get you pretty close. If you need a little more, add more beans. If it's a little thin, add some instant potato flakes. Check it for salt when it's done. Chili needs a little more salt than most dishes. Thanks for writing
Dr. John

Five Gallons of Chili
  • 25 lbs. ground beef
  • 10 medium onions, chopped
  • 20 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 pounds canned tomatoes (more or less)
  • 8 pounds canned kidney beans, drained, reserve juice
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups chili powder
  • 1/2 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
Cook and stir ground beef and onion in large pans until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat.

Stir in tomatoes, reserved kidney bean liquid, tomato sauce and seasonings. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir in beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.

Norm writes:

Hi Doc. The most frustrating salsa thing I deal with is the consistency. I don't like salsa that is very chunky (the tomato bits) unless it is Pico de Gallo. Do you have El Torito restaurants in Texas? Their salsa is the way I like it. I'd describe it as lumpy, not chunky. I even bought a food processor after my blender bouts either reduced the stuff to sauce or left it too chunky. I have not used any added liquid (water or Spicy V8), but maybe I should. By the way, my recipe includes, celery, Italian tomatoes, cilantro, anaheims, jalepeños and onions. Any suggestions?

P.S. The reason I like Mexican salsa is that there is NO vinegar in it! A little Jose C might be OK, though.

Hi Norm: Try roasting your vegetables before you process them. Put them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You don't want to cook them soft, just kinda tender them up a little. Turn them a couple of times to get an even sear. When they are cool enough, remove the skins as best you can. Give this a try and let me know how it works. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Jackie writes:

Since moving here in January, I was introduced to Taco Soup for the first time and found it delicious. I would like to find a good recipe as I will be visiting family and friends in Florida soon and would like to dazzle them by making this wonderful soup.

Hi Jackie: Here's an easy one. Enjoy.

Taco Soup

  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes with juice
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans, canned
  • 17 ounces canned whole kernel corn with juice
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 4 cups water
In a Dutch oven, brown beef and onion. Drain fat and add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread.

Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

John writes:

Dr. John, can you please tell me a brief history of where and how Texas barbecue came from? Also, what do you think separates Texas from the other states when it comes to barbecue?

Hi John: To the best of my knowledge. Barbecue as we know it today started during the depression years. Meat markets/butcher shops started cooking the less desirable cuts of meat such as the ribs and briskets and selling them for nickel and dime prices. It was a good way to get a meal for very little money. After WWII, someone started building the little backyard pits out of discarded metal drums, and the rest is history.

Texas barbecue is made with native woods, mesquite, oak, hickory. They give a sharp, recognizable flavor. The Texas finishing sauce is red and sweet, as opposed to the vinegar based sauces east of the Mississippi. The meat of choice in Texas is beef. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

If you have a question for Doctor John, send an email to moc.oohay@nevarkeerc
end article

Traditional Texas Food Articles
By Dr. John, Ph.B.

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