Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Raven's Own Recipes
by John Raven, Ph.B.
I thought we would start the New Year off with some recipes you can't find anywhere else but here. I have never been real big on following recipes for all my cooking. I like to try new things and alter existing dishes to fit my needs.
I know we are supposed to eat our vegetables every day so we can grow up to be big and strong like Popeye. All the politically correct menus call for vegetables, either raw or steamed. There is nothing wrong with that. It's just that I've never met a steamed vegetable I liked.
Raven's vegetable medley
You will need:
In a medium-size pot or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid sauté the onion and bell pepper in a little shortening or oil of your choice until the vegetables are tender. Add the can of tomatoes. Add the beef flavoring. [Do not add any salt as the beef flavoring and the tomatoes contain a lot of salt.]
Stir everything real good. Add the cabbage, carrots, potatoes and squash. [You can use other vegetables but I would avoid peas, lima beans and corn.]
When the pot comes to a simmer, cut the heat down a tad and cover. You want a slow simmer. Check it a couple of times to get it right. Stir a couple of times when you are checking. In about an hour all the vegetables should be tender. Overcooking this mix a bit does not harm the quality. Just make sure you don't scorch it. If it gets too dry, you have too much heat; cut the heat down and add a bit of water.
This is an excellent side dish for grilled meats and sausages. If you want to serve it with chicken, use chicken flavoring instead of the beef. [This is a good dish for you slow cookers, too. However, you need to sauté the onion and pepper before you start.]
As my inventory of recipes grew so did my liking for a varied bread menu. Recently I was searching for a bread to accompany my beans and stews. Cornbread is the usual fare here, but it tended to be a bit crumbly for my tastes, so I started playing around with the ingredients and came up with a version of camp bread that is a wee bit different and is very sturdy for all your sopping and push board needs.
Here's what you will need:
Bake in preheated 425°F oven about 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown and loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Cool on a wire rack.
Crisp topping for fruit
In my case I obtain a can of pie filling and go from there. The topping is very simple.
The regular recipe calls for:
Mix the first three ingredients well, and add the sprinkle of salt. Work in the melted butter until everything is coated. [If there are any lumps in the brown sugar, break them up or they will scorch in the cooking process.]
Put your fruit in a baking dish or pan. [If using fresh fruit do it just like you were making a pie. Canned filling, just dump it in.] Sprinkle on the topping evenly. You want just enough to cover all the topping.
Bake in preheated 375°F oven until topping is brown and filling bubbling. It will probably take 15 or 20 minutes.
I am partial to Lucky Leaf pineapple pie filling. Their cherry pie filling works very well also. I think any of the canned fruit fillings would work, but I doubt that using a pudding type filling would be successful.
The above recipe makes enough topping for two bakings. You can divide the topping before you add the butter and save half for next time. Put it in a zip bag and keep in cool, dry place. Add half the measure of butter when you prepare half the topping. But you knew that.
Coming up next month
So stock up on ketchup; we use a lot of it. And don't forget the Lea & Perrins either.
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