Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Leftovers: Carne Guisada, Salsa and Moreby John Raven, Ph. B.
We are going to start off this month with some odds and ends that don't seem to fit into any category. Every so often you have to do this to keep your odds and ends drawer from overflowing.
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You can liven this dish up with the addition of some jalapeos or other chile peppers of your choosing. Just don't get it too hot. Using half green bell pepper and half yellow bell pepper will add visual appeal.
Raven's Quick Salsa
I've found lately that jalapeo peppers purchased from a store can vary greatly in the heat they contain. One will be as mild as a bell pepper, and the next will take the fillings out of your teeth. So devise a test for your jalapeos so you don't ruin a good dish with too much heat. Perhaps someone in your household will volunteer to test the peppers for heat. I've been around the peppers so long that I can determine the heat by the way my nose and eyes react when placed close to the pepper in question.
With the coming of Summer, we are going to start getting those great fresh vegetables. Next recipe is named for them.
Salsa de Legumbres Frescas (fresh garden salsa)
Several years ago when the fajitas craze was at its peak, there were a lot of ideas as to what salsa went with the fajitas. The proper salsa for fajitas is Pico de Gallo -- peck of the cock, a rather mild salsa that complements the other fajita ingredients.
Pico de Gallo (PEEK-o day GUY-o)
I have a huge sweet tooth. I look for recipes that combine sweetness with other flavors. I don't think sweet should be confined just to dessert time. Therefore here's a sweet salsa.
Cold roast beef with jalapeno jelly is hard to beat. It just wouldn't be fair to mention sweets without giving a recipe for the famous jalapeo jelly. But before you go to all the trouble of boiling up a batch of your very own, let me caution you that jalapeo jelly is an unusual combination of flavors. You either like it or dislike it -- not much middle ground. If you've never tasted jalapeno jelly, get a small sample jar from your local Tex-Mex supply store.
Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
Add the pectin. Raise the heat, and boil hard for five minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon. If the color doesn't suit you, you can add the food coloring, a drop or two at a time, until it does. Put in sterile jars and seal securely.
I think you will find that the jalapeno jelly goes better on meats than on toast for breakfast. Cold roast beef with jalapeno jelly is hard to beat. And next time you are grilling chicken, give the chicken a glaze of melted jalapeo jelly. Outstanding.
When we get a little further into the Summer, I'll give you some recipes and factoids on my favorite chile, the cayenne. Yes, that hellish hot red powder has other uses. You may not know it, but it starts out green just like most all other peppers and turns red as it matures. I didn't have a crop last year, because the deer liked the cayenne peppers even more that I did. I think I'll have a large enough crop this season to work up some recipes for you. Get the iced tea ready.
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