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

March 2, 2011

We are already in the third month of the 2011th year. Time sure flies when you are having Texas Cooking. A lot of the Doctor's patients have had a really long, cold winter. I see television pictures of folk with their cars up to the door handles in snow.

Thankfully moisture did not accompany most of the cold air that swept through Texas from west to east. The real blessing of the cold was that our heating did not fail. Our electricity and natural gas kept most folk at least comfortable. Some of our neighbors up in Taos, New Mexico had no heat for five days. The ambient temperatures were below zero. My friend U.L.said it was just like camping out inside.

Time to see if the doctor can render some assistance to his patients.

Janet writes: A friend asked me for a recipe called pan bread. I haven't heard of it, have you? I lived in Plano for 14 years, but never heard of pan bread. It is supposedly a Texas recipe. I think my friend may be referring to nothing more than a thinner kind of cornbread. She said it isn't very thick, but it is a cornbread. It is supposed to be very Texan and good with ranch beans. If you can point me toward a recipe like that, I would appreciate it.

Hey Janet: I found dozens of recipes for pan bread. The one thing all the recipes seem to have in common is that they are cooked in a skillet. Your friend is going to have to narrow it down a little more to find that recipe. Also, it's possible she is referring to "Pan de Campo," which just happens to be the Official State Bread of Texas. (See my article about Pan de Campo, The Official State Bread of Texas.

However, after research I have come up with this fine recipe:

Texas Pan Bread

  • 1 small onion, fine chopped
  • 1 to 5 minced garlic cloves (depending on what regard you hold those around you)
  • 1 can kidney beans (or mexi-beans, black beans, whatever your fancy
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 egg replacer (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cast iron skillet with cooking spray, add a little water and heat.

In a bowl, mix the beans, egg replacer, diced jalapeños, cumin and cornmeal. Mash until beans are desired consistency (this is a personal preference thing; some like them whole, some want them like baby food). Set aside.

Sauteé the onion until transparent. Add the minced garlic and sauté briefly. Do not scorch the garlic. Pour the onion and garlic into the bean mixture and mix well.

Pour the batter into the skillet, smooth the top, and bake for about 10 minutes. Top this with shredded cheddar, sliced olives and maybe some thinly sliced red pepper rounds, and return the skillet to the oven until cheese is melted and bread begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

This seems to be a variation of Mexican Cornbread or Jalapeño Cornbread. It all depends on who named the child. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Christine writes: It seems you answered a man's question about how a buddy did an eye of round on the grill with newspaper. Well, as it happens, I was given a nice piece of eye of round, and I would really know, step by step, how to smoke and cook it on my 22-inch Weber. I know it is a lean cut, but is there a simple or common way to keep it moist? Also internal temp when done, type of rub, etc. This girl needs some help!

Hi Christine: Wrapping the meat in newsprint is just a gimmick. I wouldn't recommend it. I don't know what all is in the ink they use. If you want to use the paper seal, get some regular butcher paper. I also don't know how advanced your grilling/smoking skills are. You might go back to Texas Cooking and read through some of my archived barbecue articles.

I would season that eye up real good and sear it over some hot coals, and then wrap it tight in heavy-duty foil and let it steam a couple of hours. You want an internal temp of 140°F for rare, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done. You can poke n hole in the foil and stick the thermometer in. Be careful, some hot juice may squirt out.

As the round is very lean, you might want to give it a good coating of cooking oil before you put your dry seasonings on. Good luck. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Lee Ann writes: I would appreciate a recipe for making jams without real sugar and also what pectin I should utilize.

Hi Lee Ann: There are several products on the market for making sugarless jams: Slim Set, Mrs. Wages Light Home Jell, and Ball 100% Natural Reduced Calorie Fruit Pectin to name a few. I think the last would be the best. It comes with all sorts of instructions. When using artificial sweeteners, Splenda is best for anything cooked because aspartame loses its sweetness when heated. Many of these products are available in Amazon's Grocery Store. Check them out. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John.

Cecil writes: I am completely new to outdoor cooking. My family wants to do something special for the holidays and they were thinking of making a big rotisserie to cook pig, beef, etc. Do you know where I might be able to get some plans to build this thing? Also, I would like to attach a motor to it, but don't know the specs that I would need. If you could help me with any of this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Cecil: The first thing to do is check with a commercial pit builder to see what they have. Right now Pits by Klose seem to be on the leading edge of the technology. Better Homes and Gardens puts out a book every year on how to build barbecues. Check with your book store or public library. Another place to check would be with a masonry contractor or a fireplace shop. They should have plans on building barbecue pits. A machine shop can build you a rotisserie if you show them a picture of one. They can mount a motor. Make sure you get a motor for outdoor use. I wish I could tell you more. 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
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