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How To Make a Unique Tex-Mex Meal
A Twist of This and a Pinch of That
Here are a few recipes that come from the South Texas border area, with some individual changes made along the decades by people that have a rich Spanish and Mexican background in their genealogical lines as well as in their cooking techniques and ingredients.
The innovations and variations in South Texas and along the Rio Grande and the Mexican Border never stop. They’ve taken on some slightly different styles and flavors all across the Gulf of Mexico shores and, in Flori-Mex cuisine, as far away as Florida.
Texas and Mexico Share Ingredients and Techniques
Where Did the Food Originate?
Reading through friends' genealogical pages in libraries linked across the US through library servers is a miracle that really connects the dots to show how certain dishes came into existence.
Sometimes this is all surprising as well as fascinating and sometimes it’s pretty simple but un-thought-of – just like the language changes of any society. Pretty soon a particular group of people is speaking a whole new dialect. They may be creating their own versions of local dishes as well.
It’s fun to hear how someone’s grandma or coworkers changed a recipe just a bit and the new flavors and textures carried down into a dish that you’ve been enjoying for years and didn’t even know it was Tex-Mex! Life is a wonder.
Here’s hoping you enjoy this additional batch of recipes that originated in South Texas and that your life is full of wonder every day.
This recipe makes about 2 cups of guacamole, enough for 4 side salads. It is more of a true salad than the guacamole dip that many customers enjoy at Chipotle's restaurant and various Mexican and Texas chain restaurants. I like avocado mixed smoothly with sour cream, myself, but you can add sour cream to this recipe or not and have it just the way you like it.
I think recipes are guidelines, and while some recipes can be ruined by changes in proportions ot types of ingredients,others can gain new life from them.
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and split in half lengthwise
- 2 ripe Avocados
- 1/4 Cup finely chopped yellow, Vidalia, or Spanish onions
- 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp Lime juice
- 2 small green chillies, minced - remove seeds for less "heat"
- 1 thick slice, about 1/2", from a firm red tomato - seeded & diced but unpeeled
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2Tbsp sourcream, if desired
- Shredded lettuce of your choice
- Corn chips of any size for garnish.
- Select a wooden salad bowl and rub the insides completely with garlic. If you have no wooden bowl, skip the clove garlic and add about 1/4 tsp garlic powder to the guacamole.If you have only garlic salt instead, then also skip the plain salt later in the recipe and just add 1/2 tsp garlic salt total. So, it would be either 1 clove garlic or 1/4 tsp each garlic powder and plain salt; or 1/2 tsp garlic salt. Don't add all three or it will be a garlic salad - but you might like that. Let us know if you try that and it works well.
- Cut open the avocados around the long way, plit open and remove pits carfully. Then scoop out the flesh, remove any fibrous bits, and mash the flesh in the wooden bowl to gather garlic into it.
- Add onions, juicies, peppers, tomato, salt and mayonnaise.Mix and add sour cream, if you like, and mix.
- Place shredded lettuce on 4 salad plates, scoop guacamole onto each lettuce bed and garnish with a few corn chips - several small chips or a 2-3 large ones.
South Texas Sunset
Rio Grande Meat Loaf
Makes 6 Servings.
Youc an make some adjustments to change the level of "heat" in the dish. If you know you enjoy more fire, then you can increase the number of hot green chillies you include, You can also add or eliminate the salt, and some people like black pepper added to the dish. Many cooks use whatever bread they have on hand, but sourdough bread is relaly good and does not have to be day old.
I like really sharp cheddar cheese in the topping, but you can use medium or mild as well. Some people like to add several jalepeno rings to the very top surface of the topping before the last bake, for extra zip. Please enjoy!
- 1.5 Pounds of ground beef chuck
- 3 Slices day-old bread, torn to small pieces
- 1 Whole egg
- 2 - 3 Medium firm ripe red tomatoes chopped
- 3 Medium green chili peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 Small yellow onion, chopped coarse
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 Cup hot chili sauce (or milder, if you prefer)
- ¼ to ½ Cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine the first 9 ingredients in a bowl and hand mix (using your own hands).
- Pat the meat mixture into an ungreased loaf pan of appropriate size.
- Bake 60 minutes, remove from oven, and drain excess water and grease.
- Spoon chili sauce over the meat loaf.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the meat loaf.
- Bake an 15 minutes until cheese is melted and browned.
17th Century Tex-Mex Pecan Candy
Makes approximately 30 treats of about 3" diameter.
- 2 Cups packed light brown Sugar
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla
- 1 Cup Pecan halves or pieces
Candy Thermometor (alternative is described in Instructions)
- In a heavy pot on the stove top, place the brown sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda
- Cook over low heat without stirring until the syrup reaches 240 Degrees on candy thermometer. Alternative:- A drip of syrup when dropped into a glass of cold water will form a soft ball. this is the soft-ball stage of candy making.
- Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla, and pecans; beat vigorously about 2 minutes until syrup begins to thicken like honey.
- Drop candies by large spoonfuls to baking sheets lined with wax paper; treats should be about 3 inches across.
- Cool candies to room temperature, peel up from the wax paper, and enjoy.
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