Friday, October 3, 2014

Cookbook Review: The Homesick Texan's Family Table by Lisa Fain

The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lonestar Cooking from my Table to Yours
Lisa Fain
Ten Speed Press, 2014

The last cookbook I reviewed spoke to my mother's side of the family from Mississippi. But, y'all, I was born in Texas, so I come by this one honestly. My dad's from Texas, and we're right proud of that little fact.

The Homesick Texan's Family Table is a delightful cookbook to peruse. There are lots of recipes featuring the subtle heat from chipotles, some tried and true Texan favorites (chicken spaghetti and references to chicken fried steak--NOT "country fried"), and a host of true Tex-Mex recipes. I grew up eating burritos or tacos on a weekly basis and was rather shocked to find, when I got to college (out of the state) that not everyone had grown up eating similarly. Well done, tasteful food photography accents many recipes. Simplicity rules, and the organization follows suit. An index in the back as well as a mini table of contents for each section makes this cookbook easy to navigate.

Fain is a Texan by birth, but she lives in New York now. This cookbook springs from the work on her popular blog (Homesick Texan). The question is: does the cookbook work? Does it please fellow Texans? Do the recipes taste good? I've sampled three to date, but I plan to try lots more. So, yes, it pleases fellow Texans. The Cowboy Beans will be a regular feature around here. And the Caballero Cookies? YUM YUM. They remind me of the Ranger Dan cookies we ate at summer camp--in Texas, of course. Delicious!

If you know a Texan or enjoy Tex Mex, this is a fun cookbook to check out. You may also want to check out:

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Mr. Potato Head...for Real!

Part of my commitment as a virtual farmhand for the Colvins is to put up a recipe each week that showcases the produce we got that week--how to use it, how to eat it, how to store it, etc. This is our last week of the season, though, so I have been a little unconventional. Oh, we're using the produce, that's for sure. We just didn't eat it.

I was signed up this week to speak to my son's second grade class about a hobby of mine, my job, or some other interest. They already know I'm a teacher since I pop into lunch on a regular basis. They already know I read/review children's books since I've been a classroom reader already. What they didn't know before today was anything about my love affair with vegetables and my partnership with the Colvins.

This turned out to be a fantastic way to talk up vegetables, local or otherwise, with a group of kids. I held up specimens, all of which have come at some point during the season, and most of which are recent box finds. The kids could identify most (not the turnip!), had tried most of them (not the radishes!), and had no problems disagreeing on which ones were better. We talked about "not liking them yet" and trying new veggies. And then... we made Mr. Potato Heads with the various veggies! I introduced them to my new friend, Colvin (pictured above on the right), and encouraged them to make their own new friends. It was a great experience, and the kids loved it. They were even more creative than I'd expected, and I caught several of them sampling the extra veggies they were using. Bonus! So, in this last week of our CSA season, buy a handful of bigger potatoes and use your scraps from prepping your veggies to make a few Mr. Potato Heads. It takes remarkably few whole vegetables to make multiple Mr. Potato Heads, and it's a fantastic way to get kids excited about vegetables.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CSA Pick-Up (10/1/14)

Wow! What a way to end our CSA season with the Colvins this year! It's been a great season all around. Thanks for your hard work, Colvin family!

The "haul" includes:

  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch young white turnips
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 bag small heads lettuce
  • 1 bag arugula
  • mixed tomatoes
  • several bell peppers
  • several hot peppers
  • 1 bag potatoes
  • 1 jack-o-lantern pumpkin