Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Homesick Texan's Family Table by Lisa Fain

Guys, I have a bit of a cookbook obsession. I mean really, a cookbook combines two of my favorite things: food and reading. What's not to love, right? Quite a bit actually, as anyone who's ever tackled a recipe in an overly complicated or less than stellar-ly put together cookbook can attest. But oh, when you find a good cookbook - and I mean a real go to that can be relied on every single time you pick a recipe - that's something to cherish!

I've been a follower of Lisa Fain's Homesick Texan blog for a while now - since before her first cookbook released actually. And that first cookbook, The Homesick Texan Cookbook, made my Christmas list the year it was released. Her recipes are easy to follow and I love the stories that go alongside them (even though they frequently make me homesick myself). That first book gets fairly regular use in my house and is one I reach for whenever we have company coming or are invited to pot lucks. So when the new cookbook was announced and I found out the focus was on dishes to be "shared with friends and family" you bet it again made the wish list.

Let me back up just a bit by saying that as someone who grew up less than an hour from the Texas border, with a 100% Texan grandmother, Fain's food focus is close to my heart. Recipes like her Steak Fingers with JalapeƱo Cream Gravy bring back memories of living in a place where Dairy Queen is good for more than just Blizzards (that post also led to a serious binge watch of Friday Night Lights). And I will ever be grateful for her sharing the Ninfa's Green Sauce recipe (if you didn't grow up near a Ninfa's you must try this stuff, it's magical!).

Since getting my hot little hands on The Homesick Texan's Family Table we've been trying new recipes fairly regularly. The steak fingers mentioned above are featured (we even broke out the Fry Daddy for that one - totally not necessary but it contained the oil a bit). The addition of jalapeƱos to the standard cream gravy is so simple and yet something I'd never have come up with on my own.

The Michelada Flank Steak Tortas with Poblano Buttermilk Dressing was our second attempt from the book and it made for multiple meals in our house of two. That flank steak fresh off the grill was amazing. We didn't actually do it up as sandwiches until meal two - meal one was just the steak alongside some grilled green onions we bought at the farmers market and some Spanish rice.

Both the Sopa de Lima and the Chicken Spaghetti made for great easy weeknight meals. The spaghetti recipe is a variation of something that's been something of a staple in my household, but Fain's recipe replaces the Velveeta with a homemade cheese sauce and adds a tangy lime twist to it as well.

Obviously I haven't had a chance to try everything from the book but the Spicy Pea Salad did become my contribution to a recent pot luck party. I've got my eye on the Frito Salad as my next try and the Ruby Red Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake as well. Also in my future plans - tamale party!

Per Blogging for Books requirements: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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