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Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is a time-honored filling for a layer cake.  A layer cake creates the WOW in the dessert arena.  They are really not much trouble, and an occasion becomes even more special with this spectacular filling.

Another of Margaret Lea Houston’s recipes, and a  southern favorite.  You can look like a star by making this simple tart and sweet lemon curd and simply topping slices of pound cake for a lovely desert.

Lemon Curd “how-to” Video

Lemon Curd

Tart and sweet, the perfect filling for your layer cake
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 zest of lemon

Instructions
 

  • Whisk eggs until smooth in a medium-heavy, 1 quart saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice, whisking until well mixed. Look slowly over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thicken s enough to coat back of wooden spoon (10 - 12 minutes).
  • Remove pan from heat. Cut butter into tablespoon-size pieces and stir, one piece at a time, into warm mixture until melted and fully absorbed. Stir in lemon zest.
  • Spoon between the layers of the Sam Houston White Cake. Top with Shiny Chocolate Frosting.

Notes

Lemon Curd is also over pound cake.  You can save time by buying your pound cake at the store.  I also like to save a little zest to sprinkle on top of individual servings.  
Keyword Lemon Curd, Cake filling

Rich and Dense White Cake (Sam Houston’s Family Recipe)

Elegant, rich, and definitely fit for a special occasion: This recipe was passed down through the Sam and Margaret Houston family.  It has been published many times – the first thought to be in the 1941 Blue Bird Circle Cookbook.  The Texas Imperial Sugar Company also featured it in several of its publications.

A layer cake can really create the “WOW” factor to end a special meal.  Time-wise, it takes little more than a sheet cake and once you set it on a pedestal cake stand – well, it’s a knock out.  I served it at a family gathering a few weeks ago and received “ooh’s and aah’s!

You can fill it with either the Margaret Lea Houston chocolate icing or a lemon curd.  The Shiny Chocolate Icing completes the yummy desert.  I literally just spooned it on the top and let it run down the sides for a natural look.

Give it a try, and go for the adventure!  After all, that is what cooking is all about!

View the “how-to” video here:


Sam Houston's White Cake

A thick layer cake passed down through the generations
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 6 egg whites

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter until soft and bright. Gradually add sugar and continue creaming in order to incorporate as much air as possible.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift together 3 times, or stir until blended.
  • Add flavorings to milk and water. Alternate adding flour and liquid mixtures to butter mixture. Beat well after each addition.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into batter. Blend well but do not beat. Pour into three greased and floured 9 inch layer cake pans and bake for 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then turn onto cake racks and remove pans. Wait until cake is cool to frost with Shiny Chocolate Frosting.

Notes

You may fill between the layers with Lemon curd.  

Shiny Chocolate Icing

A tasty recipe from the tough and legendary Margaret Lea Houston 

Texas women are strong. That’s no secret. Don’t think so? Well, have you met one? As Texicureans, we love to blend our curiosity of history and food together to give you a good story.

We went to Burleson County to speak at their heritage week and found the perfect person to make and share Margaret Lee Houston’s chocolate icing recipe. You see, Texas history class and folklore is filled with stories of Sam Houston and Edward Burleson —famous “frenimies” as the kids would say these days. These men are central figures in our state’s founding. But in Texicureans tradition, we know there is more to the story so we asked, what about the women behind them and by their side?

Historically in Texas, the men went off to fight in battles, buy and sell supplies, or campaign for office.  Who was left behind to manage the farm and ranch operations, raise the children, keep food on the table, and otherwise keep the “home fires burning”?  The Women.

One such tough cookie was Margaret Lea Houston.

Perhaps her biggest challenge was the feisty man we know as the father of our state – Sam Houston.

20 years old and a staunch Baptist, Margaret supposedly met Houston at a garden party in 1839.  Twenty-six years her senior, Houston was struck by her beauty, intellect, and poise.  Despite her mother’s misgivings, the couple were married a year later and moved to Texas where Sam begins making political speeches.

The couple’s first child, Sam Houston Jr. was born in Washington-on-the Brazos in 1843.  The births of Margaret Lea and Antoinette Power follow.   During this time, Margaret had a breast tumor removed, using only a silver coin between her teeth as a painkiller.  Didn’t  I say she was tough?

The couple then moves to Independence, Texas.  Margaret also begins to influence the “tough as nails” husband she married.  He is baptized in the Baptist church, quits drinking, and somewhat tames his language.

It is said that when he came up from the baptismal waters in the creek, Houston’s friends said, “Well, General, all your sins have been washed away.” “If that be the case,” Houston quipped, “God help the fish downstream!”

Andrew Jackson Houston is born and the older children attend Baylor University.  (It was located in Independence at this time)

The Houstons move to Huntsville in 1854 where Williams Rogers was born in 1858.

In 1859, Houston won election as the governor of Texas.  In 1860, Margaret Lea Houston arrives at the Governor’s mansion with seven children, the family belongings, a team of mules, several horses and numerous dogs.

By this time, Austin society expected a certain level of social interaction at the Mansion.  Weakened by asthma and the pregnancy of her eighth and final child, Margaret struggled in the early days of occupying the mansion.  She rose to the occasion, however, and eventually began to receive visitors.

This brings us to our recipe this month:  Margaret Lea Houston’s Shiny Chocolate Frosting..

And who would be a better person to prepare it with, but someone who’s 4 times Great Grandfather debated Sam Houston!  Brian Broaddus’ family arrived in Burleson County (county named after Sam’s VP during his presidency of the Republic – Edward Burleson) by wagon train in 1840.

Running for governor of Texas in 1857 as an independent candidate, Sam Houston visited the county on a campaign speaking tour.  Local attorney and Democratic Party leader Andrew S. Broaddus debated Houston on behalf of Hardin Richard Runnels at Waugh Campground north of Caldwell, TX. Houston carries the county but loses the election.

Now, back to the  icing – which Brian and I prepared together, it is literally the best chocolate icing I have ever tasted!

Brian topped a Texas Sheet Cake with the icing to serve to the audience – and it was absolutely delectable.  If you would like to taste more of Brian’s culinary delights – visit his “Four Tines at the Surrey Inn Restaurant” in Caldwell, Texas located on the legendary Camino Real – Hwy 21.

Shiny Chocolate Icing

A tasty recipe from the tough and legendary Margaret Lea Houston (AKA Mrs. Sam Houston)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 3 squares unsweetened Chocolate
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Melt chocolate in a pan sitting on hot water. Stir in powdered sugar. Add salt and hot water.
  • Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix well. Allow to cool and pour over completed cake.

Video

Keyword Chocolate Icing

Sautéed Garlicky Broccoli

Sometimes it’s just the simple recipes that bear repeating for our everyday dinners.  Broccoli is by far the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetable in America.  Studies have established a link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention.

And it’s just good!  I love this recipe because the broccoli is first sautéed in  garlic, onion, and EVOO.  The finishing touch is a quick steam with broth.  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice across the top, and enjoy!

So here’s an insight into my personal goal for meal portions:

Half the plate is green veggies, one quarter is a protein, and the remaining one quarter is a complex carbohydrate.  So, the green veggie is an important part of our meals.

Back to the broccoli – Click the picture below to view the easy to prepare video!

Sautéed Broccoli

Crisp-tender florets with garlic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 7 - 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 8 cups broccoli florets sliced into 1" thick pieces (will shrink 25%)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth (or 1 tsp concentrate to 1/2 cup hot water

Instructions
 

  • Heat the EVOO in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté about 1 minute.
  • Add the broccoli florets. Increase heat to medium high. Stir fry for about 6 - 8 minutes until broccoli turns bright green and a bit brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, Add the broth and cover with a lid. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Keyword broccoli, greens, garlicky, sauteed

 

 

 

Easy Eclipse Charcuterie

Are you celebrating the eclipse with friends or family?

Emily has created a board that is easy and thematic!

Using a round of brie to represent the moon with a round of cheddar sticking out in partial eclipse of the sun fashion – you can use your creativity or follow Emily’s directions to a “T”.

Add a bottle of bubbly to celebrate and voila – you are covered.

Remember to wear those fashionable eclipse glasses!

Eclipse Charcuterie

A Cheesy Tribute
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz round brie
  • crumbly sharp cheddar
  • Manchego
  • pepper jack slices
  • Gouda
  • Slice round yellow cheddar
  • Italian dry salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Cornichons
  • Honey
  • fig jam
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • half moon cookies
  • Mint for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Arrange any ramekins in opposite corners on board - honey, fig jam, cornichons
  • Slice round of brie in 1/2 using a wire slicer. Take a round slice of hamburger cheddar cheese and insert between the brie slices leaving enough exposed to create a crescent shape. (brie is the moon and cheddar is the sun). Place in the middle of the board.
  • Take the pre-sliced cheese and fashion a crescent shape. Place on top of the brie.
  • Slice the manchego in 1/3" slices. Arrange in a "zipper" pattern on tray.
  • Cut gouda into cubes. Place any craters side up (to represent the moon) Place opposite the manchego on the tray.
  • Create large "crumbs" out of the sharp cheddar/parmesan cheese. Place on platter. Place opposite the manchego and gouda.
  • Add grapes, sliced strawberries.
  • Fold salami in 1/2 and place throughout the board. Place a few together.
  • Fold prosciutto in 1/2 and create a ribbon.
  • Fill in with blueberries, more halved strawberries, and additional grapes. Add in 1/2 moon cookies. Garnish with mint. Add more crescent moons if desired.
  • Serve with crackers on the side. Add in cheese knives, honey dipper, and spoon for jelly.

Video

Keyword Charcuterie, Charcuterie Board, Eclipse, cheese

Easter Sunrise Quiche AKA Asparagus and Ham Quiche

“Good Morning!” says this quiche!

A great make-ahead dish for Easter morning, you can bake it, freeze it, and pull it out the evening before just to pop it in the oven for a quick warm up.

Since it has ham, eggs, and veggies – you’re covered for breakfast or brunch with the addition of sliced fruit and a steaming cup of coffee.

The “sun” is simply a yellow bell pepper cut into one circle and several triangles, then surrounded by 3″ asparagus pieces.

My friend Linda Steel Richter – who inspires me in so many ways, has been making this quiche for her family for many years.  At Christmas, she uses a red bell pepper and creates a poinsettia for the center.

Also, if you’re not feeling crafty, you can simply cut the asparagus in 2″ pieces, throw on top of the cheese, and pour the egg mixture over all.

Happy Easter!

How-to Video

Easter Sunrise Quiche

AKA Asparagus and Ham Quiche
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 pound swiss cheese, grated
  • 9 Canadian ham slices (1/4" thick)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut in 3" pieces
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut 1 1/5" circle, 7 - 8 small triangles

Instructions
 

  • Spray pie plate with oil, place pie crust in pan. Line pie crust with ham. Cover the ham with grated cheese.
  • Beat eggs with cream, nutmeg and salt.  Pour into pie shell
  • Cut asparagus spears to 3” length.  Arrange spears in spoke pattern on quiche.  Cut pieces of yellow bell pepper for sun in center of spoke.  
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
Keyword asparagus, eggs, ham, brunch

 

Donut Easter Baskets

At Texicureans we talk a lot about traditions being passed down through  recipes.  These Easter baskets are exactly that for my family.

My Mom made these Donut Easter Baskets for my school classes growing up, and I made them for my son’s classes.  We also would typically have them for our Easter celebration with our cousins.

So easy to make, with lots of decorative panache – perhaps you’ll consider adding them to your traditions!

How-to Video

Donut Easter Baskets

Delightful and playful - a Spring family tradition
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 6 Store bought donuts
  • 1 pkg unsweetened coconut
  • 1 pkg jelly beans
  • green food coloring
  • 6 spring colored pipe cleaners

Instructions
 

  • Color coconut green in small portions (about 1 cup at a time)
  • Spread a layer of coconut on a serving dish (reserve about 1/3 cup)
  • Top coconut with donuts, place reserved coconut in the donut holes, and sprinkle jelly beans on top.
  • Bend pipe cleaners to form an arch and insert in donuts.
Keyword Donuts, Easter dessert, Jelly beans, coconut

Travelin’ Texas Pinwheels

Are you headed on a road trip this Spring Break?

Here’s an easy snack to keep the kids happy or the “kid in you” happy!  Pinwheels have been around for quite some time, but we generally think of them as an appetizer.

Throw them into a soft-sider ice chest that you keep handy and they also provide a snack on the road.

In this video, we show you both the protein version using turkey and the veggie version using cucumbers and fresh dill.

How to change it up?  Add arugula, baby spinach leaves, or even shredded carrots.  This is a snack you can truly use your creativity.

“Happy Trails to you!”  

And on that note – did you know Dale Evans was born in Uvalde, Texas on October 31, 1912?

Travelin' Texas Pinwheels

Protein and Veggie Options
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

Vegetable Pinwheels

  • 4 tortillas (can use whole wheat or 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 pkg fresh dill
  • 2 small cucumbers

Protein Pinwheels

  • 4 tortillas (can use whole wheat or 1/2 & 1/2)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix (or seasoning of your choice)
  • 4 slices sliced turkey (or sliced protein of your choice)
  • 4 slices Cheese

Instructions
 

  • Spread cream cheese on tortillas
  • Veggie: sprinkle on dill, Protein: sprinkle on ranch dip
  • Veggie: spread cucumbers evenly over tortilla, Protein: Place sliced turkey evenly over tortilla, follow with cheese
  • Roll up tortillas, slice in 1/2, then slice into 1" slices

Video

Notes

You can get creative with these pinwheels - add arugula, baby spinach leaves, or even shredded carrots.  
You can also use burrito size tortillas.
You can finish prep through the rolling up stage, place in a gallon size bag in the fridge, and cut right before packing to leave.  
Keyword snacks, protein snacks, vegetable snacks

 

 

Sam Houston’s Famous BBQ Sauce

Celebrating Texas Independence Day

Many people have attempted to identify what exactly makes Texas, well Texas?

At Texicureans, we celebrate all of the unique cultures that contribute to our state’s culinary pallet. We like to say Texas is much more than BBQ and Tex-Mex. But this month, we are going to honor the Texas trait that transcends the differences any of us may have – independence. And how fitting, because this month we celebrate Texas Independence Day.

In search of the origin of that signature Texas independent spirit, we enlisted Justice Ken Wise. As a Judge, Texas historian, and podcast host of “Wise about Texas”, he was the perfect person to make this month’s recipe – Sam Houston’s BBQ sauce. So, tether your horse and come in for a while for a history lesson with Justice Wise as we roll up our sleeves and set about recreating Texas’ Father Sam’s BBQ Sauce.

Texas Independent Spirit

Justice Wise explains, “Texas has the most unique and interesting history of any state in the Union in my judgment and the judgment of many others. Texas has existed in several different conditions. It was unexplored for the longest time, we had a large indigenous population, we have international borderlands and all of that always combines to make the history very interesting.”

“It took a special kind of person to make a life here in Texas. That’s why you get so many fascinating characters and an independent spirit that survives to this day. And that’s why people want to come to Texas.” – Justice Ken Wise

About Sam Houston

Bigger than life, intelligent, adventurous, wild, and a natural-born statesman. Sam Houston is known as the Father of Texas with the distinction of being the first President of the Republic of Texas and the 7th Governor of the State of Texas.

Born in Virginia on March 2nd, 1793 (does that date ring a bell?) he is the only individual to serve as governor of two states – Tennessee and Texas.

As a teenager, he ran away from home to live with the Cherokee for three years. After divorcing his first wife, he moved to Texas in 1832, quickly rising to be a top-ranking official in the Texian Army. He led the Texians to victory at San Jacinto – a decisive win for the Texas war for independence against Mexico in 1836.

Fast forward to 1839 when 46-year-old Houston attended a garden party in Mobile Alabama, meeting 20-year-old Margaret Lea. They were wed a year later, subsequently moving to Galveston. Although the couple was separated for long periods due to Sam’s travel, they wrote frequent letters to show their love and devotion to one another.

Justice Wise and I spent a few minutes chatting about lesser-known facts concerning Sam Houston.

As mentioned above – he was born on Texas Independence Day – March 2nd. “He was a diplomat to the Cherokee and other Native American tribes. He had a wealth of experience as a Statesman before he got to Texas and he was invited to come to Texas by some individuals who recognized that something was going to happen – they weren’t sure what. So, they needed a Statesman – someone with political experience to help guide them through the situation. That’s how he got to Texas.” shares Justice Wise. An interesting side note to this is that “statesmanship or political leadership and the wisdom that comes with the experience was really its own craft and was not very common at the time.”

Justice Wise continues, “Sam Houston liked to party. Period. Yes, he was well known for that. He was a big guy (obviously liked to eat) and the way you would put your best foot forward would be to cook BBQ for people. He married Margaret Lea, First Lady of the Republic of Texas when he was in his late forties and she was 21, from Alabama. She got him to quit drinking, and be baptized in the Baptist church in Independence Texas. Their love for each other is evident in their letters which survived and you can read to this day.”

On that note, we asked Justice Wise about some of the historical factors that set Texas women apart in their strength and character. Justice Wise, “Many of the Texans I talk about on my podcast, are individuals who did heroic things, they just happen to be women. For the longest time, I don’t think that was focused on and I still don’t think it’s focused on as much as it should be.”

“If you think about this, Texas was created out of revolution. And if you have a revolution and the men go off to fight, you had to fight off any hostiles, you had to grow your own food, you had to do all of that. If the men went off to fight, guess who had to do it all? The women. And they did.”

“One interesting fact related to the legal world in Texas, we had an all-female supreme court in 1925. There was a case where pretty much every judge in Texas would be recused from it so the Governor decided to appoint three women to the Texas Supreme Court to hear that case. That had never happened in United States History. There are fascinating stories like that throughout Texas history.”

Hear and learn more about Texas History from Ken Wise on his podcast “Wise About Texas” which “presents Texas history in an engaging, scholarly and interesting way. You’ll learn more about the Texas history you know, and a lot of Texas history you don’t know” according to Wise.

We found the recipe for Sam Houston’s BBQ sauce in “Early American Cookbook” by D. Kristie Lynn and Robert W. Pelton. Like many old recipes handed down, we can’t be sure of the exactness, but I think you’ll be very pleased adding this to your BBQ repertoire. You can find the recipe below and on www.texicureans.com. Go to YouTube for a demonstration and join our email list for weekly recipes – historical and otherwise!

March is Texas’ birthday month – and now you know – Sam Houston’s birthday month!

 

Sam Houston's Famous BBQ Sauce

Fresh and a Blast from the Past
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 TBSP cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup catsup
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp water

Instructions
 

  • Heat the cooking oil in a large heavy cast iron skillet.  Add the onion and the garlic.  Sauce this lightly.  Stir in the catsup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, white vinegar, hot pepper sauce, sugar, paprika, chili powder and salt. 
  • Blend together thoroughly the dry mustard and the water until smooth.  Then stir this into the sauce.  Slowly bring this mixture to a boil.
  • Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Makes 2 cups.  

Video

Notes

Sam used this spicy concoction both as a marinade and a batting sauce for his barbecued steaks, chops and chicken.
Keyword BBQ Sauce, Marinade, Basting BBQ sauce

Chicken and Chiles Casserole

Sometimes you just need a good casserole recipe.  Some obvious reasons are to make and take, to make and freeze, or to make and consume the next day with little preparation.

Someone brought this to my bible study and the raves were through the roof!  I’ve modified it to include extra chiles and also to give you the option for self-made hash brown potatoes.

You can increase the heat by adding more jalapeños and simply leaving the seeds and ribs intact.  I love fresh cilantro!  But, I know this is a personal preference as well.

Since this casserole includes your complex carbs (potatoes),  your protein, and a bit of vegetables, you can easily serve it with a side salad for a complete meal.  Add a little chocolate candy for desert and you have it!

Enjoy!

Watch Video

Chicken and Chiles Casserole

A "take and share" or 'keep and enjoy" recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Hash Browns (can be substituted with packaged hash brown potatoes)

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 1/2 med onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, or enough to fill frying pan 1/4"

Casserole

  • 3 cups cooked chopped chicken (dark or light meat)
  • 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped, seeds removed
  • 1 red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Instructions
 

Hash Browns

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Shred potatoes.  Rinse in a colander until the water runs clear.  Press water out of potatoes, then wrap in a linen towel to remove as much moisture as possible
  • Place potatoes in a bowl, add onion, llour and egg.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fill frying pan with oil to 1/4 inch.  Heat oil . Place potato mixture in oil and cook until brown, being careful to only turn once.  Set aside
  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, sour cream, half-and-half cream, onion, chiles, salt and pepper.  Stir  in the potatoes and 2 cups cheese.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 13x9 inch or 3 qt baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, until golden brown, about 1 1/4 hours.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.
Keyword Chicken, casserole, chiles