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Germans in Texas; Texans in Germany

Texas Trails: Diez y Seis de Septiembre & Texas: Celebrating Independence

Chiles en Nogada

 

Chiles en Nogada

Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Base Ingredients

  • 8 medium poblano peppers
  • 1 pomegranate fruit
  • 1 small bunch of finely chopped parsley

Picadillo Ingredients (meat filling)

  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 roma rip tomatoes, blended into a smooth puree
  • 1 clove garlic to blend with tomatoes
  • cups water to blend with tomatoes
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup cranberry raisins
  • ½ cup dry candied pineapple
  • ¼ cup fresh, finely chopped apple
  • ¼ cup chopped bleach almonds
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp know chicken bouillon seasoning
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Nogada Ingredients (Pecan cream sause)

  • cup pecans
  • cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, creme fraiche, or sour cream

Instructions
 

Picadillo:

  • In a large deep skillet, at medium heat, add oil and quickly sauté onion and garlic. Then add ground beef. Cook until done. Drain excess water after done.
  • Blend to puree ripe tomatoes with water end garlic clove until smooth, using a strainer when adding puree to meat.
  • When the meat and sauce start changing color to orange, add 1 cinnamon stick.
  • Continue adding the rest of ingredients, stirring slowly on low heat, letting picadillo cook until all juices are completely absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Let picadillo rest completely and cool before stuffing the chiles

Roasted Poblano Peppers:

  • If you have a gas stove, use tongs to roast the peppers directly over the fire while turning them around the flames. Once the skin starts blistering all around and still hot, wrap the chiles with paper towels and set them inside a large zip lock bag and seal. Let the chiles rest for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully peel charred skin of chiles in slow running water in your sink.
  • Make a small incision on the side of each Chile to take out the seeds and veins. Pat and dry chiles.
  • Stuff chiles carefully with the prepared picadillo and set on a platter.(Note: you may also roast chiles in a 425 F oventurning them over until the skin blisters)

Nogada:

  • Puree all pecans in a blender with 1 cup of water. Add water little b y little until very smooth. Add sugar and salt.
  • Add cream with a spoon until well mixed. Refrigerate.

Pomegranate (Seeds)

  • Carefully cut the top of the fruit, then slice the sides to take the thick skin off. An easy way to collect pomegranate seeds, is to submerge the fruit in cool water. The seeds will float and you can collect and drain.

Preparing to serve:

  • For an individual serving, set one stuffed poblano pepper in a dinner plate and generously pour creamy nut sauce over all. Add abundant pomegranate seeds and banish with parsley.
  • To make a casserole style you may arrange all the stuffed chiles in a deep platter, cover totally with creamy nut sauce and pomegranate seeds. Garnish with parsley.

Video

Notes

Chiles en Nogada are generally served at room temperature, but some people like to eat them warm. So, before you serve them, you may only warm the stuffed chiles, but NOT the Nogada cream sauce. Add sauce after warming.
Enjoy!

Adventure Ready

Texas is a plethora of adventures waiting to be explored. Rivers, lakes, hills, forests, and trails all await our discovery. Being physically ready to tackle a hike, navigate a river in a kayak or enjoy a day walking the beach, simply makes it more enjoyable.

Below  Jessi Oehler shares with you some key exercises that you can do in your own home for a few minutes a day thereby developing muscles ready to tackle a fun outing.

5 Rounds

10 – 15 squats to bench or chair

5 – 10 push ups to bench or chair

10 -20 Alternating Lunges

10 – 15 Knee Raises

View the video below for a demonstration

Meal Prepping

Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients
  

  • Chicken Breasts - Number dictated by # of Meals
  • Whole Pork Butt or Shoulder
  • Low Sodium Canned Black beans and corn
  • HEB prepared Pico
  • 2 - 3 Veggies of choice

Instructions
 

  • Baked Chicken: Dice raw chicken breast, season with your favorite seasonings and place in oven on 375 for 20-25 minutes.
  • Crockpot Pulled Pork: Place pork butt or shoulder in crockpot with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce. Cook on high for about 4 hours
  • Pico: Combine low sodium canned black beans and corn with HEB prepared pico. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Roasted Veggies: Chop veggies of choice and place on a baking sheet. Season with your favorite herbs. Can toss with a little EVOO if desired. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 10 - 15 minutes.

Video

 

RV Kitchen Essentials

Being prepared makes hitting the trail so much easier and faster.  Whether you are a tent camper or RV’er, having a list of basic items assures you’ll be ready to take off for adventure!

Megan Traeger shares her list of staples she keeps in her RV.  If you are a tent camper – you might keep a plastic box  stocked with essentials.

Happy Exploring!

Must pack in the kitchen of the airstream:

  • S’mores ingredients (if you want to skip out on extra packing, buy the Keebler’s fudge stripe cookies. Chocolate and graham crackers in one.)
  • Kreutz Pancake mix (with mixin’s like fruit or pecans or chocolate chips)
  • H‑E‑B trail Mix (everybody can grab their flavor of choice and they come in resealable bags!)
  • Pasta (probably the most versatile thing I carry. I can add red sauce or just olive oil, or I can add cheese and taco seasoning. I can cook a cup of it or cook the whole bag and save the rest for leftovers.)
  • Cereal (for those mornings that we need to quickly pack up. Our kids will typically pour cereal into a cup, and some milk and a spoon and take it to the truck for on the go breakfast.)
  • Hot sauce and Tortilla chips (no further explanation needed. We do love grabbing salsas or queso when we stop at different places to try their stuff.)
  • Tortillas (another versatile item. I can make breakfast tacos, or quesadillas with leftover chicken or beef from the night before. Or I can heat them up, add some butter and sugar and call it dessert.)
  • Bread (I don’t skimp on my bread so I always buy Dave’s Killer Bread. I have yet to NOT find it when traveling!)
  • Fritos and bean dip (this is a don’t ask don’t tell snack.)
  • PB/J (sometimes you make sandwiches for your kids. Sometimes you just make them for yourself. I’m also a huge fan of packing Justin’s peanut butter packets for hiking snacks. And jelly will be used at breakfast sometimes too)
  • Granola (we buy the Bear Naked cacao and Cashew butter bag. I can eat this for breakfast, snack, or dessert. I typically will toss it with some Greek yogurt.)
  • Dried fruits (hours in the car can lead to useless snacking. Might as well eat some dried mango or banana chips!)
  • Pita chips (clearly can be used with some hummus. But the other day I had tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. I used the pita chips as my base for all of it and they were perfect bite sized bruschettas.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper grinders
  • Coffee (we love that when we travel we can find some really great and unique roasters throughout the country.)
Fridge:
  • Milk (for cereal and kids)
  • Creamer (for coffee to deal with kids)
  • Eggs (I usually only pack half a dozen for space saving.)
  • Peppered Bacon from Granzins (sometimes I’ll make this to go with pancakes, or in breakfast tacos. One time I threw it in cabbages that we were taking to a potluck. Or I can smear some Nutella on it for dessert. Best bacon I’ve ever eaten!)
  • Butter
  • Sandwich condiments 
  • Lunch meat and cheeses
  • Fruits (we eat a ton of fruits so this is a revolving door. It’s especially fun to get local produce that is native to an area.)
  • Hummus
  • Bell peppers (slice them up to throw in a omelet. Slice them up to dip in hummus. Or slice them up to sauté for dinner.)
  • Sparkling waters
  • Pound of ground beef 
  • Shredded Cheese (another thing that can be added to a ton of things.)
  • Sausage (use it for breakfast, snacks, or dinner.)
  • Large Greek Yogurt (at home I hardly buy the big containers of yogurt but on the road we always have one in the fridge.

Quick and fun breakfast
Banana split breakfast
Cut banana in half, scoop in yogurt instead of ice cream
Top with fresh fruits and granola
Sometimes I’ll add some chocolate chips or sprinkles to the girls.

On the run lunch hack
I always buy paper food boats. That way if we are in a pinch, I can throw a sandwich and some goldfish and some fruit gummies in a tray and call it lunch for the kids. In the adults trays I may cut up some bell peppers and scoop in some hummus to take in the car. Easy clean up.

Dinner suggestion
When planning your dinners be mindful of how many dishes you are getting dirty. I like to simplify and try to stick to one pot meals if possible. I’ll load the ingredients into a paper bag to keep them all together in the fridge. This then becomes my trash bag as I cook.

After dinner space saver
If I know I’m making chicken or beef and may possibly have extras, I’ll cook all of it and then put the remainder of the cooked meat in single compartment meal prep containers (from H‑E‑B) to keep in the fridge. I can reheat the meat the next day and add it to lunch as a quesadilla or to top a salad.

 



 

RV Cookin’

Big Texas Hikin’

Spanish Mission Trail and Salmorejo Soup

Spanish Mission Trail and Soup

This next Texicureans adventure is full- out-fun. We biked the Spanish Mission Trail, stopped at a brewery, and topped it off learning how to make authentic Spanish soup from Maite Aguirre-Ortega. Our loyal readers may have noticed a trend in these articles. Texicureans’ mission is sharing the rich history of Texas by way of food. That’s why we are reporting back from unique to Texas locations and pairing them with cultural recipes. We hope to give you a glimpse of adventure and inspire you to join the journey.

Biking the Spanish Missions

I live for exercising outdoors and I’m a student of Texas history. Combine the two and I’m hooked. I bike this trail every year in the beautiful Spring air; it’s the best time to go in my opinion. From the moment you hit the trail, you immediately leave the noise of the city and enter a quiet, almost rural scene.

The San Antonio Missions are a National Park Service site, and the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas. The trail is wide along the San Antonio River with small elevations and markers to guide riders. My perfect day is to head south on the Riverwalk Trail to visit three of the missions: Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, and Mission San Juan (about a 16-mile round trip).

Each Mission has its own distinct beauty and stories. Remarkably, all four of the mission sites still contain active catholic parishes! If you hit it right, Mission San Jose, the Queen of the Missions has ranger led walks at 10 am and 11 am. Ranger-led talks at Mission San José are offered at 2:15 pm and 3:15 pm. These talks last for 15-30 minutes and can give you a great overview of the park.

Typically, I tour the missions on the way down the trail and opt for a straight return trip back up to the King William Area and Blue Star Arts Complex to return the bikes.  A welcome site is the Blue Star Brewing Company Restaurant.  With outside seating you can still enjoy the spring air while dining.  A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Tip: Rent your bike

The first time we took our own bikes, but ended up with flat tires, so now I park right in front of Blue Star Bicycling Company and rent one of their well-maintained bikes for a day.  They have a choice of several styles, including e-bikes and cruisers.  They will fit you for the bike appropriate for your size and provide a basket for snacks or picnic items. There is a 5-pound limit for safety purposes – I learned this and had to leave a few items behind.  Be sure and bring water – a holder for water bottles is on each bike as well. I recommend arriving by 10:00 AM or so to rent your bike.  This will assure bikes are available for your party.  It will also give you plenty of time to tour the missions – which I never tire of exploring. 

While the historic beauty of the missions is breathtaking, the taste of an authentic Spanish recipe prepared at home is transformative. Food is family. Family is culture. Culture is history. So, come along with us into the kitchen where we learn how to make Salmorejo.

Salmorejo Soup

In the kitchen with Maite Aguirre-Ortega from Alsasua, Spain, we learned how to make her favorite warm day soup – a chilled tomato soup called Salmorejo. Requiring only ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and bread – this recipe is a snap to make in a blender.  If you use the optional toppings of diced hard-boiled egg and serrano ham, you have a meal. The full recipe and video tutorial can be found on www.texicureans.com.

Maite shared she has yet to visit the Missions that her homeland established so many years ago but plans to go soon with her new bike! She now lives in Austin with her native Austinite husband, Ryan. Not surprisingly, they say a Texas version of Salmorejo would be to add brisket as a topping. Sounds great to us! Que Aproveche! (Let’s eat!)

Salmorejo

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Soup
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 8 red, ripe tomatoes (2.5 lbs)
  • 7 oz stale bread
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • diced Derrano ham or other cured ham

Instructions
 

  • Dice tomatoes.
  • Pull the bread apart into pieces.
  • Place the tomatoes in a blender and blend until completely pureed.
  • Pour the blended tomatoes into a colander using a steel spoon to clean the blend from the tomato seeds.
  • Put the bread in the blender and pour the clean tomato blend on top of it. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, olive oil, and salt. Blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours (this is the hard part)
  • Serve the Salmorejo with hard-boiled egg and cured Spanish ham, or prosciutto. Note to Texans: Chopped brisket works great!

Video

Notes

  • Notes from Maite:
  •  
  • Tomatoes: The key to a good Salmorejo is to use fresh and very juicy tomatoes. We like using vine tomatoes but you can also use pear tomatoes.
  •  
  • Olive Oil: The recipe calls for a good amount of olive oil and so its important to use a god quality product. The olive oil can really change the flavor of your Salmorejo, so we encourage you to find your favorite one. Buying EVOO is a good rule of thumb. For our recipe we used Dominos Oil from South of Spain. We bought it online from a shop called The Olives Market in Buda, TX.
  •  
  • Garlic: Even if we love it in Spain, garlic is not for everyone. Feel free to start your recipe garlic free if you prefer. Don’t allow this small ingredient stop you from tasting one of the best cold soups that exists: If you like garlic - between one to two cloves gives you that perfect garlic punch that we adore in our palates.
  •  
  • Bread: the reason behind Salmorejo’s thick texture. For our recipe we used French Bread from HEB, stale bread or any bread with a dense crumb ratio will work. And remember, if you want a thiner soup just put less bread but if you want a ticker one, go wild. Just know that it’ll make your blender work double!

 

Ground yourself in the garden

When is the last time you stood outside, boots digging into the earth, and soaked in the colors all around you?

Gardening is grounding. Literally. There is beauty in the dirt. It’s that time of year when sunshine warms the air, and our thoughts turn toward new beginnings. It’s a time-honored metaphor for life. We plant the seeds, water them, and watch them grow. But for those of us who love the garden and the peace and nostalgia it brings forth; we know there is much more inspiration there.

I have been gardening since I was a little girl, shadowing my grandmother on her half acre garden at the farm in Dimebox, Texas. Every time my hands are in the dirt, I’m transported back to that place for just a moment. As Texans, we know every child should get a chance to spend time outdoors. It’s where some of the best lessons are. Put in the work and you might see the fruits of your labor. Even if your crops fail, the toil helps to build our character. The peace outside away from technology connects us to the earth and humbles us.

Few things are better than stopping to smell that bright flower that pushed through to reflect radiant color back toward the sun that fed it.

This Spring, Texicureans invites you to play in the dirt! We are giving you two routes to take for some adventure. Visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden to learn from the experts, take in the beauty, and grab a bite. Or are you looking to try something new in your own back yard? A “lasagna gardening” technique tutorial might be for you. We did both and we are here to report back!

San Antonio Botanical Garden

I hadn’t been to the San Antonio Botanical Garden in years. And, wow, have they created wonderful new additions! The whole day was a delightful experience. SABG has a beautiful new section dedicated to culinary gardening and a restaurant offering a full menu and wine list.

We started the day by getting some insight from Andrew Labay, their Director of Horticulture.

“April is by far one of the best times to plant plants in the garden in a general sense: whether it be vegetable garden, ornamentals, or trees. This is a time we transition from our cool season crops to our warm season crops. Things like tomatoes, okra, tomatillos, eggplant, squash, and peppers of all type – it’s a great time to plant those items,” says Andrew.

Andrew invites you to come enjoy their one-acre vegetable garden. With a chef on staff and an outdoor kitchen they can pull items right out of the garden and display different recipes. If you’re interested in planting ornamentals, the Botanical Garden is opening a brand-new water saver garden which features over 100 different types of native and adaptive plants that are great for Texas and help save water in the landscape.

When you visit SABG, I highly suggest you stop at their farm-to-table café, Jardin. We sat on the patio, surrounded by tulips and rosemary listening to soft music. Our divine plates came out and we were transported to a European café right in South Texas for a little while.

Lasagna Gardening:

Back to reality in my own yard, my mind is focused on vegetables. A new technique has piqued my interest this year: low maintenance “lasagna gardening”. Bob and Karen Taylor, who live in the rough and tumble Hill Country have utilized this method successfully for several years.

Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic method of gardening that results in rich fluffy soil. Advantages of this method are fewer weeds, better water retention, less need for fertilizer, and loose soil that is easy to work. Bob and Karen are also passionate about the benefits of composting. Are you compost curious?

Composting returns important nutrients to the soil. It reduces your household trash. It’s better for the environment. When kitchen scraps go to the landfill, they create methane. When composted, they do not. Essentially, you need a balance of nitrogen (greens – including food scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, fresh grass clippings) and carbon (browns – which can be dry leaves, straw, paper napkins, and newspaper).

For the “Lasagna Garden” recipe and for specific information on how to compost – see the recipe below:

Texicureans has given you two routes to take to ground yourself in the garden this Spring. So, friends, ask yourself this: What do you want to grow?

Recipe for Composting

Reasons to Compost:

Compost returns important nutrients to the soil. It reduces your household trash. It’s better for the environment. When kitchen scraps go to the landfill they create methane. When composted they do not. Saves money! Instead of purchasing compost, you make your own for free.

You need to have a balance of nitrogen (greens) and carbon (browns):

Greens include:
Food scraps
coffee grounds
tea bags
fresh grass clippings

Browns include:
dry leaves
straw
paper napkins
newspaper

You can also compost:
eggs shells
hair
nail clippings
wool
pure cotton
manure

You should not compost:
meat
dairy
bones
pet feces
diseased plants
magazine paper

If you have an open compost pile, be sure to cover your greens with browns to prevent odor and pests.

It’s good to throw some soil or manure in your compost pile/bin from time to time as it will introduce more organisms to your compost.

You need to make sure the compost is properly hydrated, not too dry and not too wet. It should feel like a wrung out sponge.

Compost should be turned at least once a week to aerate it.

Finished compost takes a few months. It should be dark brown, crumbly and have an earthy smell.

Recipe for Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic method of gardening, that results in rich fluffy soil. It’s best to start in the fall, but can be planted immediately if you started late.

Advantages of Lasagna Gardening are:

• Fewer weeds
• Better water retention
• Less need for fertilizer
• Loose soil that is easy to work

Equipment/Tools you’ll need:

• Garden hose
• Shovel
• Gardening gloves

Materials you’ll need:

• Cardboard or newspaper
• Brown leaves (optional)
• Compost
• Manure
• Peat moss
• Mulch
• Cinder blocks, rocks or other material to create raised beds

Process:

• Create the side of your beds, they should be about 18” deep.
• Line the bottom with cardboard or newspaper (No need to take out weeds and grass as this will create a weed block)
• Start layering material in 3” to 5” layers, starting with the brown leaves, followed by compost, manure and peat moss. After plants are in end with a layer of hardwood mulch. Water well and you’re done!

Texas French Legation

Perched on a hill in east Austin, with a laser view of the State capitol, lies the adopted center of current French culture in Texas. The oldest documented home in the former “Waterloo” township, was built as the home and diplomatic outpost for the French charge d’affaires to the Republic of Texas – Alphonse Dubois. France was one of the first countries to recognize the Republic of Texas as a sovereign nation.

Open 11 am to 4:30 pm, Tuesday – Saturday, the museum grounds are an ethereal retreat from bustling downtown Austin. A fun Saturday outing would be to arrive after 11:00 AM, grab lunch at the newly opened café, and then enjoy a stroll around the grounds and home. Newly restored, the home’s interior offers significant historical context in the form of maps, written history, and pictures.

Texicureans caught up with Kyle Walker, Outreach Specialist for the Texas Historical Commission at the French Legation to get the skinny on colorful Dubois and his infamous “Pig War”. (read more at Texicureans.com) Ultimately he washed his hands of this frontier town and headed back home to France, never actually living in the home he designed.

A few Texans with a French heritage have a regular Wednesday afternoon Petanque play date on a gravel court in the Legation’s garden. Resembling Bocce, but played with steel balls, the goal is to throw them as close as possible to the target jack.

If you would like to create your own French lunch, Cindi Anthony of Dallas, shares recipes from the region of France where she spends a portion of each year.

Garlic Soup, inspired by the pink garlic of Lautrec, is yummy and has healing qualities as well. This is not a soup you would find in Paris or other large cities, but in the countryside where the famed pink garlic of Lautrec is raised.

The legend surrounding garlic soup is that it has the ability to cure hangovers and provide energy. Thus it is traditionally served the morning after banquets with heavy drinking, and to newlyweds the night of their wedding, as well as to grape pickers during the harvest season.

An ancient rural tradition in southwest France is to “faire chabrol” as you reach the bottom of a bowl of soup. The translation of “faire chabrol” is literally “drink like a goat.” This involves pouring a little red wine to the remains of your soup and drinking it straight from the bowl. Today it is performed mostly by older folks living in rural areas, but it is still sometimes done elsewhere in a spirit of conviviality and friendship.

This recipe is for 6 and uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Give the “fair chabrol” a try!

Salad of Endive and Roquefort perfectly compliments Garlic Soup and stars the “King of Cheese” – Roquefort.

Find both recipes at texicureans.com and scroll down to watch a short video of our tour!