Texas Weekend

On some stifling day in late August as I attempt to cobble together a theme involving rednecks and garlic and major chicken distributors, I will look back on this time of three excellent cookbooks in a row and cry a single tear as I am flooded with memories that are bittersweet. And covered in spicy rib sauce. In fact, the past few days have involved so much good food that I'm experiencing a surge of culinary-based Texas Pride, and possibly a minor case of gout.

I already knew I loved Cookbook #26: The Homesick Texan Cookbook (Lisa Fain, 2011), because I bought it as soon as it came out and I make her stuff all the time. I have even made these Dr. Pepper ribs before, but I believe it was in my pre-blogging days. So this is my version of NBC trying to pass off reruns as "New To You!" But tastier. They were a little spicier than I remember, so either I am growing delicate in my old age or "eyeballing" the chipotle powder isn't as precise a move as I thought. Fortunately, despite their name, the jalapeƱo pinto beans weren't too fiery.

Just creeeeeeamy.

Verdict: This is basically a big collection of food I grew up with, slightly enhanced and photographed beautifully. I adore it. Go poke around her site and you'll have a pretty good idea of whether this book is for you. But first look at these banana, bacon, and pecan pancakes that she posted a few weeks ago and I jumped all over.

I mean, if you're not into that, that's cool. Makes sense.

Cookbook #27: Texas Home Cooking (Cheryl and Bill Jamison, 1993) is owned by every member of my immediate family, if that tells you anything. (It tells you that we like eating.) The bad news is, this King Ranch Chicken came out of the oven looking slightly like cat food. The good news is, I edited the picture to make it also look radioactive.

Just adds a little pop KABOOM.

But it tasted nice, as casseroles involving cheese and peppers are wont to do. Verdict: less flashy than Homesick Texan (no pictures, grrrr), but a little homier and contains the best meatloaf recipe in existence. Whether or not this one was a keeper has never been up for debate, it lives over on the dictionary/Shakespeare Shelf Of Heavy Important Books.

Hey! My friends Adam and Sarah had a baby! And he is cute and smoooooooshy, BROWNIES FOR EVERYONE! Cookbook #28 The Ultimate Brownie Book (Bruce Weinstein, 2002) to the rescue. Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Recipe: better sit down for this one, Banana Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting.

I'm not saying they're worth birthing a human for. But maybe adopting an injured bird or something.

Verdict: The. Ultimate. Brownie. Book. Works for me!

The real jewel in the crown of Texas Week was camping out at Franklin BBQ with my dad on Sunday morning. Franklin's isn't too well-known, I don't think anyone is really talking about it or anything. Turns out they produce a damn fine brisket! You heard it here first.

She's just a little overwhelmed.

Was it worth a three-hour wait? I dunno. We got Anna a little Franklin's T-shirt and it still smells like the smoke from the restaurant and I've been sleeping with it under my pillow at night. So, you know, maybe.

Hey girls, this practical joke really only works if you are actually twins.

Good effort, though.