True Confessions of a Mid-Life Cook

There's a definite correlation between my profound love of music and how and what I've taught myself to cook. My favorite music to listen to and to perform is soulful, sensual, sometimes funky and always bluesy in nature . . . and that's exactly how I cook. I like to get my hands in the food. I chop, I knead, I stir with my hands. Sometimes I wear my big rimmed cowboy hat, nightie and Old Gringo boots in kitchen, sometimes a coonskin cap when the mood strikes and sometimes just an apron and a smile. Using the freshest of ingredients, I love to bringing a new spirit to old favorites. I am so to drawn dishes seeping in both Texas and Southern tradition,with a special affinity for those authentic old jewels found in South Louisiana.
Because they, too, are so powerfully soulful?

I've discovered being a good cook is a journey and not a destination. (Yes, I stole an over-used corporate slogan and made it my own--but it's still the truth) Every time we screw up, we learn. And in part, that's what this blog is about. Cooking fearlessly. With heart, with soul -- and with some damn good music to inspire. (If your three layer chocolate cake ends up looking like a Jerry Springer rerun or you cut the tip of your thumb off while making New Year's Day gumbo, WHO CARES?Proclaim Francine Reed's "I'm a Handful" your theme song. She would like that.)
We cook because we find ourselves kinda empty if we don't.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Angelina's Pan Del Campo

Pan Del Campo is the original cowboy flatbread, known mostly throughout the ranching country of South Texas. This is my spin on this age-old favorite. Of course, this is my kind of dish because the sky is the limit on the variations. This particular combination of ingredients is exceptional. Have fun with it!

1 lb. bacon (20 slices)
1 package of refrigerated biscuits
1/2 cup flour for dusting
1/2 cup Cilantro Nut Mash (see below)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach
2 large ripe tomatoes cut into thin rounds
5 cups (one lb) of grated Monterey Jack cheese or any good Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 375. In the microwave cook the bacon in batches until very crisp and drain on paper towels. Remove biscuits and roll each out onto flour board until very thin. Carefully transfer to baking sheet and bake for 10 minute until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven.

Increase temp to 400. Spread each with cilantro nut mixture and scatter spinach and tomatoes on each. Sprinkle each generously with crumbled bacon and grated cheese. Return to oven for two or three more minutes to melt the cheese and serve while hot.

Cilantro Nut Mash

1 cup pecan pieces (pinon nuts work well too)
1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped coarsely
3/4 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
3/4 tsp sea salt

Toast nuts about 10 minutes in 350 oven. Don't let 'em burn.
Let cool 5 minutes
Place in food processor and coarsely chop
Add other ingredients and process until spreadable paste forms.
Too thick, add water. Too thin? Add cheese.

No comments: