Friday, March 19, 2010

Cowboy Food

I didn't grow up in the Lone Star State, but I realized quickly after a transfer to Texas that Tex-Mex cooking was superior to the foods I had been eating for the first 40 years of my life! It's a simple cuisine that revolves around the states' plentiful beef or fresh caught seafood, seasoned with spices that come from Texas' Mexican origins, including dried and fresh chiles, garlic, and onion. Sourdough bread, biscuits, homemade tortillas or skillet corn bread round out the meal.
The good news is that Cowboy food is everywhere now. You don't have to be in the Heart of Texas to have migas for breakfast or rellenos for dinner. I recently found a great blog for Texas style recipes, Homesick Texan. Lisa lives in New York City now, but her heart will always be in Texas. She blogs about the food she loves and shares it with the world. From puffy tacos to borracho beans, from red chili gravy to Ninfa's green's all here. Family recipes, restaurant recipes and just down-to-earth, old-fashioned food that endures because it satisfies the soul as well as the belly.

Ninfas in Houston is famous for their green sauce, a delicious creamy cocoction that will knock your socks off! Here is Lisa's account of how she found this guarded recipe, and then below...the recipe!

"In the early ‘90s, I lived in Iowa City, Iowa for a couple of years. While I could find decent steaks, just about everything else that reminded me of Texas was unavailable to me in the Midwest, including my beloved green sauce. I had tried recreating the salsa on my own, but with little success. My mom would send me clippings from the Houston Chronicle of favorite recipes (these were the dark, pre-Internet days), all appreciated, but not quite what I was missing. Every week I’d ask her, “Did they run a recipe for green sauce yet?” And every week she gave me the same answer: “No.” But finally, after caving to much demand, the Chronicle finally printed it, noting it was the paper's most-requested recipe. She called me with the good news, saying, “At last, I have your recipe. Are you sure you want it? It calls for imitation sour cream! Yuck!” Well, that’s an easy substitution (I can’t even begin to imagine what imitation sour cream actually is)—salsa salvation, at last!"

Ninfa's Green Sauce    PRINT RECIPE
3 medium-sized green tomatoes, coarsely chopped (you can substitute yellow if you can’t find green ones, but never use red)
4 tomatillos, cleaned and chopped
1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed and coarsely chopped
3 small garlic cloves
3 medium-sized ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 sprigs cilantro
1 tsp. of salt
1 1/2 cups of sour cream

Combine chopped tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (tomatoes provide the liquid), reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Place tomato mixture with the avocados, cilantro and salt in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into a bowl and stir in sour cream.

Makes 4 to 5 cups


  1. Oh yums.. now that sounds like a great recipe! I'll have to snag more avocados today while out and about..

    Say, did you ever happen to have the real 'johnny cakes' when residing in Texas my dear?? If so, got a recipe?


  2. I love avocados - just have to be careful of spicy food. Looks like a great recipe. sandie

  3. I have been following Homesick Texan for some time. Lisa has many wonderful recipes and I have tried several of them, all delicious.

  4. I love Ninfa's and their thick handmade flour tortillas. To think it started at a little dive near the ship channel outside Houston and has become an empire today.

  5. Yum..making me hungry...we have several favorites for Mexican food in Arizona but think it is a bit different than Tex-Mex...We seldom go out to eat but if we do it is for Mexican food every time....

  6. do u know that even something as simple as a cheese enchilanda with beans and rice will do the trick for me, of course some salsa and chips ok too>>>>i can still get that by the way for 4$ and 50cents, have you ever been to the billy the kid restuarent in elpaso, well really outside elpaso by 40 miles, but near enlugh in messindia, by the way love your background music, have you just cahnaged it???????????

  7. Just from the ingredient list I know that has got to be good! I'll definitely try this one. Thanks for visiting my blog and letting me know about this :)


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