Cocina Ranchera y Creationes.
By Bill Moran. San Diego, Texas: Moran, 2004. ebook, 152 pp. Moran can provide electronic or paper copy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to his blog at http://texas-chef.blogspot.com
Bill’s been around Texas cooking for decades as part of his Food Service Food Broker career. He retired, left Houston, and moved to San Diego in the middle of Texas Mexican ranch country. He’s comfortable in the corn kitchen, talking masa, mole, atole and terra cotta pots. He suggests “Comino, garlic, and black pepper should be called the ‘Mexican Trinity’ just as celery, bell peppers, and onion is called the ‘Cajun Trinity’”. Readers may recall the basic “Mexican Trinity or Three Sisters,” corn, beans, and squash. This is his second cookbook, Texas Chef being the first and projects another Texas Chef Bakes. He calls the Columbian Exchange a “huge food processor.” The admirably long table of contents divides his recipes into “Traditional” and “Creations.” Some are his recipes.
He begins with a routine for making masa and further on treats other primaries for scratch preparation. He suggests Americans should use instant coffee to flavor their atole to acclimatize. Occasionally, Moran’s commentary turns historical, as explaining the Spanish introduction of wheat leading to flour torillas.
Moran attends small details, as in recommending covering your homemade ancho “Chile Paste” with a little oil after transferring to storage jars to reduce deterioration. He well advises us to add cilantro (his substitute for epazote), salt, and pepper late in the cooking process for “Frijoles de Olla,” the omnipresent pinto bean. He appends information on chile peppers and cheeses, and a glossary. It’s a full menu from breakfast to desserts. One of my favorites is “Chicken Breasts in Cream Chipotle Sauce.” From “Menudo” to “Prickly Pear Dessert Topping” to rather fancy dishes, Moran tells you how to satisfy and delight ranch hands and city slickers. In his spare time, he’s compiling a list of “Endangered Foods.”