Capturing the Flavors of the Lone Star State

Today we celebrate the Lone start State – Texas. Today is also National Freedom Day. On February 1, 1865 President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery. The states did not ratify the amendment until December 18, 1865. On June 30, 1948, President Truman signed a bill proclaiming February 1 officially as National Freedom Day in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas and announced that the Civil War was over. Pursuant to General Orders, all slaves were now freedmen. Whether news traveled slowly or military force was the key to freedom, June 19 has become a celebration of culture and freedoms known as Juneteenth.

Texas is more than long horns and cowboys. Texas loves technology. Many a computer company began as startups in Texas, where founders wore boots with their lab coats. The Lone Start State has given us handheld calculators, 3-D printing, countless medical advancements and Dr. Pepper.

Today is also National Baked Alaska Day. The dessert for today’s feast was an easy choice, although the recipe is very time consuming. Working backwards, barbecue seemed the logical main course. I love to serve Au Gratin Potatoes as a side to our traditional Easter Ham. So when selecting Pork Chops for the meat of choice to barbecue, Queso Au Gratin was equally the right choice. Especially with roasted peppers to really bring on the Texas Heat. And that just left us with an appetizer popularized by Texas Roadhouse – Rattlesnake Bites.

So here’s to two big states – Texas and Alaska. Enjoy! Just remember, delicious things come to those who wait.

Lone Star Menu

Texas Style Rattlesnake Bites

Main Entrée –
Texas Style Pork Chops with Grilled Vegetables
Texas Chile Pepper con Queso Au Gratin

National Baked Alaska Day –
Ice Cream Sorbet Baked Alaska with Chocolate Sponge Cake

Texas Style Rattlesnake Bites
2 (8 oz) blocks Pepper Jack cheese
4 Jalapenos Peppers
1/2 cup Flour
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
1 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Onion Powder

Shred cheese, place in a large mixing bowl. Cut stem from Jalapeno Peppers. Split open, removing seeds as desired. Mince Jalapeno peppers, scatter over the cheese. Toss to mix.

Shape cheese mixture into about 1-1/2 inch balls, squeezing tightly to compress. Place formed balls on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Heat a deep fryer or large pot filled with oil to 350 degrees.

Create a breading station with flour in one bowl, eggs whisked with milk in a second bowl; breadcrumbs seasoned with cayenne pepper, paprika and onion powder in the last bow.

To create the rattlesnake bites, roll the cheeseballs in the flour, dip in the egg mixture, then coat in the seasoned breadcrumbs.

Fry in batches for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Arrange on a serving platter. If desired, serve with Ranch Dip.

Texas Style Barbecue Pork Chops with Grilled Vegetables
Pork Chops
1/3 cup Hickory Barbecue Sauce
1/3 cup A.1-Steak Sauce
1/3 cup unsweetened Apple Juice
2 tablespoons Honey
6 bone-in Pork Loin Chops
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Note: Look for Pork Chops that are about 3/4-inch thick, about 8 oz each with just a little fat.

In a bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, A.1 Sauce, apple juice and honey. Reserve 1/3 cup of the sauce for serving. Set remaining sauce aside.

Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper, set aside.

Heat grill to 425 degrees. Lightly oil grill rack to prevent sticking.

Grill loin chops, covered, until a thermometer reads 145-degrees, about 5 minutes per side. Once chops have been grilled on both sides, brushing with sauce, turning and brushing sever times. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with reserved sauce.

Grilled Vegetable
2 Zucchini
2 Yellow Squash
1 large Red Onion
Olive Oil as needed

Cut zucchini and squash into wedges. Brush with olive oil. Peel and cut onion into thick rounds, brush with olive oil.

Arrange vegetables on the hot grill. Let cook until just beginning to blacken, turn and cook until grill marks appear on all sides.

To serve, arrange pork chops on a serving platter. Arrange grilled vegetables around chops and serve.

Texas Chile con Queso Au Gratin
3 lbs Russet Potatoes
2 Poblano Chiles
1 medium Tomato
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 oz Chihuahua Cheese (Quesadilla Cheese)
8 oz Pepper Jack Cheese
1 Roma Tomato, garnish
1 Jalapeno Pepper, garnish
Cilantro, garnish

The night before, boil potatoes in their skins until just cooked through, about 5 or 6 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to begin, turn oven to broil. Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

Rub olive oil over the skin of the peppers. Place on the wire rack and broil about 10 minutes, turning frequently as the skin blisters.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly. Place in a zip-lock bag, seal and let peppers sweat.

Remove from bag, trim stems, peel skins and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds, dice peppers and set aside until ready to use.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score bottom of tomato with an X. Blanch in the boiling water for about a minute. Plunge into ice water to prevent further cooking. Peel skin from tomato, cut into quarters, remove seeds and chop the flesh. Set aside.

Cut onion from root to tip in half. Reserve half for another use. Peel remaining half, then dice. Reserve a few pieces of onion for garnish, set aside the rest.

Remove chipotle pepper from can. Place in a small food processor and puree. Set aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, add the onions and chilies, and cook until the onion just begins to soften, about 3 minutes Add the tomato and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add chipotle puree, heavy cream and milk and bring to a simmer.

Stir often until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a thick cream soup, about 8 minutes.

While the sauce thickens, grate the cheeses and set aside.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add Chihuahua cheese, salt, and 4 oz. of pepper jack. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep warm

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Line a baking dish with a layer of potatoes.

Pour some of the sauce over the first layer of potatoes.  Repeat until the potatoes are used or until the baking dish is full. 

Top with the remaining pepper jack cheese. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.

While the Au Gratin Potatoes bake, dice the Roma Tomato and cilantro for garnish.

Remove potatoes from oven, garnish with diced onions, tomatoes and snips of cilantro.

Ice Cream Sorbet Baked Alaska with Chocolate Sponge Cake
Ice Ceram Sorbet Dome
4 oz Vanilla Ice Cream
7 oz Raspberry Sorbet
10 oz Chocolate Ice Cream
Vegetable Oil (for brushing)

The day before, in medium round bowl that can fit about 3-cup of liquid, lightly brush the inside of the bowl with vegetable oil. Line the inside with a plastic wrap and make sure there is overhang. If needed, use 2 pieces of plastic wrap.

Leave the vanilla ice cream at room temperature until slightly soften, about 20 minutes. Scoop desired amount into the bottom of the bowl. Smooth the top with a spatula. Transfer to freeze for at least 1 hour.

Place the raspberry sorbet at room temperature until slightly soften, about 20 minutes. Scoop desired amount to the bowl on top of the vanilla ice cream. Smooth the top with a spatula. Freeze for another 1 hour.

For the chocolate ice cream, leave at room temperature until slightly soften, about 20 minutes. Scoop desired amount and spread on top of the raspberry sorbet. Do not fill all the way to the top, leaving 1/2-inch space. Freeze for 1 hour longer.

Chocolate Sponge Cake
2 large Eggs, separated
2 oz Cake Flour
1/2 oz Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
6 oz Sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3 tablespoons Water

Heat the oven to 350-degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed quarter sheet pan or 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper (including the sides) and lightly oil again with vegetable oil.

Separate egg whites from yolks into bowl and set aside until ready to use.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, 3 ounces of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together oil, water, and egg yolks. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk until just smooth.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Turn on the speed to medium-high and whip for another minute. Slowly add the remaining sugar. Whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen up. Fold in the rest of the whites gently until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 10 to 13 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.

Remove the cake from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto the wire rack. Remove the parchment paper carefully and reinvert cake onto a second wire rack. Let cool completely, at least 45 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a cutting board. Cut and trim a round piece of cake to fit on top of the ice cream dome. Place the cake on top of the ice cream and push down gently. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Save the cake scraps nibble on.

Four hours before serving, unmold the ice cream cake, unwrap and flip onto a small baking sheet. Return to freezer for another hour.

Note: Once “frosted” with Meringue, the dessert will need to freeze again for 3 more hours before serving.

3/4 cup Sugar
3 large Egg Whites

Prepare a double boiler. In a large pot with 1-inch water, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.

In an electric mixer mixing bowl, add sugar and egg whites. Set over the simmering water. Whisk until mixture is very warm, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl. With an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat meringue at high speed until glossy and thick, about 2 to 4 minutes.

To Assemble: Take out the cake. Scoop a good cup of meringue on top of the cake. By moving quickly, spread the meringue evenly over to cover. Make sure the meringue reach the sponge cake and the ice cream is sealed inside, but it doesn’t have to touch the baking sheet. There should be at least 1/2-inch thick of meringue over the cake. Using the back of a spoon, create peaks and swirls. Return the cake to the freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours.

To Serve: If you have a blowtorch, brown the meringue until golden brown. If you don’t have a blowtorch, do it in the oven. Heat the oven to 500-degrees. Transfer the cake from freezer directly to oven. Bake until the meringue is deep brown in spots, about 3 to 4 minutes. Slice and serve.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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