Cowboys and Tequila

Wow – today is one very busy National Stuff Day. We’ve got Drive-Thru Day, Cousins Day, Amelia Earhart Day, Cowboy Day, Thermal Engineer Day and my personal favorite – Tequila Day. Now up until a couple of weeks ago, we could have easily combined Drive-Thru and Tequila Day. During the stay-at-home orders you could get food to go from your favorite Mexican Restaurant that included bar service. Yeah, crazy.

Thermal Engineer Day is probably interesting, but I’m not really in the mood to think too much. I will say the date is no accident – July 24th is typically one of the hottest days of the year. Amelia Earhart is another interesting National Day. After all, she was the forerunner to so many advancements in a woman’s place within a modern and ever changing world. She is definitely worthy of a nod.

On to Cousins Day. Growing up, Cousins Day was every day. My mother comes from a family of 16 children, and those children also had large families. Our little family of four was dwarfed in comparisons. We actually have to rent a hall for family reunions. We’ve created a private group on Face Book for cousins only, with over 200 members. That’s insane!

On this the fourth Saturday in July, we pause to honor National Cowboy Day. If you’ve been around awhile, then you know I have a real soft spot in my heart for Cowboys and the code of the old west. Cowboys are the hardworking symbol of the American West. Theirs is an amazing community. Ranchers, cattle hands, wranglers – straight shooters to a fault. No nonsense kind of people with a deep faith, strong sense of loyalty and unshakable commitment to family. While I’m not a real cowboy, over the course of my life I’ve had the honor and privilege to know a few. All good, decent people with a powerful sense of right and wrong and a particular fondness for rowdy good times.

It wasn’t hard to come up with a Rip Roaring Cowboy Menu that bring together the flavors of the west and southwest. Today’s barbecue just naturally leads to supper’s conclusion of a shot or two of tequila. Enjoy – you know there’s a cowboy lurking inside just waiting to get out.

Cowboys and Tequila Menu
Grilled Steaks with Pickled Peppers and Queso Blanco Sauce
Grilled Corn with Spicy Lime Butter
Roasted Red Potato Wedges
Cast Iron Wedge Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread

Tequila Shots

Cowboys Steaks with Pickled Peppers and Queso Blanco Sauce
Cowboy Steaks

4 New York or Ribeye Steaks
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Onion Powder to taste

Lay out the steaks and coat them on both sides with oil. Season liberally with the kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Let steak rest on the counter, soaking in the seasoning blend.

While the steaks rest, make the Pickled Peppers.

Pickled Peppers
4 Jalapeno Peppers
4 Mini Red Bell Peppers
3 Garlic Cloves
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Sugar
4 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano

Slice the jalapenos and mini red bell peppers into thin coins. Place all the peppers into a large shallow bowl.

Peel and thinly slice garlic. Place garlic into a small saucepan, add red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and oregano. Bring to a simmer. Pour the hot brine over the peppers and let them soak.

While the peppers pickle, make the Queso Sauce.

Queso Blanco Sauce
1/2 White Onion
2 Jalapenos Peppers
1 Beefsteak Tomato
3 Garlic Cloves
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Half-and-Half
1 lb. White American Cheese

Cut onion in half from root to tip. Peel half the onion, finely dice and set aside. Stem Jalapeno Peppers, reserve seed, finely dice the flesh of the peppers. Chop the tomato, set aside. Peel garlic, coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno, cook about 3 minutes. Add the tomato. Press garlic directly into the saucepan, cook an additional 3 minutes. Stir in all the Half-and-Half.

If the White American is a block, dice the cheese into squares. If cheese is sliced, cut into quarters. Gently melt cheese into the hot Half-and-Half mixture. Stir well until until a creamy Cheese Queso Sauce is created. If too thick, thin with more Half-and-Half as needed. Reduce the heat to as low as possible, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching.

Keep warm; prepare the steaks for grilling.

Finishing Cheeses
1/2 cup Pepper Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Monterey Cheese
1/2 cup Asadero Cheese

Finely grate all the cheeses for a blend. Set aside.

Build a nice bed of coals in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Clean and oil grate. When ready, grill steaks about 4 minutes per side or until grilled to desired doneness.

Remove steaks, plate and loosely cover. Let steaks rest for 10 minutes. To serve, ladle sauce over the steak. Sprinkle with grated Mexican Cheese, top with pickled peppers, serve and enjoy.

Grilled Corn with Spicy Lime Butter
Cob Corn
4 ears fresh Corn, in husks
2 fresh Limes

Remove thick outer husks from the corn, leaving several layers of the thinner, pale husks in tact.

Peel back these layers of husks from the corn without removing them from the ears. Remove the silks, rinse ears and recover the corn with the husk. Secure husks with kitchen twine. Place ears of corn in a large pot of cold water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Note: The kernels will absorb some of the water, allowing them to steam in their husks when placed on the grill.

While the corn soaks, make the seasoned butter.

Spicy Lime Butter
8 tablespoons Butter
1 Lime
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Let butter soften to room temperature. Place in softened butter in a bowl.

Zest lime directly over the butter. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and white pepper. With a fork, mash together to combine well. Set aside until ready to use.

When ready to grill, remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, directly over a hot fire; close the cover and grill. Check and turn periodically. If husks begin to burn, move ears to use an indirect grilling method and continue to cook. Grill for about 20 to 30 minutes. Corn should be firm but tender when properly grilled.

Pull husks back to expose corn kernels. Arrange on a platter. Cut limes into quarters, tuck around corn. Serve with lime butter on the side.

Roasted Red Potato Wedges
1 tablespoon New Mexican Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Coriander
1/2 tablespoon Sugar
2 lbs large Red Potatoes
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Chives for garnish
Lime Zest for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a bowl whisk together all the seasonings and sugar. Blend well and set aside.

Rinse and scrub potatoes. Cut into wedges, 6 to 8 wedges per potato, depending upon size. Potatoes should be uniformed in size for even roasting.

In a large mixing bowl, toss potato wedges with vegetable oil. Potatoes should be fully coated. Sprinkle with half of the seasoning, toss, then sprinkle with remaining seasoning, toss again.

Spread potato wedges out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven, reduce oven to 400 degrees. Shake, turn wedges over. Return to oven, continue to roast another 20 minutes or until crisp on the outside, soft inside.

Transfer potatoes to a large serving bowl. Snip chives, scatter over potatoes. Zest lime as desired for an extra splash of both flavor and color.

Cast Iron Wedge Skillet Jalapeño Cornbread
Pan Preparation
1 tablespoon Butter, melted
3 tablespoons Yellow Cornmeal, or as needed

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoons of butter. Brush the cast iron wedge pan with butter, sprinkle with cornmeal. Tilt pan to coat the cornmeal all around, tap out excess.

Place wedge pan into the oven to heat.

Jalapeño Cornbread
2 Jalapeño Peppers
1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1/8 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 cup Milk
1 Eggs
1/8 cup Vegetable Oil
Splash Vanilla Extract

Remove stems from the jalapeño peppers. Using a small cheese grater, grate 1 pepper into a bowl, catching all the seeds and juices. Finely dice remaining pepper for more visible pieces, add to the bowl and set aside.

Using the smallest holes in a cheese grater, finely grate Cheddar Cheese. Set aside until ready to use.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Work Cheddar cheese into dry ingredients until coated.

In another bowl, beat egg, vegetable oil, jalapeño peppers, and vanilla extract together until well mixed. Add the milk and stir to blend.

Make a well in the Cheddar Cheese mixture and pour egg mixture into the well; stir just until combined. Batter should be slightly lumpy.

Carefully remove hot wedge skillet from the oven. Fill each mold 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and edges are crispy.

Serve directly from the pan for a rustic Western presentation.

Tequila Shots
3 or 4 Limes
Top Shelf Tequila as needed
Kosher Salt as desired

Cut limes into wedges. Fill shot glasses (one per person) with tequila. Fill a salt cellar or small bowl with salt.

Cup hand to create a fist. Moisten the back of your hand between the thumb and index finger by licking or rubbing with a little lime. Sprinkle salt onto your hand.

Lick salt, slam down shot, bite and suck on lime wedge.

Repeat if desired.

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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