Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: "The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics" by Dean Fearing with Judith Choate and Eric Dreyer

The latest in a long line of cook books from Dean Fearing is another that expresses love for the Lone Star state. The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics is designed to be a one stop resource for the cook. This cookbook co-written with Judith Choate and Eric Dreyer works well if you have the skills, the hours of cooking time, and are feeding folks with no dietary restrictions.

After an introduction that explains Dean Fearing's history if you are unaware of it, it is on to “Fearing's Texas Pantry.” This section runs 33 pages and takes readers through beans, herbs, dried spices, rubs, gravies and sauces, dressings and vinaigrettes, and more. These are the recipes that provide the cornerstone of his dishes.

The meals start with Chapter One “Breakfast and Brunch” and lead off with “Eggs Ranchero” on pages 48-49. Also in this section is “Breakfast Burritos with Charred Tomato Salsa and Smoky Black Beans “(page 53) and “Jaxson and Campbell-Style Pancakes” (page 59) among others. Each recipe has detailed instructions, a serving suggestion or how many of the item it will make, and sometimes a picture of the finished dish. There is no dietary information of any kind so those who have to deal with dietary restrictions of any type are ignored. This same format continues throughout the book.

“Starters and Soups” come next with recipes for “Modern Buffalo Tacos with Blue Cheese Dressing and Smoked Chile Aioli” (pages 66-67), “Smoked Chicken Nachos” (pages 72-73) and “Fourth-of-July Deviled Eggs” (page 83) among others. The deviled eggs have a kick to them as they include as much as you want of Tabasco Chipotle sauce before being topped off  with  “Fearing’s Barbecue Spice Blend” (page 39) as garnish.

Chapter Three is on “Salads” and begins on page 92. Here is where you find his “Red Chile Caesar Salad with Grilled Radicchio and Romaine Hearts” (pages 96-97), “Firecracker Slaw” (page 101) or “Lucian's Crab Salad” (page 107) among others.

“Main Courses” is next and at the heart of the book. Along with various pork and chicken recipes there are ones for “Barbecue Spiced Beef Tenderloin” (page 121) and “Tex-Mex Baked potato Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce” (page 153). Variety is very present in this section and the entire cookbook, but it is a little surprising there isn't one steak recipe in the section.

“Texas-Style Chili” on page 158 leads off chapter 5 titled “Chillies, Braises, and Stews.” Also included here is “East Texas Seafood Jambalaya” (page 162-163), “Panhandle Vegetable Stew” (page 169) among others.

Chapter Six “Working the Smoker and the Grill” begins with a general explanation of smoking technique and an ode to the legendary Sonny Bryan's on Inwood on Dallas. Here is where you find “Robert Del Grande's Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Backyard Steak Sauce” on page 186-187 and a few other recipes for outdoor cooking. This is also a very short section of the book.

“Sides” comes next with various recipes for beans, corn, dressings, grits, and other things. Along with “Campfire Barbecue Beans” on page 193 there is his recipe for “Crispy Sweet Onion Rings” (page 201), “Avocado Fries” (page 203) and “Fried Green Tomatoes” (page 208).

“Breads and Rolls” are the subject of Chapter Eight and begin on page 212 with “Bacon-Jalapeno Biscuits.” Also here are recipes for “Spicy Cheese Crackers” (page 216) and “Navajo Fry Bread” (page 220) among others in this very short chapter.

“Desserts” come next and feature “Brown Sugar Peaches with Pistachio Ice Cream” (page 228), “Chocolate Shiner Bock Cake” (page 235) and “Texas Chess Pie” (page 237) among others.

The book closes with a sources page, an acknowledgment page, a ten page index and two pages of author bios.

The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics is an interesting cookbook. Totally absent in terms of nutritional or dietary information, the book has numerous recipes for various situations in terms of daily meals as well as when guests come over. Heavily geared towards those with extensive culinary skills it may not work as well for the average cook at home.

The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics
Dean Fearing with Judith Choate and Eric Dreyer
Photographs by Dave Carlin
Grand Central Life & Style (Hachette Book Group)
April 2014
ISBN# 978-1-4555-7430-8
260 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. The annual book sale is scheduled for August 8-10. More details are at the Friends of the Plano Public Library website.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
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Unknown said...

Tex-Mex should be its own food group on the food pyramid. Just my opinion. :D

Thank you for your review. I may just have to whip up some eggs ranchero for brunch!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

It definitely should be.

I would also like to request home delivery of your brunch.

stevefah said...

These days it's almost mandatory--with an aging and illness-prone population--to post nutritional information.

But I guess in the Great State o' Texas, they're all manly men and don't worry about all that girly stuff like whether your food will kill ya! :)

Kevin R. Tipple said...

As a native Texan and therefore was born as manly man, I do think nutritional information is important. I also think all Canadians should bear our heating costs each winter.