You don’t even have to open it to know you’re going to love this cookbook; there’s a big ol’ skillet of heavy-duty nachos on the cover.
But go on, turn the page, it gets even better.
The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours, is Lisa Fain’s second book (The Homesick Texan was her first, and she also has a blog, Homesick Texan). The Family Table shares the recipes from the hand-written cards and recipe boxes of her Mom and the Grandmas, and the Aunts and the neighbors. This is the food her family ate at parties and picnics, Thanksgiving and Christmas, or whenever everybody got together. It’s the food that people make for you when you come back home to visit because they know it’s your favorite, and also because, it’s a well-known fact that once you leave home (regardless of where that is) it’s impossible to get decent food.
So, you’ve got Sue’s Eggs (a neighbor), and an approximation of Great-Great-Grandma Gibson’s legendary biscuits. You’ve got Chipotle Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes, and Cowboy Beans (naturally), Dallas-Style Brisket Tacos, Enchiladas, Sopas, Crazy Nachos (the cover recipe), Fired–Up Wings, and so much more.
Fain has taken some liberties with the classics, and steers away from processed and packaged foods. Still, any Texan, homesick or not, would recognize and enjoy these dishes.
Have everybody over for Fain’s Mexican Chocolate Cake. Or take a Green Chile Hominy Casserole to your next potluck. Make some Choriqueso for game night. Find a fork and start eating like a Texan; The Homesick Texan’s Family Table makes it look like lots of fun.
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 eggs at room temperature, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup whole milk or half-and-half
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-cup tube pan.
- To make the cake, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt baking soda, and cayenne. In a separate bowl, cream together the granulated sugar and butter. Stir in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined.
- Put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and melt over simmering water while stirring, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir the melted chocolate into the batter until well combined. Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake, uncovered, for 1-1/2 hours, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, and then invert the pan onto a platter, sticking a knife between the cake and the edges of the pan to help remove it, if necessary. Continue to let it cool at room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
- To make the frosting, in a dry skillet on low heat, toast the coconut, occasionally stirring, until lightly colored, about two minutes. Transfer the coconut to a bowl and add the pecans to the skillet. Toast until a little darker in color and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pecans to the same bowl as the coconut.
- In a saucepan, combine the butter, milk, brown sugar, and confectioners’ sugar. Cook over low heat, occasionally stirring, until the butter is melted and the frosting has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and salt, then stir in the coconut and pecans. While still warm, spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake.