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Home | Blog | (cookbook review) The Homesick Texan . . .

(cookbook review) The Homesick Texan's Family Table

Elizabeth Barbone - July 28, 2014
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Somehow in 2011 I missed Lisa Fain's first cookbook, The Homesick Texan. I *know*! I don't know how it happened. 

So when her follow-up, The Homesick Texan's Family Table, came out earlier this year, it sat atop my list as a must read. 

Even though I've never lived in Texas (I was born and raised in New York state)--I've become smitten with “Tex-Mex” cuisine. Simply put?  When a Texan who's transplanted to New York City shares recipes, I'm all over it.

First up, I tried the “Crazy Nachos”. Until I read the recipe, nachos have always been a pile of tortilla chips with copious amounts of….well, whatever you want to put on them. Beans! Salsa! Ground Beef! Even bad nachos are good. Then I read the intro to Lisa's nacho recipe. Instead of piling stuff onto tortilla chips willy nilly, she places the ingredients, one by one, onto each chip. 

This changed my life. 

My usual nachos are a mishmash. On one plate some chips are loaded, some are soggy, and some are bare. The crazy nachos were perfection. Each bite contained just the right amount of each ingredient. LIsa's wonderfully specific in the recipe, instructing you just how many tablespoons of each ingredient should go on each chip. Listen to Lisa. She knows what's she doing. 

Up next? Spicy Pea Salad. 

I made this sounded kind of weird to me. Mayo and peas? WHAT? But it wasn't weird! It was amazing. Okay, it was a little weird but in the best way. Weird in the way that makes something interesting. The sweet peas paired with pickled jalapenos, smoked paprika, and Cheddar cheese, worked. It just worked. And it was easy to make--always a bonus! 

Finally, I made Lisa's plum cobbler. Before reading the book, it never occurred to me to make a plum cobbler. My first attempt didn't turn out so hot. I sliced the plums too thin. During baking, they just kind of melted, turning the filling to jam. But we loved the flavor. The next time I made a batch, I cut the plums thicker. Boom! That worked! The plum filling, which is accented with lemon and cinnamon, tasted almost like a cherry filling. For the price of plums, you got a cherry-like cobbler. What's not to love about that?

Now you might be wondering how gluten-free friendly the cookbook is to folks on the gluten-free diet. It's fairly friendly.  As long as you use gluten-free corn products, like tortillas, masa harina, and cornmeal, you're good. Several recipes use wheat flour--especially the sweets chapter. This doesn't bother me as I just replace the wheat flour with a gluten-free flour. However, if you are new to the ins and outs of the diet, I'd skip it until you are more comfortable discerning  which ingredients aren't safe. 

If you enjoy casual Tex-Mex cuisine and don't mind making some swaps, this book's for you!

Disclaimer: I received this book from the "Blogging for Books" program in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. A positive review was NOT required from the publisher. 

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone is the owner and editor of and is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking. and "How to Cook Gluten-Free".

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