Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Fiesta of Foods and Flavors

Thanks, everyone, for coming to my cookbook's birthday party for Foods and Flavors of San Antonio! It's time to wrap this up. I've had a blast at my Fiesta of Foods and Flavors, blogging the birthday party every day this month to celebrate the publication of my new cookbook. But I have to tell ya, I'm kind of burned out on blogging, so I'll be taking a break for a week or so.

Hope everyone had fun at my Fiesta and enjoyed the food that so many Fiesta Foodies brought to the party and shared so generously!

Lots of other things were birthed this month, including two new sites: Tex-Mex Foodies, a network for people who love Tex-Mex Food (it's still a baby site, so please come on over and join us), and a companion site, Tex-Mex Foodies... Recipes. It's a work-in-progress; I'm building a database of Tex-Mex recipes.

Three new foodie blog events were born this month!

Second Sunday San Antonio, a once-a-month event where we cook a recipe from my cookbook. The round-up will be posted on the second Sunday each month. We're cooking Mexican Pork Chops this month, so if you'd like to cook with us, you can find the recipe by clicking on the link. The first foodie to post will get to choose the recipe for the next month. Since Chef Bliss was the first foodie this month (she helped me launch the event), she gets to choose the recipe for next month.

All foodies have been challenged to The Whole Enchilada Throwdown, a once-a-month event where we define what the whole enchilada is and make (you guessed it!) enchiladas. There's a mini-cookbook involved with this that we can all sell from our sidebars and earn a nice royalty. The round-up will be posted on April 18th. There's a prize for the first month! A copy of my new cookbook!


Taco Tuesdays, a once-a-month event where we make tacos, or any of their cousins--tostadas or taquitos, or their relatives--quesadillas and flautas. You can even make nachos if you want. The round-up will be posted on the third Tuesday each month.

It's time for presents! I promised you presents at my cookbook's birthday party and it's time to deliver:

Heather, Girli Chef, is the winner of a copy of Foods and Flavors of San Antonio because she got kreativ with her tacos and also participated in my Fiesta chili cook-off, and because she loves Tex-Mex food. If you'd like to win a copy of my cookbook, you'll have 22 chances next month and I'll explain how after I finish giving out the presents!

There was a three-way tie for the Fiesta Chili Cook-Off Champ this month, so Heather, Girli Chef--Roasted Pork and Poblano Chili, Karen, Domestic Muse--Three Sisters White Chili, and Mary Beth, Dunkin Cooking the Semi-Homemade Way--Refried Bean Chili, each win a San Antonio chile pepper refrigerator magnet, plus bragging rights and this really hot winner's badge for their blogs.

Karen, Domestic Muse, wins a San Antonio T-Shirt and a San Antonio refrigerator magnet for being the first person to search for and find my new site, Tex-Mex Foodies.

Tiersa, Chef Bliss, also wins a T-Shirt and a refrigerator magnet because she made Mexican Pork Chops (my favorite recipe in the cookbook) and helped me launch Second Sunday San Antonio and because she's been cooking up some wonderful things to help me promote my cookbook and just because she's so blissful.

Teresa, Mexican American Border Cooking, Reeni, Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice, and Meg, Megan's Munchies, all win a San Antonio refrigerator magnet because they've all reviewed my cookbook and said nice things, they've shared their food at my Fiesta, and they're also helping me promote my cookbook and we've cooked up a cookbook giveaway for April.

For everyone who brought food to the party, and for everyone who came to my Fiesta, and for everyone who loves San Antonio and Tex-Mex food, you're all Fiesta Foodies, so this Fiesta Foodie badge is for you! BTW, we have a real Fiesta here, a 10-day event from April 16th through the 26th, filled with fun and food, carnivals and parades. When we have the Battle of the Flowers parade, all the businesses and banks close because everyone is downtown at the parade. Over 3 million people come to San Antonio to party at Fiesta. I'll definitely be partying and I'll bring the party to you on this blog.

Heather, Girli Chef, gave me two awards last week and I'd like to share them. I'm giving the Friends Award to all the Fiesta Foodies listed on my sidebar for all your wonderful help in reviewing my cookbook and making recipes and/or for sharing your food at my Fiesta.

Heather also gave me the Lemonade Award. I'd like to share this with two foodies who brought such delicious, refreshing drinks to the party that I know we all enjoyed:

Aggie, Aggie's Kitchen, for her margaritas, and Teresa, Mexican-American Border Cooking, for spiking almost everything with Kahlua.

Want to have 21 chances to win a copy of Foods and Flavors of San Antonio next month? Each week, Reeni, Meg, Tiersa, and Teresa will take turns hosting a cookbook contest giveaway on their blogs and will be offering you 5 chances to win each week. Visit their blogs on the respective week for details:

Reeni, Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice, April 1 - 7;
Meg, Megan's Munchies, April 8 - 14;
Tiersa, Chef Bliss, April 15 - 21;
Teresa, Mexican American Border Cooking, April 22 - 28.

I know you can count and that's only 20. Here's the other one: If you win The Whole Enchilada Throwdown, you also win a copy of my cookbook.

Just because my Fiesta of Foods and Flavors is over, it doesn't mean the foods and flavors are over. That's what the cookbook, and this blog, is all about. I'll be sharing my own food and the flavor of San Antonio, and there's another Fiesta giveaway next month--Fiesta T-Shirts to celebrate San Antonio's Fiesta.

Thanks, everyone, for partying at my Fiesta of Foods and Flavors.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nachos

We're having Nachos on the next-to-the-last day of my Fiesta of Foods and Flavors before we wrap up the birthday party for my new cookbook, Foods and Flavors of San Antonio!

Nachos aren't just a party snack food meant for munching; if you do them right (or eat enough of them), they make a complete meal. So let's party with Nachos.

Alton Brown, Food Network, brought Ultimate Nachos to the Fiesta.

Tiersa, Chef Bliss, believes nachos can be deceiving; she knows they're a complete meal unto themselves and brought Chicken Fajita Nachos for all of us to enjoy.

Goya Foods thinks everyone should party, even the kids, and shows us how with Warm & Cheesy Picante Nachos.

Emeril Lagasse, Food Network, is back at Fiesta today bringing us lots of nachos. First on the table is Shredded Chicken Nachos with Pico de Gallo.

Now he's offering us Chorizo, Bean, and Cheese Nachos.

Moving right along down the nacho table is his Mile-High Nachos with Homemade Salsa.

Now he's kicking it up a notch with Kicked Up No-Bake Nachos.

Not to be outdone by Emeril, Rachael Ray, Food Network, offers us Super Nachos in two colors and two flavors.

Tomorrow is the last day of my cookbook's birthday party and I have Fiesta presents for you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Salad Sunday

It's Salad Sunday! We're going green and healthy to celebrate that we've all helped the Earth stay green and healthy last night by turning off our lights and voting for the Earth. Millions of people participated in this event and there are many other ways we can all help to heal the Earth every day by consciously doing small things to keep our Earth green and healthy.

I could go on and on about hundreds of way to honor and heal the Earth (I wrote a book about it), but you're probably hungry, so let's get to the food.

When Rachel, The Crispy Cook, experienced culinary lightning, she was inspired to create a healthy Tex-Mex Mosaic Salad with black beans, edamame, and corn.

Pam, For the Love of Cooking, made several salads for Fiesta today, starting with a Southwestern Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing, saying it's light and crunchy with a great combination of textures and flavors.

Pam also made a Shredded Beef Taco Salad, serving it in a tortilla bowl.

When Pam gets in the mood for Mexican food, but doesn't feel like making a huge dinner, she makes Taco Salad.

The birthday party for my cookbook is almost over and we haven't had Nachos yet, so tomorrow we're having Nachos... lots of Fiesta Nachos.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Salmon Saturday

It's Salmon Saturday today! You may have noticed that there hasn't been any fish at my Fiesta. There's really nothing fishy about that; I just don't like fish. There, I've said it. Now you know.

With that being said, there are two Tex-Mex Foodies who love fish, salmon in particular, and have prepared Chipotle Salmon from a recipe in my new cookbook. These both look so good, I'm even tempted to eat them. If you're not fond of fish, you can do what I do with this recipe: Use chicken and grill it instead of broiling.

Aggie, Aggie's Kitchen, won a copy of my cookbook in a pre-Fiesta giveaway. While she bookmarked a lot of the recipes she wants to make, the Chipotle Salmon caught her eye and she decided it was exactly what she wanted to cook. She and her family really loved the salmon because it had just the right amount of smoky spice to it and the lime juice really freshened up all the flavors.

Tiersa, Chef Bliss, is one of the Fiesta Foodies who reviewed an advance copy of my cookbook on my cookbook's foodie blog tour. She's made several recipes from it, including the Chipotle Salmon which she says turned out beautifully.

Just a reminder that it's lights out tonight at 8:30 P.M. for one hour to vote for the Earth.

There's only a few days left to party before it's time to give my cookbook's birthday presents, which include a copy of my cookbook, San Antonio T-Shirts, San Antonio refrigerator magnets, and maybe a few other surprises.

Tomorrow is Salad Sunday, with lots of healthy greens and other Tex-Mex goodness.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chilaquiles and Chimichangas

Today is Chilaquiles and Chimichangas Day! If you like to fry your tortillas and you like finger food, you'll love Chilaquiles and Chimichangas.

Chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lehs) are stale or day-old corn tortillas which are fried and used in a variety of delicious dishes, usually for breakfast or lunch. But you can also substitute tortilla chips, bake them if you want to, or have them for dinner.

Chimichangas (chee-mee-CHAN-gahs) are filled flour tortillas (think burritos) which are then folded into a packet and fried. Chimichangas came into being quite by accident. Legend has it that a Tucson, Arizona restaurant chef accidently dropped a burrito in the fryer. Being quite upset about this, she began to say a swear word in Spanish beginning with chi, then realizing there were small children around, quickly uttered michanga which means thingamajig.

Both chilaquiles and chimichangas are a Tex-Mex treat and we have some Fiesta Foodies here today sharing them with you.

Emeril Lagasse, Food Network, made Chicken and Green Chile Chilaquiles to start the Fiesta off today.

Amy Finley, Food Network, made Chilaquiles with Chorizo to keep the party going.

Jeanne Lemlin, Food Network, made Ten-Minute Chilaquiles, using corn chips and baking them into a cheesy, delicious dish of goodness.

Pam, For the Love of Cooking, made Shredded Chicken, Green Chile, Black Bean, and Cheddar Cheese Chimichangas, cooking them in a hot dry skillet to make them really crispy on the outside while staying moist and tender inside.

Pam also made Shredded Beef Chimichangas, baking them instead of frying.

Guy Fieri, Food Network, made Top Notch Top Round Chimichangas, to round out our Fiesta today.

If you're in San Antonio, come on over to The Twig Book Shop tomorrow for my booksigning from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. We're going out for dinner afterwards at Picante Grill for Chicken Enchiladas Rancheras, so please come join us.

Tomorrow is Salmon Saturday and we have two Fiesta Foodies making the same recipe from my cookbook.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quickie Chicken

It's Quickie Chicken day! Chicken is a quickie meal that's easy to prepare and parades as delicious no matter how you cook it.

When my publicist sent out review copies of my cookbook to foodies for the blog tour, she said they could make any recipe from the cookbook they wanted. Four foodies chose chicken: Karen and Jen both chose my Monterey Pepper Jack Chicken, Giz chose Mexican Chicken Chops, and Meg chose Doritos Chicken. You can read what they thought of my cookbook and find the recipes on their blogs.

Karen, Karen Cooks, made Monterey Pepper Jack Chicken, saying that the chicken was moist and the combination of flavors was perfect.

Jen, Notes From the Table, also made Monterey Pepper Jack Chicken, saying that she had a hard time choosing which recipe to make first, and that she "hearts" my cookbook. She's letting the photo speak for itself for the results, prefaced by an "Oh man!" So it sounds like she really liked it.

Tiersa, Chef Bliss, made Mexican Chicken Chops, a variation on my Mexican Pork Chops recipe that we're cooking for Second Sunday San Antonio next month. It was so good she decided she wanted to try the chicken version. Her verdict: Deliciousness!

Giz, Equal Opportunity Kitchen, also made Mexican Chicken Chops. She says that even after a hard day's work when you don't feel like cooking, this one is hardly any effort at all. She doesn't usually cook Tex-Mex, but after making this, she's excited about Tex-Mex because the combination of flavors is highly appealing. She says she's not done with Tex-Mex; she's only just beginning.

Meg, Megan's Munchies, made Doritos Chicken, which she says turned out fabulous and that you can't go wrong with a dish that uses Doritos as a base. She also thinks my cookbook is amazing.

I want to say a great big thank you to all the foodies who have reviewed my cookbook, made recipes, and posted them on their blogs. They're all listed on the sidebar under Recipes From Foods and Flavors of San Antonio.

Tomorrow we're having chilaquiles and chimichangas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poblano Peppers

It's Poblano Peppers day today! Poblano peppers originated in Mexico near the city of Pueblo. Poblano means pepper from Pueblo.

We have a special guest today, Pepe, who came by the Fiesta to tell you all about poblano peppers. This pepper goes by three names: It's a Poblano when it's fresh; when it's dried, it's called Ancho and Mulato. Poblano looks like a green bell pepper, except it has somewhat of a heart shape with a tapered end. Ancho and Mulato get flattened and wrinkled when they dry up. Poblano tastes like a green bell pepper with a little extra bite. Ancho has a dusky flavor. Mulato is sweeter, with a rich, kind of chocolate-y flavor.

Poblanos are most often used like bell peppers for stuffing and to make chile rellenos, though they can make an appearance in soups and sauces. Anchos are used in making enchilada sauces and chili, and are also used in commercial chile powders. Mulatos are often used in making canned mole sauces.

I've discovered that Pepe is a quiet little fellow who doesn't like to talk much, though he did say that you can find out more about poblanos at Pablano, and discover all other kinds of peppers at A Taste of the Southwest. When I asked him what the difference was between a pepper and a chile, he told me there's a goldmine of information, with everything you always wanted to know and more about all things pepper and chile here.

He brought his little brother, Peppy, to the Fiesta today to help you spice up your food. If you're wondering what to do with poblanos, Peppy has some great pepper recipes for you today; he also said he knows a place where you can find more chile rellenos recipes. A chile rellenos by any other name and made with another kind of pepper is still a chile rellenos. Ready to eat?

Pam, For the Love of Cooking, made Chile Relleno Casserole. Instead of coating and frying the poblanos, she roasted them, then baked them.

Teresa, Mexican American Border Cooking, made Chiles Rellenos, along with a Chiles Rellenos Salsa, Mexican Rice, and Refried Beans.

Teresa also brought us a Pina Colada to go along with the Chiles Rellenos. And you thought we were all done drinking at the Fiesta!

Karen, Karen Cooks, made Chile Rellenos with Salsa, using Anaheim chiles instead of poblanos. If you remember from the Fiesta Chili Cook-Off on Sunday, she shared her second favorite Mexican food, Chile Verde. Chile Rellenos is her first favorite.

Guy Fieri, Food Network, made Poblano Stuffed with Chorizo, Shrimp and Rice for the Fiesta.

Tomorrow we're having chicken cooked from my cookbook, including a popular Monterey Pepper Jack Chicken that two Fiesta Foodies have made.