Have you ever looked at a map of the world? Look at Texas with me just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast , and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is.
It's Texas . Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state? You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would? And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?
In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup. There is a little bit of Texas in everyone.
Texas is the Alamo . Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom.
We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Davy Crockett, and do you know why? Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be
John Wayne paid to do the movie himself .. That is the Spirit of Texas.
Texas is Sam Houston capturing Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana at San Jacinto.
Texas is huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National Forests.
Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend.
Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country.
Texas is floating the rivers of the Hill Country on a hot summer day.
Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas .
Texas is beaches you can drive on and have many memorable bon-fires with close friends. Texas is that warm feeling you get when someone asks where you're from.
Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas.
Texas is world record bass from places like Lake Fork.
Texas is Mexican foods like nowhere else, not even Mexico. Texas is chicken fried steak and world famous Bar-B-Q.
Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Astrodome. (guess now the Reliant Stadium too).
Texas is larger-than-life legends like Michael DeBakey, Ann Richards, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Gene Autry, Audie Murphy, Tommy Lee Jones, Waylon Jennings, Farrah Fawcet, Janis Joplin, Sandra Bullock, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Eva Longoria, Darrell Royal, ZZ Top, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, Howard Hughes, George H.. W. Bush, Lyndon B. Johnson, George W. Bush, and let's not forget George Strait, Pantera, the Big Bopper, Tex Ritter, George Jones, Clay Walker, Mark Chestnut, Norris Mobbs, to name only a few.
Texas is great companies like Dell Computer, Texas Instruments, EDS and Compaq, Whataburger, Southwest Airlines , Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin Aerospace, Home of the F-16 Jet Fighter and the JSF Fighter, Valero.
Texas is NASA.
Texas is huge herds of cattle, beautiful horses and miles of crops.
Texas is home to the world famous King Ranch.
Texas is home to the most amazing sunsets of gold over an empty field.
Texas is hundreds of deer running around neighborhoods and fields.
Texas is skies blackened with doves and fields full of deer.
Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local high school football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and for the Night In Old San Antonio River Parade in San Antonio.
To drive across Texas is to drive 1/3 the way across the United States .
Texas is ocean beaches, deserts, lakes and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities
If it isn't already in Texas , you probably don't need it.
No one does anything bigger or better than it's done in Texas
By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U.S that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland , California, or Maine , and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Klein Oak High or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why? Because it is the only state that was a Republic before it became a state.
Also, being a Texan is as high as being an American down here. Our capitol is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington , DC . And we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to!
We can become a republic again at any time the voters of Texas choose, and we included these things as part of the deal when we came on. That's the best part, right there.
Texas even has its own power grid and live music capitol of the world.
I don't typically pass on (or even read) emails that have the words FWD at the front of them but when this one came to me I couldn't pass it up. I know most of you aren't Texans and no you may not wish you were as the above claims but after reading that email I felt compelled to share it with anyone who might get a kick out of it or have the same feeling of 'Wow, cool that I'm a Texan' too.
Now, to get to the real grit here, how does one celebrate Texas Independence day you ask? With good old fashioned hamburgers! If I'd really had the time I should've BBQ'd a brisket but Tuesdays aren't exactly conducive to spending 8+ hours slowly smoking and cooking a brisket to perfection so that will just have to wait.
Texas Fries & Black 'n Blue Burgers
1 lb Fingerling Potatoes
1. Slice Potatoes into thin slices length-wise so they retain their unique shape. Line a large baking pan or deep dish with potatoes and pre-heat oven to 425 F.
2. Generously drizzle potato slices with olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.
3. Let them roast 30-45 minutes, until they are golden and crispy. Serve hot.
Black 'n Blue Burgers
1 lb Ground Sirloin or Ground Bison
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Emeril Steak Seasoning
1/4 Cup - 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
Sliced Tomato, to top burgers
Lettuce, to top burgers
2/3 Cups Caramelized Red Onions
4 Slices Cooked Bacon
4 Ciabatta rolls, halved (toasted if you prefer)
1. Mix ground meat, Worcestershire, black pepper, steak seasoning and blue cheese crumbles together. This is easily accomplished with your hands. Then form the meat into four patties and put them in the refrigerator to chill 30 minutes.
2. After patties have chilled sufficiently, heat up a grill or skillet and cook them to your preferences.
3. Take a halved ciabatta, layer tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, bacon and patty as well as any preferences you have for mayo, mustard and catsup and enjoy!
In addition to these fine burgers we enjoyed a chocolate-whiskey tart worthy of any fine dining establishment.
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 3/4 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 Cup Saltine Cracker Crumbs
6 Tbsp Melted Butter
12 oz Dark Chocolate, Chopped
4 Egg Yolks
4 Tbsp Confectioners' Sugar
4 Tbsp Whiskey
4 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9 inch tart pan and line with parchment paper.
2. Combine sugar, graham cracker crumbs, saltine crumbs and melted butter. Mix and press into prepared tart pan to form a crust. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
3. Slowly melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a double-boiler. Allow it to cool slightly (nearly room temperature) and beat in egg yolk, confectioners' sugar, whiskey and the heavy cream until completely incorporated.
4. Remove tart pan from oven and pour in chocolate mixture. Cover with foil, return to oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
6. Serve with freshly whipped cream or ice cream.