Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Independance Day Texas!

As if it were any secret, I'm a big fan of my state, actually I'm really proud of my family too (see the two are pretty well intertwined). Texas is the only state in the union to have been its own country, we even had embassies outside the US! March 2 is the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence for Texas. Fifty-nine brave men put their names on the Declaration and countless others stood up to fight for Texas' right to be a Nation.

While the Republic of Texas only made it 10 years before annexation, it came to a close under the stewardship of a relative of mine, the last President of the Republic of Texas, Anson Jones. I am a direct descendant of Anson Jones on my father's side and have always been fascinated by the idea of Texas as a country. When I was younger (elementary school to middle school) we lived in the Ft. Lauderdale FL area, many times I would try to explain to other kids why it was so cool that I was related to this Anson Jones character, let's just say that outside of Texas it didn't translate at that age. Thank God I moved back to the mother country, here my thrill of being related to this historical figure isn't some oddity but instead something to be celebrated. So on March 2 each year we Texans celebrate our one-time independence and the characters who made that possible.

In honor of all who fought for Texas' freedom from Mexico, governed this great state as a Republic and to the amazing achievements since that day we celebrate! What celebration of the state of Texas would be complete without beef?? None! As the second installment of my posts featuring Texas Beef (care of the Texas Beef Council and Foodbuzz Featured Publishers' Programs) I would like to share a simple and tasty flank steak recipe that translates into not one, but two meals!

First, Coffee Crusted Flank Steak, originally this was served along side some of last summers pickles, pickled okra and a roasted potato.

Coffee Crusted Flank Steak
4 Tbsp Instant Coffee
2 Tbsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Dutch Processed Cocoa (Unsweetened)
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
2 Tbsp Ground Dried Wood-ear Mushrooms
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Mix all ingredients together and rub generous amount on steak, grill steak to your desired done-ness.

The second way I used this tasty flank steak was in a leftover capacity, I turned it into a Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, here I used a ready-made crust for simplicity but a homemade one would be delicious too!

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

1 Ready Made Thin Crust
4-6 oz thinly sliced Coffee Crusted Flank Steak
2.5 Cups Cheddar Cheese
1 Red Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
1 8oz Container Mushrooms, Sliced
1/2 Large Onion, Thinly Sliced

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Saute onions for 5 minutes, until they start to get translucent.
3. Add bell peppers and saute another 3 minutes then add mushrooms and saute until they are starting to get cooked.
4. Spread veggie mix on pizza crust, top with cheese, layer steak slices atop cheese and bake 12-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

One last recipe to share utilizes one of my favorite Texas-born products, Dr. Pepper (are you a Pepper?), this recipe is an oldie that many of you are familiar with, the special twist is the addition of a syrup found at one of my favorite haunts, Sarah's Texas Pantry, Dr. Pepper Syrup.

Dr. Pepper Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding:

1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
1 qt milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup dried tart cherries, soaked in Dr. Pepper overnight
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Dr Pepper Syrup to sauce the finished product with!

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the cherries into the mixture.
3. Grease a 13x9 pan very well with butter or cooking spray. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan.


Chef E said...

Woo Hoo! Heck Yes!

grace said...

dr pepper syrup? where have you been all my life?? now i'm tempted to try to make my own and pour it on everything, starting with a bread pudding. and that pizza's awesome too. girl, you're making me wish i was a texan! :)

Angie's Recipes said...

The cheesesteak pizza looks fantastic~!

girlichef said...

Dr. Pepper syrup!!! Color me curious, I totally want to try some. Everything looks went all out for this celebration :D

Anonymous said...

Love the coffee & cocoa crusted steak, and wow a dr. pepper syrup sounds terrific!

Reeni said...

I love the flavors you crusted your flank steak with! And the pizza looks incredibly good! I remember you or your Mom talking about this once before - how cool it would be if it were still its own country.