Purple Hull Peas

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I grew up in Cherokee County, in East Texas. In the summertime, along with all the other fresh melons and vegetables, fresh peas from the garden were often on the table. My mother was fond of Lady Cream Peas, Black Eyed Peas were favored by many (there is even a Black Eyed Pea festival in an East Texas town), Field peas, and the delicious peas in the photo, Purple Hulls.  You can buy them by the bushel at farm stands along the road and shell them yourself, but most often now I visit our Farmer’s Market in Sugar Land and buy a bag already shelled. I keep them refrigerated until I cook or pop them right in the freezer.

The plainest way to cook them after shelling is with some ham or salt bacon and seasonings in a big soup pot. Often I add bacon, chopped onions and peppers from the garden.  When they are ready, add some green onions, a slice of cantaloupe, and a pan of hot cornbread and you have a feast!  I never really think about having a recipe for cooking peas, but here is the list of what went into this pot. After the growing season is over, I always put a few bags of peas in our freezer so we can prolong the goodness.

Purple Hull Peas

2-3 cups of fresh purple hull peas, shelled and rinsed (my grandmother would have called this a “mess” of peas!

4 strips thick bacon, chopped

1 onion, coarsley chopped

1 sweet red pepper

1 green pepper

1-2 jalapeno peppers

water to cover (you may use chicken stock for extra flavor)

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)

Add all ingredients to large pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Cook, adding liquid as necessary for an hour and a half, or until tender. We like to serve hot in bowls so we can add some cornbread to the soupy part.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

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We make a rotisserie chicken stretch into several meals at our house, and I am always trying new ways to use the “rest of the story” when I remove all the chicken bits from the bone. If time permits,  I also cook the bones and strain the broth to use in other ways. But I always pull the meat away, shredding or chopping as I go. Most of the time I have 3 two cup portions to use or freeze. This salad was a perfect lunch, using 2 cups of leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  This makes 2 generous servings for a lunch entrée.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1  hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8-10 canned  mandarin orange slices

 

Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except oranges and toss. Drizzle with Creamy Lemon Dressing, then scatter mandarin slices on top.

Tino’s Chicken Flautas

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In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas.

I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. I was delighted to get the recipe for chicken flautas when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  This recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.

Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!

Tino’s Chicken Flautas

3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon parsley

1 teaspoon grated onion

dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper

2 cups finely diced cooked chicken

24 corn tortillas

guacamole and sour cream (optional)

In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.

Tomato, Cucumber, Onion and Mint Salad

IMG_3224We like to have delicious light lunches that are not sandwiches and don’t have to include meat, cheese, or bread.  Recently I saw a similar version of this salad  that Paula Deen recommended. It is a refreshing departure from one based on lettuce or other greens. It is too late in the season for our garden to provide the tomatoes and cucumbers, but we have more than enough mint and parsley!  This works well with a triangle of pita bread, or as a side if we use it for dinner with grilled meats or fish. Try this with chopped basil and some mozarella balls for an entirely different but tasty salad..

Tomato, Cucumber,, Onion, and Mint Salad

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup (or more to taste) fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomato, cucumber, onion, and mint in salad bowl.  In liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, vinegar, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Pour over vegetables and mint and toss. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Southwestern Soup

IMG_3136This slow cooker soup is perfect for Sunday lunches. Just load up the ingredients before leaving for church and return hungry to a house that smells heavenly because lunch is ready to serve!

Southwest Chicken Soup

1 pound chopped or shredded cooked chicken
26 oz.diced tomatoes
1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 oz. can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 (15 once) can black beans-rinsed
crushed tortilla chips for topping

optional:  2 limes, quartered


Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn, and beans. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. Serve in bowls with crushed tortilla chips on top.  We enjoy a squeeze of fresh lime juice for each bowl.