Tag Archives: Homesick Texan

My First Week Back In Texas

Mosquitoes.  98 degrees in the shade.  Wonderchien, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Paris anymore.

But guess what? I’m not complaining.  I’m so glad to be home, in the land of Everyone Understands Me and Endless Grocery Aisles, that I welcome the pesky insects and the blazing heat.  This is the honeymoon, you see, before I start missing the city I just left.  I am learning this about the Ex-Pat experience.  If I am not missing Houston or Paris, it must be because I just left one and arrived in the other.

So what have I been doing since my arrival a week ago?  A lot of staying home, or close to home.  I have been nesting in my Houston townhouse- cleaning, organizing, provisioning, and breaking in my new stove.  (And on that note, whoever came up with the idea that ceramic would make a good cooktop surface clearly did not do a lot of cooking.  But I digress.)  The best part of being home is that I have had all three of my kids around my table for a few meals, and even had their help in preparing one or two.  The space feels a little small at times, but my heart is full when my kitchen is full of my offspring.  And then they quickly fly out the door, leaving me with all the dishes.  Huh?

I think I have been pretty clear here that I  sorely missed fresh jalapeno while I was in Paris.  I have been making up for it this week.

Is there a limit on how many of these I can buy at one time?

I have been cozying up with several new cookbooks that I didn’t have or wasn’t able to use in Paris, and I intentionally chose recipes featuring jalapeno.

First I made Homesick Texan’s Pico de Gallo and then put it on everything except my morning oatmeal.  Just the smell of it in my kitchen made me happy to be home.  I also picked up some fresh corn on the cob (no corn in Paris!) and cut off the kernels and sautéed them in butter, salt, and minced jalapeno.  Sooooo good sprinkled on my chef salad!  Or on anything, right?

I made a polenta crusted quiche from Cowgirl Chef’s new cookbook (Cowgirl Chef- Texas Cooking with a French Accent), which included chorizo and canned green chilis.  That tasted like home, too.

This morning I tried Homesick Texan’s Kolaches, but replaced the fruit filling with Lil Smokies, American cheese, and minced jalapeno, as my friend Martha suggested.  They were pretty darned good for a beginner!

Of course, all this cooking has required several trips to my favorite grocery store, which still sends me into an altered state of euphoria when I cross the threshold into the vast space of way too cold but infinite possibilities.  I’m not sure how long that will last, but I’m enjoying it while it does.  I have also reintroduced myself to my gym, which sends me into a completely different kind of altered state.  Two days ago my right tricep was so sore I could hardly lift my hand to my face, which made both eating and oral hygiene a challenge.  Fortunately that has passed, and I was able to heft not one but two of the afore-pictured kolaches to my mouth this morning.  I guess that means it’s time to go back to the gym.  Sigh.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I have enjoyed running into many friends and acquaintances on my trips in and out of the grocery store and the gym.  Some give me a quizzical look that says “Wow- I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”  Others, who know me a little better, say “I thought you were in Paris now!”.  And finally there are those precious souls who actually read my little blog and so are not surprised to see me and just welcome me home.  I do love those people!  Thanks, y’all.  It’s so good to be home.

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A Little Bit of Texas for A Homesick Texan

shelled and unshelled pecans

Image via Wikipedia

I guess I have left you all in suspense long enough.  I told you that when we finally arrived home from our very delayed flight from Malaga, we received a nice surprise.  Here is how it went down.

A dear neighbor of mine from Houston was coming to Paris on the day we left for Spain (I hate it when that happens) and was leaving early Monday morning.  She was to come over to our apartment when we returned on Sunday night, but as that time approached 11:00, I was afraid she wouldn’t come.  Never underestimate the fortitude of a Texas woman!  She did indeed come over, and look what she brought!

These are a few of my favorite things....

It was the Texas mother lode!  I didn’t realize how much chicken broth I used until I had to make it from a powder each time.  How did she ever carry four boxes?  And take a look at those bags of precious pecans!  I never met a dessert I didn’t think could be improved by a handful of pecans, and now I have many a handful!  Just in time for pecan pie at Thanksgiving, too.  The Hot Tamales were for Martha, although I admit I have thrown back a few.  And the Arm and Hammer toothpaste reminded my mouth what clean teeth are supposed to taste like.  I think Mark must have asked her for the potpourri of candy, as he is The Candy Man around here.  It makes me so happy just seeing these things in my pantry.  Life is sweet when friends surprise you with tastes of home.  But wait–there’s more!

This friend also brought me her daughter, who is starting pastry school at ……the Cordon Bleu!!!!  She hasn’t found an apartment yet so we asked her to please stay with us for as long as she needs to.  She is a doll, and best of all, Martha has been a big fan for several years, so she is thrilled to have her here.  “Mademoiselle Cordon Bleu”  promises that soon she will be bringing home plastic containers of The Lesson Of The Day-how sweet is that?  I am already peppering her with questions about what the school is like.  Maybe I”ll get enough scoop for a blog post- or at least enough treats for some blog photos!  We are hoping she doesn’t find an apartment anytime soon.

Mark was in Houston until just hours before our departure for Spain, and while he was there another sweet friend gave him a few more Texas treats for me!  The red pot is a candle that smells just like a Christmas greenery, which will be sadly missing from Chez Mai Paris.  We will definitely light that baby up, but not until after Thanksgiving.

Tacos and beans- sounds like supper!

Finally,  “Mom Cordon Bleu” also brought me a package wrapped in my beloved blue and white paper from Blue Willow Bookshop.  I think I got teary-eyed before I even opened it to find a copy of Lisa Fain’s new cookbook, The Homesick Texan.  I have followed her blog, The Homesick Texan, for a year or so and have bookmarked many recipes along the way.  I was  sorry to miss her signing at Blue Willow, and my friends there were so sweet to have Lisa sign a copy  for me (“From one Homesick Texan to another”), and then to write little notes in it themselves.  It is so nice to be reminded of home and all the love that resides there.

food porn for the deprived

Unfortunately, I don’t think Paris is on Lisa’s book tour, but if it were, I would ask her to bring me some chilis, because those Spinach and Sour Cream Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa sure look good.

Eat some Tex-Mex for me this week, friends, and I’ll think of y’all when I bite into that chocolate eclair that somehow followed me home from the patisserie on the corner!

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