Archive for the 'Food' Category

Chocolate cake and Unleaven bread

Monday, July 16th, 2007

My preacher is doing a series on communion.  He has also posted about it and you can click here to see that post.

See, in our tradition we take the Lord’s supper each week.  It is awfully easy to lose the meaning of the rite to our own disregard.  So Sunday morning’s sermon was about stopping and giving pause and examining ourselves before we just go through the motions.

This stimulated some deep thought for me.   I started to compare some things in my life.

Many of you will remember an old post of mine where I told you what chocolate cake means to me.  I’m going to reprise a little of that thought to make my point.

My grandparents lived in Brownfield.   I lived in Odessa.  Grandad was a roughneck.  So he made the trek to my house each week so he could work.  Each week he brought a pan covered with foil.  In it was a good old Texas style chocolate sheet cake.  Each week I would hear how she baked it just for me.  She knew it was my favorite.  I always felt like her favorite when he brought it.

I did not deserve this favor.  I was just a scrawny little runt that was adopted into the family.  But she saw me as her own.  To this very day, I look at chocolate cake through the eyes of a happy little grandson.  There is far more there than just flour, eggs and butter.  The memories don’t fade fast.  The expression becomes more vivid as I get older.

Christ prayed over the bread and the wine.  He told his disciples “Do this to remember Me.”  He likened the bread to His body, a holy sacrifice to be shared.  He likened the wine to His blood.  One’s cup symbolized one’s destiny.  They were to share in His life and His destiny.  The tradition lives on among us today.

I do not deserve this favor.  I am still some little runt that was adopted into the family.  But He sees me as His own.  Every time the trays are passed I see my self as a grateful little child of God.  There is far more there than just matzos and wine.  The memory has lasted 2000 years.  The expression becomes more vivid as I get older.

I get to sit at the table of God Almighty.  He has prepared Himself for my consumption.  I don’t deserve this.  I must be loved to be so privileged.


Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Does this look yummy?

Then read the rest of this.


Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I’ve been hungry for quite some time now. I still am for some things. There are so many things that I want to have. So many more that I want to do. So much that I want to be.

I crave things. I have come to an understanding about cravings. Cravings need to be satisfied. We crave foods because our body needs something. Often we substitute what we think we want for what we need. Cravings are not always clear. They don’t always tell the truth. But you can always know one thing that is honest about your cravings: they tell you that you’re hungry.

Sometimes my wife treats me better than I treat myself. Today she aimed to satisfy a craving. I have been craving steak. We eat an awful lot of yard bird at our house. Lately it had left me unsatisfied. So she brought home a couple of strip steaks.

Those steaks were pretty, thick and well marbled. At first glance I thought they might be too fresh. When I unwrapped them, I saw that they were in fact aged enough. She started cooking some potatoes, bread, corn and some chicken for the kids. I started rubbing the steaks. I did not use anything fancy. Just fresh ground pepper, some rough salt and some Worcestershire sauce. I cooked them a little too long but they were so well marbled that they were still fantastic.

So I had the steak and the accoutrements. I washed them down with half a liter of Franziskaner. I had a little ice-cream and cake. That was authentic comfort food.

I’m glad she did this for me. I needed this special kind of joy. I have a tendency to muzzle the ox.

It is good to satisfy a craving. Sometimes I crave steak. Sometimes I crave venison. Sometimes I crave peace. Sometimes I crave God.

Satisfying a craving takes work. It also takes permission. We have to permit ourselves to do what it takes to satisfy a craving. That doesn’t always equate to selfishness. But we believe that lie way too often.

So for now, the cravings are abated. I am satisfied, sated, and full. This is a great feeling.

Texas Charm School Lesson 2

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Many times when a person comes to Texas they have their whole experience screwed up by mistaking imposters for genuine Texan products. Often stores will box up their ice-cream to resemble bluebell. Or even worse, sometimes visitors are enticed into drinking Ziegen Bock. One thing no Texan wants is for a visitor to leave with a foul taste in their mouth.

Be forewarned, Ziegen Bock is not a real Texas Bock Beer. It is an Anheuser-Busch imposter that looks like Bock and smells like bock but the first taste screams, “This @$%#^* aint Bock!”

Texas Bock beers are not exactly like their German counterparts. European Bock beers are stronger and have more nutrients. Texas Bock beers are not brewed to survive on during fasting rather they are brewed solely for enjoyment.

Many Texas micro breweries make fine Bock beers. The standard by which all Texas Bocks are judged is Shiner Bock. It is a real Texas beer from a brewery in Shiner Texas. It is sold in many states and is quite enjoyable. Drunks should not even bother with this beer. It is far too full bodied and filling for such taste. Beer aficionados will love it. It is good stuff.

Texas Bocks can be enjoyed straight from the bottle or poured in a frosty pilsner with at medium to large head. They complement steak and brisket quite well. Ordering a fine Texas Bock will reveal your good taste to those around you.

Remember, when in Texas, being inebriated can lead to a terrible case of Bootintoosh disease. So, please behave yourself.


Friday, February 24th, 2006

Since I am blogging on my lunch hour, I’ll blog about food. There used to be a Chicago style Hot Dog place in my neighborhood. It closed down. It has been a while. Many of you don’t know anything about these hot dogs. Many of you look at the picture and think, “Yuck! A hotdog is not supposed to have tomatoes and peppers!” Many of you need to try it. The Chicago style Hot Dog is a treat to be enjoyed as it comes. Don’t custom order it. Don’t get anything on the side. The hot dog was invented in Chicago. They do it right. What West Texas has done for Fajitas, Chicago has done for the hot dog. You can’t improve on perfection.

It starts with a poppy seed bun. Then add an all beef sausage (Vienna Beef is the traditional brand). Next, Mustard, PickleWedge, relish, Tomato Wedges and Sport Peppers. The Peppers are the key. Finally top with Season Salt (Celery salt is also traditional).

Hat Tip to Rush for the idea.
Hat Tip to Allen Brothers Steaks for the picture.

Just for Me

Monday, December 26th, 2005

Christmas was fantastic. I hope yours was too.

I didn’t get the car. I don’t think I got a thing on my list. But, what I did get was better.

I saw my Wife’s face light up when I gave her a present. My children were grateful and received their gifts with gratitude. I was reminded that my family is amazing. I enjoyed the chocolate cake that I was looking forward to.

This is no ordinary chocolate cake. It is special.

When I was a little boy, one of my grandfathers was a roughneck. He would stay at my house during the week because I lived in Odessa (where most of the oil wells were). When he came on Sunday evening, he would bring a chocolate cake baked just for me. My Grandma Gwen baked it for my personal enjoyment. She knew I loved that cake. I don’t doubt she thought about me when she made it.

She passed away years ago. Now my Mama Dell (Grandmother) and Aunt Valda will make it. Mama Dell made it just for me this Christmas.

This cake may not win any awards but it is my favorite. When she made it she was thinking of me. She wanted to make me happy. She did just that.

It is one of those special blessings you have to take personally. It is the same sentiment I feel when Echo makes fresh tortillas. It is being called by name in a very special way.

I love these blessings. Sometimes the blessing is cake or tortillas. Sometimes it is the West Texas sunset. Sometimes it is the cool wind from the Pacific blowing in my face while I stand on the Oregon coast. Some times it is a father and son walk with Alex down by the creek. Every time, it is a blessing given for my own personal enjoyment. I love the things that are just for me.

From the creator of a cake to the Creator of Heaven and Earth, my personal enjoyment was considered. I like being remembered. I like being loved. I like the things that were made just for me.

Just in case you wanted to know:

Texas Sheet Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • .
  • Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped Texas Burket pecans


Grease a 13X9X2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1 cup of water.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. With an electric hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a 350° oven about 35 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Pour warm chocolate frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly. Place cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.
Makes 24 servings.

In a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons buttermilk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans.

My Chrismas wish List

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Echotig made Santa lists for herself and the children. I think I will play along. Some of these are normal and some are pretty fantastic.

You can’t go wrong with a bone in Ribeye.

Double Chateau Fuente, not the fanciest cigar in the world. But definitlely my favorite.

I am pleased to anounce that Stetson has resumed production of the Ruidoso, the finest hat I know.

A Canon Rebel XT with a good lens. That will get me back in the game. 10 years away and I still have the shutter bug.

CF Martin & Company, an American icon, I’d like one with a Texas flag top but I couldn’t find the picture.

Benelli 1873 .45 Colt Sporting Rifle and a classic Peacemaker. .45 ACP another American Icon.

Auburn Boattail Speedster, if your going to dream then dream big.

All of these things are spectacular. I would love to have any of them. What I really want is peace, quiet and a few kind words. I want a piece of chocolate cake. I want time with the family.

I want some time alone with Echo. A few years back, I walked her out to a windmill, knelt in the soft soil and gave her a ring. She said yes. That was a really good Christmas.