"Tamalada" by Carmen Lomas Garza

The Tamalada: Tamales and Community

misssk Family, Handmade, Mesoamerican, Scratch cooking, Texas, Tradition Leave a Comment

Earlier this week we explored the holiday tamal tradition, tracking down possible explanations for the connection between these tasty steamed masa cakes and the holiday season. Of course no discussion of tamal customs and tradition would be complete without mention of the tamalada, a grand fiesta in which families gather to catch up, laugh, share stories and memories, and oh …


Tracing the Holiday Tamal Tradition

misssk Family, Handmade, Mesoamerican, Scratch cooking, Spirituality, Texas, Tradition Leave a Comment

In Texas, the holidays mean tamales. Along with Christmas trees, sparkling lights, and sweet treats, I will forever associate the abundance of tamales—making them, craving them, seeing them, eating them, buying them—with the holiday season. As the wonderful aromas of warm masa, stewing chiles and tamales de dulce emerge once again this year, I found myself wondering where tamales’ holiday …


The Other Tuna: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit

misssk Eat local, Garden, Herbs, Mesoamerican, Natural healing, Texas Leave a Comment

As the summer heat slowly begins to die down and the first autumn breezes roll around, prickly pear cactus fruit, known as tuna in Mexico, is coming out bright and ripe. It’s a magical time. Prickly pear cactus is a characteristic plant of Texas. Wide-faced, inverted teardrop paddles grow in close clusters, some studded with sharp needles, others bred to …


Homemade Horchata

misssk DIY, Drinks, Gluten-free, Handmade, How-to technique, Kitchen, Latin, Mesoamerican, Recipes, Scratch cooking, Texas, Vegan, Veggie Leave a Comment

Horchata (or-cha-tah) has always been one of my very favorite aguas frescas, cooling flavored-water beverages popular in Mexico. It’s typically made by soaking rice with whole-stick cinnamon, blending it, sweetening it, and straining it into a refreshing rice milk. It’s sweet, cold, and creamy—a fantastic accompaniment to hot, spicy tacos. Although rice, cinnamon, and sugar tend to be horchata constants, …


Stay Hydrated with Aguas Frescas

misssk Eat local, Handmade, How-to technique, Kitchen, Scratch cooking, Texas Leave a Comment

Spring came early in Austin. Our flowers are blooming, the sun in shining, and although still intermingled with of a few nippy days here and there, that Texas heat is beginning to creep in. It feels like agua fresca weather. Aguas frescas are around year-round, but they’re especially apt to battling warm weather. Literally “fresh waters,” they are simply water …


Jalapeño Buttermilk Cornbread

misssk Baking, Handmade, Kitchen, Recipes, Scratch cooking, Southern, Texas, Veggie Leave a Comment

You’ve got to make this cornbread in a cast iron skillet. My friend Lisa Fain, AKA Homesick Texan, wrote a great piece about her love of cast iron and its pivotal role in Texas cornbread. She’d question my lone star authenticity for adding honey, but what can I say, I like it a touch sweet—especially in contrast with the jalapeño …


Spicy Tomato Hoppin’ John

misssk Gluten-free, Handmade, Kitchen, Recipes, Scratch cooking, Southern, Texas, Tradition Leave a Comment

Nothing says New Years like black-eyed peas. Rumored to bring good luck in the new year, there’s lots of ways to eat them—this is my take on a Southern preparation called Hoppin’ John. Along with the typical ham, onion, pepper, and celery, chiles and a tomato-based broth give it a spicier, Creole flavor. Yield: 8 to 10 servings Cook time: …


A Tex-Mex Transition Thanksgiving

misssk Handmade, Kitchen, Reflection, Scratch cooking, Texas Leave a Comment

It feels good to be home. I flew on a late night flight into Houston the Monday before Thanksgiving, and got to work cooking literally right away. It was almost 1:30 AM by the time I’d gathered up my bags, made it through customs and trekked to my dad’s side of town, but he was wide awake and full of …