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Menus of Regional Favorites : A Handsome and Tasteful Way to Celebrate the Flavors of San Antonio

August 11, 1988|BARBARA HANSEN | Times Staff Writer

Celebrate San Antonio by the San Antonio Junior Forum (San Antonio Junior Forum: $18.95, paperback, 402 pages, illustrated)

Some cookbooks are so packed with interesting ideas that you can hardly wait to get them to the kitchen. That describes "Celebrate San Antonio," a book as handsome in appearance as in content.

A charitable group called the San Antonio Junior Forum put this one out. It's a hardcover book with dramatic photography inside and out. Fireworks bursting over the Alamo, the cover scene, lead to a colorful portrayal of the city and its inhabitants inside.

The women who compiled this book are promoting it with Texan drive. At the recent American Booksellers Assn. convention in Anaheim, they handed out samples of baked goods and a sassy barbecue sauce, all prepared from recipes in the book.

The opening section on entertaining includes menus and recipes for such regional events as a fiesta buffet, Mexican brunch, San Antonio style barbecue and picnic in the park. Instructions on barbecuing acknowledge the importance of that activity in the state. Another set of instructions deals with fajitas , which came out of Texas to become a national hit.

Multifaceted Cuisine

However, all is not barbecue or Tex-Mex in this book. Recipes explore the multifaceted cuisine of the state, from old time American food to German specialties and Oriental stir-fry dishes. Authentic Texan flavor permeates such dishes as chicken-fried steak, a South Texas sweet picadillo, cowboy beans, grits with cheese and jalapenos, ranch biscuits and, for dessert, buttermilk pound cake, sweet potato pie and Texas Ranger cookies. There are heirloom recipes such as an 1886 cheese soup and others as contemporary as cilantro cumin butter to pour over vegetables, steaks or fish.

Texans are generous cooks, and many of the recipes are in quantities useful for home entertaining. The grits casserole serves 20; Beef and Brew Take Along, which is part of the picnic menu, is enough for 12, and a wonderful sounding tortilla casserole with picadillo filling serves 12 to 15.

Proceeds from sales of "Celebrate San Antonio" will go to community projects. To order the book, send $18.95 plus $2 for postage and handling to San Antonio Junior Forum Publications, P.O. Box 791186, San Antonio, Texas 78279-1186. Make checks payable to Celebrate San Antonio.

The 672 recipes in the book include the following appetizer, main dish and dessert, which are well-suited to summer parties.

YUCATAN BLACK BEAN DIP

1 pound dried black beans

6 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

1 pound lean ground pork

2 teaspoons dried leaf oregano

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onion

5 medium radishes, sliced

1 to 4 hot green chiles (serrano or jalapeno), peeled, seeded and minced

6 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup canned green chile salsa

1/2 pound Jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Tortilla chips

Soak beans overnight in water. Next day, drain beans and place in large saucepan. Add water and salt. Bring to boil, cover and simmer 2 hours or until beans are tender. Remove beans with slotted spoon and set aside. Bring bean stock to boil. Add pork and oregano and bring to boil again. Drain pork and reserve.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, radishes and chiles and saute until tender. Add beans, pork and lemon juice. Lower heat, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Add salsa and cheese and simmer until cheese melts. Taste and add salt if needed. Pour dip into serving dish, sprinkle with cilantro and surround with chips. Serve warm. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

BEEF AND BREW TAKE ALONG

5 pounds sirloin tip roast

1 (12-ounce) can beer

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion salt

Wine Marinade

Pumpernickel Bread

Place roast in large plastic bag and add beer. Close tightly and refrigerate at least 12 hours. When ready to prepare, remove roast from bag, reserving beer.

Rub roast with flour, salt, pepper and onion salt. Place in large roasting pan and add beer. Bake at 325 degrees about 1 1/2 hours, or until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees. Baste often with pan drippings. Remove rost from oven and cool.

Slice cooled roast very thin. Place in large casserole and add Wine Marinade. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. Take to picnic in casserole and serve over pumpernickel bread. If desired, serve warm with Wine Marinade heated and poured over meat. Makes 12 servings.

Wine Marinade

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup canned tomato puree

1/2 cup Sherry

1/4 cup Burgundy wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Dash black pepper

1/2 cup bottled marinara sauce

Combine oil, vinegar, tomato puree, Sherry, Burgundy, salts, pepper and marinara sauce. Mix well and set aside.

REPUBLIC OF TEXAS TRIFLE

Pioneer Sponge Cake

1/2 cup cherry Brandy or Sherry

2 cups strawberries

2 cups fresh blueberries

Sugar

2 cups prepared custard

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Cut cake into bite-size pieces and place in bottom of trifle bowl or large glass bowl. Pour 1/4 cup cherry Brandy over cake pieces. Top with strawberries and blueberries, reserving some of each for garnish.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over fruit and pour remaining Brandy over all. Spoon custard over fruit, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, combine whipping cream and 1 tablespoon sugar in small mixing bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon over top of cold trifle. Garnish with reserved berries and almonds. Makes 8 servings.

Pioneer Sponge Cake

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine margarine, sugar and eggs and beat until fluffy. Stir in baking powder. Add flour and mix until well blended. Pour into greased and floured 9-inch cake pan. Bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack. Turn out and cool completely.

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