MAIN DISHES

The Armadillo, or Texas Turkey, has been around for a long, long, long time. It was busy digging holes in the ground when the first man arrived on earth, it was sniffing out grubs before the alligator crawled out of the swamps, and it was even darting out of the way to keep from being tromped on by big-footed dinosaurs. It has managed to adapt and survive just about all of its natural enemies until the automobile came along. When an Armadillo spots an approaching automobile, it will stand its ground until the last instant and then leap straight up into the air--crashing into the grill. No wonder that they are also known as speed bumps in Texas.

ARMADILLO PIE

1 Pound Armadillo Meat*
1 Onion, chopped
1 Package Frozen Mixed vegetables
1 T. Mixed Dry Herbs
1 Envelope Brown Gravy Mix
2 Pie Crusts

*If Armadillos aren't plentiful where you are camped, beef, pork, rabbit, chicken or rattlesnake can be substituted. Cut meat into small pieces and sauté in a dab of bacon grease until lightly browned. Pour in a cup of water, the chopped onions and mixed herbs. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender More water can be added if needed. Add the mixed vegetables and continue to simmer until they are done. Adjust the liquid to slightly less than one cup and stir in the brown gravy mix. Simmer until the gravy is thickened.
Put one unbaked pie crust in a deep pie dish, pour in the meat and vegetable mixture and put on the top crust. Seal the edges and make slits in the top crust to let the steam escape. Bake about 20 to 30 minutes in a 450 oven or until nicely browned


BAJA FISH BOIL

This is a great recipe for whipping up dinner for a bunch of people. The amounts shown will feed six people.

12 Red Potatoes, about the size of large eggs
6 Medium Onions
3 to 4 Pounds Firm White Fish
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
2 Gallons Sea Water or Fresh + 1/2 Pound Salt.
3 Nylon Mesh or Cheesecloth Bags

Wash potatoes and slice a dime-size slice off each end to keeps the skins from splitting. Cut fish into 2 inch chunks. Put the potatoes into one bag, the onions in another and the fish chunks in the third. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a big pot. This works a lot better over a bed of glowing coals as few stoves put out enough heat to get the water to really boiling Put the bag of potatoes into the water and let boil for 12 minutes, then add the bag containing the onions and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add the bag containing the fish, dust in the black pepper and tell everyone to grab their plates. Dip off any fish grease or scum which rises to the surface. When the fish has boiled for 3 minutes, remove bags and serve.


CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

1 Whole Chicken Breast, cooked or 16 Oz. Canned or Processed Deli Chicken
8 Corn Tortillas
1 Onion chopped fine
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 4 Oz. Can Chopped Green Chilis
1/2 Cup Salsa Picante

Shred meat with a fork. This is the way that real Mexican cooks do it instead of chopping with a knife. Combine both cans of soup, the can of chilis and about half a can of water in a pan to heat. When the soup is hot, divide in halves. Put the chicken and onions in one half and the salsa picante in the other half. Either heat the tortillas one at a time on a dry pan or dip into hot water to soften.

Divide the meat mixture equally onto the 8 tortillas, roll them around the mixture and place with the folded side down in a 6 X 10 inch baking dish. Top with the other half of soup mixture and heat in a 350 degree oven until it begins to bubble, about 10 to 15 minutes.


SALMON CAKES

1 16 Oz. Can of Salmon
1 Egg
I Small Onion, chopped fine
10 Saltine Crackers, crushed
1 T. Flour
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
2 T. Corn Meal

Drain liquid from salmon into measuring cup and add water if needed to bring to least 1/2 cup Add egg and beat. Combine crackers, flour, baking powder and onions with egg mixture. Remove bones and skin from salmon and flake it into mixture Form into 8 balls, each about the size of a large egg Flatten slightly and roll in corn meal. Put about a tablespoon 3f bacon grease, oil or Crisco into a heavy skillet and cook salmon cakes over very low heat until the bottom side is browned Since the cakes will still be very tender, you will need to use a spatula and a fork to turn them over to brown the other side. 


SPICY MEATLOAF

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 12 Oz. Can of Spicy Hot V-S Juice
2 Eggs
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
12 Saltine Crackers, crushed
*  Ketchup for topping

Beat eggs with V-8 Juice, then combine with everything except the ketchup. Press into loaf pan, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes in 350 oven. Remove foil, drain off any grease which has cooked out and coat top with 1/4 Cup ketchup, mixed with 2 T Sugar and 1 Tsp. prepared mustard. Bake uncovered for additional 15 minutes. Allow to set for about 20 minutes before slicing.


SKILLET GOULASH

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
1 16 Oz. Can Pinto or Kidney Beans, drained
2 Cups Cooked Pasta (Can be macaroni, noodles, shells, etc.)
1 8 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
1 T. Sugar
1 Tsp. Mixed Italian Herbs

Put meat and onions into skillet. Break up meat with a spoon and cook until it is no longer pink. Stir in everything else. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.


SUPER SHORE DINNER

1 Pound Firm White Fish
1 Cup Minute Rice
1 Cup Hot Chicken Boullion or Broth
1/2 Cup Salsa Picante
1 Tomato, diced
1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Green Peas
1/4 Cup Minced onion
1 Tsp. Grated Lime Peel
1/2 Tsp. Salt
12 Fresh Medium Size Clams
12 Medium Shrimp, peeled but tails left on

Put clams into fresh water for half an hour before you begin to make them disgorge any sand. Preheat oven to 425. Cut fish into one inch cubes. In 3 quart casserole, combine rice, chicken broth, salsa, tomato, peas, onion1 lime peel and salt. Mix well and add fish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Add clams and shrimp. Cook 10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.


STOVETOP SAUSAGE & RICE CASSEROLE

1 Pound Smoked Sausage, in 1" pieces
1 Cup Diced Onions
1 Cup Diced Celery
1 Cup Minute Rice
1 Cup Water
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

Mix everything together in skillet. Cover and simmer slowly until rice is done, about 10 minutes.


OVEN SAUSAGE & RICE CASSEROLE

1 Pound Jimmy Dean
1 Cup Uncooked Regular Rice
1 Cup Chopped Onions
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cups Water

Quarter sausage lengthwise then cut crosswise three times to make 16 chunks. Nix rest of ingredients well and put into large casserole. Arrange chunks of sausage on top, cover and bake for 1 hour in 350 oven, stirring once after 30 minutes.


HOW TO COOK A BIG FISH

When one is camped along the seacoast1 it is not unusual for someone to catch a fish which weighs as much as 30 to 50 pounds. When this happens, after the lucky angler takes what he needs, he will usually distribute the remainder around the camp. A fish of this size is usually skinned and the large fillets cut crosswise into individual servings. Each serving will be well over an inch thick and weigh as much as half a pound. Cooking a piece of fish this thick is quite different from frying thin little fillets.

By far, the best way to cook large pieces of fish is over glowing coals and one would be hard put to find anything which will give it a better flavor than mesquite (Palo Blanco). Second choice would be charcoal. The heat should be much lower for fish than for steaks. Brush both the grill and meat with oil to prevent sticking. Grill the fish off to one side of the coals as burning juices put out an awful odor when they hit hot coals. Cook until the meat flakes easily. Do not overcook!

If you don't care to fire up the barbecue, thick pieces of fish can be cooked in a small amount of oil in a skillet.

First, determine which side of the meat was the one which had the skin on it. Salt and pepper the side away froR the skin side, then roll in flour to apply a light coating to all sides By far the best oil to use for frying the fish is either butter or olive oil, however any oil will do. Heat the skillet first, then add about a tablespoon of oil. Place the pieces of fish into the hot skillet, with the skin side up. Lower the heat and cook slowly until the flour on the bottom side is brown. Carefully turn the pieces of fish and brown the skin side last.


BAJA FISH BOIL

This is a great recipe for whipping up dinner for a bunch of people. The amounts shown will feed six people.

12 Red Potatoes, about the size of large eggs
6 Medium Onions
3 to 4 pounds Firm White Fish
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
2 Gallons Sea Water or Fresh + 1/2 Pound Salt.
3 Nylon Mesh or Cheesecloth Bags

Wash potatoes and slice a dime-size slice off each end to keeps the skins from splitting. Cut fish into 2 inch chunks. Put the potatoes into one bag, the onions in another and the fish chunks in the third. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a big pot. This works a lot better over a bed of glowing coals as few stoves put out enough heat to get the water to really boiling. Put the bag of potatoes into the water and let boil for 12 minutes, then add the bag containing the onions and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add the bag containing the fish, dump in the black pepper and tell everyone to grab their plates. Dip off any fish grease or scum which rises to the surface. When the fish has boiled for 3 minutes, remove bags and serve.


FISH IN FOIL

Both Fillets from a 2 to 5 pound fish.
1 Onion, sliced in thin slices
1 8 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
4 Limes
Salt and Pepper
Italian Herbs

Tear off two pieces of heavy duty or three pieces of regular aluminum foil. Each piece should be twice as long as the fillets. Stack the foil one on top of the other. Lay the fillets on the foil with the large ends opposite one another. Salt and pepper the fish and squeeze the limes over them. Arrange the onion slices between the fillets and pour the tomato sauce over them. Sprinkle with Italian Herbs Wrap the foil tightly around the fillets, pulling them into a long roll. Crease edges tightly and fold up the ends to seal. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven or can be roasted over coals.


COOKING THE MEXICAN LOBSTER

If you ask a New Englander about Mexican lobsters, or Langosta as they are called, he will simply turn up his nose and claim that there is no such thing. If he is forced to admit that they do have something which resembles a lobster, he will claim that it is nothing more than a sea-going version of the Louisiana Crawdad. Since New Englanders elevate their noses at lots of things anyway, we will just have to go on enjoying these tasty critters and let them live in ignorance.

Mexican lobsters don't have big pinchers but they tend to move a lot faster than their east-coast cousins, making them considerably more difficult for divers to catch. When someone diving off the rocks does come up with a nice lobster, he has a prize which will bring him a considerable amount of money. The going price seems to be somewhere around four dollars per kilo for a live lobster, which is awfully cheap when compared what the same thing would cost in the states.

Be sure that your pot is large enough to hold the critter, then fill it with water and bring to a rolling boil. Drop the lobster in, head first, and slap on the lid. As soon as the water boils again, cook according to the following times.

1 Pound (Media Kilo) 10 minutes
2 Pounds (Un Kilo) 15 Minutes
4 Pounds (Dos Kilos) 20 Minutes

When the proper amount of time has elapsed, remove the lobster and dunk into cold water to stop the cooking. Overcooked lobster, like shrimp becomes tough.

Grasp the tail in one hand and the body in the other. Twist and bend the tail upward, breaking it free from the body. Break off the legs and antenna and discard the body as there is nothing much edible in it. with a sharp knife, pierce the tail from the bottom and split it lengthwise Remove the black vein which runs down the center of the tail. It is now is ready to sprinkle with lim6 juice and eat. Dip in melted butter if you wish.

Keep the legs and antenna in the fridge until noon the following day. Getting the meat out of them will give you something to do for an hour or so, but it will be worth the effort.

The peddlers put the shrimp into plastic bag and weigh them with a small spring scale which is usually so rusty that the figures are no longer readable. There is usually a considerable amount of bickering back and forth as to how many shrimp it takes to make a kilo.

Once you have your shrimp, there are two basic ways of cooking them. The easiest is by boiling with the shells on.

In a large pot, put about three times the volume of water as you have shrimp and bring to boil. If you have ice, make an equal amount of very cold water in another container If you are short of ice, you can use tap water. Dump the shrimp into the boiling water. Move them around in the water so that they don’t cool the water off in one spot. The shrimp will turn a bright pink almost immediately. As soon as the water returns to a boil, transfer the shrimp into the cold water to stop them from cooking. If they cook too long, they become tough and lose their flavor.

Divide them up and let each person peel his own. Serve them with seafood cocktail sauce for dipping.


SHRIMP WITH GARLIC BUTTER (Camaronies Ranchero)

1 Kilo Raw Shrimp, peeled
1 Large Onion, quartered and sliced
1 Stick of Butter
6 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Cup Salsa Picante
1/2 Cup Cooked Rice per Person

Peeling a kilo of raw shrimp is no easy task, so everyone who is going to eat them should pitch in to help get the job done. Butter is best but lacking that, use margarine. Put the butter in a large skillet along with the garlic, onion and paprika. As soon as the butter melts, dump in the shrimp and increase the heat to start them cooking as soon as possible. Tumble the shrimp so they all cook evenly. They will be done as soon as they are hot all the way through. Mix in the salsa picante and serve over a bed of rice.


HOW TO BOIL SHRIMP (CAMARONES)

At around four in the afternoon, the shrimp boats will begin to return to port. If seagulls are following the boats, that means that they have had a good catch and are tossing the heads over the stern as they clean them. As soon as they drop anchor, several small boats will converge on the worst looking rust-buckets of the lot. The newer and better looking trawlers are all owned by large companies which sell their catches under contract. The older boats are usually owned by their captains and their catch is available for sale to anyone. Some of the people who buy from the captains sell to various restaurants and markets, while the others prefer to sell shrimp on the street or door to door. People who have been camping around there for any length of time know that it is best to meet the small boats as soon as the hit the shore because, if the catch was small that day, they will sell out within minutes.


CHICKEN-FRIED RATTLESNAKE

Cook a good rattlesnake and people will beat a path to your door--mostly because they know that there won't be any live rattlesnakes around your house because they have all been eaten. I'm often asked what the tender, white rattlesnake meat tastes like. Well, it's not chicken, nor is it frog legs and it's not fish either. Best that I can tell you is that it tastes like rattlesnake.

1 3 to 4 Foot Rattlesnake
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup Flour
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Oil For Deep Frying

Frying size rattlesnakes, about three to four feet long, are best for eating. Any rattler which has lived long enough to grow to five feet in length or accumulate more than about six rattles would be like trying to eat an old rooster. Larger rattlers can be parboiled with some garlic and onions to make them tender enough for frying.

Since few snakes are already dressed when delivered, you will probably have to skin and clean it yourself. First, Just like unloading a gun, cut off its head and bury it someplace. That gets rid of the dangerous part.

Two pairs of pliers work best for skinning a snake. Grab the neckbone where the head was removed with one pair and the edge of the skin with the other, give a good tug and the skin will turn inside-out and come right off. If you want to save the skin, rub the flesh side with lots of salt, wrap in plastic and keep in the refrigerator until It can be sent to a tanner After the skin is off, cleaning the rest of the snake is simple.

Remove any black spots in the flesh. Cut the snake into 1 to 2 inch lengths and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Beat the milk and egg together. Put the flour into a paper bag and shake the pieces of snake in it. Dip each piece into the egg and milk mixture and coat again with flour. Set each piece aside for a few minutes to allow the batter to set, then fry in hot oil until brown.

To eat, strip the meat off the rib bones with your teeth. Cowboys claim that you ain't a real man till you've eaten rattlesnake and mountain oysters.


Cookbook Index | Breakfast | Lunch | Main Dishes | Salsas | Side Dishes | Meals in a Hurry | Salads & Dressings | Soups & Stews | Chili | Breads | Sweets | Parties | Potent | Special | Shopping | Hints & Haunts | Weights & Measures | The Last Page


Copyright © 2000 by Jim Foreman