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This recipe was adapted from one created by chef Jean-Luc Salles of the former, Jean-Luc’s French Bistro in Austin. We made the cakes in 12 three-inch ramekins, but a muffin pan would work just as well.

2 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
18 oz. chèvre
3 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
4 T. olive oil, divided
3/4 c. black olives, pitted and sliced

Boil potatoes until tender; drain and set aside. Blend cheese, eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Grease each ramekin with 1 tsp. oil.  Add 1 1/2 T. cheese mixture, 3 or 4 potato slices, then another 1 1/2 T. cheese mixture. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350° for about 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then invert each ramekin onto a plate. Top each cake with black olives. Yield: 12 cakes.

Goat Cheese KissesThese elegant hors d’oeuvres take time to make. You can prepare them ahead and freeze them until you need them. Keep in mind that frozen kisses take slightly longer to bake.


Published in Recipes: Appetizers

At The Bitter End in Austin, Executive Chef Emmett Fox serves this vinaigrette on a salad of mixed greens, pecans, sliced red onions, and goat cheese feta.

Cactus friesJay McCarthy, president and executive chef of Jay’s Mesteña in San Antonio, often serves these fries as a side dish with shrimp or scallops, or as an appetizer with habanero-laced ketchup.

2 lbs. nopalitos
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. achiote paste (look for it in the Mexican specialty-foods section)
2/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg white about
3/4 c. ice water
Peanut oil

Remove thorns (if any) and “eyes” from cactus, and trim edges of pads. Cook cactus, covered, for 2 minutes in enough boiling salted water to cover; drain. Cut cactus in 3- to 4-inch strips similar to French fries; set aside. Combine cornstarch and achiote paste in a blender or food processor, and pulse until smooth. In a medium-size bowl, combine flour and baking powder, add cornstarch mixture, and blend well. In another bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold into flour mixture, alternating with enough ice water to make batter the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Chill batter. Dredge cactus strips in batter, and fry in deep hot oil (375°) 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Drain well. Yield: 3-5 servings.

Margarita C. Hinojosa of Benavides is famous among Rio Grande Valley residents for her Nopalito Pie, which some think tastes like apple pie, especially if served warm and topped with ice cream.

Published in Recipes: Desserts

This recipe from Josie Slonaker of Corpus Christi was judged Best of Show at the Texas Prickly Pear Council’s 1992 festival cookoff. It appears in Cookin’ with Cactus.

This spectacular dish from Jay’s Mesteña (offered in the restaurant as a special) features a brilliant fuschia sauce with a sweet-tart, creamy taste. Although the tunas aren’t available all the time (look for them in stores from midsummer to late fall), we couldn’t resist including the recipe. This is Julie Jacob's favorite July dish.

Published in Recipes: Entrees

You can find Adams Extract Co.'s recipes on the company's web site at Red Velvet Cake is also known as the $500 Cake and Waldorf-Astoria Cake.

Published in Recipes: Desserts

Laura Patterson provides this recipe for a traditional red salsa. For variety, Laura suggests adding melted cheese, mashed avocado, or black-eyed peas. She also mixes equal amounts of chopped mango (fresh or bottled) and this basic recipe to make a tropical-flavored sauce you can dip with chips or use on meat and fish.

Mark Lashley, saucier, and Richard Wheatley, sous chef, both of Central Market in Austin, created this unusual salsa recipe especially for the readers of Texas Highways. The chefs say you can use it as a sauce for meat or fish, or simply spoon it over ice cream (chocolate is a winner).

Yield: 2 1/2 cups.

This recipe is adapted from one that appears in Matt Martinez’s Culinary Frontier: A Real Texas Cookbook by Matt Martinez Jr. and Steve Pate (Doubleday, 1997). It’s great with chips, but it’s heavenly with barbecue, steaks, and scrambled eggs. If you don’t have a smoker, a barbecue pit will do.

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