Food critic for the Dallas Morning News, Dotty Griffith, drops by with these inspirational favorites from The Contemporary Cowboy Cookbook.
• Avocados Stuffed with Gulf of Mexico Blue Crab
“This can be made for cocktail party fare - as a stand up appetizer - or served at a sit down dinner. Take your pick - either way, the tastes are unforgettable.”
1 pound lump crab meat (preferably from Texas Gulf Coast Blue Crabs)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper or to taste
2 to 3 drops red pepper sauce or to taste
6 small, ripe (but no too soft) avocados
Juice from 2 lemons or as needed
Garnishes: finely chopped tomato, finely chopped green onion, red and black caviar (use very small roe), lime wedges and cayenne pepper (optional)
Pick over crab to remove any pieces of shell or cartilage. In a small bowl, combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. Use just enough mayonnaise and sour cream to moisten crab, but not so much as to drown the delicate taste and texture. Adjust seasoning with a few drops of red pepper sauce. Refrigerate until ready to stuff avocado halves.
Since avocados tend to darken with exposure to air, cut and stuff avocados as close to serving time as possible. Holding an avocado in one hand, run the tip of a sharp knife around the center, horizontally, to cut through the skin and the meat of the avocado. A tough, round seed in the middle prevents the knife from going all the way through.
To separate halves of avocado, use both hands to twist top and bottom in opposite directions, like unscrewing the top of a jar. The seed will remain in one of the halves. Using a sharp, heavy bladed knife, smack the seed with the knife blade so it sticks - twist the knife to unscrew the seed and discard.
For walk-around hors d’oeuvre, do not peel avocados. To serve as first (or main) course, carefully remove peel. Use a spoon to separate peel from the avocado flesh. Remove the avocado half from the peel in one piece.
Drizzle or paint all exposed surfaces - outside too, if using peeled avocados - of each half with lemon juice. Place a couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce in the seed cavity, then fill with a generous dollop of crab salad.
Garnish with a sprinkling of finely chopped tomato, onion, red and black caviar. Again brush exposed surfaces of avocado with lemon juice. If desired, dust edge of avocado very lightly with cayenne pepper for an additional touch of color and zing of flavor.
If storage before service is required, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate no longer than one hour. Serve immediately if possible.
• Anejo Alejandro
“This is a variation on the time honored Brandy Alexander. The main difference is that this one uses barrel aged tequila called anejo. Try one as a sippable dessert.”
1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
¼ cup anejo tequila (do not substitute standard tequila)
1 tablespoon Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
2 to 3 ice cubes
Nutmeg to taste
In a blender container, combine ice cream, tequila, Triple Sec and a couple of ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into chilled brandy snifters. Sprinkle each serving lightly with nutmeg.