Ag Proud Outsider|
AgProud | 581 days 19 hours 45 minutes ago
Food and Farming with a young cattleman
Native Kansan with a passion for K-State, agriculture, rodeo and free speech. Two-time K-State alumna with a background in animal science, rodeo and some livestock production combined with a tremendous love for writing and communicating. I find joy in the simple things: college sports, hot chocolate, ‘me time’ and a close circle of … Continue reading More Info...
Large cotton supplies, weather will weigh heavily in 2013|
Texas Farm Bureau | 581 days 23 hours 56 minutes ago
News and updates about Texas A&M AgriLife
Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, [email protected] COLLEGE STATION – Record-high carryover stocks of cotton and future weather patterns are just a few factors affecting cotton prices heading into 2013, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist. “We will see a cutback in Texas cotton acreage as farmers take advantage of strong corn, wheat and [...] More Info...
|Start the new year in the great outdoors as a Texas Master Naturalist|
Texas Farm Bureau | 582 days 16 minutes ago
SAN BENITO – The Lower Rio Grande Valley chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program is now accepting applications for training classes that start Jan. 9, according to Tony Reisinger, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for coastal and marine resources based in San Benito. The deadline to apply is Jan. 2. Class size [...] More Info...
|SATXBlog | San Antonio Real Estate and South Texas Blog
Authentic Foods from Spain|
San Antonio and South Texas Real Estate Blog. All things good about San Antonio and South Texas. | 587 days 17 hours 1 minute ago
Articles in and around South Texas including San Antonio real estate trends. Focus on San Antonio and South Texas area events, festivals, places, food, cooking, happenings, even some Texas history and folklore. Collaborative thoughts and observation
More Flavors of Spain
by Celia HayesMy mother just sent us a basket of gourmet foods from Spain as a Christmas present for us again, since last year's basket from La Tienda was such a big hit. We loved living in Spain, loved the food, adored grazing from the little plates – the tapas – invitingly set out at bars, loved the fact that a 'bar' in Spain was usually not just a seamy joint serving spirituous liquors to an assortment of skeevey low-lives. A bar in Spain was much more likely to be a kind of café, coffee shop and neighborhood club-house, the place housing the pay phones, ATMs, video game machines, and clean bathrooms ... and oh, yes – serving snacks and alcoholic drinks of every possible description. It also mildly freaked out many Americans upon discovering that many gas stations on the highway – or autopista – also had very well-stocked bars. Make of that what you will.
Mom's Christmas basket again revived memories of some wonderful food, although it did not, for instance, include any jamon Serrano – that dried, cured ham which was available practically anywhere, and was a component of so many dishes. It was a rare rustic restaurant which didn't have a couple of whole curing jamons hanging from the ceiling beams, and a rare bar that didn't have one on hand for making the little tapas snacks from, with half the flesh shaved away in tissue-paper thin slices. The Spanish equivalent of Costco or Sam's Club had them for sale in a special section ... which it must be admitted, always smelt faintly of cheesy gym socks.But there was one dish made with jamon Serrano which I loved, and only had once, in a restaurant in Santiago de Compostela to celebrate having followed the old pilgrim road from the Rioja to Asturias – and that was a dish of baby artichokes cooked with jamon. I went looking for recipes for it, and found one which calls for one lemon cut in half, 1 and ¾ pounds tiny baby artichokes – the ones barely the size of a small egg, before the chokes inside have gotten coarse and inedible, ¼ cup of olive oil, 3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, 8 thin slices of jamon, also chopped, and salt and pepper.
Fill a large pan with cold water, and squeeze the lemons into it, adding the squeezed lemon halves. Trim the inedible stalk and tough outer leaves from each artichoke, and cut each in half, putting them into the lemon-water immediately; this will prevent them from turning brown. When finished processing the artichokes, put the pan on the stove, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 or 6 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. Drain, discarding water and lemon halves. Pat the artichokes dry. Heat the oil in a frying pan large enough to hold the artichokes in a single layer. Arrange the artichokes cut-side-down and fry for 5 minutes. Turn them over and fry the other side for two minutes, then add the jamon Serrano and fry for another four minutes, until the jamon is crispy. Place in a serving dish and top with the parsley and ground pepper. Oh, if it were only the season now for baby artichokes, and if Mom's gift basked had only included jamon Serrano – I would definitely fix this for our Christmas Eve tapas supper! More Info...
San Antonio and South Texas Real Estate Blog. All things good about San Antonio and South Texas. | 592 days 18 hours 9 minutes ago
The Gifts of Texas Are Upon You
by Celia Hayes
It is that time of year again, isn't it? It's that happy season when custom commands that gifts large and small, yet always carefully and tastefully chosen, are bestowed upon spouses, children, families, kinfolk, co-workers, neighbors and sometimes even relative strangers. It doesn't matter much that it's Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa; custom commands that suitable gifts be exchanged at this time of the year – and in fact, the relative health of our national economy often depends upon lively retail sales during the last fiscal quarter of the year. Coincidentally, I most always have good sales of the printed editions of my books during this time, although that may just happen because I bestir myself to go and participate in seasonal craft fairs then.
This is also the very best time to go out searching for Texas-themed gifts – that kind of gift that is completely and totally uniquely Texas. I mean, I have never in any of the other states I have lived in or visited, seen cake pans or blocks of cheddar cheese shaped like the state itself, or – with the possible exception of Hawaii – seen the state flag and/or map featured in such a wide array of garments.
And if one went for Texas-themed and Texas manufactured foodstuffs of an easily-transportable nature, the sky is the limit. There are so many small local gourmet firms manufacturing pickles, jams and chutneys, salsa, olive oil, BBQ and pasta sauces, herbs and spice mixtures ... not to mention smoked and cured meats and sausages, and the output of Texas vineyards ... that I firmly believe you could live entirely off the output of them year round. I believe about the only haute-gourmet foods not being produced locally would be Strasbourg-style goose-liver pate and true Russian caviar ... and I would not be in the least surprised to find out that some ambitious and more than usually ambitious Texas capitalist is having a go at those, too. These enterprises have a happy knack of going large, too. Once upon a time, when we were newly-arrived in San Antonio, the only place where we could find Fisher & Weiser sauces and jams was a couple of outlets in Fredericksburg – and now they are in HEB stores everywhere, and even – miracle of miracles – available through Amazon.
This year, we are going to do good gifts for our neighbors again; last year, it was flavored olive oil and herb vinegar, with a little round of home-made cheese and a small baguette of home-baked bread. This year, it's going to be a selection of home-made preserves, especially the ones that we made as a cheaper and healthier alternative ... and then discovered that, wow, they were really good: A jar of mixed vegetable pickles, or okra pickles, packed in with spiced pineapple spears, and a small jar of either strawberry or fig jam. The jars will be packed into small craft-paper shopping bags, and padded with red and white gingham pattered tissue paper – something simple, tasteful and inexpensive. It's always good to get back to basics – and something edible is always welcome. More Info...
|Texas King Cotton|
San Antonio and South Texas Real Estate Blog. All things good about San Antonio and South Texas. | 601 days 18 hours 19 minutes ago
When Cotton Was King
by Celia Hayes
Amazingly enough, cotton once was king in this part of Texas, even though one thinks more of cattle ranches rather than large-scale cotton production. By the mid 1700s, the Spanish missions established at the headwaters of the San Antonio River produced several thousand pounds of cotton fiber annually, which was spun and woven into cloth for local consumption. The climate was just right to grow cotton, all through the Rio Grande Valley and other more or less temperate regions. Once the threat of Indian raids diminished after the Civil War, and railways opened up access to distant markets, cotton agriculture thrived all across Texas – mostly on a share-cropped basis, where a landowner contracted with an otherwise landless tenant laborer to cultivate and harvest in exchange for a share of the resulting crop.
And cotton grew well – very well indeed, although actual physical relics of it having done so around San Antonio are sparse and most usually in ruins. Before the Civil War it was almost axiomatic that intensive cultivation of cotton speedily exhausted the most fertile soil – but that wasn't what killed the cotton fields around San Antonio. The not-quite-unexpected disaster came with the arrival of the boll weevil plague – an insect pest which slowly began moving north from Mexico late in the 19th century and hit the American cotton-growing belt in the 1920s. The boll weevil and the stock market crash of 1920 sent local cotton producers into a tail-spin ... and by the time efficient pesticides were applied to cotton fields after WWII, many growers and those who made a living from processing the cotton harvest had moved on to other crops – or other means of making a living.
Since the 1920s, suburbia has reached into the vicinity of formerly San Antonio and New Braunfels agricultural lands, but there are some still-existing or repurposed remains. The most noticeable are the ruins of industrial cotton 'gins' – 'gin' being a shortening of 'engine' – that mechanical device developed to efficiently and economically separate the cotton fibers from the seeds. There are three that I know of, although there are probably many more. The most famous that I know is the building in Gruene which now houses the Gristmill Restaurant. Indeed, Gruene was a whole little town built upon the cotton industry. When it all went to nothing in the 1920s, Gruene became stuck in a lovely and preservative kind of stasis, just as it was built in the late 19th and early 20th century. Now it is a destination on the north margin of New Braunfels – and well worth the visit.
The second old cotton gin is out in the fields on the southern fringe of New Braunfels – a little town now a crossroads of secondary roads. It used to be called Comal ... and there, in a grove of pecan trees are the yellow-brick ruins and tall chimney stack, along with a brief row of stores which were the center of lively rural life at the same time as Gruene. And in the gentle valley of the Sister Creek there is a third building – a frame one, this time – which also housed a cotton gin, and now serves as the showroom for Sister Creek Winery.
There is still cotton in Texas fields, though; a couple of years ago, I took some pictures of cotton growing near Winters, just south of Abilene – and last year, we spotted huge trailer-truck sized cotton bales just outside Lockhart, at the edge of the parking lot at the Kreuz Market. Cotton – perhaps not king any longer, but still a haunting presence. More Info...
|Statement by Texas Governor Perry Regarding Election of Senator Cornyn as Minority Whip for 113th Co|
San Antonio and South Texas Real Estate Blog. All things good about San Antonio and South Texas. | 615 days 17 hours 23 minutes ago
Statement by Gov. Perry Regarding Election of Sen. Cornyn as Minority Whip for 113th Congress
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 • Austin, Texas • Press Release
"Those of us who've known Sen. Cornyn throughout his career understand why his colleagues would choose him for this critical position. Over the years, Sen. Cornyn has established himself as a strong, conservative voice in Washington, but more importantly, as an example of honor and integrity in public service. Now he has the opportunity to bring his solid Texas values to the leadership table and work to lead our federal government away from its failed policies of debt, high spending and disregard for the Constitutional limit of federal power. This should prove to be a big win for Congress, and ultimately for the American people." More Info...
|Romney Ryan or Obama Biden|
San Antonio and South Texas Real Estate Blog. All things good about San Antonio and South Texas. | 623 days 21 hours 47 minutes ago
I VOTED, Have You?
Today is Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. It is Election Day in the United States. Please get out and vote. The lines in my precinct were not that long. Only about 15 people standing in line.
If you live in Bexar County, to find out where to vote, go to the Bexar County Voter Website. If you live in other counties in Texas you can visit the Texas Secretary of State's Voter website or visit your county website.
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