Have you gotten your Pecos watermelons yet?

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche 
A few years ago, my husband and I discovered that something’s changed in the watermelon world. Most of the melons we’d cut into lacked the trademark red color, and didn’t have that watermelon flavor we’d both remembered from years not too far past.

When we planted raised beds in our teeny suburban backyard, we decided to xeriscape our front yard, planting native and hardy plants that required little to no watering once established. With yucca, lantana, sage and various herbs happily thriving, I decided to plant a couple heirloom watermelon and squash seeds just for fun.

The first season, yellow squash went crazy – I’m the only fan of squash so needless to say, I wasn’t heartbroken when the season ended and I could take a break from eating squash.

The watermelon vines didn’t make an appearance until the next year, when I’d completely forgotten about them. I think they grew ten feet long overnight, a couple nights in a row. I had to position them in a zig-zag formation to keep them from growing into the street. And then one day, I spotted tiny little melons growing out of yellow flowers!


The watermelon vines became so thick, it was work to find the six watermelons that were growing in our front yard. One vine had managed to climb into a Red-Tipped Photina shrub, and by the time I noticed the melon tucked inside the shrub, I had to trim the branches to allow it be able to pick it when it was time.

I missed the perfect harvesting moment for two of the football-sized melons and found them cracked in the yard. When we cut into the other four perfectly smooth melons, they were pink inside – and didn’t taste like much of anything. So much for growing sweet watermelon in our yard.

It’s been a disappointing handful of years for us as far as watermelons go… until a couple weeks ago.

If you were in Fort Davis during the Coolest 4th weekend, you had a chance to buy Pecos melons from the fellas parked at Limpia Creek Hats. I bought one melon, and by the time we chilled it, cut in and decided it was the best melon we’d eaten in years, the guys were gone.


Come to find out, Porter’s is selling Pecos melons. I carefully selected one watermelon outside the store, and as I made my way through the produce section, found another beautiful melon to add to the cart.

Two watermelons at once? They’re Pecos melons without having to drive to Cayonosa or wait for a truck to appear on a street corner – how could I pass up that opportunity?

We recently learned a trick for picking sweet watermelons, and it has no thumping involved. Look for the melon with the most scratchy, brown spots on it. Those spots are from when the bee scratches the blossom during pollination prior to watermelon growth. Finding the ugliest melon has proven to yield the sweetest fruit every time.


Our most recent scratched melon was the best we’ve tasted in many years. Bright red in color, and so flavorful that my mouth waters just thinking about it. On a scale of one to 10, it was a 12. I ate so much watermelon that you’d think I’d be tired of it, but I’m not. As a matter of fact, I’m about to cut into that second one.

Get your Pecos melons while you can – they’re the best I’ve ever over-eaten.


 

Watermelon Salsa

   4 cups diced seedless watermelon

   1 cup diced red onion (about half a medium red onion)

   2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

   1-2 jalapeno(s), seeded and finely diced (add more/less to taste)

   zest and juice of 1 lime 

Toss all ingredients together until combined. Serve immediately with chips, on tacos, or however you like to eat your salsa. Refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.

 

Hugelkultur and huitlacoche – two old words I learned just a few years ago

Printed with permission of the Alpine Avalanche

A handful of years ago, my husband and I decided to eliminate grass from our suburban Hill Country backyard and grow food, not flowers. Our yard was small – although large enough to be a hassle to mow – so we added paved walkways and raised garden beds, utilizing the hugelkultur method.

Hugelkultur has been used in Germany for centuries, and remnants of hügelkultur fields can be found all of the Hill Country where early Germans settlers lived. Every notice a field that looked terraced? Chances are good it was hugelkultur. It involved layers of fallen trees covered with smaller twigs and a few inches of dirt. Over time, the wood rots and creates ideal growing conditions.

For our beds, my husband dug trenches approximately 4 feet by 8 feet, filled them with as much woody debris as he could find, and covered the debris with soil. We watered it regularly to create a bog under the soil, breaking down the wood. Not only does it use up limbs, branches and twigs that weren’t suitable for any other use, it builds the soil’s fertility, improves drainage and helps retain moisture in your garden bed.

We grew many things with great success in our raised beds, but my favorite crop was organic corn.

Yes, you can grow corn in a suburban backyard.

Some records indicate that corn has been grown for over 5600 years by Mayan and Aztec tribes in Mexico. When the first Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, many of them might’ve died from starvation had the Native Indians not shared corn with them. They also taught the Pilgrims not only how to grow corn plants, but how to turn that corn into bread, pudding, soup and fried corn cakes.

Imagine my corn-growing-newbie horror when we picked our first few ears of organic corn, peeled back the husk and silk, and found big blobs of fungus on them… I just knew they were ruined, and that some icky malady had befallen our backyard paradise.

This was not what I expected on an organic ear or corn, but learned to appreciate the delicacy of the fungus.

My well-traveled husband assured me that the fungus was actually a good thing. It’s a naturally occurring fungus that grows on corn, and in Mexico, it’s considered a delicacy. You can also find this fungus canned, jarred, frozen and fresh, depending on where you’re shopping.

After some research, I found that this fungus was often referred to as “corn smut,” “corn mushroom,” “Mexican truffle,” and “Huitlacoche” (pronounced WHEE-tala-coach-A). The name huitlacoche is Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs that is still spoken by more than a million people in Central Mexico. Corn (maize), was a staple in the Aztecs’ diet, and they used the spongy corn fungus mainly in tamales and stews.

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Huitlacoche growth follows the corn season, usually appearing during rainy times. The fungus grows typically between May and November, and ours was smack dab in the middle of summer.

After chopping our huitlacoche, sautéing it with butter, garlic, onion and some fresh corn kernels and enjoying it on homemade corn tortillas, I was hooked. Earthy with a touch of sweetness, it was a flavor I’d never experienced in a “mushroom” before. The panic that once accompanied peeling back the husk and finding a weird growth on a cob was replaced with disappointment when the ear was perfect and blemish-free.

Huitlacoche with corn was delicious served in a tortilla.

The other day at Porter’s, I ran across the store to grab something while my husband perused the produce department. When I returned, he had a bushel of sweet corn in the shopping cart. A bushel typically has about 60-70 ears of corn in it. Too good of a deal to pass up at $5 for the entire bushel of sweet corn from Hondo, TX, we’ve been eating a lot of corn and haven’t even made a dent.

I keep hoping to peel back a husk and find some fungus.

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Huitlacoche
(If you’re lucky enough to encounter huitlacoche, grab it and try this recipe – you can serve it in tortillas as tacos, in crepes, or as quesadilla filling)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white onions, peeled and minced
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 poblano chiles, seeded and cut into strips
1-1/2 pounds Huitlacoche (about 6 cups)
salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until translucent – about 3 minutes. Add the poblano strips and fry for an additional minute. Add the huitlacoche and salt, cover the pan and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan from time to time for about 15 minutes. The fungus should be tender, retaining some moisture, but not soft and mushy.


 

 

Japanese cuisine at the FishCat Café in Alpine

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche

Seiko Riley inside her kitchen

Seiko Riley has been a familiar face in Alpine for many years. As a gifted organic farmer and Japanese chef selling her goods at Alpine Farmers Market, and as an award-winning researcher at Big Bend Regional Hospital, as well as an artist, she’s well-known among locals.

My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting her last weekend when we enjoyed a late lunch at her food truck, FishCat Café. An Airstream trailer converted to a kitchen, FishCat is nestled next to the Bottle House B&B on Historic Murphy Street in Alpine.


Seiko’s local fame began with her outstanding organic produce that she grew and sold at the Alpine Farmers Market along with her prepared Japanese food. When she got word that the Airstream that was already converted to a food truck was available, she jumped at the opportunity.

 

FishCat Café has been open since February of this year, serving fresh, home-style Japanese cuisine using locally-sourced organic produce.

If Seiko didn’t grow it herself, she uses produce from her super-secret-not-telling-you-who-it-is local organic source. The menu is different each week, as Seiko likes to serve her current favorite meals. She also offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Fresh chicken and duck eggs are available for purchase as well.


I overheard a table of young ladies visiting from San Antonio that had been at Big Bend Brewing Co. and asked where they could get vegan and vegetarian food, and they were sent to FishCat. One of the girls proclaimed, “This trip has been magical – but this food makes it even more amazing!”

For me, the thought of Japanese food conjures the images of tempura (lightly battered and fried) seafood and veggies, and sushi… all of which I enjoy. I didn’t really have any idea what we were in store for at FishCat Café, but heard a few rave reviews from friends in Fort Davis and decided it was time to check it out.
While the menu changes each week, you’ll always find the local favorite available – Sesame Noodles. Our first time to check it out, we ordered Yakitori Chicken (Japanese-style teriyaki skewers over an organic greens salad), Chicken skewers

Sautéed Shrimp (with Miso Sake Beurre Blanc – this is a lovely sauce) over a bed of organic greens salad, Sauteed Shrimp

and an order of Vegetable Eggrolls with spicy Ponzu sauce, also served on a bed of those perfect organic greens. Vegetarian Eggrolls

The presentation was beautiful – our dishes were so pretty and colorful. The flavors were extraordinary and unlike any Japanese food I’ve ever eaten. I suppose that’s because it was prepared by someone with an artistic flair mixed with an understanding of healthy food and a true love for home-style Japanese food.

I’ve also heard rumors of savory duck burritos and the tastiest Japanese-fried chicken ever eaten. I plan on having Sesame Noodles next time we visit.

Open Saturday and Sunday from noon until dark (unless she sells out of food before dark – which happens), you can find Japanese cuisine in Alpine in the vintage 1970s Airstream on Historic Murphy Street (behind the Amtrak Station).

Sesame Noodle Salad
(Not authentic Japanese like Seiko would make but still tasty)
1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon hot chili oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, or more if desired
1 green onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the angel hair pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.

Whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili oil, and sugar in a large bowl. Toss the pasta in the dressing, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onion, and bell pepper. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate for a cold salad.

Put a trip to the Caboose in Fort Davis on your itinerary

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche

You can’t drive through Fort Davis without spotting the bright green caboose across the highway from the Fort Davis National Historic Site. With no train track for miles, the Caboose is the local ice cream parlor, open seven days a week, here in Fort Davis. Adults and children alike enjoy climbing the steps to the caboose entry to place their order, and exit through the other end with ice cream in hand.

Yani Ponce and Troy Hernandez enjoy the shakes at the Caboose.

Kendra Miller and Abby Naegle are ready to serve you.

In 2006, Deanna and Lonnie Hebert moved to Fort Davis from Alvin, a town outside of Houston. I met Lonnie several years ago, and we discovered that we both grew up in the same area in Houston – neighborhoods literally next door to each other and separated by a bayou – but lived there at different times. Again, West Texas is such a small world.

Deanna shared with me a picture of two small children standing in front of the Fort Davis National Historic Site in 1971. Turns out, it was her first trip to Fort Davis when she was a little girl. I bet she never imagined she’d grow up and end up right across the street from where that photo was taken. Or, perhaps like it does for many of us, maybe it got into her blood, even as a child, and finally drew her home to Fort Davis as an adult. What a great photo to have.

Since 2013, Deanna and Lonnie have offered ice-cream-hungry crowds sweet treats served inside an actual Burlington Northern train caboose. They purchased the Caboose, which had also previously been an ice cream shop, in the fall of 2012. After some painting and a little remodeling, they were up and running by summertime.

By December of 2013, they opened their antiques store, Hebert’s Heirlooms, next door to the Caboose.

The Caboose features 24 flavors of Blue Bell ice cream, hand-dipped in a variety of cones and cups, or served as milkshakes, malts and sundaes. They serve chocolate-dipped waffle cones with all sorts of colorful goodies in the chocolate. They’ve been told their banana split “looks like a party” in a bowl. I was not personally brave enough to order up a party in a bowl, but they are very popular. They also serve 28 flavors of shaved ice, for those wanting a cool treat other than ice cream. As far as I know, it’s the only place you can get shaved ice within 30 miles of Fort Davis.

(Not my hand pictured below – the lady didn’t want to be photographed with her shaved ice 😉 – I’m a pina colada, dreamsicle or chocolate-coconut shaved ice gal)

Cherry shaved ice belonging to a lady that didn't want her picture taken.

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While you can’t eat inside the Caboose, there’s plenty of outdoor seating with picnic tables and umbrellas. It’s not uncommon for folks to stop into Hebert’s Heirlooms and browse, go grab an ice cream to enjoy, and then come back to shop for antiques, furniture, glass and other collectibles in the store.

Did I mention they also sell fresh yard eggs? Their current flock of about 60 chickens supplies locals and tourists with fresh yard eggs. Ask about them in the antiques store.

Whether you’re just passing through Fort Davis, live here or make a special trip, be sure and stop at the Caboose and at Hebert’s Heirlooms. You can’t miss them – they’re located directly across the highway from the entrance to the Fort Davis National Historic Site.

Summer hours, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, are noon to 9 p.m. every day. Seasonal hours change after Labor Day. Find them on Facebook at “The Caboose” and give them a “like”… find them in person and give the Caboose a “love”!

 

Party in a Pan Banana Split Ice Cream Cake
(inspired by the Caboose’s Banana Split and a welcome addition to any dessert time)

3 bananas, sliced
15-20 NILLA Wafers
2 pints strawberry ice cream, softened
2 pints chocolate ice cream, softened
12-15 Oreo cookies
chocolate syrup, for serving
chopped walnuts, for serving
Sprinkles, for serving
Whipped cream, for serving
Maraschino cherries, for serving

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray) and then line with plastic wrap.

Start with the banana, laying the slices in the bottom of the loaf pan to make a full single layer. When you serve the cake, this will be the top of it so make it pretty! Place large scoops of softened strawberry ice cream on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Create another layer of banana slices on top, then create a layer of Nilla wafers. Freeze for about 2 hours, or until the ice cream is firm again.

When the ice cream is firm, place large scoops of softened chocolate ice cream on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Add another layer of banana slices and finish with a layer of Oreos, to create a chocolate cookie crust (the bottom crust). You may need to halve some Oreos to completely cover the bottom. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and freeze for another 2 hours, or until the ice cream hardens.

When the ice cream is set, run a knife around the plastic wrap to loosen the cake, and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Garnish with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, walnuts, sprinkles and maraschino cherries, just like a banana split. Slice crosswise and enjoy.

Cilantro chimichurri … my new favorite condiment

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche


A few weeks ago, we went to a friend’s birthday cook-out where grilled rib-eyes were on the pit. Someone brought a dish of chimichurri – a perfect addition to the potluck meal we enjoyed. Ever since eating that chimichurri on my steak, I’ve wanted more.

What is chimichurri? Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce that can be a marinade for all cuts of beef, as well as an accompaniment. With Argentinian origins, it’s traditionally green or red – “chimichurri verde” and “chimichurri rojo.” Translated loosely, the word chimichurri means, “a mixture of several things in no particular order.” It’s a staple condiment in Argentina, and grilled beef is never served without it on the side.

Chimichurri is made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes and white or red wine vinegar. Other spices that can be included are paprika, cumin, thyme, lemon, basil, cilantro and bay leaf. In red chimichurri, tomato and red bell peppers are often added.

A couple years ago, I discovered dried chimichurri sold in the spice section of my grocery store. I’ve purchased several bottles and use it when certain recipes need an extra kick. To rehydrate it, you simply add oil and watch it come back to life. The chimichurri we had at the cook-out was certainly not brought back to life from dehydration, and I wanted more of the real thing.

I started researching different chimichurri recipes online and found that while parsley and cilantro appeared to almost be used interchangeably in many instances, true chimichurri does not have cilantro in it because cilantro was not a common herb found in Argentina.

I went to both grocery stores in Fort Davis in search of fresh parsley, and came back empty-handed. I did however, have cilantro.

It is a proven scientific fact that people are genetically predisposed to either love cilantro or hate it – there is no middle ground. I could eat cilantro with just about anything. Something about a particular chromosome makes people love it or hate it. I can’t remember scientific details, but I know I’ve got the cilantro-loving chromosome in me.

So, I made a batch of cilantro chimichurri to go with the steaks my husband was grilling for dinner. Talk about delicious. I even poured a little on my fried eggs the next morning. That little bit of bright green sauce took my Saturday morning breakfast to a new happy place.


Whether you’re on Team Cilantro or Team Parsley, chimichurri is a wonderful marinade and basting sauce or condiment that adds tangy, fresh flavor to any cut of beef, as well as chicken. Eggs, too. It takes just a few minutes to prepare, and is even better the second day after the flavors have melded. Store it in the refrigerator for up a week, in an airtight container.

Cilantro chimichurri is my new favorite condiment.

Cilantro Chimichurri

1 cup packed cilantro (you can use parsley instead of cilantro – or both – whichever you prefer)

2 cloves garlic

½ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar (I used red)

1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Place garlic in food processor (or blender) and “pulse” until finely chopped. Add cilantro, vinegar, oregano, pepper flakes, cumin, and olive oil. Process it until it’s smooth. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup.
 


 

Newly-remodeled Sagebrush Café in Fort Stockton, same great food!

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
On a recent trip through Fort Stockton, we stopped at our favorite place to eat when we’re in that neck of the woods… the Sagebrush Cafe. We’ve eaten there half a dozen times, and it’s always been a pleasant experience. The parking lot was packed since it was lunch time, but we figured it was worth it to know what we were getting into for lunch. No false rave reviews for this place.

With a recent remodel that includes a new bar and new wing of the original diner, we quickly learned that the packed parking lot was the Rotary Club lunch meeting that was taking place in the new dining room.

In our experiences with the Sagebrush Café, we’ve always had very nice and attentive wait staff, short wait-times for our meals, and food that was made when we ordered it.

The first time we went to the Sagebrush Café, we ordered the Chili Cheese Cheeseburger (open faced burger smothered in chili, cheese and grilled onions), the Green Chile Burger (with layers of green chili strips and Pepper Jack cheese), with a side of sweet potato fries and a side of onion rings. We shared burgers and sides, and agreed we’d be back for more.


There are ten different kinds of burgers to choose from, as well as sandwiches, steaks, seafood, catfish, pork chops, and ribs. Of course, no diner would be complete without country-fried steak and chicken, steak fingers and chicken strips. Ten different salads include a Blackened Shrimp Cobb Salad that I might try the next time we’re there, if I can break away from the burgers and sandwiches.

Sagebrush Café serves breakfast all day. You can order just about any kind of omelet combination you can think up, stacks of fluffy pancakes, biscuits smothered with gravy, and good ol’ bacon, ham or sausage with eggs and toast. I am an omelet-lover and their omelets passed my scrutiny with flying colors.

One morning, I had the “Hog Omelet” that was bacon and cheese and added the extra “variety of vegetables” that included onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and spinach. It was delicious. And huge.

On our most recent visit, he had the Bacon Egg Burger (Hickory smoked bacon topped with an egg cooked to your specifications and topped with cheese) and I had a BLT because I love a good BLT. We both got orders of onion rings so we wouldn’t have to share, since we both know how crispy and tasty they are.


When our waitress brought our food, she told us she went ahead and brought us some Ranch dressing for our onion rings. Turns out, it was house-made ranch dressing. You don’t find house-made ranch dressing just anywhere, and it was just right. No bottled ranch-ish dressing there.

If you find yourself in Fort Stockton and want a satisfying, home-style meal, check out the Sagebrush Café. They have something for everyone. Did I mention they have house-made ranch dressing? That’s a good sign, y’all.

Located at 2003 W. Dickinson Blvd. in Fort Stockton, they are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.


Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1/2-3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

2-3 tablespoons sour cream

1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon, dill, parsley, chives or celery leaves (or a combination)

1 clove garlic, finely minced with a microplane grater

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

A few dashes Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of your choice, but a little vinegar twang is what you’re looking for)

Combine all ingredients into a mason jar and shake it. Open it, taste it, and season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper. Close it up and shake again. Keeps for a few days in the refrigerator, but will get more garlic-flavored the longer it sits.


 

 

Dry Aged Beef from Sul Ross’ Retail Meat Store? Yes, please!

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
About a year ago, my husband and I learned of the Sul Ross Meat Retail Store. The man that told us about it said that the “Meat Lab” was the only place he bought his family’s beef and pork products. We were immediately intrigued.

The idea of buying meat from a lab conjured images in my mind of test tubes and bubbling beakers… not exactly what you’d associate with buying meat. But the fella we’d spoken to raved about it and we knew we’d have to check it out.

The Meat Lab at Sul Ross is a state-inspected research and teaching facility that just happens to sell beef and pork. Students in the meat science field get to take care of the entire meat processing process from harvesting the animal and cutting it, processing it, packaging it, freezing it and then selling it retail in the store on site at the Turner Range Animal Science Complex.

They also have a computerized smokehouse where they smoke the bacon, hams and jerky they sell in the retail store. This state of the art lab was revamped in 2006 to include a slaughterhouse, chilling coolers, a processing room, freezer storage and the retail sales counter, where the public can purchase reasonably priced beef and pork.

Students are required to follow all the rules and regulations for inspection, food safety and sanitation at all times.

On a recent trip to Alpine, my husband happened to stop by the Meat Lab retail store and came home with some of the prettiest bone-in ribeye steaks I’ve seen in a very long time. And, as if the price and the marbeling of the ribeye wasn’t enough to make this meat-eating gal’s day, the steaks were dry aged. Dry aged ribeyes?! What a treat!


Adding only salt and pepper to our dry aged, bone-in ribeyes before grilling them, they were the tastiest steaks we’ve eaten in a very long time. With scalloped potatoes and a green salad on the side, these steaks were incredible.


If you’re not familiar with dry aged beef, it is essentially a process where the beef is exposed to precise temperature and humidity levels to increase tenderness and alter the flavor, which happens through a combination of bacteria, enzyme breakdown and oxidations. Many say that the water loss during dry aging makes the “meat” flavor more concentrated. Dry aging requires expensive refrigeration equipment, which the Meat Lab just happens to have. The Meat Lab dry ages the beef for 28 days. Fourteen to 28 days is the most effective time period to taste and see the results of dry aging.

You can also find at the Retail counter ribeye, rump, tri-tip, and arm roasts; various steak cuts including tenderloin, blade, flank, skirt, round, T-bone, sirloin, Porterhouse and strip; stew meat; ground beef, short ribs and brisket.

If red meat isn’t your thing and you’re looking for the “other white meat,” you can choose from boneless pork ribs, Boston Butt steaks and roasts, pork loin chops, Baby-Back and Spare ribs, smoked bacon, smoked ham and breakfast sausage. Everything is sold by the pound. Check out the menu board that has all of their in-stock offerings and prices listed.

It appears the students at the Meat Lab will also harvest and process your meat for a fee of $35 to harvest and $0.75 on the rail. Check out their website at http://www.sulross.edu/meat-retail-sales-counter.

Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and can be reached at (432)837-8208.

Scalloped Potatoes

(perfect with our grilled steaks)

2 tablespoons butter    

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour    

1 teaspoon salt    

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or more if you love pepper like I do)   

1-1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Gruyere – whatever you prefer – or you can skip the cheese altogether and it’s still delicious)  

5 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (I use russets because I like the tenderness)

1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

In a small skillet, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese until blended. 

Place half of the potatoes in a 1-1/2-qt. baking dish coated with oil; layer with half of the onion and cheese sauce. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly and potatoes are tender. Serves 6.