We’ve been savoring West Texas for a whole year now

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
About a year ago, Gail Yovanovich contacted me to see if I had any interest in writing a food column for the Alpine Avalanche. JT Maroney had just purchased the Avalanche, and was in the process of moving his family out here from Boerne, where my husband and I had just moved from to Fort Davis.

JT and I go back about two decades as friends in the newspaper business, and I was thrilled that he had taken the huge leap of faith out here in West Texas with his own paper. I knew JT when he was a young advertising salesman in Boerne and I worked in editing, layout and design in the newsroom.

When Gail contacted me, I was immediately flattered. Then I instantly started overthinking things. “Wait, that means deadlines. Word counts. Creativity. Writing things that make sense and are at least a little interesting to someone other than me. And, deadlines…” but I agreed to start writing a column. I’d previously written a weekly column for one of the Avalanche’s sister papers, The Boerne Star, for nearly nine years and had been in “retirement” for about five years.

When I worked at the newspaper office, the lady that wrote the recipe column passed away. To fill the need, I offered to write the recipe column. I had always been a creative writer, and had been compulsively collecting cookbooks for years and adored my three-ingredient cookbooks, so I figured I could whip up something once a week and share some recipes from my many cookbooks. I was all about convenience food. I was young and had no clue about good food or nutrition, but I could write. So, I did it weekly, for almost a decade.

Combined with other publications I wrote for, after I had written my five-hundredth article, I honestly felt the well had run dry. I didn’t have any words left in me, other than a social media post here and there.

Thankfully, life in far West Texas got the waters flowing again. Life has certainly changed, even in our kitchen. Pretty much everything I cook now is from scratch, and processed food has no place in our home. We don’t even own a microwave.

This week marks the one year anniversary of sharing my opinions of food, favorite recipes, travel adventures and escapades into local fare with you. I appreciate every single email, face-to-face meeting and comment that I’ve gotten from you all. Even the messages where you don’t agree with me – I appreciate that you took the time to let me know! Don’t let one less than stellar dining experience keep you from trying out a new place. Everyone has off days, and maybe you visited on such a day.

Thank you all for sharing the past year of food with me. I look forward to what another year brings to our plates!

(In honor of the one year anniversary of this column, I’m sharing the recipe from that very first column, from my friend Beth Francell. I have made Bit Miller’s Baked Chile Rellenos so many times over the past year that I don’t even need to look at a recipe any more. Enjoy!)

Baked Chile Rellenos from Lillian “Bit” Miller

8 to 10 long green chile peppers, roasted and peeled

1 pound Monterey Jack Cheese or a little less, sliced in strips

2 eggs,

2 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

Beat eggs, milk, flour and salt until smooth, either by hand or in mixer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a Pyrex casserole dish (6″ by 10″ approximately).

Lay strips of chile on the bottom, and top with strips of cheese, then cover with more chile strips.

Pour beaten liquid mixture over chile and cheese layers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until custard is set. Serve soon or let cool and reheat.

It will be firmer that way. You can double this recipe but don’t use too large a dish or it will take

too long for the middle to firm up. It puffs up like a soufflé in the oven and then falls when

taken out.


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