Monday, July 13, 2009

Hmmmm…comfort food. Maria wrote about her favorite comfort foods and wanted to know what her readers liked, and I instantly knew that I’d be up late writing this one.
I’m going to be brief because one, I’m flippin’ beat, and two, because I plan on expounding on a few of these in the coming decade or so.

Not in any particular order, but kind of:

Green chile cheeseburger from the Outpost Bar in Carrizozo, New Mexico. I’ve been told for years that the Owl Bar in San Antonio, NM (about 65 miles west of ‘Zozo) has the best in the state, but I have never taken the time to stop there.
San Antonio has another contender for best burger in the Elk Horn Café, just across the street from the Owl. The Elk Horn was ranked 7th best cheeseburger in the US by someone at some magazine…Men’s Journal, I think.
But, the burger at the Outpost is plenty good for me, there certainly isn’t a better one in the county. It’s just sloppy enough and the chile has a nice heat, the patties are hand formed and generous and the fries and thin and crispy (don’t ask for a large order of fries unless you’re sharing with a couple of other people) and the décor is…amazing.
I’m hoping to take a tour of New Mexico’s reputed best places for green chile cheeseburgers one of these years, so hopefully I’ll have more on this at some point.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Blackberry cobbler…hot with vanilla ice cream.

Banana pudding. Yep, the old pot luck standby. My second (or maybe third) cousin Patty makes the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve only had it once. It was at the pot luck after my grandpa’s funeral and the taste of that dessert made the day a little brighter for me.
It was nothing fancy, a lot of chefs are playing with comfort food these days and sometimes it gets a little ridiculous, but Patty’s was just the usual instant pudding with ‘Nilla wafers and bananas…and something else that gave it an extra creamy texture and taste.
Her secret? Sure, I’ll share, after all she shared it with me, whipped cream powder added to the pudding mix.

Tomato soup with grilled cheese is one of my favorites also, though the last time I made it after a few years of not having it I was pretty disappointed with the Campbell’s tomato soup.

Chicken fried steak. When I lived in Oklahoma any town worth being called a town had a place that did an outstanding CFS with cream gravy (I hear that in the South, brown gravy is the norm…no, thanks). But when I made the move west I found that was not the case here. Lots of places had chicken fried steak on the menu, but lots of them were mediocre at best. Thankfully, there are now two places here in town with good CFS, Landlocked and Smokey B’s (SB’s is as big as yer head!).

Long John Silvers…three piece fish platter with extra hush puppies and “crunchies.”

Fried chicken…I prefer homemade, but I don’t get that motivated very often, so KFC takes care of my chicken cravings…original recipe, I prefer dark meat and absolutely love their coleslaw.


Spaghetti carbonara. This is one that I like to make for myself at work because it’s so quick, easy and flippin’ amazing. I first had it in Germany and was absolutely blown away by how good it was.
I mean, I was a kid whose mom had a repetoire of several casseroles, things from boxes and spaghetti had jar sauce on it. Germany was a culinary awakening for me.
Having said that, my next pick for comfort foods has to be…

Mom’s casseroles. Five Can Casserole was always my favorite and was my kids’ favorite when they were small. The name says it all, here’s how to make it. This one’s for Sarah who claims that all her cooking involves opening cans.

Brown 1 lb. Hamburger-drain. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup – 1 can tomato soup – 1 sm can chopped olives – 1 can enchilada sauce – 1 sm can chopped green chilis.* Heat through. Alternate layers of mixture with corn tortillas. Top with grated cheese and bake til melted and hot through.

*I disapprove of this spelling of chile, but that’s how she wrote it.

Mom’s other casseroles included Tuna Rice Royal (has to be said in the manner of Jules in Pulp Fiction, “Royale with cheese…I like that.”) and Cheeseburger Casserole, another childhood favorite for me and later my kids and which involves canned biscuits. Yum.

And speaking of biscuits, let me cut this list short so that I can get some sleep. Thanks, Maria, for sparking my dulled imagination at the end of the night.

Biscuits and gravy, I love biscuits and gravy. Biscuits and white gravy with lots and lots of pepper, sausage gravy, and my favorite of all, that which would be my last meal if I had the chance to choose, biscuits and chocolate gravy.
That’s right, chocolate gravy. I’m not going to say too much because I actually have a post nearly finished regarding biscuits and chocolate gravy, I’m just waiting for a chance to make some and take some pictures.
Stay tuned.


Terroni said...

Would you believe me if I told you I've only had spaghetti carbonara once and it wasn't very good?

I must have had the world's worst serving because everyone I've ever heard speak of the dish raves about how amazing it is.

When I eventually make it to NM, you might have to redeem it for me.

Eric said...

I can imagine how it might go horribly the meantime I'll keep practicing.

Maria said...

God, chicken fried steak and cream gravy. I could practically lick the plate when I am through.

And yes, blackberry cobbler. Actually ANY cobbler. Hot. With icy cold vanilla ice cream melting all over it.

That five can casserole sounds really tasty.

Eric said...

I know, a couple of slices of Texas toast to mop up the gravy.
And yes, any cobbler will do, I just prefer blackberry.
Five Can is way better than it's individual parts would indicate...kind of like a Constructobot.

-Sarah- said...

now there's something I can make!

Eric said...

And it's pretty tasty.
More 'can' recipes coming soon.