Archive for February, 2014

Hunt/Cook: Alligator Ancho Rellenos

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Alligator Ancho Relleno, image from El Chile Café y Cantina

Alligator Ancho Relleno, image from El Chile Café y Cantina

This is Passport to Texas

Hunting alligator in Texas is an adrenaline pumping experience, but cooking it shouldn’t be. Chef Jeff Martinez, chef at El Chile Café y Cantina in Austin, whips up a Mexican inspired treat with alligator meat.

57—So, what I’ve done is I’ve taken the meat and I’ve ground it up in my food processor. And so what we’re going to do with this today is we’re going to make an alligator ancho chile relleno. I’ve got a hot pan here; we’re going to start by adding extra virgin olive oil in the bottom. We’re going to add our white onion which has been diced up. We’re going to add our garlic. Oh, I can smell it already; it’s already starting to smell good. Okay, so after that, we’re going to add our tomato. Now, we’re going to go ahead and add our alligator meat. It’s pretty much going to look the same as cooked chicken. And it doesn’t take very long. And that’s just about it. So, we’re going to add a little bit more flavor to this dish by throwing in some sliced green olives; and then we’re going to add some of these raisins, and we’re going to finish it off with slivered almonds that have been toasted. You see everything in there and it looks great. There’s a lot of color in there – a lot of color also means a lot of flavor. And then we’re going to finish it off with some fresh chopped parsley that’s going to add some freshness to the dish. And then to finish it off, we’re going to salt – just to taste. And we are ready to stuff some chiles.

See Chef Martinez in action, and find the complete recipe on the TPW YouTube Channel.

That’s our show for today. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV/Hunting: Alligators

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

American Alligator, photo TPWD

American Alligator, photo TPWD

This is Passport to Texas

It’s a hot muggy afternoon in an east Texas marsh, and it’s time to hunt for alligators. We tag along with some lucky hunters that get a chance of a lifetime to hunt alligators at J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area.

54—The area that we’re hunting in, it’s a vast bayou of swamps and marshes, with canals running through. The adrenaline rush is way more than deer hunting or anything else because you’re after something that can actually get you.

There’s one probably about 10 foot and two seven footers right up here. In about 150 yards we’re going to try and put a set.

Never been gator hunting before. You know you see ‘em on TV. See the alligator shows. And, this is exactly what it looks like.

Our bait is chicken thigh quarters…

Those smell savory.

It’s savory; that’s for sure. Mmmm.

And we let ‘em sit out in the sun for a day or two and it got quite ripe.

Upwind is better than downwind when you get those things out. [distant laughter] I am amped up; adrenaline’s pumping, and then it’s on!

Alligator hunting – it’s just not like anything else I’ve ever done. You know, there’s one on the line and you start pulling me in. I don’t know. You get anxious, you get excited. You get nervous.

But did they get their gator? Find out on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series the week of February 23. Check local listings.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Event: Battleship TEXAS Reunion and Uprising

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Battleship Texas Celebration and Uprising

Battleship Texas Celebration and Uprising

This is Passport to Texas

On March 12, 1914 the US Navy commissioned Battleship TEXAS. The TEXAS served in both world wars and is the last remaining “dreadnought.” Decommissioned in 1948, today the TEXAS serves as a museum, moored at San Jacinto SP&HS. Andy Smith oversees care of the ship.

14— She spent almost twice as much time as a museum ship as she did as an active warship. And the crew members of the TEXAS decided they would like to have their final, private crew member reunion on March 12th, the centennial of her commissioning.

The reunion of former crew members is private, but the March 15 Texas Uprising – an annual music festival organized by singer-songwriter, Robert Earl Keen — at San Jacinto SP&HS is open to the public.

14—He’s bringing it out to the site – and he’s very excited to help the Battleship Texas by having an event here on site to raise the awareness of the ship and its importance in some of the problems we have, and what the future holds for the ship.

Organized by the Battleship Texas Foundation in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, it‘s a family-friendly event with activities for everyone. Proceeds from The Texas Uprising will help fund repair work on the historic Battleship TEXAS.

12— Artists that are performing throughout the day: Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison are going to play. Charlie Robison is going to play. Reckless Kelly… and then Robert Earl Keen will close the whole thing down, followed by an awesome fireworks display.

Find details, and ticket information, for the March 15th, Texas Uprising with headliner, Robert Earl Keen at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

History: Battleship Texas Needs a Makeover

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Battleship Texas in need of repairs

Battleship Texas in need of repairs

This is Passport to Texas

At 100 years old, Battleship TEXAS, moored in a slip at San Jacinto SP & HS in LaPorte, has seen better days.

06— TEXAS, being permanently moored at San Jacinto, we don’t have the capability of taking it to a dry dock.

The ship—now a museum—experienced one dry dock cycle since its 1948 arrival at San Jacinto. Andy Smith, who oversees the care of the ship, says years spent submerged in brackish water, resting atop mud, damaged the craft.

22— They weren’t able to patch all the leaks, and she slowly filled with water. Some of the internal structures are severely deteriorated, and that’s some of the work we’re doing right now: trying to repair those internal structures – but also her exterior. The shell plating – the hull – has so many leaks. And that keeps water coming in; water coming in creates more problems with deterioration on the inside. And it goes on and on.

Despite challenges involved in keeping this antique dreadnought repaired, the benefits of doing so are many.

14—It’s a nice bookend between the monument that commemorates the battle of San Jacinto and the battleship that commemorates both WWI and WWII. You have a broad scope of both world history, US history, and Texas history.

Next month we celebrate the centennial of this venerated vessel with a Texas Uprising.

09—The public family festival that we’re going to have on March 15 is going to be a party the likes of which we probably haven’t seen before.

Proceeds from the event will fund repair work on the Battleship… festival details tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

History: Battleship Texas

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Historic image of Battleship Texas

Historic image of Battleship Texas

This is Passport to Texas

Moored in a slip at San Jacinto Battleground and State Historic site, Battleship TEXAS is impressive. Yet, looks alone don’t tell the whole story of this 100 year old military dreadnought.

05— When it was commissioned in 1914, it was the most powerful weapon on the face of the planet.

Andy Smith oversees the care of the ship, which boasts many firsts.

26—It was the first US Battleship to launch an airplane; the first US Battleship to get RADAR; the first to get anti-aircraft guns. It’s just amazing the amount of technological advances that occurred. When this ship first launched, they used kite balloons; so, basically [it was] a big old blimp that they strung from the end of the ship – and they used that to observe. By the time she was ready for decommissioning they were starting to use remote control

The ship saw action in both world wars, and earned the nickname “Lucky T”. During its more than 30 years of service, it was struck only twice by enemy fire; Helmsman, Chris Christiansen, was the sole casualty.

03—So it’s a pretty lucky ship when you think about it.

It was lucky in more ways than one. After WWII the US Military had a surplus of “machines of war.” The Navy offered namesake ships to their respective states and they scraped the rest.

18— Texans –being Texans – were the only ones that wanted their namesake ship; so, Texans raised the money to bring the Texas to San Jacinto Battleground. And it was decommissioned as a US Navy ship, and re-commissioned as the flagship of the Texas Navy at San Jacinto Battleground on April 21, 1948.

Where, today, it is a museum open to visitors.

That’s our show for today .. Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram for Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.