Archive for the 'Food' Category

Picnics with Personality

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Pack a picnic and head to a Texas State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

There’s nothing like a picnic in a Texas state park; and picnics—like picnickers—have personalities.

There’s the Texas classic: a wicker basket on a red and white tablecloth spread on a picnic table. Think: buttermilk fried chicken, potato salad and creamy coleslaw heaped onto grandma’s fiesta ware.

Fiesta? Now we’re talking. Your picnic becomes the life of the party with its savory carnitas, roasted tomatillo salsa, warm tortillas, and accoutrements…as well as an ice chest filled with a variety of agua frescas…all enjoyed from the comfort of a screen shelter.

Yet, some picnics are intimate. This outdoor dining experience may include a crusty French baguette, goat cheese, thin-sliced cured meats and juicy red grapes. When enjoyed from the comfort of your truck’s tailgate, while parked near a grove of ancient oaks, your soundtrack becomes the melodic songs of cicadas.

Other picnics are basic, but still magical. A frill free picnic may involve spreading a vintage felt blanket from the thrift store along a creek bank before diving into a tin of freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies from mom.

Whether your al fresco fun is for a family reunion, a church gathering… or just an afternoon escape with your best four-legged friend, there’s a picnic-perfect Texas state park near you.

Picnicking at state parks reminds all of us that life’s better outside. Find picnic recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Our show receives support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife… I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Food, Fellowship and Dutch Ovens

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Cooking fluffy biscuits in a Dutch Oven.

This is Passport to Texas

Cleburne State Park, about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, has a spring-fed lake and shady trails. It also hosts a local group that’s passionate about their avocation.

We fell in love with the park and the people.

Dennis Clute is chapter advisor for the Chisolm Trail Chaparral Dutch Oven Society

We cook on the third Saturday of each month except for June, July and August; it’s just too hot. We get there about mid-morning on Saturday, we have the pots on the table by 12:30, we all gather in a big circle, we say grace, we invite everyone there to eat with us and have a good time

The Chaps say they can prepare nearly anything that can be cooked in a home oven in a Dutch oven.

I think my favorite was this rich chocolate cake that they made. It was delicious

Annie Hepp is a regional interpretive specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

They really enjoy the opportunity to be with one another. They get to cook for people, they get to share their passion with others and that passion and enjoyment is pretty infectious. Just being around them and seeing what they’re cooking up really inspires you to try it yourself.

Go to the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and click on “cooking” to find Dutch Oven demos in parks.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Celebrate Mom’s Day with a Picnic in a Park

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

pack a picnic and head to a Texas State park for Mother’s Day.

This is Passport to Texas

This Mother’s Day, take mom on a picnic in a Texas state park. Cookbook author, Angela Shelf Medearis, says the key to a stress-free picnic is planning and simplicity.

So, start your picnic a few days ahead. If I was doing a picnic, I would have something like a really good roast chicken; just cut the pieces up and pack those in there.

I do a Carolina Cole Slaw; you toss it up, throw it in the refrigerator – it gets better day-by-day. So, if you want to do that ahead, you could.

Use a lot of fresh fruits for dessert.

The thing about a picnic that I love is that you can totally unplug and really focus on the people you should be paying the most attention to. You can get out in nature; we have some beautiful parks. Some beautiful places to go in Texas.

And, it gives you a chance to really focus on the most important things: your family, nature, the beauty of life… So, do a little planning ahead, and pick dishes that will be fine hot or cold, and you can’t go wrong for a great picnic.

Find recipes for your picnic on the TPW website.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.


Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

This is Passport to Texas

If something smells a little fishy, it might be the next Wild Game & Fish Cooking collaboration between Texas Parks and Wildlife and Central Market Cooking Schools. It’s coming up May 14 and features goodness from the Gulf. It’s a “Gulfstravaganza!”

Whether you’re a beginning cook or a seasoned pro, it’s always fun to learn new preparations for old favorites. And if shrimp, crab and fin fish from the Gulf top your list, then you’re in luck. Here’s what you have to look forward to in the May 14 hands-on class:

Shrimp Queso Flameado with Ranchera Salsa; Gulf Crab Enchiladas with Herbed Pumpkin Seed Mole; and Gulf Fish with Achiote Rub, Pickled Red Onions & Chipotle Mayonnaise.

A Central Market Chef Instructor will guide you as you cook, while a Texas Parks and Wildlife volunteer will fill you in on the agency’s mission as well as wildlife and fisheries management. They also fill you in on the protein gracing your plate. And if you have questions about fishing and hunting and enjoying the outdoors—they can help you there, too.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife and Central Market wild game and fish cooking collaborations offer an evening of camaraderie, learning, good food and fun. Find a link to register for the May 14 class at

We receive support for our show from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Preparing Your Spring Turkey for the Table

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
wild turkey

Wild turkey ready for the table. Image: Field to Table Cookbook, Susan Ebert.

This is Passport to Texas

If you harvest a bird during the 2019 spring turkey season, don’t wait until Thanksgiving to eat it. Yet, whenever you prepare it, be sure to save their built-in “flavor packet”.

Wild turkeys have this huge fatty deposit at the top of the chest and the base of their neck; it’s called the breast sponge.

Susan Ebert is author of The Field to Table Cookbook. She says gobblers develop this fat layer to sustain them during mating season and it can account for up to 10 percent of the bird’s body weight.

It’s very weird looking tissue. And some people will just cut it off and throw it away, and I say, oh no…no…no. Leave that breast sponge on the turkey’s breast. Because, what you have is a built-in fat blanket to keep that meat moist while it’s cooking. It will shrink substantially during the cooking process. You can discard it afterwards, before you start carving.

We have a longer segment on harvesting and preparing wild turkey with Susan Ebert, as well as a segment on turkey restoration and another on how to call turkey for hunting or nature watching, and on our podcast Under the Texas Sky.

It’s the one called “Talking Turkey”.

The podcast is available on spotify, iTunes and other places where podcasts roam.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.