The Unorthodox Epicure — Fresh Mexican Salsa

Fresh Mexican Salsa — This is the version that every restaurant wishes it could serve. It's wonderful as a chip dipper or a topper.

I still remember the first salsa (or hot sauce, as we call it around here) that I ever had. The brand was Albert’s. It is a semi-chunky garlicky concoction that works just as well over enchiladas and tacos as it does chip dip. Then there was the version served at the now almost-defunct El Chico […]

The Unorthodox Epicure — Crispy Grilled Chile Lime Wings

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Confession — I adore fried chicken. And wings in particular. The crunch of the exterior followed by a juicy succulent bite. Heaven. But there’s a better way. Fine. Not necessarily better, but similar results with different flavor components and a heck of a lot less guilt. Pretty darn tasty too. Behold my Crispy Grilled Chile […]

The Unorthodox Epicure — Creamed Summer Squash

Creamed Summer Squash — It's ripe for add-ins but this velvety dish is outstanding on its own.

Though creamed squash is deep-rooted in Southern cooking, it’s relatively new to me. Green beans were my family’s vegetable of choice when I was a child. We’d occasionally have sweet peas or asparagus, but rarely (if ever) did we have summer squash. As it went, my father never really cared for the stuff. I did […]

The Unorthodox Epicure — Surf & Turf Sliders w/ Caesar Slaw

Surf & Turf Sliders w/ Caesar Slaw — A four-star three-bite nosh.

After recently watching a YouTube sensation do a video review of his own concoction of fast food products, my wife and I were talking about burger possibilities. Sure, I prefer mine with plenty of mustard and pickles — assembled properly — but our conversation took us well out of the box. Considering that hamburgers are […]

Food Snob Chronicles — Spicy Pickled Okra

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I‘ll be straight up. You Southerners who know that fried okra is equivalent to hearing St. Peter say “Come on in,” just need to hold your horses! And you Northerners who are asking “What the heck is okra?” need to stifle it for a second! Okra is the pod of the flower that the Caribbean […]

Food Snob Chronicles — Ancho Braised Chicken

Ancho Braised Chicken —

You’ve certainly heard the old saying there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would want to skin a cat (Couldn’t they have said ‘grow a tomato’ or ‘get across town’?) but I get the intended meaning. That said, there are plenty of […]

The Unorthodox Epicure — Holy swine! Melt-in-your-mouth ribs

Melt-in-your mouth pork ribs — No barbecue pit required

Forgive me y’all, for I have sinned. It’s been almost three years since I first confessed here about my cheating ways … in the kitchen, of course. Well, I’ve been unfaithful again and again to my custom pit smoker. My latest secret flame comes from my oven … and it involves pork ribs. It’s true. […]

Food Snob Chronicles — Crab & Corn Bisque

Crab & Corn Bisque — Velvety goodness.

Bisque evokes thoughts of a cream-based soup in which crab is the star. And sometimes lobster. For average guys like me, it also means that I’m going to pay top dollar for a few spoonfuls of creamy warm shellfish bliss. While that might be the case nowadays, bisque has a somewhat humble beginning. As the […]

The Unorthodox Epicure: Szechuan Salt & Pepper Shrimp

Szechuan Salt & Pepper Shrimp — Crispy. Tongue-tingling. Fun.

It hits the tongue with a light lemony flavor, then brings a tingling sensation — similar to the feeling in your foot when it ‘falls asleep,’ except much more pleasant. Within a few seconds the tingling gives way to a mild numbness … and then some barely-detectable heat. Behold the Szechuan Peppercorn, which is not a […]

The Unorthodox Epicure — Louisiana Crawfish Étouffée

Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee — Cajun and Creole flavors combine for a luxurious stew-like version of this classic. 

I suppose that every locale has its culinary purists. In the Northeast there is only one true way to make a pot of Italian gravy — although there are 23 million versions of that one true way. Here in Texas we tend to agree that beef makes the best barbecue, but some of us are […]