Please join the Chicks in welcoming fab author Rebecca Adler, who pens the delightful Taste of Texas mystery series! (One lucky commenter will win a paperback copy of Rebecca’s latest release!)
In Cinco de Murder, the third book in the Taste of Texas mystery series, reporter-turned-Tex-Mex-waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny, are polishing their traditional folklórico dances for Saturday’s big Cinco de Mayo parade. Not to be outdone, Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off. But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when a cantankerous chili cook is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life—before another cook kicks the bucket.
Since moving to Texas many years ago, I’ve added another scrumptious holiday to my calendar of celebrations—Cinco de Mayo, arguably an even more scrumptious Spring feast than Easter. Tex-Mex favorites like tacos, tostadas, and margaritas can be found at block parties, local bars, and annual fiestas on May fifth. If you look closely in places like San Antonio, El Paso, and local neighborhood casitas, you may find authentic Mexican fare like watermelon guacamole, black bean tostados, tortilla soup, and tres leche cake.
We’re all familiar with the term Tex-Mex; but did you know the word entered our American lingo in 1875 as a term that referred to the Texas Mexican Railway, which was abbreviated as TexMex? In the 1920s, a hyphen was added to describe not only the railroad but the people of Mexican descent that were born in Texas. Gradually, the term became synonymous with the Mexican food of the area. Back in the 1870s wonderful cooks known as chili queens started becoming famous throughout the U.S. and internationally. That’s when Americans first became aware of the delicious, fun-filled eating experience we know as Tex-Mex.
I’ve included delicious Tex-Mex recipes in the back of Cinco de Murder. Some recipes may be a bit more Mex, like Senora Mari’s chicken quesadillas, and some a bit more Tex, like Uncle Eddie’s secret nontraditional chili recipe; but they’re all simple and delicious. Here, I share one of my favorites with you.
Senora Mari’s Chicken Quesadillas
2 chicken breasts
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable or favorite cooking oil
½ cup onion, chopped
butter for sautéing
1 cup shredded Manchego or asadero cheese
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 dozen flour tortillas
Season chicken breasts with oregano, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Fry in small amount of oil over medium heat. Cook until browned and cooked throughout. Shred the chicken using 2 forks. Brown and caramelize onions in butter. Spoon 2 Tblsp of each cheese on one side of tortilla. Add some chicken and caramelized onions. Fold tortilla in half. Fry in butter over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown.
About the author: Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest. She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing the Taste of Texas culinary mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime: HERE TODAY, GONE TAMALE; THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE GUACAMOLE; and CINCO DE MURDER. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes contemporary romance with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor. A former president of North Texas Romance Writers, Rebecca is currently a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she spends a great deal of time on her other favorite pastime, directing high school theatre. Connect with Rebecca at her website.
Readers: Is there a dish or type of food your state is known for, or do you have a favorite family dish that reflects your family’s ethnic heritage? Share in the comments. (A lucky commenter will win a copy of Cinco de Murder from the author!)