Three Quite Unrelated Cookbooks and Seventy Years – Part Two

The second book of the three quite unrelated cookbooks was Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill published in 1996. I like Mexican food (most of it anyway) and I like Southwestern cuisine too – I think most Southern Californians are familiar with both and enjoy either or almost anytime.

I hope the name Jane Butel is familiar to you. She is credited with starting the Tex-Mex mania. Jane Butel published her first cookbook on New Mexican and American Mexican food in the 1960’s. Eighteen cookbooks later*, her latest cookbook, “Real Women Eat Chiles” features the healthy aspects of chiles, and profiles some of the real women who eat them.

Jane Butel is an internationally recognized authority on the regional cooking of the American Southwest. She is a cookbook author, teacher and television personality whose most recent television project, “Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen”, is being presented to public television stations nationwide by KUHT-TV, Houston PBS.

Having consulted with such major chains as Del Taco, El Torrito and Zona Rosa, and with Luxury Hotels, she is now in her 25th year of operating her own Cooking Schools in various locations in New Mexico and Scottsdale, AZ., which have been recognized far and wide for the quality of instruction. Jane’s Cooking School specializes in week long and weekend full-participation classes on New Mexican and Southwestern cooking. BON APPETIT magazine credits her Cooking School as the “BEST IN THE U.S.” VACATION SCHOOL.

All this being said, I want to talk to you today about Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill. Here in Southern California, we love anything that can be tossed on the grill. And, two of my two grandchildren love tacos, Burritos, quesadillas– anything easy to pick up and eat with their fingers. You will love Jane’s recipes for Grilled Chicken Adobo, Grilled Rosemary Garlic Chicken Breasts, or for a special dinner how about sake-marinated grilled pork tenderloin with mushrooms?

Grilled Pork Steaks with Apples and Onions is a new take on “pork chops and applesauce” while Mystery Marinated Chuck Roast has mostly ingredients you will find on your pantry shelves and is at the top of my list of new recipes to try.
I am especially tantalized by the recipes for fresh cranberry salsa or dried cherry salsa but you will want to try Jane’s Grilled Corn & Red Bell Pepper Salsa too. (I tried this one on my family last year). There are recipes for barbecue sauces and herb marinades, in addition to salsas, and recipes for side dishes—and a lovely selection of homemade breads that includes a sourdough starter. But I think the recipe I want to try NEXT is one for a low fat Banana Zucchini Cake! Yowza! This CAKE is baked on the grill too!

To make Jane’s Low Fat Banana Zucchini Cake you will need:

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (1 large or 2 small)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 ½ cups shredded zucchini
½ cup (8 oz can drained) crushed pineapple
1 tsp Mexican vanilla
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Fresh ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar for dusting top (optional)

Preheat grill to medium or 350 degrees if not already hot. Butter a 9×14” baking pan that will not get damaged on the grill or cover the bottom with foil, or use a foil pan.

Combine bananas, oil and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until sugar dissolves. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in zucchini, pineapple and vanilla. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir until blended. Then add the dry ingredients one-quarter at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix only until all ingredients are well combined. Turn batter into prepared baking pan. Place on grill rack and cover grill. Bake about 45 mins or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool on cake rack. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Makes 12 servings

*Substitute carrots for zucchini if desired

I found a most interesting recipe for using inexpensive chicken parts on Jane Butel’s website—which you may want to visit. She also has a newsletter, which I signed up for.

The following will knock our socks off (and what a great dish for company!)



Writes Jane: This is my all-time favorite coq recipe, developed during my early New Mexico years. Fired with caribe and flamed with cognac, it’s a fabulous dish with a perfect marriage of flavors, certain to be a hit with family and guests—though you may want to hoard it all for yourself! Since this stew is so robust, accompany it with a soothing side dish. And, never, ever waste a drop of the savory sauce; if you have any leftover, freeze it for later use. It’s wonderful in all kinds of stews.

Yield: 6 servings

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons caribe (crushed Northern New Mexico red chile)
1 teaspoon salt
1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) broiler-fryer chicken, cut for frying
½ cup unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons cognac
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
6 small white boiling onions, peeled
½ pound fresh mushrooms, any kind, sliced
6 slices thick bacon, heavily smoked country style sliced into ½ inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Burgundy or other good quality dry red wine
Fried Croutons–
French bread, cut in 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
Unsalted butter

1. In a paper bag or large shallow bowl, mix flour, caribe and salt. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep, heavy skillet (or in a chicken fryer) over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides, turning as needed; adjust heat as necessary to prevent over-browning.

2. Add cognac to hot skillet and flame carefully, keeping a lid nearby to extinguish flames should they rise too high. When flames die, stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, 3 Tablespoons of the parsley, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Pour wine over all. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.

3.Meanwhile, prepare Fried Croutons. In a skillet, toast French bread cubes in a mixture of half oil and half melted butter until light golden on all sides, stirring as needed. Cool.

4. To serve, place chicken on a large warmed platter and cover with sauce, arranging onions decoratively around chicken. Sprinkle croutons over the top, and then sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon parsley.

Reprinted from the book “Hotter Then Hell”

Many of Jane Butel’s cookbooks are available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Alibris has some of her titles for 99c each. I saw one on listed at $1.26. Of course, you will pay $3.99 shipping on books purchased from private vendors but in the neighborhood of $5.00 for one of her cookbooks is not a bad price. I ordered three of Jane’s cookbooks from private vendors, via and the total including shipping charges was under $15.00.

This completes part two of “Three Quit Unrelated Cookbooks and Seventy Years Apart” – I never intended to be so wordy, so the third cookbook
Forgotten Skills of Cooking” will be in my next post.

Happy cooking and Happy cookbook collecting!


One response to “Three Quite Unrelated Cookbooks and Seventy Years – Part Two

  1. Some very interesting recipes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s