Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cookbook Aims to Stir Up a Cure, Texas Style

If you’re looking for some delicious and hearty dishes to serve at your upcoming Super Bowl party, or any party, take a cue from the Cavenders, and help stir up a cure at the same time. 
Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

As the Spur Stirs - The Art of Bringing A Western Family, Friends and Food Together is a beautiful, Texas-sized cookbook by Jacqueline Skeens Cavender of the Cavender family, famed for founding Cavender’s Western Outfitters. 

The family-owned and operated western wear retail chain, based in Tyler, Texas, has over 75 locations throughout the southwest.

Twenty years in the making, the cookbook was a labor of love for Cavender, an idea she came up with when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. 

In 2015, with the help of four close friends, Cavender published and released As the Spur Stirs to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society and Cystic Fibrosis research.
Raising funds for a good cause is only part of the book’s allure though. “A cookbook seemed like it meant something more, something people could walk away with,” said Cavender. “People tell me things like, ‘I gave this to my friends, or I cooked this with my mother.’ It’s really a gift that continues to give.”

The 272-page cookbook features a collection of recipes Cavender gathered over the years from her mother and mother-in-law’s kitchens as well as from inside the cupboards of close friends and celebrity supporters including Grammy-award winner Celine Dion, First Lady Laura Bush, country singer Pat Green, “King of Country” George Strait, model Kathy Ireland and actor Dennis Quaid, to name just a few.

The book is also about stories of loved ones and honoring them. “This is not just a cookbook, it’s like a novel about people and their struggles,” explained Cavender. “We wanted to create a treasure that people would pass down through their families and their legacies would live on through that.”

In little over a year, about 18,000 copies of the book have been sold. “It has been a journey and a joyful experience for us. People share stories about their family and how much they appreciate our putting this book together for charity,” said Cavender. “It’s a bit of therapy for me. I lost my mom at such a young age. It’s a way to continue to stay close to her.”  

As the Spur Stirs can be purchased at or Net proceeds benefit The American Cancer Society and research for Cystic Fibrosis. Here is just a sample of the fabulous recipes that are included.

Mini Lobster Tacos with Mango Salsa

Mini Lobster Tacos with Mango Salsa
Serves 8
Vegetable oil for frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into 2½ -inch diameter rounds
2 limes
1 mango, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons coconut oil
½ small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 lobster tails, steamed and chopped
Chopped jalapeño chile to taste
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Add vegetable oil to a heavy skillet to 1-inch depth. Heat the oil to 365 degrees over medium heat.

Add one tortilla round and fry for 15 seconds. Turn the tortilla over and fold in half using tongs. Hold the shell in place using tongs and fry for 15 second or until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tortilla rounds.

Grate the zest from the limes and set aside. Juice the limes into a bowl. Add the mango, salt and pepper and toss to mix.

Heat the coconut oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add the lobster and jalapeño chile and sauté until heated through.

Fill the taco shells with the lobster mixture and top with Mango Salsa. Sprinkle with lime zest and cilantro. (Recipe by Jacqueline Cavender, As the Spur Stirs)

The Most Delicious Margaritas

The Most Delicious Margaritas
Serves 12
3 cups good-quality tequila, such as Tres Generaciones or Patron
⅔ cup Grand Marnier
1 large bottle Jose Cuervo margarita mix

Combine the tequila, Grand Marnier and margarita mix in a pitcher and mix well.
(Recipe from Billy Bob’s Texas Restaurant, As the Spur Stirs)

Su Dip

Su Dip
Serves 10
2 pounds Jimmy Dean mild or hot bulk pork sausage
32 ounces cream cheese
2 (10-ounce) cans tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

Brown the sausage in a skillet, stirring until crumbly; drain. Heat the cream cheese and tomatoes with green chiles in a saucepan over low heat until the cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sausage and cook until heated through. Remove to a bowl and serve with corn chips. (Recipe by Susan Davis, As the Spur Stirs)

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce
Serves 8
6 or 7 dried red ancho chiles
2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 garlic cloves
Vegetable oil
1 package corn tortillas
1 chicken, cooked, boned and shredded
½ onion, chopped
Shredded cheese

Combine the chiles and water in a blender container and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the salt and garlic and process for 5 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a shallow bowl. Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. Dip one tortilla into the sauce, being sure to coat both sides of the tortilla with the sauce.

Fry the coated tortilla for 30 seconds per side and remove to a serving plate. Place one-eighth of the chicken over one end of the tortilla. Top with one-eighth of the onion and roll up. Sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, sauce, chicken, onion and cheese. Garnish with sour cream, pico de gallo or guacamole and serve.
(Recipe by Jacqueline Cavender, As the Spur Stirs)

Jacqueline Cavender

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