On a recent jaunt to San Antonio, we visited the Alamo. Here’s Bryan’s account:
It is free to enter but you can pay for a personal guided tour. For
independent tourists such as ourselves there were plenty of plaques, a
video, and displays of well-labeled artifacts.
Under the shade of very old live-oak trees were the partially restored
walls as well as the church and long barracks where the beleaguered
defenders made their last stand.
In a nutshell, the battle of the Alamo was a 13-day siege (Feb – Mar, 1836)
of the former Franciscan mission located in present-day San Antonio.
About 1600 Mexican troops led by General Santa Ana overran a small
force (ca 200) of mostly American defenders. (There were also a few
Mexican defenders who died at the Alamo.)
The residents of Texas – Tejanos and Texians – had been rebelling against
the autocratic and centralist government of Mexico City.
The Mexican army’s fortunes turned with its defeat by Sam Houston’s
Texan army which ensured the establishment of an independent Republic of Texas.
(gun range in Laredo)
I was curious about a ring in one of the displays. A label indicated only that Colonel Travis gave it to Angelina Dickinson. One of the staff who really knew her history told me that Angelina and her mother, Susanna, were treated with courtesy by Santa Ana. They were given safe passage and an escort out of the Alamo. Travis had hoped that the ring would find its way to his son, but it never did.
The staffer told me all about Angelina and how she married 3 times – one of these being a common-law relationship. I enjoyed the stories so much that, later on, when I came across a book about the pioneer women of Texas I dug right into the chapter about Susanna Dickinson and her very interesting life après the Alamo. She ran "a house" for a spell and respectable ladies refused to visit her, but she ended up marrying one of the wealthiest men in Austin.
BEAN & MUSHROOM PEROGIES, Laredo Style
¾ cup mayacoba dried beans (or use white or cannellini beans)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium to large onion
1 garlic clove
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp ancho chili powder (this is a mild chili – so if you need to substitute only use ¼ tsp hot chili powder)
½ pound button mushrooms
4 ounces Mexican Fresco cheese (or any crumbly fresh cheese: dry cottage cheese would be fine but freeze it and thaw it first so that it will crumble finely)
*Soak beans overnight (no more than 10 hours).
*Drain beans. Cover with 2 or 3 inches water. Bring to boil. Boil fast for 2 minutes. Cover. Reduce heat. Simmer for one hour. They should be soft as you will purée them.
*Drain cooked beans, reserving some of the liquid.
* Purée the beans with about 1 tbsp reserved liquid and the salt. Don’t add much liquid or your filling will be too mushy. Set aside in a large bowl.
*Finely chop the onion in a food processor.
*Finely chop the garlic clove.
*Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add oil and onions and black pepper. Cook for 5 to 10 min until onion is very soft.
*Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms finely in the food processor.
*Add the chopped garlic and the ancho powder. Stir one minute. Add mushrooms. Stir 3 minutes. Take off heat and let cool.
*Grate the cheese. Add to the beans.
*Stir in the cooled onions and mushrooms.
*Make the perogies using the instructions for Mary Stadnyk’s pyrohi.
Nicole and James liked them so much I made another batch to freeze!
P.S. Note to Bloggers: I started this blog in honour of Mary Stadnyk who was a wonderful cook and a generous and loving mother and grandmother.
My mother made the best perogies ever and I have shared her recipe. If you decide to use and copy her recipe, great, but I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge her when you do so. Thanks!