My husband, David, likes to say that his warmest cooking salsa is like a summer day in Texas. It starts off at about 80 degrees, then ends up at 105. Meanwhile, I like to say, I'm the reason we have milder medium heat choices, because, y'all! Texas Heat is a thing! But as a 6th generation native, I've learned to embrace the Lone Star heat and have figured out some really cool ways to actually enjoy our Texas Heat!
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX Photo Credit: Michele Bernard
1. Hot Texas Music
'Cause you keep me nice and you keep me warm...From: "Texas Sun," by Khruangbin & Leon Bridges
Whether you stay inside to enjoy the a/c or plan a day splashing around in your favorite watering hole, the coolest way to enjoy a Texas summer day is with hot Texas Music.
Who is your favorite Texas singer/songwriter/musician, past, present or future? Ok, that's totally a trick question, because the answer is obviously,
T.) ALL of them.
I mean, the list is too long to really get into on a food blog, but with stand-outs like Selena, Beyonce, Willie, King George, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Janis Joplin, not to mention ZZ Top, Pat Green, Brave Combo, Buddy Holly, Bob Wills, Lead Belly and Lydia Mendoza, well, there is really no need to even try to narrow the field down. Just embrace the fact that the Texas Music scene is as truly blessed and as diverse as the great state itself. Let's take a minute and Thank God for Texas Music!
All of the above can be found in my personal Texas road trip mix, as can Don Henley, Fort Worth's Leon Bridges, Houston's Khruangbin. Also, you'll find Paul Cauthen, The Chris Perez Band, Maylee Thomas, Crystal Yates, Zane Williams, Austin Cunningham and Jon Christopher Davis. Just to name a few! Who did I leave out? Let me know in the comments below!
2. Hot Texas Cuisine
Not only is our music scene one of the hottest and also coolest on the planet, so is our food scene. Who is your favorite Texas Chef? Sorry! It's another trick question, as obviously, the answer is M.) Mama. And, also, there are a slew of other famous Lone Star Chefs and cuisines to enjoy as we boast a roster as long as the Red River itself.
Texas Barbecue and the BBQ Pitmasters who make one of our favorite fares oh so delicious, are in a well-deserved league of their own. One can even travel the Texas Barbecue Trail and sample their way across the beautiful central Texas region. (Stay tuned for a future blog post/ode to Texas BBQ coming soon!) Meanwhile, to tide you over, if you're ever in the Dallas/Fort Worth/North Texas area, you're definitely going to want to find a couple of my favorites: Flatrock Smokehouse BBQ, and Hutchins BBQ.
A few of my personal favorite chefs include: Chef Gregory Moreaux, Chef Robert Strong, and Chef Reynold Darthard. But my most favorite Texas Culinary Guy of All Time, is the one who says I love you with every meal he prepares for our family and me, my sweet husband, David Bernard, as evidenced by the beautiful photo to the left.
Pop Quiz: Can you name the Official State Dish of Texas? If you answered C.) Chili, you are correct!For David's Easy Chili Recipe, click here. Ingredients and Bernard's Gourmet Salsas found at H-E-B.
3. Hot Texas Treats
While our gourmet fire-roasted cooking salsas were developed to quickly elevate our favorite recipes, they are also the perfect snack-time topping or dip. When thinking about your snack-time options, we encourage you to think #OutsideTheJar, and beyond the bag of chips. See where your culinary imagination takes you! Pictured here is the yummy brainchild of our friend Jessica Healey, of Topograph, an experiential marketing firm in San Antonio. Jessica and the amazing Courtney Cobb are co-owners. When Jessica married our gourmet cooking salsa with our fellow H-E-B Quest For Texas Best alum, Grain4Grain's low carb flour, then topped it with all manner of yummies, these little stars were born!
Photo Credit: Jessica Healey, Topograph
4. Cool Old Fashioned Floats
Let's face it. If one finds themselves in Texas in August, it is imperative that one locate the nearest and soon to be dearest body of water! Our great state boasts lots of beautiful beaches to comb, lakes to enjoy and rivers to float. Swimming pools of all shapes and sizes will do in a pinch, even if you have to buy it in a box and blow it up yourself. Even a lawn chair and a water-sprinkler qualifies come August! And, because I'm a mom, it is in my official mom handbook to remind you to be sure to stay safe and observe all the safety precautions.
5. Cool Texas Treats
One of the coolest ways to bring the temp down on a hot August day is to indulge in a cold, frosty treat. Case in point, this super delicious Nice Cream, courtesy of one of our favorite IG Foodies, @TastingSanAntonio. Here, she shares her uber-healthy, Banana and Mango Habanero Nice Cream, made with 1 frozen banana and our Mango Pineapple Habanero Salsa. Cooling off never tasted so good!
Photo Credit: @TastingSanAntonio IG
As much as we love to cook, once we start experiencing triple-digit heat, we make a point not to cook. Instead, we keep it cool with an array of beautiful GOTEXAN farmers market veggies and artisan finds and our favorite H-E-B products. And, of course, our line-up of yummy cooking salsas! Salads, gazpachos, sammies, and grazing boards are summer staples at our house all season long.
Photo Credit: Michele Bernard
7. Cool Texas Drinks
Whether Mocktail or Cocktail, when the Lone Star's late afternoon heat halts all physical activity till sunset, it is the perfect time to cool off with an icy glass of something. Thanks to our fabulous customer's sharing recipes with us, we've learned that our cooking salsas, also make great cocktail mixers too! We have one customer who loves our Chipotle Salsa as her Bloody Mary's secret ingredient, and another who is a fan of adding it (or our Roasted Red Pepper) to his Michelada. When David was invited to be a guest bartender to raise money for one of our favorite hunger-free initiatives, our MPH Margarita was born. It has been a hit with family and friends ever since!
Photo Credit: Michele Bernard
Bonus Tip: Cool Texas Friends
Do you want to know my best and most favorite way to enjoy a hot day in Texas? It's with cool Texas friends! We are blessed with many! Though the way we gather may look different in this particular season, it is still super cool to reach out via technology. If you're in the market for cool Texas friends, David and I volunteer (though our kids may question our cool-factor). And, we have a few cool Texas friends we insist you get to know! You will love them! You'll find their names and links in some of the ideas listed above! Carpe Diem Y'all, Michele
P.S. All of the above ideas, thoughts and opinions are my own. None of the above listed folks or products have paid me to share about what cool Texans they are or the greatness they add to the world around them.Michele Bernard