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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

DAC 2013: a Taste of Texas

April 25th, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena

Surely EDA is a serious-minded industry, particularly when it comes to ramping up for the annual Design Automation Conference where it’s all work and no play. Nonetheless, sometimes it just has to be okay to relax a little and hence the spirit of this blog.

Thanks to native Texans Sonia Harrison and Kathryn Kranen of Mentor Graphics and Jasper Design Automation, respectively, as well as my vintage copy of the Tasting Bee cookbook from the University of Texas San Antonio Health Science Center, herein are included some mighty fine recipes – Calabazita, Migas, Golden Potato Casserole, Texas Chili, and a refreshing chaser – to try out and enjoy over the next few weeks as the 50th DAC draws near and the Lone Star State beckons.

Bon Appetit, y’all!


Calabazita [Sonia Harrison]

2 lbs. boneless chicken, cut into small pieces
1 chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 cups good chicken stock
6-8 medium zucchinis and yellow squash, sliced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
Fresh cilantro, chopped
salt/pepper to taste

Brown chicken with onion; add garlic and cumin. Stir for about 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes; add squash and corn and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes (or until squash is tender, but not mushy). Add chopped oregano, salt/pepper to taste and enjoy!

Note from Sonia: This is one of my favorites that my mom used to make, with my added touch of cilantro. By the way, calabazita translates to “small squash or zucchini”.


Migas, or Chilaquiles [Sonia Harrison]

6 Corn tortillas (cut into quarters or eighths)
Vegetable oil
6 eggs
1 small sweet onion
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pour about ¼ inch of oil in frying pan and fry the tortillas until semi-crisp. Add onion and cook for about two minutes. Add eggs, chopped jalapenos, and tomatoes and cook until eggs are almost cooked; add cheese. Cook until cheese melts, about five minutes. Serve hot.

Note from Sonia: This one is good for breakfast.


Golden Potato Casserole [Kathryn Kranen]

Serves 8-12

6 medium russet potatoes (or 4-5 large ones)
1-1/2 slices wheat or white bread
6 green onions, roots trimmed and damaged outer leaves peeled away; use white parts and about an inch of green
12+ ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1 pint sour cream
2 Tbsp. milk Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp. butter, melted

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
* Generously grease a 9×13 casserole dish with butter.
* Boil potatoes for 20+ minutes in a large pot of water, until the skins start to split and you can pierce a fork all the way to the center of a potato. Remove potatoes and set aside for a few minutes to cool. Peel the potatoes by rubbing skins off by hand under running water. Set potatoes aside. Discard potato skins.

While the potatoes are boiling, assemble the rest of the dish:
* In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, whirl bread into very fine crumbs. Remove crumbs from processor bowl and set aside. Note: No need to clean the food processor after this or any other step (until the dish is complete)!
* Add green onions to food processor and whirl until small pieces are stuck to the sides of bowl. Leave them in the food processor bowl.
* Change food processor blades to a grating blade.
* Grate the cheese. Transfer cheese/onion mixture to a very large bowl.
* Add the sour cream to the cheese/onion mixture. Add milk. Generously salt and pepper (to taste). Thoroughly combine.
* Now back to the (dirty) food processor… Grate the peeled potatoes.
* Add grated potatoes to the cheese/sour cream mixture and combine thoroughly.
* Transfer potato mixture to the greased casserole dish.
* Melt butter in a microwave-safe dish.
* Pour melted butter and sprinkle bread crumbs over the casserole. Spread evenly, to all edges, using spatula or clean fingers.

* Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Casserole edges should be bubbly, and top should be golden brown.
* Let cool for 10+ minutes before serving. The casserole is actually better (a little firmer and more flavorful) if made in advance and then reheated in the microwave or oven.
* Serve with butter, salt and pepper on the side, for guests to season as desired.

* Make sure your boiled potatoes pass the fork-piercing test. Undercooked potatoes will ruin this dish.
* Do NOT use low-fat sour cream or the dish will come out runny.
* My family swears Cracker Barrel brand sharp cheddar cheese, grated in the food processor (instead of pre-grated), tastes best.
* If as you combine the potatoes and the cheese/sour cream mixture, you find clumps of dry grated potatoes, either remove some potatoes or add more sour cream and cheese. Grocery store potatoes are much larger than they were when this recipe was passed down from my grandmother, so use fewer potatoes if yours are quite large.
* I’ve tried making this dish without the green onions, and with mild instead of sharp cheddar cheese, for people with specific food dislikes. The end result really suffered.
* My mom used to complain about it being a lot of work to make this casserole, because she cleaned her food processor several times between steps. By rearranging the order of food processing steps, I cut the prep time in half. By following the steps listed above, you can get this dish into the oven in 30 minutes.

Note from Kathryn:
This is my absolute favorite Thanksgiving side dish, and a great BBQ accompaniment. Once upon a time, I would dig out bites of the freshly-baked casserole and squish the surrounding area back into place to hide my crime. I’ve since learned to resist temptation and wait until dinner is served to sample its perfection. If there are any leftovers, I consume every last bite for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner – not bothering to waste calories on anything else until there is not one bite of Golden Potato Casserole remaining. Given all it’s cheesy/buttery yumminess, it’s a good thing I only make Golden Potato Casserole for special occasions.


Texas Chili [“Tasting Bee”]

1-1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
3 (15-1/2 oz.) cans small red beans undrained
1 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt

In a large skillet, brown the beef, onion, green pepper and garlic. Drain the fat. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Serves 6.


Bourbon Slush [“Tasting Bee”]

2 tea bags
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
3-1/2 cups water
1 6-oz. can frozen orange juice, thawed
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 of 6-oz. can frozen lemonade, thawed

Steep tea bags in the 1 cup of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove tea bags, stir in sugar. Add remaining ingredients, mix until sugar is dissolved. Pour into freezer containers, freeze firm. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Spoon into cocktail glasses, garnish with lemon wedges, if desired. Keep unused portion in the freezer. Yield: 1-1/2 quarts.


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