Being March 2.. y’all must be excited for today! Why? Well, it’s Texas Independence Day! It’s been a tradition of mine to celebrate the day, which really just means proclaiming it to the world. And occasionally I’ll bake some Texas-themed things too.

This year I’m proud to share with you this kolache recipe. Kolaches are pillowy pastries of dough wrapped or filled with fruits or some kind of sausage. The ones I’ve had growing up in Houston are almost always savory, but since then my view of kolaches has expanded to include the traditionally sweet Czech version. I’m accepting of the sweet kind, but I’m still quite partial to the savory version.

Just like beignets, I can’t seem to find kolaches readily available in the north outside of the south. And also like the beignets, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make them myself. After reading through several recipes, I chose one that was featured in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times back in 2001. With an article named “Perfect Kolaches” and a recipe called “Grandma Rosie’s Kolaches,” how could I not? Turns out they’re mighty close to the kolaches I’m used to eating back home, and I’m ever grateful for Grandma Rosie for sharing her secret recipe with us. This recipe worked out wonderfully as a savory pastry, and I’m sure it’d be just as great for a sweet kolache too.

Grandma Rosie’s Kolaches
adapted from Rosalie Bohuslav via Corpus Christi Caller-Times

1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
16 little smokies or cocktail beef franks

1. Place ingredients in stand mixer in the order listed above and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes. The longer you beat it, the nicer the dough.
2. Let rise for 1 hour (or until dough roughly doubles in size).
3. Work dough into 16 balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Let dough balls rise for 15-20 minutes.
4. Using your hand, flatten the dough and wrap each flattened dough ball around 1 little smokie or cocktail beef frank. Place kolaches about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet and allow to rise again for another 10-15 minutes. At this time, preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.
5. Bake kolaches for 10-15 minutes until tops turn golden brown. Recipe makes 16 kolaches.

Happy Texas Independence Day! Round Up Texas BBQ

While Texas Independence Day is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, I tend to treat it like Texas Pride Day. Sure, it’s been ten years since I’ve lived in Texas, but I hold the state near and dear to my heart.

Quite literally, since I wear this awesome pendant on a regular basis.

I didn’t get to bake anything to celebrate the day, so instead I want to highlight a recent experience that gave me the warm fuzzies.

The story starts last fall with a scenic train ride up the beautiful Hudson Valley. (No pictures, sorry!) It’s Saturday morning, and I find myself on Main Street in Beacon, NY. As soon as I see the store window to home and crafts store Clay Wood & Cotton, I know I’m in for it. I go in and gush over the store, and only after I pick up every handmade piece in the store do I start to chat with store owners Kristy and Kristen. I find out Kristy and I share Houston as a hometown, and she recommends visiting a Texas BBQ joint down in Cold Spring. I can’t that day, but I say I’ll check it out in the future.

The future didn’t come until two weekends ago. I’m back upstate, and Round Up Texas BBQ is the last stop of the day’s (secret) mission. We swing open the door, and Linda, Bill, and Round Up’s Texan decor greet us. My Texan accent senses the surroundings and feels safe enough to come out. I mention the recommendation from Clay Wood & Cotton, and Linda shares her BBQ adventures. She’s proud of her story, and we’re eager to taste her hard work. We sample everything they had that day, and I leave as a happy camper.

Brisket should always be that moist. Photos taken by Albert Cheung.

They have their sausage made by a local culinary institute, but it tastes like it could be Texas-made.

Clockwise from the top left: Potato Salad, Green Stuff, Cole Slaw, Mac & Cheese (Linda’s own recipe with 4 cheeses, 4 pastas, and jalapeƱos)

Their BBQ chicken doesn’t steal the show, but it’s still tasty and juicy.

On this day, why don’t you raise a cold Lone Star or Shiner Bock with me, and let’s give it up for Texas!

Round Up Texas BBQ and Tumbleweed Saloon
2471 Route 9
Cold Spring, NY 10516

Also check out Metromix Hudson Valley for a detailed slide show feature on Round Up Texas BBQ.