|My Dad and his Aunt Marcella. She brought pinto beans, deer sausage|
and a dewberry pie to the reunion. My Dad brought a pot of chili.
If they're not Texas cooks, no one is.
Homemade pickles, dilled green beans, devilled eggs, 6 kinds of sausage, potato salad and dewberry pie. Is this the multi-course tasting menu at a new Texas-Czech restaurant? No, it’s just some of the offerings at the 2012 Orsak Reunion outside of Ganado on Sunday, June 3rd. The list of dishes goes on, reflecting my family’s Czech heritage, but also our Texas roots which include Mexican influences and years of family members living near the coast.
Chips with salsa and queso, ciabatta bread with a Mediterranean seasoned olive oil, hot wings, stuffed jalapenos x 2 (one cold dish, one fried), homemade pickles, fruit platter, seafood dip and crackers.
Baked ham, barbecued ribs, chicken and briskit, chili, fried chicken x 2, roast in gravy x 3, baked chicken x 2, beef enchilada casserole, sausage x 6, King Ranch casserole, turkey noodle soup, shrimp and sausage gumbo w/ white rice, chicken and rice casserole.
Sides and Salads: Bread, dilled green beans, sliced fruit, pasta salad x 3, devilled eggs, sliced tomatoes x 2, broccoli salad, pea salad, corn and black bean salad, pinto beans, potato salad x 2, cucumber salad, sauteed zucchini and yellow squash, green bean casserole, dressing x 2, squash casserole x 2, sweet potatoes, buttered potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked rice.
Desserts:Peach cobbler, Hummingbird Cake, peach and blueberry pie, angel food cake, fruit salad, cherry cream cheese squares, cheesecake, brownies, coconut cream pie, dewberry pie, German chocolate cake, cheese roll, banana pudding, lemon poundcake, fruit tarts.
You cannot keep an Orsak down when it comes to food. My mom, just finishing the 6th of 12 rounds of chemotherapy, brought sautéed squash and a Hummingbird Cake. I had to lay down on an ice pack for my bum lower back in between baking the peach pie and making a sausage and sauerkraut dish Sunday morning, but I did it. My Dad’s first cousin Theresa Hluza showed up with a cast on each arm from the fingers to the shoulders after breaking both elbows in a fall JUST LAST WEEK! Not only did he show up, but she showed up with kolaches and cheese rolls for the silent auction pulled out of her freezer. She told my mom, “I can’t wait to get these things (casts) off so I can bake some kolaches.”
My favorite overheard comment of the day was “Dang Orsaks. You’d think they were feeding a whole village!” Ironically, I left the reunion with a charge from my Dad to contact a genealogy researcher in the Czech Republic. He wants to know if brothers and sisters of his great great grandfather had children that also came to America. He’s convinced that all Orsaks in Texas are related. Apparently, in our village of origin (Novy Hrozenkov in Moravia, CR) all the Orsaks WERE related... some Orsak had sixteen sons at one point. So, in a way, we did feed a village at the reunion. It must be in our genes.
Below is the recipe for the peach pie I took to the reunion. I fudged with a recipe that I had marked as being my mom’s, but she said she didn't recognize it when I showed it to her. So, I guess it’s my recipe. She did remember her grandfather peeling peaches at her parents kitchen table for pie. Peeling peaches is a satisfying task when the skins slip off easily. If they don't, just use a vegetable peeler. I used store-bought crust pie because I haven't tackled the homemade version yet. It was still delicious.
Peach Blueberry Pie
½ pint of blueberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3 Tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
2 pie crusts (not deep dish)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Boil a large pot of water. Drop in 1 ½ pounds of whole peaches and boil for 3 minutes. Drain, let cool, peel, pit and slice them. Mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the fruit and set aside. Mix together the sugars, spices, flour and salt. Add this dry mixture to the fruit and mix until the fruit is coated. Turn into one of the pie shells. Dot butter on top and cover with second pie crust as you wish (whole or lattice.) Place in the preheated oven with a cookie sheet on the rack underneath it. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.
Variation – use 2 pounds of peaches without the blueberries.
Variation 2 - use 2 ½ pounds of peaches for a deep dish pie. Adjust the other seasonings accordingly.