The Homesick Texan Cookbook By Chef Lisa Fain

The Homesick Texan shares her secrets in a new book

With its chicken-fried steaks, thick tubs of queso fundido and simmering pots of spicy chili con carne, Texas offers a richness of cuisine that rivals that of most countries.

So when Texas expatriate Lisa Fain couldn't find her favorite meals anywhere in New York City, she eased her heartache by attempting her own re-creations and chronicling the pursuits in her blog, The Homesick Texan.

Now Fain has turned her saucy photography and chile-laden recipes into a cookbook, a comforting security blanket for lonely cowboys and girls everywhere.

The Homesick Texan Cookbook ($30) is a tribute to Fain's homeland. She regales readers with stories of chipotle-glazed meatloaf sandwiches from a gas station and fishing for dinner in her grandmother's reservoir.

Providing mouthwatering structure to these anecdotes are recipes loaded with cactus, masa harina, bacon grease and chiles. But our favorites give a Texas spin to more familiar dishes. To wit, deviled eggs get pep from cayenne and smoked paprika. Poblano macaroni and cheese, already lush from its b├ęchamel base, includes cayenne, lime zest, cotija cheese and roasted chiles (click here for the recipe).

Home is where the chile is.