Curtis Miller discovered the recipe for his Texas Caviar 25 years ago, and since then has adapted it to appeal more to his taste.
Miller, pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Bowling Green, has a simple mantra when it comes to cooking: "easy and inexpensive."
And he'll use fresh as much as possible unless canned is cheaper.
For the caviar - which, incidentally is not related to true caviar, an expensive hors d'oeuvre of the salt-cured fish roe - he makes sure to use fresh tomatoes and fresh jalape√±os.
He'll use canned white corn rather than frozen, and minced garlic rather than fresh, just for the ease of use.
He always using red onions, no matter what recipe.
He promised the dish goes well with tortilla chips as a dipping agent, or on omelettes and baked potatoes.
The sweetness due to the white corn comes out, as does the onion and garlic flavors. Munch enough and also get the zing of a jalape√±o.
Miller has been cooking since the age of 4, learning from his mom on the family's Kansas wheat farm
His mom would sometimes feed up to 16 people for a meal, including hired help and guests.
"We'd feed you if you drove up," Miller recalled.
His favorite: chicken fried steak.
He moved to Bowling Green in 2006 with wife Jessica to serve as church pastor.
He used to cook for the entire church, but has limited that to quarterly meals.
He has put together a cookbook of all the recipes his 70 to 80 congregation members like, including the two featured today plus both spice and sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, fried corn dip, molasses cookies cowboy beans and creme filled chocolate Easter eggs.
He'll can his barbecue sauce, five quarts at a time, and give it away.
He never fixes the same recipe twice, he said, except for pork loin or brisket and turkey.
"It's back to being inexpensive and easy," he said about his recipe choices.
"To cook simple and inexpensive is the best way to cook."
His advice: "The produce section of the grocery store is the best."
He leaves the grilling and smoking to his two sons, while his niece and her husband are competitive barbecuers.
He said he helps with the Bowling Green Pregnancy Center, but focuses most of his time on his church.
"Your life is your congregatio
texas caviar - main recipe
6 15 ounce cans black beans, drained
3 15 ounce cans white hominy, drained (or white corn)
6 roma tomatoes, diced
6 jalape√±o peppers, veined, seeded, and diced
2 bunches green onions, diced
1 medium to large red onion, diced
2 heaping soup spoons of diced garlic
16 ounces zesty Italian dressing
Salt to taste
Mix in large bowl, serve with tortilla chips
cowboy beans - secondary recipe
3 pounds lean hamburger
2 pounds bacon, cut into squares
2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces (Little Smokies are fun in the recipe)
3 15 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
3 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained
3 15 ounce cans black beans, drained
3 16 ounce bottles of cheap or your favorite barbecue sauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 large red onion, chopped
6 jalape√±o peppers, chopped
2 cups vinegar or more if you want the beans to be tangy
2 tablespoons chili powder
Salt to taste
In a large pot fry the bacon, hamburger, smoked sausage, onion, and jalapenos. Make sure to either drain off the grease or cook the mixture down until fairly dry
Add to this mixture the beans, barbecue sauce, vinegar, chili powder, brown sugar and bring to a nice boil.
Taste the recipe by using a slice of bread not from a spoon.
If you want to spice up the beans add two ounces of habanero sauce, or four ounces of Tabasco sauce
If it is too dry add more barbecue sauce.
If it is not sweet enough add more sugar.
After the pot is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid.
n. I'm committed to preaching of God and loving people."