By Melony Carey
Tonight is Halloween, a time when children and adults alike dress up as witches, vampires, and … Texans? Actually, the link between literary vampires and Texas is as old as Bram Stoker’s prototype horror novel, “Dracula,” published in 1897.
In the novel Quincey Morris, a rich, young cattleman from Texas, is one of three suitors vying for the hand of Lucy Westenra, along with the equally wealthy young lord, Arthur Holmwood, and psychiatrist Dr. John Seward. Unfortunately, Lucy has also drawn the attention of Count Dracula, who has made his way from Transylvania to London to be near the “teeming millions.” Her best friend Mina’s fiancé, Jonathan Harker, had unwittingly been the attorney for the transfer of Dracula’s estate to England.
Lucy has accepted the proposal of Arthur Holmwood, but the three suitors remain friends. When Lucy suspiciously begins to waste away, Seward calls in Dr. Van Helsing to consult on the case. Morris, Holmwood, Seward, and Van Helsing try to save Lucy by giving her transfusions of their blood, but to no avail. Morris had an experience with vampire bats while on the South American Pampas and recognizes what is happening to Lucy. They string up garlands of garlic to protect her, but she is attacked by a wolf while on a walk. With the last of her humanity fading away, Lucy begs Van Helsing to protect her fiancé from the evil being she has become.
Although they mercifully dispense with Lucy, the men must still battle Dracula. Quincey Morris and Jonathan Harker finally defeat the vampire, but Morris is mortally wounded and dies. In the end, Harker and Mina name their son after all the men who helped defeat Count Dracula, but call him simply by the name Quincey in honor of the young Texan’s valiant actions.
Stoker chose a courageous Texan because of the romantic notion of the cowboy and the American West so prevalent at the turn of the century. Stoker also associated Morris with the Pampas, home of the gaucho, the rugged South American cowboys known for their heroic individualism. This Victorian stereotype can still be seen in popular movies such as “The Mummy” starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiss.
Vampires, mummies, and cowboys will love a mole rubbed T-bone steak served Texas-style with red chile enchiladas. I heartily advise the following adapted from Louis Lambert’s “Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook.” No tricks, just a really great treat.
Approximately 4 tablespoons Dona Maria mole per steak
1 T-bone per person
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rub mole into both sides of steak and place in refrigerator about an hour, removing about 20 minutes before grilling. Start a medium hot fire in grill. Lightly season each side of steak with salt and pepper. Grill 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare, putting lid down after turning steaks. Let steaks rest about 5 minutes before serving. You can also use a homemade mole marinade.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large can enchilada sauce
1 package corn tortillas
2 cups shredded queso blanco
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack
3/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage or lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9x13” glass baking dish. In a skillet, warm the vegetable oil over medium heat. (Do not let the oil get too hot or smoke, and make sure to turn off the burner when finished.)
Place enchilada sauce in shallow bowl. Using tongs, dip each tortilla in oil, coating both sides until softened. Then dip tortilla in enchilada sauce. Transfer to a plate. Repeat for all tortillas, stacking on top of each other. Place cheeses in a bowl. Working with one tortilla at a time, place 1/4 cup cheese and 1 tablespoon of onions near the edge of the tortilla then roll up and place in baking dish seam side down. Repeat. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Scatter cabbage and tomatoes on top and serve warm. Serve with mole T-bone, refried beans, and Spanish rice.