Posted at 9:31 am , on November 3, 2020
Recently I came across a recipe for honey mustard coleslaw. It sounded intriguing but at the same time I was skeptical. When it comes to coleslaw I’ve always been about the tried and true recipe which has never failed me. I decided to just go with it and picked up a bag of pre-chopped cabbage and added my own spicy honey mustard sauce. To my surprise it was delicious! And it makes a great chicken sandwich which was too good not to share. If there were any doubts, I can truly say this is one of my favorite ways to dress a sandwich. I think I will try it next on some pulled pork or pulled chicken.
Posted at 9:42 am , on October 30, 2020
Week No. 3 . . . The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is an 83-mile loop through the mountains, valleys, mesa’s and national forestland of Northern New Mexico. The loop goes from Taos to Questa to Red River to Eagle Nest to Angel Fire and back around to Taos. This picture was taken along the Rio Grande River between Espanola and Taos. Taos had by far the best fall colors with the Cottonwood trees ablaze with golden leaves. Most of these pictures were taken as we were driving but we did stop occasionally to capture some panoramic photos. Along the way the scenery changes from the Taos colors to the valleys of Angel Fire. The lake at Eagle Nest is so picturesque with the sparkling blue water with the hilltop landscape in the background. Red River is a tourist haven nestled in the mountains with pine trees, rivers and ponds. It’s always cooler up in the northern part of the state and a great getaway to cool off in the summer month’s or enjoy skiing in the winter. Taos is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s the most charming little town with unique local artists displaying their works in and around town. Whenever you visit New Mexico this might be the perfect place to start.
Posted at 10:24 am , on October 28, 2020
We first visited the 4th of July trailhead in August. We were looking for a place to hike where it was cooler because at that time the temperature was quite warm in Albuquerque and was too hot for outdoor activities. 4th of July trailhead is located on the south and west side of the Manzano Mountains. It’s about 1 1/2 hours to get to the trailhead with the last 6 miles being a dusty dirt road dotted with big rocks and potholes to navigate through. It’s slow going that last bit but well worth the trip. When the colors began to change we knew that 4th of July trail would be packed with people on the weekend with very little parking so we went during the week. We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon. As it turned out our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was lower and coming through the trees lighting them up in their most vibrant colors. From the August greenery to the October colors, the trail was indescribable. I wouldn’t have recognized it had we not just been there a couple month’s earlier. The colors were even more vibrant that I could imagine. And as we walked I tried to get every color of leaf which ranged from an off white to a vibrant purple. Almost every color was represented and it reminded me of an enchanted forest from a fairy tale. I can’t imagine another place quite like 4th of July trailhead! Come take a walk with us and enjoy the colors of New Mexico!
Posted at 10:25 am , on October 26, 2020
Since Joe and I returned to New Mexico we’ve enjoyed taking day trips and hiking trails that are new to us. This year we were determined to see some of the fall colors around the state. We spent 3 weekends in October exploring different areas, each one offering a distinctive experience. The first weekend we went north to the ski valley near Santa Fe to hike the Aspen Vista Trail which is about 11 miles round trip. And no we didn’t make it the entire way but we did walk about 7 of the 11 miles. The Aspens are plentiful and they are spectacular! The golden yellow leaves at times look as if they are on fire. The early morning hours are the quiet times when the trails are less traveled and we can take our time to enjoy the view. With Covid 19 spiking again and nothing to do it seemed like everyone had the same idea to get away and enjoy the beautiful leaf tour. By driving to the trails early, we could easily get a parking spot and enjoy the trails with a handful of early birds. By lunchtime it’s a different story, many more folks just getting started as we wind our way back. We always pack a picnic lunch and find a spot to enjoy the view. It’s a serene time to get away in this year 2020. We are fortunate to be able to travel an hour or two to a beautiful haven in which to get away and forget the worries of the world if only for one day!
Posted at 10:53 am , on October 23, 2020
My husband Joe is a steak and potatoes kind of guy. I have to be creative sometimes to come up with different ways to serve it so it’s not the same old dish time after time. This idea came from a pinterest photo that looked like stir fried steak and potatoes. However when I tried to connect to the recipe it was no longer available so I just went by the picture and took ideas on how to make it my own. The picture clearly had steak, potatoes, corn and red pepper plus some green herbs that were not distinguishable. And it also looked like it had some type of sauce, perhaps Siracha or salsa with pepper flakes. It looked so appetizing I thought I would give it a try. Instead of making it a wok dish I decided to cook some things on the grill and then add everything together in a cast iron skillet with salsa to bind it together. It was truly delicious and spicy.
Posted at 10:14 am , on October 9, 2020
Awhile back I picked up some red plums that were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. They were naturally sweet and flavorful, perfect for making jam. I’ve only made jam a few times but I’m learning more through each process. To preserve the jam I like to pack it in jars and seal using a hot water bath. It’s easy and has so far been very reliable. The one thing I’ve found is that the more naturally sweet your fruit is, the less sugar you need to add. Ball has a “Low or No Sugar” pectin that is an easy way to thicken your jam without all the sugar. Now that I’ve figured that out I plan to pick fruit when it is in season and at the height of sweetness. If you make a few jars here and there you will have a variety of jam to enjoy for several month’s or share with family and friends.
Posted at 12:42 pm , on September 25, 2020
There are recipes that I’ve collected over the years that I have tucked away. Along with my hand written recipe cards and favorite cookbooks, I have kept some old magazines that have tried and true recipes that are like an old friend. I pull them out from time to time and the other day I came across an old Good Housekeeping magazine from March, 1988. On the cover is Elizabeth Taylor and one of the articles is on the International Hamburger Cookbook with recipes from countries around the world. I tried several of their recipes but the one that stands out is the Spanish Beef and Potato Pie. Throughout the years I’ve made this dish many times but I’ve added a New Mexican twist with roasted red and green chiles, often called Autumn roast, and seasoned with a green chile salt blend. It’s so delicious and makes a complete meal. Just yesterday Joe and I went to Sichlers and got some red and green chile. They roasted it separately but within the green batch there were several chiles starting to turn red. I was so happy to have a batch that I could freeze together for an Autumn roast blend. And the roasted red is so good this year, a bit hotter than the green but with that hint of sweetness that makes it so perfect. Earlier in the season we picked up a small amount of green chiles so I am beyond myself with the good fortune of having a variety of roasted chiles to experiment with. Hope you enjoy this NM Inspired Spanish Beef and Potato Pie, it is delicious, I promise!
Posted at 12:41 pm , on September 18, 2020
Some of the best gyros I’ve ever tasted were from our time in Detroit and Kansas City. We moved to from Albuquerque to Detroit in 1990 where I got to see where Joe grew up in the great state of Michigan. At that time we had two little boys under the age of 3 years old and didn’t get to eat out much. One time Joe surprised me with tickets to go see the Detroit Red Wings play hockey. Growing up in New Mexico I knew nothing about hockey but the experience was thrilling and I immediately became a fan. Joe Louis Arena was located downtown and we would park and ride the people mover transportations rails to get to the arena. Greektown which had some amazing food was located on one of the people mover stops so we would park there and grab a bite to eat before heading over to the game. If you are ever in Detroit and need a great place to eat, visit Olga’s Kitchen or any one of the great restaurants in Greektown. We also had some great Greek food in Kansas City. I loved the gyros at Mr. Gyros which was one of our frequent haunts in KC. One thing about Mr. Gyros is that the servings are huge and everything tastes fresh. This year has been challenging at best to find those those “little known” restaurants here in Albuquerque, especially not being able to sit down and experience a meal indoors. We rarely go out except for takeout and I haven’t found a great Greek restaurant yet to recommend here in ABQ. I’m sure it’s out there, I just haven’t found it! Sorry for the long story but I have been craving a gyro which always brings back memories. I went with grilled chicken gyros which tasted so good with homemade warm flat breads wrapped around Greek and lemon seasoned chicken. The marinade made the chicken tender and juicy. With some tzatziki sauce and freshly sliced tomato and red onion it was one of the tastiest wraps I’ve ever had. I’m a tough critic when it comes to gyros and this one is one of the best!
Posted at 3:11 pm , on September 11, 2020
One of the first things I learned about Joe is his love for cajun/creole food. I didn’t grow up with it and neither did he but his family traveled quite a lot and he had opportunities to experience many different cultures and local flavors. He always remembered the spicy flavors of New Orleans as one of his favorite trips. Joe and I went to New Orleans a few years back and we sampled many of the delectable dishes that the locals enjoy. The etouffee was so memorable and one of the best things I ever ate. To make it easier on myself and anyone else who is intimidated with cajun or creole cooking I broke the recipe down into 3 parts. First I started by making the broth earlier in the day. Once the roux and stew/gravy comes together it should simmer for 20 minutes giving sufficient time to make the rice. And lastly the shrimp was cooked separately which only took a few minutes from start to finish and was ready at just the right time to top the bowl off. I found that the shrimp was cooked perfectly and did not overcook as it might have if simmered in the gravy for a longer period of time. I thought it was visually appealing with the layered rice and etouffee gravy topped by the shrimp. As with most dishes that have a spice blend the flavors develop over time. The first bowl needed a little kick so I added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, however when we had leftovers the next day, all the flavors had time to meld together and it tasted even better.
Posted at 9:57 am , on August 28, 2020
Calabacitas is a staple side dish here in New Mexico. I wouldn’t say my version is traditional but it’s pretty close. I like to make myself a little batch this time of year when there is fresh corn and tomatoes available. I prefer zucchini squash over summer yellow squash, however I see many recipes with a combination of the two, and really how could you go wrong with either one. This was a side dish to chile rellenos and the next day I filled a couple tacos with the leftovers. It makes a really good vegetarian taco, just add some sliced avocado and queso fresco cheese. Calabacitas is a tasty side to any Mexican dish but it’s especially good when made with fresh ingredients. If you would like some additional ideas for how to incorporate calabacitas into other recipes you should go over to MJ’s Kitchen. MJ has made some wonderful meals including her latest Calabacitas Quiche.