Posted at 1:18 pm by NativeNM, on November 7, 2022
Over the last week of October, Joe and I took a few days to get away and enjoy a change in scenery. We recently celebrated our 40th Anniversary and wanted to go somewhere beautiful but within driving distance. Sedona is only a few hours away and we found it one of the most beautiful hidden gems of the Southwest. Nestled in the Red Rock country of northern Arizona’s high desert, Sedona is surrounded by towering red rocks, flat topped buttes, and steep canyons . There are dozens of hiking trails to choose from and if that’s not your thing, you can hire tour guides that will take you to all the stunning destinations while making stops along the way for photos. There are many vacation rentals, resorts and spas available to those who like to be pampered. And I would recommend stopping at Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village for some unique shopping and art galleries. We found a comfortable vacation rental located near Thunder Mountain which was close to many of the hiking trails we had planned. Many of the trailhead parking lots filled up early so we made a point of getting up early and heading out to beat the crowds. Our mornings started out just above 40 degrees with full sunshine. After walking only a few minutes we would begin to warm up and take off a layer or two of clothing. We took our time enjoying the stunning views of the rock formations around and above us. Joe had a bucket list hikes with the Subway Cave at the top of the list. The Boynton Trail led us to the Subway Cave which was our favorite and most challenging day. There is a bit of a climb to say the least to get up to the area of the cave where you can view the stunning landscape of the Boynton Canyon pictured above. Whatever the occasion, Sedona is a place surrounded by serenity and beauty with a mild climate that provides a unique getaway anytime of year!
Posted at 1:18 pm by NativeNM, on September 28, 2022
I’ve taken some time off to enjoy the last days of summer. The last few weekends we’ve been hiking and traveling to some of our favorite places like Santa Fe and Taos. Pretty soon the fall colors will be dotting the landscape and we’ll be out again enjoying the crisp air and taking photos. But throughout August and September we’ve been enjoying New Mexico’s green chile season. It’s one of our favorite times of the year with the aroma of green chile roasting in the air, well there’s nothing better. This green chile and cheese quiche has been on my bucket list for awhile and it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. I thought a hash brown crust seemed appropriate for this particular quiche and it turned out so good. I simplified the prep work by using dehydrated hash browns to make the crust. I’ve tried several recipes using them and they always come out just as good if not better than making hash browns from scratch. Once the crust is prepped I added a layer of grated cheese and then poured the green chile and egg mixture over top. This savory quiche baked to perfection leaving a crispy outer crust with fluffy eggs and spicy chile in every bite. I added a few bacon bits on top for Joe and I but you can keep it vegetarian if you like. We ate half of it over the weekend and saved the leftovers for later. Would you believe the leftovers were even better the next day? Oh yes they were!
Posted at 10:37 am by NativeNM, on September 2, 2022
The Sandia Mountains are located just east of Albuquerque and provide a picturesque view over the city. The Sandia’s were named for the watermelon color that they display during the evening hours of sunset. When that happens it’s quite stunning to see those vibrant colors but usually it only lasts for a few minutes. There are numerous trails on either side of the mountain but up on top is where Joe and I love to go. You can drive all the way to the top where there are easy to moderate trails that head along the rim either to the north or south. With every mile upward the altitude reduces the temperature making it a very comfortable place to hike and explore in the summer. Joe and I recently celebrated our 40th anniversary and spent the day up on top of Sandia Crest. We enjoyed a gorgeous day with amazing views. The landscape is so green from the recent rains, and the wildflowers are blooming in every color of the rainbow. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a day more! I hope you enjoy some of the highlights!
Over the weekend, Joe and I spent a day in Taos, NM. We love Taos for their small town charm, the local artistry and the food! We could spend hours walking through the plaza, surrounding shops and art galleries. On Saturdays the plaza is packed with a farmer’s market, artisan breads, local crafts and music. When we started to get hungry we stopped at a food cart for some street tacos. We ordered a Carne Asada and a Poblano taco which were both amazing! The poblano tacos had a miso vinaigrette which sounded a bit strange (at least to me) but it really worked. Joe absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it so I took a picture of the menu with the intention of recreating it at home. Since it’s green chile season here in NM I thought I would use them in place of the poblano. I picked up some “Hatch” green chile and fresh corn at the market and roasted them on the grill. Then I prepped the miso vinaigrette and made a small batch of picked red onions in the morning so that they had time to marinate. With all the prep work taken care of, the tacos took no time at all to put together. My Hatch green chile had a bit more kick than the poblano version but no matter what you choose your taste buds will smile. There are so many flavors going on in these little tacos and it all comes together in a very good way!
Another year, another birthday pie! Every summer I make myself a peach pie, cobbler or crisp with different variations of crusts, toppings or sometimes pairing peaches with berries. A couple month’s ago I came across a recipe for “Apricot, Blue Corn and Pecan Crisp” from FarmersMarketNM.org with an amazing topping that I couldn’t resist. It reminded me of my “Peach Pie with Pecan Crumble”, that I made a few years back, but with a new twist. The most delicious peach pies starts with summer ripened peaches. In my experience, mid to late July is the best time to start finding those juicy, flavorful peaches that taste so good. And then you have to decide what kind of topping, whether it be a traditional crust or a crumble topping made with oats and flour, butter, sugar and nuts. This topping with blue corn flour has a slightly different texture; you may find it more grainy than using all purpose flour but it has a hint of saltiness in the topping that tastes so good with the sweet peaches. Add a dollop of vanilla ice cream and you will have the perfect summer dessert!
August in New Mexico means it’s green chile season! The harvesting has begun and any day now you may start seeing “Hatch” green chile in your grocery store no matter where you live. The roasters are fired up and the aroma of roasted green chile is in the air. As soon as I found them in the grocery store I picked up a dozen and roasted them myself on the grill. They had the perfect amount of heat and had so much flavor. I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate green chile into everyday recipes and thought it might taste good in a loaded baked potato salad. Oh my goodness, this turned out better than I could have imagined. Joe isn’t a fan of traditional potato salads but he loves this version. Instead of mayo I used a low fat sour cream and seasoned it with dehydrated green chile powder, salt and garlic powder. Limiting the cheese and bacon makes for a lighter version but didn’t skimp on flavor. Adding roasted green chile was the perfect addition to the mix. Try it fresh when the potatoes are still warm enough to slightly melt the cheese. You will be amazed when you take a bite of the warm cheese and green chile combined with the creamy potatoes. It’s Muy Bueno!
After a tumultuous drought season in New Mexico with record fires, we’ve finally received some much needed rain. The monsoon season arrived in June and gave our national forests some relief. Many of our national forests, state parks and many other trails had been closed to the public due to fire safety. I am happy to say that most if not all are now open. Joe and I couldn’t be happier and anxious to get back up north where the weather is cooler amid so many beautiful hiking trails. Bandelier National Monument is an archaeological site with the remains of cliff dwellings nestled in the Frijoles Canyon. Along the Pueblo Loop trail you will see the tall cliffs that provide natural caves large enough for shelter which we were able to enter by climbing ladders. Some of these ladders are quite high and not for the faint of heart if you have a fear of heights. Halfway through the loop trail is the Alcove House which is a ceremonial cave with a reconstructed kiva. After we successfully climbed to the Alcove House we made the loop back and took the Frey Trail to the top of the Frijoles Rim Mesa where we enjoyed stunning views of the canyon and the layout of the circular remains of a pueblo village below. There are numerous trails within and surrounding the Frijoles Canyon from easy short trails to strenuous long distance trails that you can backpack with a permit. For now I hope you will enjoy our trip to Bandelier National Monument, who knows, you may want to explore it too!
Recently I cleaned out the freezer, something I do every few month’s. You know how it goes when we add things to the freezer and some things get pushed to the back and forgotten. I found a bag of vacuum sealed shrimp that I had put up a couple month’s ago. Since it’s grilling season, I immediately thought shrimp tacos would taste mighty good, especially with some mango or pineapple salsa and crunchy cabbage. I went to the store to pick up some fruit and cabbage. I found ripe mangos but the pineapple would need a few days, so it’s mango salsa tonight. This meal is a simple way to have a colorful tasty meal with little effort. I love the taste of grilled shrimp with tropical fruit. And the finely chopped cabbage adds a bit of crunch which makes these tacos look and taste like they came off a food truck.
Hummus has been the snack of choice for Joe lately. He is an early riser and about 10 am he wants a snack to get him through until lunch. I’ve been picking up hummus spread from the store to snack on with crackers during the week, however he was getting tired of the same flavors. So I asked what sounded good to him and of course he wanted chile. So the next question was red or green? He picked roasted red chile which turned out to be a great choice. Chile that is grown in New Mexico is harvested when it is green, but some are left on the vine to mature which turns red. Many of the mature red chiles will be strung together in chile ristras to dry out. Those pods when dried can be used to make red chile sauce or ground into powder for spice blends. Some farms will roast the mature red chiles at the end of the harvest and those are what I’m adding to the hummus today. Roasted red chile can sometimes be spicier than green but has a hint of sweetness which gives it a unique taste. That unique flavor works well in this hummus spread.
Here’s my debut smoked chicken in the pellet smoker. I’ve roasted chicken in the oven or charcoal grill but never like this. The chicken cooks so evenly and gives the skin a crisp texture that tastes so good. I made a spice rub mixed with red chile, spices and lime olive oil to make a paste that I rubbed all over this bird. I also loosened the outer skin around the breast, legs and thighs, then rubbed the paste between the meat and skin. I learned this trick from Chef Paul Prudhomme. Adding the spice rub under the skin absorbs into the meat as it cooks, adding flavor. We made some fajitas with chicken, roasted veggies, salsa and guacamole. I could tell you how much we enjoyed this meal, however I think the pictures will describe the deliciousness better than my words. At least I hope so!