Posted at 9:56 am , on October 25, 2019
There’s nothing I love more than Green Chile Sauce smothered over a favorite burrito, enchilada or navajo taco. I have been experimenting for years trying to mimic the taste found at our favorite restaurants. Here in NM you will find green chile sauce on the shelves of grocery stores, many from the restaurants that we frequently eat at. Trying to replicate that magical taste has always eluded me; until now. Nearly every recipe I find online or in cookbooks have the same basic ingredients of green chile, onion, garlic and salt with variations of spices, sometimes adding cumin or oregano. I’ve made them all and although they are good, they just don’t have that perfect taste and appearance that I’ve longed to make. When in doubt go to the ingredients listed on your favorite jar. I was surprised to find that every jar of green chile in my pantry listed lime juice and no onion. Of all the recipes I’ve tried there wasn’t a single one that added lime juice. The moment I took that first taste, it was like the genie had been let out of the bottle. Lime juice was the missing ingredient!
Posted at 1:31 pm , on October 22, 2019
Scones were the first thing that come to mind when I made prickly pear jelly. I had just found a recipe online for tea scones and thought they would be perfect with my jelly. Honestly, I could eat scones every day of the week with their slightly sweetened dough and crunchy texture. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a biscuit and a scone. They are quite similar but a scone has an egg added to the dough while a biscuit does not. Who wouldn’t want to pry one apart and add a spoonful of your favorite jelly or jam. One thing I’ve learned since we moved to a higher altitude is that recipes with a leavening agent need to be adjusted. Here in Albuquerque we are above 5000 ft. sea level where Kansas City is below 1000 ft. sea level. My cookies and scones were expanding way too much so decreasing the baking soda or baking powder became necessary. Also I have experienced having to alter the amount of wet ingredients to dry when making a dough. Our dry climate makes it sometimes necessary to add additional liquids to bind the dough together. Something I need to remember when baking!
Posted at 8:42 am , on October 10, 2019
I set aside two jars of prickly pear juice to make jelly. It reminded me of my Mom and how she used to can everything including jellies and jams in big huge canning pots. This was a much smaller scale so I found a different method to preserve the jelly by covering the sealed jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. When they cooled you could hear the lids make that popping sound that tells you they are sealed. I found some low sugar pectin which allowed me to cut down on the sugar as well as quicken the process. In no time I had a little more than 3 jars of prickly pear jelly. I couldn’t wait to taste it so I made a batch of tea scones to go with the jelly . . . absolutely delicious!
Posted at 1:24 pm , on October 9, 2019
When making the prickly pear syrup, I must confess it took two tries. I looked up recipes on pinterest and it appeared to be a simple process of mixing the prickly pear juice with water, sugar and lime juice and cooking it down to a syrup. I tried this method and although I stirred it often, it had a burned taste as if it were scorched. I tried it in my lemonade and believe me it was awful!! So I decided that the juice was the star of the show and all it needed was to be thickened into a syrup. I tried making a simple syrup first along with the lime juice and adding the prickly pear juice at the end of the process and it tasted fruity and delicious. One cup of prickly pear juice made 2 1/2 cups of syrup. I put aside the two cups into 1/2 pint jars and saved the rest. It adds a refreshing fruity taste to any tea or lemonade.
Posted at 1:50 pm , on October 8, 2019
Joe and I first tasted prickly pear jelly and syrup at the Downtown Growers Market here in Albuquerque. They were passing out samples and I loved it at first taste. You will find prickly pear cactus plants in most neighborhoods here in Albuquerque, I thought surely I would be able to find the ripened fruit in a local fruit market but so far I haven’t found any. My niece offered me the fruit aka “tuna” off her cactus and I happily took her up on her offer. So Joe and I went over with gloves and tongs and picked two bags full. It was about 6 pounds of raw fruit and made just over 6 cups of juice. I wasn’t exactly sure how to prep them but knew that the prickly splinters aka “glochids” needed to be removed. We have a small weed burner that we used to burn off the glochids. As Joe was burning them off we noticed that the fruit reacted like a roasted chile with the fruit blistering and the outer skin separating from the fruit. At that point I decided to steam them like a chile to see if that would make peeling them easier. I placed them in 3 bowls with tight lids and refrigerated them overnight. The next morning I set up my kitchen to work up the fruit. I sliced them in half and scooped out the fruit like you would an avocado. It was so easy and in no time I had a big bowl of prickly pear fruit ready to process. I pureed the fruit in a blender and strained the pulp to remove the seeds. Then I ladled the juice into 1/2 pint jars. With this juice you can make any number of things from jelly and syrup to candy or sorbet. I’ve even found pies and cheesecakes that have been flavored with this sweet nectar. I went into this as an experiment and found it a tasty adventure. This year I made jelly and syrup but next time I may try something more adventurous.
Posted at 10:17 am , on September 20, 2019
When I made the carne adovada earlier in the week, I packaged most of it for the freezer. But I set aside just enough along with the reserved red chile sauce to make chimichangas like I had at “Little Anitas”. I promise you will love these chimi’s smothered in red and green chile with melted cheese. On the side I added some charro beans and a tamale for Joe. Every bite can only be described as a taste sensation so take time to savor every bite. This is one of those times when I wish I had a bigger stomach, but leftovers for lunch the next day was delicious! Once you have carne adovada on hand, the chimi’s are a breeze to make.
Posted at 1:59 pm , on September 17, 2019
One of my new obsessions is Carne Adovada. Carne adovada is cuts of pork that has simmered in red chile for several hours. It’s so flavorful you could eat it straight out of the bowl by itself. However, most of the time it’s used as a filling for enchiladas, tacos, burritos, chimichangas or sopaipillas. Every time Joe and I go out for Mexican food, I try both red and green chile which is referred to as “Christmas” so that I can find the best tasting red and green chile around town. One of the most memorable meals we had this summer was at Little Anitas, a family owned retaurant that’s been around for 40 years. I ordered the carne adovada chimichanga smothered with both red and green chile. I can’t say enough about how much I loved their chimi. The meat was so flavorful and tender, however it was milder than it appeared. Every bite was enhanced by the combination of red and green chile with melting cheese. I couldn’t wait to come home and jot down some notes on what I tasted and what made it taste so good. I first made a sauce with just NM red chile pods which is the traditional way but it turned out way too spicy for this girl. Then I made a sauce with half NM red chiles and half Guajillo chiles. The heat of the sauce was still a bit on the hot side but it turned out to be our sauce of choice. I think if you like red chile sauce, it’s fun to mix and match the dried chiles to get different flavors. For example I have always loved the taste of Ancho chiles and still to this day add them to some recipes. The color of the sauce will vary because of the colors of the dried chiles. Anchos are very tasty but make a very dark red, almost rusty red sauce. I made a big batch so that we could eat what we wanted and freeze the rest. Any leftover carne adovada and sauce will freeze well and make an easy meal next time those cravings kick in.
Posted at 10:23 am , on August 28, 2019
I don’t remember a summer in recent years when I’ve done so much grilling. Good thing I love to grill because my indoor kitchen has been under construction all summer long. I’ve been making the most of it while trying out new recipes. These apricot glazed pork kabobs may be one of the tastiest meals we’ve had all summer. It’s a simple kabob with cubed pork loin and thick sliced bacon. Thick cut bacon is a must or it will char way beyond the crispy caramelized end bits that make this so tasty. I bought a pork loin and sliced it into pork steaks that I could put up in the freezer. Depending on size 2 – 3 thick sliced pork loin steaks plus 4 thick slices of bacon will make plenty for two people. Add some grilled corn, onions, zucchini, or red pepper on the side to complete the meal. Or if you prefer grilled peaches, plums or pineapple also taste great alongside apricot glazed pork.
Posted at 11:54 am , on August 20, 2019
It’s been awhile since I’ve added a recipe. My kitchen has been under construction since mid May which we estimated to complete over a couple month’s. Sometimes well made plans don’t always work out though. We fell behind schedule but hope to have the total remodel completed by the end of August. Joe and I are doing a lot of the work ourselves with a little bit (actually big) help of a contractor who is helping to make it all happen. I haven’t had my stove hooked up until recently but without a sink to clean up, I’ve been making do with a more simple menu, meals that don’t require a stove or extra dishes. I shouldn’t complain though, it’s summer after all and most days I can grill outdoors. This weekend I was inspired by a recipe from “Fork in the Kitchen” , a Burrata Pesto Tomato appetizer that was so visually appealing, I had to give it a try. I tweaked the recipe so that it required no cooking and it turned out oh so good! Once you taste the creamy burrata cheese with freshly made pesto and sun-dried tomatoes layered on soft french bread it’s hard to stop!
Posted at 11:46 am , on June 7, 2019
Is it Summer yet? Maybe not officially, but after Memorial day it feels like summer break for most folks. Time to enjoy being outdoors whether it be time away on vacation, or just getting outside in your own backyard. When my kids were growing up we would make s’mores using the simple ingredients of store bought graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey bars. I’ve been making marshmallow creme for several years and always wondered how s’mores would taste with that delicious whipped creme. Then I thought why not go all the way and make graham crackers too. And you know what . . . they turned out great. I had my doubts, but I am pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to put together and how tasty they are. The marshmallow creme recipe makes approximately 6 cups, more than enough for the graham crackers and chocolate. No worries, there are so many recipes to use marshmallow creme. Some of my favorites are dark chocolate cake with marshmallow creme icing, s’mores blondies, or rice crispy treats!