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 8:17 am , on August 14, 2020
Pimento cheese is a great cheese spread that originated in the south. I can remember eating little finger sandwiches with pimento cheese or served with crackers. These days you might see it added to burgers or BLT’s which got me to thinking . . . what if I gave it some New Mexico flavor with roasted red chile. Roasted red chile can be quite spicy but also has a hint of sweetness that tastes really good in this cheese spread. The flavor is unmatched and enhanced over time as the ingredients blend together. You can also use different cheeses to alter the taste. I made this with cheddar and Monterey jack along with some whipped cream cheese. You can simply blend all the ingredients together for a chunky spread or you can blend it with a hand mixer for a smoother texture. Here in New Mexico chile season is in full swing, the roasters are out and everyone is filling their freezer with green chile. Red chile comes later in the season and is the result of chiles left on the plant which will change in color from green to a vivid red. This is the last of my red chile and I can’t wait until September when I can get some more.
Posted at 11:50 am , on July 31, 2020
If there ever was a sauce that goes with everything it might be Honey Mustard. It’s sweet and tangy and a little bit spicy. It’s best known as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers, but we like to dip veggies, fries and soft pretzels as well. If you’ve never had pretzels and honey mustard sauce you don’t know what you’re missing. One of our local sandwich shops “Cheba Hut” have a menu full of creative sandwiches, but what keeps us going back are the soft pretzel bites with honey mustard sauce. Joe and I found ourselves addicted the first time we ordered them, there’s just something about those salty pretzel bites dipped in tangy honey mustard that tastes so good. But beyond dipping it’s one of our favorite sandwich spreads and salad dressing. It’s the versatile sauce that you can use for many different things. What’s your favorite way to use honey mustard?
Posted at 12:53 pm , on May 26, 2020
If you’ve ever had Tuscan chicken pasta or pizza you might like to try Tuscan Chicken Lasagna. It’s packed with grilled chicken, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and loads of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Most Tuscan chicken recipes are made with a cream sauce but I opted for a traditional red sauce instead and it was quite delicious. Instead of making a big pan of lasagna, I made two smaller ones and placed one in the freezer for later. We enjoyed a side salad and fresh sliced bread to make this meal complete. It easily made 4 meals for the two of us.
Posted at 9:49 am , on May 12, 2020
Mongolian beef is one of my favorite take out dishes. There’s just something about that crispy beef covered in a delectable thick sauce that is packed with flavor and clings to every bite. Asian dishes can sometimes be challenging but since I started following “Woks of Life“, I am learning more about wok cooking and trying new techniques that make Asian food taste so good. This is one of their most popular dishes and I can see why. Ever since they posted instructions on how to prepare beef for stir fry I’ve been anxious to try it out. It cooks up with a crispy texture but so tender it almost melts in your mouth. It’s so good you might think it came from your favorite restaurant. If you love Mongolian Beef, I guarantee you will love this recipe!
Posted at 10:10 am , on April 7, 2020
Smoked sausage skillet meals are so delicious and can be made with many different ingredients to make them savory, sweet or spicy. I had some pineapple chunks in the freezer that would pair well together for a tasty teriyaki skillet dish. Adding rice pilaf on the side complimented the sweet and spicy sausage. With so much free time these days it made sense to assemble all the ingredients and start the prep work early. Once that task was done it took no time at all to put it together. I added some chopped onion and roasted red pepper to the mix but you can use other things that you have on hand including broccoli, carrots or any sweet or bell peppers. For such a simple meal it won’t be soon forgotten.
Posted at 3:56 pm , on December 6, 2019
Do you ever feel nostalgic around the holidays? It can bring back memories of your favorite times with friends and family, at least that happens to me. Recently I came across a folder with my old takeout menu’s that I saved from our favorite restaurants in Kansas City. One of our favorite restaurants was Frida’s, decorated in the art of Frida Kahlo, serving authentic Mexican food that was different than anything we ever tasted in New Mexico. Oh, how we loved that place! Frida’s was popular for a time but ultimately closed it’s doors in the summer of 2016. However, I saved their menu which described their dishes in great detail. I re-created their Caldo Tlapeno a few years ago which is one of my favorite soups to date. Joe’s favorite dish was the Chile en Nogada. Translation . . . it’s poblano chiles stuffed with meat, fruits and spices topped with a cream sauce and pomegranate seeds called nogada. It’s a beautiful dish with the aroma and colors of the holidays. With pomegranates in season I thought it was time to re-create this dish at home. Surprisingly it was very easy to make and captured the taste and appearance we remembered so fondly.
Posted at 2:09 pm , on December 3, 2019
Green chile is a staple here in NM with the harvest beginning in early August. Around mid September until the first frost, the chiles that are left on the plant will begin to mature and turn the most magnificent color of red. You might think they are used mainly to string chile ristras that will be dried and eventually ground into chile powder. This is true, however some of the local farms will pick the red chiles at their peak and roast them just like green chiles. They tend to have a hint of sweetness but can also taste hotter than the green chiles. As they mature their outer skin becomes thicker which can make them easier to peel or harder depending on who roasts it. I’ve had some bad experiences over the years and it’s worth it to find out who is roasting your chile and how much experience they have. I haven’t had much luck finding recipes using roasted red chiles, however I always wanted to try it with a creamy pasta. Actually it tasted better than I could have imagined. The sweet heat from the chiles compliment the creamy cheese sauce which clings to every strand of pasta. This has become one of our new comfort foods that we can’t get enough of, at least until the chile runs out . . .
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 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!