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!
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 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 11:39 am , on April 12, 2019
Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings “Pineapple Ginger Chicken”, this recipe has become one of my favorite go to meals whenever I have fresh pineapple on hand. It’s bold in flavor yet has a fresh taste, if that makes any sense. I don’t think you would find anything better if you ordered it in a restaurant. The burst of flavors that are in every bite along with the aromatic pineapple, ginger and garlic will enhance your senses for a very satisfying meal. Most recipes I would scale down for just the two of us, but the leftovers taste ever so good the next day.
Posted at 1:41 pm , on March 29, 2019
On our recent visit to the Florida Keys we enjoyed some really tasty seafood. On the last day we packed our bags and started the drive back to the mainland to get ready to catch our flight home. We stopped in Islamorada to have lunch and found this lovely restaurant called Lazy Days where we enjoyed an ocean view lunch from the second story patio. I was intrigued when I read the description of the “Billings Salad”. It was a big bowl of salad greens topped with Coconut Shrimp, Fried Cream Cheese, Apples, Grapes and Caramelized Walnuts with a Raspberry Vinaigrette. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had never heard of fried cream cheese except in a Won Ton and as it turns out, the cream cheese filling tasted just like that. Their fried cream cheese was in the shape of large flat triangles and was warm and creamy. The shrimp and cream cheese completely covered the top of the salad. This salad looks very similar to the salad I had at Lazy Days although I made a couple of substitutions. It’s such a hearty salad and the warm cream cheese really compliments the rest of the ingredients. Whoever created this salad is genious! I’ve never had anything quite like it.
Posted at 9:29 am , on November 20, 2018
For the first time in many years Joe and I will be spending Thanksgiving by ourselves. In years past we always spent the day with Joe’s mom. Our boys would also be there to feast on the traditional turkey and stuffing. This year has been a transitional year, Joe and I moved back to New Mexico about 6 month’s ago. Josh spent a year “down under” for the adventure of a lifetime traveling throughout Australia. He spent 6 month’s working at an observatory near Coonabarabran, which he called his second home. He met so many folks from all over the world and along the way made some lifelong friends. Cameron remains in the Kansas City area and is now part of the management team at Monster Mountain where he continues to share his love of rock climbing indoor and outdoor. He maintains and creates routes for the wall and coaches a group of young climbers that he is so proud of. We have a lot to be thankful for. Josh arrived back in the states on Halloween just in time to pass out candy and stayed with us for the past couple of weeks. He made plans to spend the holiday in California, but before he left for “The Golden State” he wanted us to share a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. I just couldn’t see cooking a turkey with all the side dishes for just the three of us so we cooked up a smaller version that tasted just as good as having a traditional meal. It’s pretty simple and takes way less time to make. We layered slices of toasted artisan bread with baked chicken or (sub turkey breast) layered with stuffing, gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Of course I had to have mashed potatoes and gravy on the side. It is the most delicious meal to make if you want to make a feast for just 2 or 3 people. Also this would be a great way to use any leftovers for those who have a traditional roasted turkey with all the trimmings. Whether you are entertaining for two or want a way to make your leftovers taste just as good as your Thanksgiving meal, give this layered open faced sandwich a try. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Posted at 3:20 pm , on August 16, 2018
It’s chile season here in New Mexico! I have missed you so! It’s been too many years since I’ve been home to enjoy the aroma of roasting chiles in the air. Ask any New Mexican and they will tell you that this is a most special time of year. Today I’m sharing a favorite breakfast dish and taking it up a notch to make it even more scrumptious if that’s possible. An eggs benedict with a fry bread base, topped with bacon, poached eggs and a green chile hollandaise sauce ladled over top. Making this for just the two us us presented a dilemna of scaling everything down from the fry bread to the hollandaise sauce. As much as I tried it’s really perfect for four. It’s also a time sensitive dish to make given that everything needs to be prepped and cooked at the same time. Fortunately for me, Joe volunteered to help out and together we had everything prepared and assembled in no time. When you taste that first bite, your taste buds will swoon. This is by far my favorite hollandaise sauce, so creamy and flavorful with freshly roasted green chile. And if you take the time to make these light and airy fry breads, you will wonder why you haven’t done this sooner. At least that’s what I’m thinking!