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 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 10:39 am , on May 10, 2019
Breakfast in New Mexico is an experience unlike anything you might taste elsewhere. The combination of red or green chile, beans, potatoes and eggs along with tortillas or sopaipillas are common. In many restaurants you will find breakfast served all day, every day. The breakfast menu’s of today are more creative and amazing than ever. Most weekends Joe and I will go out for breakfast or lunch to try some of the local favorites around town. We found a gem in “Hot Tamales” located in Rio Rancho. We have been there several times and have been impressed each time by the flavors and creativity they inspire. One of Joe’s favorite meals is #64 Relleno and Eggs. It is described as a green chile cheese relleno with 2 eggs any style, topped with your choice of red or green chile and served with papitas and a sopaipilla. Now that’s a breakfast!! Anytime we talk about breakfast “Hot Tamales” comes up, and is also the inspiration for this breakfast skillet dish. Enjoy!
Posted at 1:23 pm , on March 12, 2019
As promised, I have another way to use the sauce that makes the best Al Pastor tacos. Taquitos are something I grew up on and have loved all my life. They are basically rolled tacos made with corn tortillas and filled with anything from ground beef to chicken to pork to steak; really you can fill them with anything that tastes good. And the fun part is that they are the best finger food made for dipping. Usually I dip them in guacamole or salsa but today I am going with green chile dip. Pork is the traditional meat when making Al Pastor and I’m going to take a small pork roast and cook it low and slow until it will easily pull apart with 2 forks. It may not be the traditional way of making Al Pastor pork but it’s just might just be the tastiest to roll up inside a tortilla yet. There’s not much else to say, except you gotta try these!
Posted at 4:04 pm , on February 22, 2019
I may have mentioned that we vacationed in the Florida Keys recently. We met up with Joe’s brother Chuck and our sister in law, Melody (whom I affectionately refer to as my sister of the heart). Mel found a little cafe tucked in the heart of Key West called Cuban Coffee Queen. She was an instant fan of their coffee and sandwiches and I am so glad she suggested we stop by for a quick bite. Her favorite is the Cuban Mix which is a more traditional Cuban sandwich with Mojo pork, sliced ham, cheese, pickles, mustard; you know what I’m talking about. But they also made some sandwiches that varied a bit from the traditional Cuban. I was intrigued by the Jose Marti which was loaded with Mojo pork, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and a horseradish mayo. Joe loves the traditional Cuban but I talked him into splitting a Jose Marti with me and it was fantastic. I immediately wanted to recreate it when we got home, of course Joe wanted his traditional Cuban with mustard and pickles so I made one of each. I researched how to make Mojo pork and found there are two ways to go about it. I could cook it low and slow in a citrus marinade until it pulls apart like shredded pork or marinate the pork first then roast it until the outer layer has caramelized leaving the inside of the pork moist and tender. I chose the latter and cut it into small bite size pieces to pile on our sandwiches. They tasted so good and much like the sandwiches we ate at the Cuban Coffee Queen. I can’t wait to make them again!
Posted at 11:43 am , on February 1, 2019
Lately the weather has been a bit on the extreme side, don’t you think! While the Polar Vortex is chilling the Midwest and our Eastern shores, we here in the Southwest are enjoying mostly sunshine and 50 degree temperatures. My boys are both in KC and have said it can be brutal one day and feels almost balmy the next at 20 degrees or better. I remember those times when it was so cold. We would hunker down in front of the fireplace with a good book and a bowl of soup. This is my comfort soup, the soup for the soul or maybe the soup that just makes everything better! It’s rich and creamy with loads of flavor and a little kick of spice at the end. And to top it off, add a touch of bacon bits, grated cheddar and sliced green onion. Where ever you are, stay safe and stay warm!
Posted at 9:41 am , on October 29, 2018
There are a lot of versions of Shepherd’s Pie, depending on where you grew up or what part of the country you reside. I’ve always viewed it as a casserole made up of seasoned ground beef and mixed vegetables topped with buttery mashed potatoes. It’s been forever since I’ve made a traditional Shepherd’s Pie simply because Joe doesn’t like many of the vegetables. However, the one thing that will entice him to taste something new is to add green chile, so I made a Shepherds pie with green chile as the main event. And to my amazement he liked it, so much so that I didn’t have to eat leftovers all week. Here in New Mexico the leaves are changing color and it’s damp with rain showers that are welcome, however the fall temperatures are dropping which sometimes makes it feel more like a winter day. On days like these I find myself yearning for some comfort food to take away the chills. Sitting in front of the fire with a warm shepherd’s pie takes away that chill, at least for a little while.
Posted at 2:11 pm , on September 28, 2018
Before we moved back to New Mexico, Joe and I had one last breakfast at “First Watch”, one of our favorites. They serve breakfast and lunch and we always have a hard time deciding because everything on their menu sounds and tastes so good. Occasionally they add a few seasonal items to the menu that is served for a short period of time. This was one of them. I have always been a fan of lemon and strawberries and these toppers take the cake . . . or should I say pancake! Usually I go for something savory like a benedict or toasted sandwich with fruit on the side but on this day I was craving something sweeter. And while the strawberries were perfectly sweet, the lemon curd was quite tart. Maple syrup was on the table but after the first bite there was no need to add anything more. The pancakes were light and slightly creamy like a dutch baby, with a crispy outer crust. When I taste a dish this delicious I usually write it down with notes as to the ingredients, taste, and texture for future reference. It’s taken me awhile to recreate this one but it was well worth the wait!