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!
Posted at 10:40 am , on September 6, 2018
Summer is almost over and I’m not ready to let it go. I still have places to explore, farmers markets to visit, things to grill outdoors. I’m just getting used to the daily routine of being in a new home, getting familiar with new surroundings and finding my way around a new kitchen. For others it probably would be a breeze, but for me it takes time. Yes, summer is leaving and fall is just around the corner. It won’t be long before summer grilling turns into fall baking and soups for the soul. It may be late in the summer but I’m still enjoying the farm grown tomatoes which highlight this incredible grilled cheese. Envision crisp bacon strips, tomato slices and grated cheese between two slices of Josh’s artisan bread, toasted on a hot cast iron comal. That makes one great sandwich! And for a slightly different taste, add a few slices of avocado. Maybe next time I’ll try a fried egg on top, I can only imagine how good that would be!
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!
Posted at 10:11 am , on March 2, 2018
Those who are close to me know that I am no fan of coconut, however I do like fried coconut shrimp. It’s a weird thing, I know, most people love coconut but it’s never been my thing. I think one reason why I like this coconut shrimp is that the coconut is fried and has a toasted flavor. I also like the crunchy texture versus fresh coconut which reminds me of eating sweet grass. My whole family loves coconut shrimp plus they’re quick and easy to make. I found endless recipes for Red Lobster’s coconut shrimp which taste pretty darn close to the original. Most people deep fry their shrimp, however I pan fried them which worked just as well and made for a much easier clean-up.
Posted at 10:02 am , on January 12, 2018
It’s hard to believe I’ve never posted a recipe for pasta carbonara before now. It has to be one of my top all time favorite pasta dishes. Often referred to as bacon and eggs pasta, it’s traditionally made with bacon or Pancetta, egg yolks whisked with pasta water and a hard cheese such as Parmesan or Romano. When I’m in a pinch for time it’s the perfect recipe because I always have bacon, eggs and cheese on hand. It’s also the perfect recipe to experiment with. I ‘ve found that a few additions to this basic recipe can take it to another level of goodness. My personal favorite is the addition of sun dried tomatoes. You can’t beat the taste of creamy pasta with bits of bacon and sun dried tomatoes. And if you like it spicy, add some red and black pepper. Today I seared shrimp and scallops with blackening seasoning to go on top of the pasta. Oh my gosh, it was so good!
Posted at 9:50 am , on January 5, 2018
Early last December Joe and I visited Panama City Beach, FL for a short getaway. We thought a visit to the Sunshine State before Christmas would be a great time to get away without all the crowds and have the beach to ourselves. We were prepared for cooler weather but determined to enjoy the sunshine and white sandy beaches. Little did we know Mother Nature had other ideas. It was unusually cold and rained the entire time we were there. We rented a little condo on the beach where you walk off your deck straight onto the beautiful white sand. It would have been paradise had the wind not been so blustery with cold rain coming off the ocean. Mostly we just looked out the window because it was just too cold to venture out. We expected mid 50’s and got 30 and 40 degree weather, brrrr. It wasn’t a total loss, we went out to the movies and found a couple museums to wander around. We decided we would splurge for a big breakfast, skip lunch and find some good seafood to eat for dinner. My favorite breakfast was from Andy’s Flour Power Cafe and Bakery. I had the french toast plate with thick slices of french toast topped with candied pecans and fresh strawberries. I loved every bite and vowed to recreate it one day. This is my version of the Flour Power French Toast!
Posted at 9:06 am , on December 19, 2017
This is Josh’s recipe for Crusty Artisan Bread. He’s always been the bread maker in this family and makes the most beautiful loaves of bread. He would tell you it doesn’t always come out perfect but I have yet to taste any bread that he has made that didn’t taste absolutely delicious! Since I can’t count of Josh for making the bread this year for the holidays (he is off on an adventure in Australia), I decided to give his recipe a try. He left me his big bread bowl and his oval dutch oven so I am using them for good luck. Josh told me not to over knead the dough, just incorporate the ingredients and let them sit out to proof for up to 24 hours. That was hard for me, I have made the artisan bread that you refrigerate but never let it sit out at room temp for that long. After agonizing over the process, I decided to trust his technique and it turned out great. I’ve made 3 loaves so far and they have all turned out as good as any you would find at a bakery. This one is the last loaf I made and it was incredibly light and airy with the perfect artisan crust. Practice does make perfect!