For the past few month’s I’ve been partnering with NM Dept. of Agriculture on a campaign to promote local New Mexico products. I try to come up with creative recipes using these products in ways that may seem “outside the box”. This week I tried a soup mix from Cibolo Junction and a dressing mix from Jillipepper. With the weather turning warmer soup isn’t ideal so I used the mix to make Braised Chicken and Rice. The ingredients list is light on the details but it includes different types of chiles, cilantro and lime with rice. It sounds Southwest but Joe and I both agreed that it had a lot of Cajun flavors going on. A possibility might be because I used less liquid and the flavors were enhanced. It was quite tasty and Joe (who loves Cajun dishes) really enjoyed it. This was paired with a simple salad on the side with Jillipepper’s Dress It mix. This dressing mix was one of the best things I’ve tried yet. I used it as a marinade for chicken, a dressing for pasta salad and had a little bit left over for our salads here. The one thing I’ve found is that using good local products helps our economy and can make our meals a bit easier to prepare. Of course I will always enjoy the meals made from scratch but it’s been fun trying out new things and tasting all the local products. Some products come from our local restaurants while others are entrepreneurships that have started out of one’s garden or kitchen. I’ve found some real gems that I would buy over and over again. Even if you don’t live in NM, maybe this will inspire you to try local products from your state that give you new and innovative ideas to incorporate them into your meals.
There’s a debate among New Mexicans whether red chile sauce tastes better made with chile powder or pods. I follow a facebook page for New Mexico recipes and learned that families love their red chile and will fiercely defend their method of making it. I’ve only made red chile with powder once before and it was gritty and I didn’t really like the texture. I’ve always preferred making a batch with pods by soaking them and then pureeing them in the blender. With pods you can strain them to remove all that pulp and peel. But after some time has gone by I’ve decided it was time to try powder again. I’m trying Tia Rita’s Home Style Enchilada Sauce that comes from Las Cruces in Southern NM. The ingredients listed are red chile, paprika, constarch, salt garlic, baking soda and oregano. That’s pretty close to the spices I would normally use so I gave it a try. The mix was quite easy and less messy. Just add water and simmer for 4 – 6 minutes. The texture was not quite as smooth as using pods but it wasn’t nearly as gritty as the powder I had used previously. We found it flavorful with just the right amount of heat for our palate. I made a plate of cheese enchiladas with beans and potatoes on the side and sopaipillas. The sopaipillas were made from the Desert Gardens Sopaipilla and Fry Bread Mix. I made fry bread for my Indian tacos and saved the rest of the dough for sopaipillas. The remaining dough made 6 sopaipillas which was perfect alongside our enchiladas. They tasted so good with a drizzle of honey. So the debate goes on whether red chile is better with powder or pods. I’d advise anyone to try both methods and decide for yourself!
I usually stay away from fried foods but when it comes to fry bread I will always make an exception. Lets face it, you just can’t make that crispy airy bread any other way. And one of the best ways to eat fry bread is to make Indian tacos aka Navajo tacos. This past year with Covid we’ve been ordering takeout instead of eating inside and I haven’t had an Indian taco from a restaurant in over a year. It tastes so much better when it’s fresh and comes out to the table warm and crisp. So I decided to make them at home and I have to say they tasted pretty darn good! The fry bread was a simple prep courtesy of Desert Gardens Fry Bread mix. Just add water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes. I used half the dough and placed the rest in the fridge to make sopaipillas the next day. For the toppings I browned ground beef and added beans and green chile. It tasted so good along with lettuce, cheese, tomato and onion. The one thing I would do is make smaller portions next time. These turned out huge and way more than we could eat but every bite was delicious!
Recently I spent a weekend roasting a chicken and pickling some radishes to make some of the tastiest Mojo tacos around. Have you seen the spatchcock chickens that everyone is grilling these days? I think they look amazing! Mojo chicken can be described as chicken that’s been marinated in orange and lime juice along with garlic and herbs. Making it spatchcock allowed the chicken to lay flat on the grill and cook evenly. The chicken turned out tender, juicy and full of flavor. A whole chicken for 2 people makes a lot of meals; there was enough chicken for tacos along with some wraps, a pot of soup and sandwiches. The tacos can have any number of toppings, I chose some picked radish mix along with cilantro, avocado and crumbled fresco cheese I splurged and picked up some street tortillas in corn and flour that are smaller but fun to eat. We enjoyed these little street tacos with salsa and chips and called it a meal. They tasted like we got them off a taco truck!
Posted at 9:11 am by NativeNM, on February 12, 2021
Southwest Chicken Salad also referred to as a Santa Fe Chicken Salad is a healthy alternative for dinner that is loaded with flavors. It’s a popular salad that can be made at home to taste just as good or even better than your favorite restaurant. Nearly always you will find a bed of greens topped with grilled chicken, corn and black beans along with avocado, tomatoes and cheese. These are things that most of us already have in our pantry or refrigerator. The toppings vary and you can always add or leave out ingredients that work for you. The salad dressing is a personal choice but there are many recipes for dressings that enhance the flavors of this salad. I chose a chipotle ranch dressing that paired well with all the toppings and gave it a spicy kick. If you have some or all of these ingredients handy, you too could put together a salad for dinner that is scrumptious and healthy which is ways a plus! Continue reading →
Posted at 9:51 am by NativeNM, on February 5, 2021
Salad is the side dish that we have most often, it goes with almost everything. I miss going out to restaurants and getting those great salads with the house made dressings. They are always so good and you just can’t replicate the same taste from a store bought dressing. So lately I’ve been making more homemade dressings in small batches so that can change it up without taking up too much space in the fridge. One of my favorite salads is the ever popular Caesar salad, however it’s taken some time experimenting with recipes that tastes like the dressing you might eat at a restaurant, or takeout as we do these days. I found a recipe from “Culinary Hill” that checks all the boxes, simple to make, tastes great and no anchovies! I tweaked it a little bit and now it’s my go to Caesar dressing. Once you have a good salad dressing, the rest is simple. Romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese and croutons complete the salad. So what has kept this salad so popular over the decades, it’s the dressing of course! Continue reading →
Posted at 2:10 pm by NativeNM, on January 20, 2021
One of my favorite ways to dress up a pork chop is to add chimichurri. Pork chops don’t have to be dry and bland. By adding a simple marinade and a flavorful topping, pork chops can be a most appealing meal. The chimichurri is the star of this recipe, made with the flavors of red chile and lime. This combination is second to none with fresh herbs, red chile pistachios and queso fresco cheese. Once the pork has marinated this meal can be prepared in 15 minutes. The chimichurri provided flavor, texture and spice which tasted so good with the grilled pork. To complete this meal serve alongside a baked potato and garden salad. Pork chops never tasted so good! Continue reading →
Posted at 11:36 am by NativeNM, on December 1, 2020
Kansas City is home to some of the best barbeque on earth, especially their burnt ends. As many of you know Joe and I made our home in the Kansas City area for 25 years. One of the things we miss most is the barbeque and particularly the burnt ends from Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Joe’s is by far our favorite bbq and we’ve ordered it several times since moving back to New Mexico. Yes, you can order their champion barbeque which is packed in dry ice and sent straight to your door. Each meat is smoked to perfection and vacuum sealed with a handbook of instructions on how to reheat each item, whether it be brisket, ribs, sausage, chicken or burnt ends. I successfully made smoked ribs a few years back which was a triumphant moment for me. Burnt ends would be the ultimate goal if I could pull it off. As it turned out, my oldest son Josh was home for a visit and he was a huge help. We worked together keeping the charcoal going and trying to keep the grill temperature steady while waiting patiently for the internal temperature of the beef to reach the magic number. It took a little over 8 hours to reach our goal and our burnt ends were so tender and flavorful. We smoked 6 1/2 pounds and it was gone in a matter of days. Josh and I agreed that this is our new tradition, when he comes home we make burnt ends. Continue reading →
Posted at 10:53 am by NativeNM, on October 23, 2020
My husband Joe is a steak and potatoes kind of guy. I have to be creative sometimes to come up with different ways to serve it so it’s not the same old dish time after time. This idea came from a pinterest photo that looked like stir fried steak and potatoes. However when I tried to connect to the recipe it was no longer available so I just went by the picture and took ideas on how to make it my own. The picture clearly had steak, potatoes, corn and red pepper plus some green herbs that were not distinguishable. And it also looked like it had some type of sauce, perhaps Siracha or salsa with pepper flakes. It looked so appetizing I thought I would give it a try. Instead of making it a wok dish I decided to cook some things on the grill and then add everything together in a cast iron skillet with salsa to bind it together. It was truly delicious and spicy.
Posted at 12:42 pm by NativeNM, on September 25, 2020
There are recipes that I’ve collected over the years that I have tucked away. Along with my hand written recipe cards and favorite cookbooks, I have kept some old magazines that have tried and true recipes that are like an old friend. I pull them out from time to time and the other day I came across an old Good Housekeeping magazine from March, 1988. On the cover is Elizabeth Taylor and one of the articles is on the International Hamburger Cookbook with recipes from countries around the world. I tried several of their recipes but the one that stands out is the Spanish Beef and Potato Pie. Throughout the years I’ve made this dish many times but I’ve added a New Mexican twist with roasted red and green chiles, often called Autumn roast, and seasoned with a green chile salt blend. It’s so delicious and makes a complete meal. Just yesterday Joe and I went to Sichlers and got some red and green chile. They roasted it separately but within the green batch there were several chiles starting to turn red. I was so happy to have a batch that I could freeze together for an Autumn roast blend. And the roasted red is so good this year, a bit hotter than the green but with that hint of sweetness that makes it so perfect. Earlier in the season we picked up a small amount of green chiles so I am beyond myself with the good fortune of having a variety of roasted chiles to experiment with. Hope you enjoy this NM Inspired Spanish Beef and Potato Pie, it is delicious, I promise! Continue reading →