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 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 10:23 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 11:40 am , on March 22, 2019
Today I’m sharing two of my favorite things. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of favorites going on in this bowl, but the main event is a well seasoned skirt steak and fries. I’ve always loved layers of flavors and this bowl has it all, including melted Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, green onion and cilantro with a dusting of queso fresco cheese to top it off. I can vouch for these fries, I’ve been making them for years. They are baked in the oven, yet taste as if they were fried. They are lightly seasoned and stay crisp throughout the pile of layers. Now that it’s officially Spring, I’m looking forward to longer daylight, warmer days and more time to spend outdoors grilling. A good skirt steak is one of my favorites to grill, it tastes so good in dishes like this that can be sliced or cut into bite size pieces. I’ve been seeing a range of new recipes combining steak and potatoes sometimes called Steak Frites or Loaded Steak Fries which inspired this bowl. Remember when rice bowls were all the rage; I can’t wait to see these pop up on menus around town!
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 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.