Posted at 1:52 pm , on January 28, 2019
Tacos Al Pastor are usually made with pork rather than chicken. And usually the meat is sliced thin and wrapped around a large skewer, then grilled on a spit. To me it resembles the way gyro meat is cooked. I love these tacos but for me, it’s really not feasible to make them the traditional way, especially for just the two of us. The sauce used to marinate the chicken has many of the ingredients of a Mexican adobado sauce, including dried chiles, achiote paste and pineapple juice. I made enough to put up in the freezer just like I do for red or green chile sauce. I didn’t have pork on hand but did have a large chicken breast that I thought would be a good compromise. I brushed a good amount of the sauce over the chicken and let it marinate overnight. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to grill it outdoors since it is Winter after all, but we were blessed with a day full of sunshine that made it possible. Who knows when we will have another day as nice as this! I heated the grill to about 325 degrees. The chicken was quite thick and needed to cook a bit slower and longer to keep the moisture inside. It took about 25 minutes to reach the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. I turned it often so as not to burn the marinade, but rather let it caramelize and seal in the juices of the chicken. These chicken tacos taste so good paired with a citrusy tropical pineapple and mango salsa and a spritz of lime juice. With quite a bit of sauce left over for future recipes, I’ve been contemplating all the possibilities in which to use it. I’ll keep you posted . . .
Posted at 10:17 am , on January 18, 2019
I can’t tell you how much Joe and I have enjoyed being back in New Mexico. Everything old seems new again!! Don’t get me wrong, I will always miss KC and all the memories we made over 25 years. Things change over time and we have found that many of our old favorite places to eat are no longer open. We have inspired to try out a new restaurant, cafe, diner or local favorites each week to see all that Albuquerque has to offer. One that stands out is “Hannah and Nates Market Cafe” in Corrales, NM, which serves breakfast and lunch daily. The first time we tried H & N’s was with an old friend from high school, which made it all the more memorable. The atmosphere is so homey, actually it’s located inside an old house with several rooms throughout with an old kiva fireplace that makes you feel right at home. The menu has something for everyone and it’s hard to choose with so many delectable choices. Their lunch menu has many toasted sandwiches plus some New Mexico favorites. I ordered the New Mexico BLT and it was the best BLT I have ever tasted!! Seriously I love just about any BLT but this BLT with green chile, avocado and Monterey Jack cheese put it over the top. And for $1 more you can add an egg which is very New Mexican. This has to be the easiest sandwich I’ve ever recreated at home and one of the tastiest by far. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top this NM BLT!
Posted at 6:14 pm , on December 26, 2018
I have memories of my Mom making traditional peanut brittle around the holidays. Everything she made always tasted so good. She used to make several different types of candies but the peanut brittle was always my favorite. That was back in the day, times have changed and now you can find red or green chile brittle here in New Mexico and it’s quite the addictive treat. Let me tell you about the green chile brittle. It has sweet and hot flavors coming from the spices on the pistachios along with green chile powder. Instead of using peanuts I added green chile pistachios which I think makes this brittle so special. First you taste the sweetness of the hardened sugar and corn syrup, next up you taste the flavors of the pistachio nuts and the heat from the chile powder coming on the back end. I’m a little obsessive compulsive and don’t know when to stop so I made another batch, this time adding red chile flakes and Pinon nuts aka pine nuts. I took some local NM dried red chiles and ran them through a grinder to get the fresh flakes that would spice up the brittle. The Pinons were roasted but unsalted so I added a hint of salt which helps balance all the flavors. Actually the red chile flakes were a bit hotter than the green chile powder which was a surprise to me. I couldn’t pick one over the other, they are both so good and such a treat this time of year. And the other thing about this brittle is how easy it is to make. I found a great recipe from “Veggie Obsession” who made brittle in the microwave. One bowl is all you need, just add the ingredients and microwave. Find the wattage of your microwave and use a conversion chart to find out how many minutes is necessary to microwave. Once you have the ingredients it only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
Posted at 12:05 pm , on December 10, 2018
One of my favorite things to snack on is cheese and crackers. And with the holidays just around the corner it’s time to think about appetizers. Many years ago I would make a cheese ball around the holidays, but in recent years I found other things to make and the cheese ball became a distant memory. I’ve forgotten how good it tastes and think it’s time to bring the cheese ball back!! It’s not just the green chile that makes this cheese ball so special. Many of the ingredients are grown or produced in the state of New Mexico. It’s so easy to assemble, just pack all the ingredients into a food processor and blend. Once chilled the flavors meld together and the flavors are enhanced. It’s addictive to say the least, we are having a hard time saving it for snack time. It’s so good we could make a meal out of it . . . just kidding!!
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 9:25 am , on November 14, 2018
It’s apple season and I for one can’t think of anything more delectable than an apple cinnamon roll with a bit of caramel sauce and caramel glaze drizzled over top. And for a little crunch add a few sweet cinnamon pecans to the mix. What a way to welcome friends and family around the holidays with the aroma of cinnamon and apples fresh from the oven. I’m making a batch of sweet rolls to put in the freezer for the holidays. They can easily be thawed and reheated in the oven for a delicious breakfast or brunch. And if by chance there are any left, break off a piece to dunk in your morning coffee, it’s a real treat!
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!