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 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 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 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 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.