Happy Cinco de Mayo all! Cinco de Mayo has always been one of our favorite holidays to celebrate with spicy food and drinks. I have to admit I rarely drink alcohol but I do enjoy a good margarita now and then. It’s just as tasty to leave out the alcohol and make it a mocktail. Mangonada margaritas are made with chamoy sauce and are a favorite among New Mexicans. What is chamoy sauce? Well, it’s described as a salty, sweet, sour and spicy sauce made from a combination of dried fruits such as apricots, mangos or plums with chili powder, salt and sugar. Many of our farmer’s markets or outdoor arts & craft fairs will have a booth selling these tasty chamoy margaritas in a mason jar with lime and Tajin seasoning around the rim. They can be made with other citrus and tropical fruits but mango seems to be the most popular. The explosion of flavors is like nothing you’ll ever taste. I love the tangy salty flavors that are blended with the sweet fruit, spicy chamoy and Tajin spices. And, one day while I was in Spouts Market, I found a bag of spicy chamoy gummi worms . . . OMG they are amazing and fun to put a couple in your margarita! So cute and tasty too. If you haven’t tried one of these tasty drinks, it’s time to make one. You will be happy you did!
On one of our hiking ventures last year, Joe and I stopped at a roadside stand at Velarde, NM which is north of Espanola. Out front were baskets filled with fruit and vegetables for sale with chile ristras hanging all along the front of the building. What we didn’t know was there was a whole store inside an overhang that had all kinds of dried goods; they had a variety of dried beans, dried corn and red chile. We found jars filled with fruit preserves and salsa’s on shelves that looked so good! I ventured over to a table where we discovered packaged ground cornmeal in yellow, blue and red. I’d never come across red cornmeal before and was so intrigued that I had to have a bag. I had no idea what I would make with it but I knew I wanted to try it. It’s been a few month’s since then but I had an idea to make a savory cornmeal scone to eat alongside a pot of beans or soup. Since the cornmeal was red, I decided to enhance the flavor and color by adding roasted red chile and grated Oaxaca cheese. If you haven’t tried roasted red chile, it has a hint of sweetness while still maintaining the heat of the chile. Ever since I discovered roasted red, I’ve been experimenting with new ways to use it in recipes. I really love these scones and think think you would enjoy them too, drizzled with some red chile honey butter alongside a bowl of your favorite soup. I couldn’t decide if I wanted green chile stew or beans so I added some pinto beans to the stew and it was beyond delicious!!
Posted at 10:22 am by NativeNM, on February 23, 2023
There’s a cozy little restaurant “Hannah and Nates Market Cafe” that serves some of the best breakfast and lunch dishes in Corrales and Albuquerque. One of their signature dishes is the Heavenly Hash which is a mound of hash browns topped with cheese, bacon, sausage or ham, eggs cooked your way with red or green chile. They also make some of the best Eggs Benedicts in town. I always have a hard time deciding whether to order the Heavenly Hash or the Eggs Benedict, so today I’m combining the two with my own version of the perfect breakfast dish. It starts with hash browns that are cheesy and crisp on the outside topped with perfectly poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, crispy bacon bits and diced green chile. The combination is heavenly all right! Joe and I ate every bite, it was so good! But if you want a healthier version, ditch the hollandaise sauce as it is very rich in butter and egg yolks. I took several short cuts to make this timely dish easier with less mess. For instance using dehydrated potatoes cuts down the time it takes to make hash browns from scratch. Microwaving the bacon in less than 5 minutes while leaving no mess on top of the stove is a big plus! And I can’t say enough about using poaching bags; they are the way to go for perfectly poached eggs in only 4 – 5 minutes. It shouldn’t be hard to make breakfast this good!
Posted at 1:47 pm by NativeNM, on February 17, 2023
I am not sure if you would consider this grits or polenta with both being made from ground corn. Even my package of Bob’s Red Mill is labeled “Corn Grits also known as Polenta”. However, after looking at several online sources I decided my dish was a polenta dish. Recently Joe and I took our boys out for a seafood dinner which has become our tradition when we get together. Joe ordered blackened mahi with cheesy grits and sweet corn that was so so good! He gave me a taste and I wished I had ordered a side to take home, it was that good. The addition of sweet corn was what made this dish. I loved the contrast between the sweet corn and the savory butter and cheese flavors. After giving it some thought I decided to make a NM inspired polenta that included roasted sweet corn, cheddar cheese and green chile. I paired it alongside some red chile stewed pork that I simmered in my dutch oven all day. I thickened the juices from the pork with a bit more red chile sauce which acted as a thin gravy for the polenta. It was so delicious! We had a bowl of pork and polenta every day until we ran out of polenta. I froze the remaining pork to keep for another day.
Posted at 9:28 am by NativeNM, on November 15, 2022
I’m going back to an old favorite that I used to make when my boys were young. They always loved these chicken breasts that were stuffed with creamy cheese. Back then I made them to order, stuffing with whatever they wanted, sometimes a dollop of whipped cream cheese and avocado or cooked bacon bits with roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Anything goes if it will fit inside a chicken breast. These days one chicken breast is enough for Joe and I to share. We both enjoy them stuffed with green chile and Oaxaca cheese. Oaxaca cheese melts so creamy and tastes so good. To finish it off I spooned egg wash over the stuffed chicken breast and then dredged it in panko crumbs for a crisp coating. Once pan fried on both sides place in a preheated oven to finish baking until the chicken is cooked throughout and the cheese is bubbling. Serve alongside your favorite side dish and you have a complete meal that is simply delicious!
Posted at 1:18 pm by NativeNM, on September 28, 2022
I’ve taken some time off to enjoy the last days of summer. The last few weekends we’ve been hiking and traveling to some of our favorite places like Santa Fe and Taos. Pretty soon the fall colors will be dotting the landscape and we’ll be out again enjoying the crisp air and taking photos. But throughout August and September we’ve been enjoying New Mexico’s green chile season. It’s one of our favorite times of the year with the aroma of green chile roasting in the air, well there’s nothing better. This green chile and cheese quiche has been on my bucket list for awhile and it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. I thought a hash brown crust seemed appropriate for this particular quiche and it turned out so good. I simplified the prep work by using dehydrated hash browns to make the crust. I’ve tried several recipes using them and they always come out just as good if not better than making hash browns from scratch. Once the crust is prepped I added a layer of grated cheese and then poured the green chile and egg mixture over top. This savory quiche baked to perfection leaving a crispy outer crust with fluffy eggs and spicy chile in every bite. I added a few bacon bits on top for Joe and I but you can keep it vegetarian if you like. We ate half of it over the weekend and saved the leftovers for later. Would you believe the leftovers were even better the next day? Oh yes they were!
Over the weekend, Joe and I spent a day in Taos, NM. We love Taos for their small town charm, the local artistry and the food! We could spend hours walking through the plaza, surrounding shops and art galleries. On Saturdays the plaza is packed with a farmer’s market, artisan breads, local crafts and music. When we started to get hungry we stopped at a food cart for some street tacos. We ordered a Carne Asada and a Poblano taco which were both amazing! The poblano tacos had a miso vinaigrette which sounded a bit strange (at least to me) but it really worked. Joe absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it so I took a picture of the menu with the intention of recreating it at home. Since it’s green chile season here in NM I thought I would use them in place of the poblano. I picked up some “Hatch” green chile and fresh corn at the market and roasted them on the grill. Then I prepped the miso vinaigrette and made a small batch of picked red onions in the morning so that they had time to marinate. With all the prep work taken care of, the tacos took no time at all to put together. My Hatch green chile had a bit more kick than the poblano version but no matter what you choose your taste buds will smile. There are so many flavors going on in these little tacos and it all comes together in a very good way!
August in New Mexico means it’s green chile season! The harvesting has begun and any day now you may start seeing “Hatch” green chile in your grocery store no matter where you live. The roasters are fired up and the aroma of roasted green chile is in the air. As soon as I found them in the grocery store I picked up a dozen and roasted them myself on the grill. They had the perfect amount of heat and had so much flavor. I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate green chile into everyday recipes and thought it might taste good in a loaded baked potato salad. Oh my goodness, this turned out better than I could have imagined. Joe isn’t a fan of traditional potato salads but he loves this version. Instead of mayo I used a low fat sour cream and seasoned it with dehydrated green chile powder, salt and garlic powder. Limiting the cheese and bacon makes for a lighter version but didn’t skimp on flavor. Adding roasted green chile was the perfect addition to the mix. Try it fresh when the potatoes are still warm enough to slightly melt the cheese. You will be amazed when you take a bite of the warm cheese and green chile combined with the creamy potatoes. It’s Muy Bueno!
Recently I cleaned out the freezer, something I do every few month’s. You know how it goes when we add things to the freezer and some things get pushed to the back and forgotten. I found a bag of vacuum sealed shrimp that I had put up a couple month’s ago. Since it’s grilling season, I immediately thought shrimp tacos would taste mighty good, especially with some mango or pineapple salsa and crunchy cabbage. I went to the store to pick up some fruit and cabbage. I found ripe mangos but the pineapple would need a few days, so it’s mango salsa tonight. This meal is a simple way to have a colorful tasty meal with little effort. I love the taste of grilled shrimp with tropical fruit. And the finely chopped cabbage adds a bit of crunch which makes these tacos look and taste like they came off a food truck.
Hummus has been the snack of choice for Joe lately. He is an early riser and about 10 am he wants a snack to get him through until lunch. I’ve been picking up hummus spread from the store to snack on with crackers during the week, however he was getting tired of the same flavors. So I asked what sounded good to him and of course he wanted chile. So the next question was red or green? He picked roasted red chile which turned out to be a great choice. Chile that is grown in New Mexico is harvested when it is green, but some are left on the vine to mature which turns red. Many of the mature red chiles will be strung together in chile ristras to dry out. Those pods when dried can be used to make red chile sauce or ground into powder for spice blends. Some farms will roast the mature red chiles at the end of the harvest and those are what I’m adding to the hummus today. Roasted red chile can sometimes be spicier than green but has a hint of sweetness which gives it a unique taste. That unique flavor works well in this hummus spread.