Posted at 8:52 am by NativeNM, on February 18, 2022
I have an admission to make, this is my first time making empanadas. They are traditional here in New Mexico that have evolved over time. Influenced by many cultures over the years you will find savory empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken or pork, sometimes with veggies and spices. And then there are the sweet empanadas filled with pumpkin, sweet potato or fruit like apples, cherries or raisins as well as other fresh or dried fruits. As I researched the history of empanadas, I discovered that there are many meat pies around the world by other names made in the tradition of their region. From our time in Kansas City we had Steak and Guiness pies at Irish Fest. Joe’s home state of Michigan is known for their Pasties. We found Peasant Pies in San Francisco while on vacation one year. Those are just a few of the meat pies that we’ve had a chance to taste, each having their own distinct flavor. I wanted my first homemade empanadas to reflect the taste of New Mexico with ground pork and green chile. They are easy to make ahead and freeze, pulling out a few to warm up and serve alongside a bowl of soup or beans. They are so tasty, I can’t wait to try a sweet version next!
Posted at 7:05 am by NativeNM, on November 23, 2021
It’s almost time to celebrate Thanksgiving. There was a time when we enjoyed turkey and dressing with all the trimmings. In those days there were a lot more people gathered around our table but in the last few years it’s been just Joe and I. We’ve been trying new things, mixing a little of the traditional with some new twists. This year we settled on smoking a pork butt with red chile spices and will add some different sides to the table. One of the sides I’ve planned is Green Chile and Cheese Hominy Casserole which would be a welcome dish on any New Mexican table. It can only be described as creamy, savory and spicy. I used a soft fontina cheese along with sour cream to bind the casserole together and then topped it with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. All the ingredients are prepared in a small dutch oven and baked to perfection which makes this dish easy from start to finish. I hope you all have a festive day making new memories around your kitchen table. Happy Thanksgiving!!
On our recent vacation to Wyoming we experienced some wonderful food, both familiar and some that was new to our palate. Josh took us to Calico’s Restaurant and Bar one evening. He had been hearing good things about their menu and wanted to give it a try. I was in the mood for a light meal and ordered their Watermelon Arugula salad. It was a big plate of marinated watermelon chunks with a sprinkling of arugula and goat cheese. The flavors in the honey lime marinade/dressing came through with just the right amount of sweetness. I was so impressed with this salad that I couldn’t wait to recreate it when we got home. I wasn’t sure if I could find watermelon since Fall is upon us. But sure enough when I went shopping they had some good sized watermelons that were on sale. While I was putting this together I kept thinking that this salad seemed familiar and not just from tasting it at Calico’s. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had seen a similar recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Karen at Back Road Journal. Karen’s recipe is a Spicy Stacked Watermelon Salad with Feta and Arugula which is a spicy version that looks absolutely delicious! If you haven’t tried a watermelon salad, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Posted at 9:42 am by NativeNM, on September 3, 2021
Labor day for some signals the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. I love grilling outdoors and this year I bought a pellet smoker which has been so much fun to smoke ribs, burnt ends and pulled pork. So now I thought it would be fun to focus on one of our favorite side dishes. . . barbecue baked beans. There’s a lot of flavors packed into these beans including bacon, onion and jalapeno along with some sweet molasses and brown sugar. They are not just for outdoor picnics or family barbecues alone. I made enough for a meal or two and plan to freeze the rest in smaller portions that we can have later. If you are celebrating with family or friends this coming Labor day weekend you might want to make a pot of delicious barbecue baked beans to serve alongside.
Breakfast tacos are easy to make and scrumptious to eat. I like to make them with creamy scrambled eggs and toppings that include cheese, bacon, avocado and tomato with a drizzle of salsa. There are so many options that might go into a breakfast taco . . . maybe some diced onion or red peppers, green chile, spinach, or herbs. When it comes to toppings it’s all up to you. What I really want to talk about is the cheesy hash browns on the side. They are fantastic. If you order hash browns at a dozen different restaurants you’ll probably get a dozen different tastes and textures. I like my hash browns crispy outside while creamy inside. That’s a rare find but I think I’ve found a way to make them at home. After testing boiled potatoes and baked potatoes, I tried using dehydrated hash browns that you find in a box. The dehydrated shredded potatoes were the one that achieved that perfect combination of crispy and creamy hash brown. The addition of flour and butter makes the potatoes crisp on the outside while the cheese and egg keeps the inside creamy. I plan on testing some other additions like sour cream or yogurt instead of cheese to see how that alters the taste and texture. I’ll update you on my findings but in the meantime enjoy some breakfast tacos with some cheesy hash browns on the side.
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 9:31 am by NativeNM, on November 3, 2020
Recently I came across a recipe for honey mustard coleslaw. It sounded intriguing but at the same time I was skeptical. When it comes to coleslaw I’ve always been about the tried and true recipe which has never failed me. I decided to just go with it and picked up a bag of pre-chopped cabbage and added my own spicy honey mustard sauce. To my surprise it was delicious! And it makes a great chicken sandwich which was too good not to share. If there were any doubts, I can truly say this is one of my favorite ways to dress a sandwich. I think I will try it next on some pulled pork or pulled chicken. Continue reading →
Calabacitas is a staple side dish here in New Mexico. I wouldn’t say my version is traditional but it’s pretty close. I like to make myself a little batch this time of year when there is fresh corn and tomatoes available. I prefer zucchini squash over summer yellow squash, however I see many recipes with a combination of the two, and really how could you go wrong with either one. This was a side dish to chile rellenos and the next day I filled a couple tacos with the leftovers. It makes a really good vegetarian taco, just add some sliced avocado and queso fresco cheese. Calabacitas is a tasty side to any Mexican dish but it’s especially good when made with fresh ingredients. If you would like some additional ideas for how to incorporate calabacitas into other recipes you should go over to MJ’s Kitchen. MJ has made some wonderful meals including her latest Calabacitas Quiche. Continue reading →
Smoked sausage skillet meals are so delicious and can be made with many different ingredients to make them savory, sweet or spicy. I had some pineapple chunks in the freezer that would pair well together for a tasty teriyaki skillet dish. Adding rice pilaf on the side complimented the sweet and spicy sausage. With so much free time these days it made sense to assemble all the ingredients and start the prep work early. Once that task was done it took no time at all to put it together. I added some chopped onion and roasted red pepper to the mix but you can use other things that you have on hand including broccoli, carrots or any sweet or bell peppers. For such a simple meal it won’t be soon forgotten. Continue reading →
Posted at 3:56 pm by NativeNM, 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. Continue reading →