Posted at 10:14 am , on October 9, 2020
Awhile back I picked up some red plums that were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. They were naturally sweet and flavorful, perfect for making jam. I’ve only made jam a few times but I’m learning more through each process. To preserve the jam I like to pack it in jars and seal using a hot water bath. It’s easy and has so far been very reliable. The one thing I’ve found is that the more naturally sweet your fruit is, the less sugar you need to add. Ball has a “Low or No Sugar” pectin that is an easy way to thicken your jam without all the sugar. Now that I’ve figured that out I plan to pick fruit when it is in season and at the height of sweetness. If you make a few jars here and there you will have a variety of jam to enjoy for several month’s or share with family and friends.
Posted at 12:42 pm , on September 25, 2020
There are recipes that I’ve collected over the years that I have tucked away. Along with my hand written recipe cards and favorite cookbooks, I have kept some old magazines that have tried and true recipes that are like an old friend. I pull them out from time to time and the other day I came across an old Good Housekeeping magazine from March, 1988. On the cover is Elizabeth Taylor and one of the articles is on the International Hamburger Cookbook with recipes from countries around the world. I tried several of their recipes but the one that stands out is the Spanish Beef and Potato Pie. Throughout the years I’ve made this dish many times but I’ve added a New Mexican twist with roasted red and green chiles, often called Autumn roast, and seasoned with a green chile salt blend. It’s so delicious and makes a complete meal. Just yesterday Joe and I went to Sichlers and got some red and green chile. They roasted it separately but within the green batch there were several chiles starting to turn red. I was so happy to have a batch that I could freeze together for an Autumn roast blend. And the roasted red is so good this year, a bit hotter than the green but with that hint of sweetness that makes it so perfect. Earlier in the season we picked up a small amount of green chiles so I am beyond myself with the good fortune of having a variety of roasted chiles to experiment with. Hope you enjoy this NM Inspired Spanish Beef and Potato Pie, it is delicious, I promise!
Posted at 12:41 pm , on September 18, 2020
Some of the best gyros I’ve ever tasted were from our time in Detroit and Kansas City. We moved to from Albuquerque to Detroit in 1990 where I got to see where Joe grew up in the great state of Michigan. At that time we had two little boys under the age of 3 years old and didn’t get to eat out much. One time Joe surprised me with tickets to go see the Detroit Red Wings play hockey. Growing up in New Mexico I knew nothing about hockey but the experience was thrilling and I immediately became a fan. Joe Louis Arena was located downtown and we would park and ride the people mover transportations rails to get to the arena. Greektown which had some amazing food was located on one of the people mover stops so we would park there and grab a bite to eat before heading over to the game. If you are ever in Detroit and need a great place to eat, visit Olga’s Kitchen or any one of the great restaurants in Greektown. We also had some great Greek food in Kansas City. I loved the gyros at Mr. Gyros which was one of our frequent haunts in KC. One thing about Mr. Gyros is that the servings are huge and everything tastes fresh. This year has been challenging at best to find those those “little known” restaurants here in Albuquerque, especially not being able to sit down and experience a meal indoors. We rarely go out except for takeout and I haven’t found a great Greek restaurant yet to recommend here in ABQ. I’m sure it’s out there, I just haven’t found it! Sorry for the long story but I have been craving a gyro which always brings back memories. I went with grilled chicken gyros which tasted so good with homemade warm flat breads wrapped around Greek and lemon seasoned chicken. The marinade made the chicken tender and juicy. With some tzatziki sauce and freshly sliced tomato and red onion it was one of the tastiest wraps I’ve ever had. I’m a tough critic when it comes to gyros and this one is one of the best!
Posted at 3:11 pm , on September 11, 2020
One of the first things I learned about Joe is his love for cajun/creole food. I didn’t grow up with it and neither did he but his family traveled quite a lot and he had opportunities to experience many different cultures and local flavors. He always remembered the spicy flavors of New Orleans as one of his favorite trips. Joe and I went to New Orleans a few years back and we sampled many of the delectable dishes that the locals enjoy. The etouffee was so memorable and one of the best things I ever ate. To make it easier on myself and anyone else who is intimidated with cajun or creole cooking I broke the recipe down into 3 parts. First I started by making the broth earlier in the day. Once the roux and stew/gravy comes together it should simmer for 20 minutes giving sufficient time to make the rice. And lastly the shrimp was cooked separately which only took a few minutes from start to finish and was ready at just the right time to top the bowl off. I found that the shrimp was cooked perfectly and did not overcook as it might have if simmered in the gravy for a longer period of time. I thought it was visually appealing with the layered rice and etouffee gravy topped by the shrimp. As with most dishes that have a spice blend the flavors develop over time. The first bowl needed a little kick so I added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, however when we had leftovers the next day, all the flavors had time to meld together and it tasted even better.
Posted at 9:57 am , on August 28, 2020
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.
Posted at 8:17 am , on August 14, 2020
Pimento cheese is a great cheese spread that originated in the south. I can remember eating little finger sandwiches with pimento cheese or served with crackers. These days you might see it added to burgers or BLT’s which got me to thinking . . . what if I gave it some New Mexico flavor with roasted red chile. Roasted red chile can be quite spicy but also has a hint of sweetness that tastes really good in this cheese spread. The flavor is unmatched and enhanced over time as the ingredients blend together. You can also use different cheeses to alter the taste. I made this with cheddar and Monterey jack along with some whipped cream cheese. You can simply blend all the ingredients together for a chunky spread or you can blend it with a hand mixer for a smoother texture. Here in New Mexico chile season is in full swing, the roasters are out and everyone is filling their freezer with green chile. Red chile comes later in the season and is the result of chiles left on the plant which will change in color from green to a vivid red. This is the last of my red chile and I can’t wait until September when I can get some more.
Posted at 11:50 am , on July 31, 2020
If there ever was a sauce that goes with everything it might be Honey Mustard. It’s sweet and tangy and a little bit spicy. It’s best known as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers, but we like to dip veggies, fries and soft pretzels as well. If you’ve never had pretzels and honey mustard sauce you don’t know what you’re missing. One of our local sandwich shops “Cheba Hut” have a menu full of creative sandwiches, but what keeps us going back are the soft pretzel bites with honey mustard sauce. Joe and I found ourselves addicted the first time we ordered them, there’s just something about those salty pretzel bites dipped in tangy honey mustard that tastes so good. But beyond dipping it’s one of our favorite sandwich spreads and salad dressing. It’s the versatile sauce that you can use for many different things. What’s your favorite way to use honey mustard?
Posted at 12:31 pm , on July 23, 2020
It seems like every summer I find a new recipe that is so good that I have to make it over and over again. Well, this is it and it comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Marie at (Proud Italian Cook). Marie’s Fettucine with Roasted Tomatoes and Burrata looked so appealing and I could only imagine the taste. I’ve made it 3 times now changing it up with different types of tomatoes and pasta but it always makes the perfect meal. Joe and I enjoy it with grilled chicken and a sprinkle of bread spices and olive oil. Sometimes I roast the tomatoes in the traditional way in the oven but when it’s too hot for the oven I have found that roasting the tomatoes in my mini wok works wonderful. You can use any pan where you can toss the tomatoes as they roast to get the same results. Here I used cherry tomatos but campari tomatoes work great also, I especially like the Kumato brown tomatoes, they have such a rich dark red color when roasted and makes this dish so appealing. Ever since I was introduced to Burrata cheese I can’t get enough of it. It pairs perfectly with roasted tomatoes. And last but not least a sprinkle of bread spices with olive oil is the perfect seasoning to top it off. It has a wonderful blend of spices with a bit of salt and chile flakes to enhance the flavors.
Posted at 9:46 am , on July 17, 2020
Have you guys been experiencing this heat wave? It’s been in the mid 90’s to over 100 degrees for what seems like a couple weeks now. It may be dry heat here in the Southwest but unless there is a breeze blowing by it’s just hot air. So instead of turning on the oven we’ve been grilling and making salads or simple sandwiches to beat the heat. We needed something cold for a boost of energy so I made popsicles. They are a welcome treat from the afternoon heat. I’d forgotten how easy they are to make with simple syrup, lime juice, lime zest and a little bit of alcohol that gives them that soft slushy texture. Refreshing is the best word to describe them and they taste even better than those frozen fruit bars you buy at the store. I used to make these for the kids but I think Joe and I enjoy them just as much!
Posted at 11:12 am , on July 3, 2020
If you love S’mores, you have to try these S’mores blondie bars. They are so decadent, loaded with big chunks of chocolate bars, marshmallow creme and cookie dough. And if that’s not enough, how about some roughly chopped pecans and graham crackers sprinkled over top. S’mores are great for all occasions but they seem to be especially popular for the 4th of July. While the celebrations this year won’t be quite the same, Joe and I still plan to grill some hamburgers and go for a hike somewhere. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy some S’mores or maybe a S’mores blondie bar. Stay safe and have a great weekend!