Non-Traditional Sides for Your Holiday Table

Non-traditional sides, starters and desserts for your holiday table from MJ's Kitchen. @mjskitchen

 

We’re going a little non-traditional this year for the holidays, forgoing the turkey and sweet potatoes, and even the cranberry sauce.  So just in case you too are looking for something different this year, here are a few non-traditional sides for your holiday table – from my kitchen to yours.

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Hatch Chile Fiesta Bread

Hatch Chile Fiesta Bread is a yeast bread made with whole wheat and AP flours, and Hatch red and green chile. | mjskitchen.com

 

This Hatch Chile Fiesta Bread was inspired by the fiesta rolls I used to get at The Flying Star in Albuquerque whenever I ordered the breakfast egg sandwich.  The rolls were yeast rolls with green chile and cheese, which, as you can imagine, made for a very tasty bite of sandwich. Since Bobby and I love a good bread, I tackled making a loaf of yeast bread with chile and cheese.  It took a couple of loaves to get the texture right and solve the moisture problem created by the chile, but once that problem was solved, I knew I would be making many more loaves of this fiesta bread.

Because of the chile, this Hatch chile fiesta bread is more moist than most yeast breads and less dense; however, the flavor is awesome and it is the best bread ever for a grilled cheese turkey sandwich.  It also makes a tasty egg in a basket breakfast as well as a breakfast egg sandwich.  If you include hot chile in the mix, you get a nice spicy kick with every bite.  To provide this spicy kick I used some of the hot Sandia chile I got from The Hatch Chile Store. as well as some of their medium Big Jim chile.

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Olive Brine Pickled Vegetables

An assortment of vegetables pickled in olive brine #pickled #vegetables @mjskitchen

Making Olive Brine Pickled Vegetables is an extremely easy pickling process that allows you to repurpose olive brine after all of the olives have been eaten, as well as to deal with little pieces of fresh vegetables that haven’t been used.  All you need to do is to cut the  vegetables into small, bite size pieces, place in a jar and cover with olive brine.  Refrigerate for a couple of days and you have an awesome, healthy little snack.  If you want the vegetables to have a spicy kick, add a couple of sliced hot chile peppers.

As you can see, there is nothing to this process.  In the recipe, I’ve listed the vegetables shown in the pictures, and in the Kitchen Notes you’ll find other vegetables you could use.  And if you buy Costco size jars of olives like we do, you’ll always have olive brine.

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The Hatch Chile Store – From Farm to Table

The Hatch Chile Store Logo | mjskitchen.comRecently, my friend Su Anne and I had the privilege of traveling to Hatch chile country to explore the vast agriculture of the area, visit the The Hatch Chile Store and meet its owners – Preston and Elaine.  Preston and Elaine are young entrepreneurs who started The Hatch Chile Store because of their mutual love of green chile and the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico.  Their family history in the Hatch Valley dates back over 5 generations which essentially means that Hatch chile is in their blood.  In just a few years time, they have put together a successful company that shares their love of chile with the rest of the world through an online shop. To learn more about Preston and Elaine and their business, check out these links:  Our Story and Our Team.

A field of chile in Hatch, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

As part of our visit, Su Anne and I traveled through the Hatch Valley, a beautiful valley that runs along the Rio Grande from north of Hatch, New Mexico (NM), to Las Cruces, NM. We saw fields and fields of chile along with cotton, alfalfa, and hundreds of pecan groves.  The pictures below attempt to share our experience by taking you from the Hatch chile fields through the process of roasting and packaging chile at The Hatch Chile Store.  By placing an order online, you could have Hatch chile on your table in just a few days.

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Calabacitas Cornbread (Roasted Chile, Corn, and Zucchini)

Calabacitas Cornbread - Roasted chile, zucchini and corn all wrapped up in cornbread batter for a hearty and spicy cornbread. | mjskitchen.com

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We can’t let summer end without a calabacitas dish – a dish with corn, summer squash and New Mexico’s roasted chile.  In years past, I’ve dished up a few other versions of calabacitas which you can find listed at this end of this post.  This year’s recipe is Calabacitas Cornbread, cornbread with zucchini, corn, roasted chile and cheese.  With all of these ingredients, calabacitas cornbread is a meal in itself.  Just serve with a few homegrown tomatoes and you’re all set for an enjoyable and filling meal.  You can also serve smaller portions as a side for any meal that screams for a piece of cornbread.

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Three Sisters (Squash, Corn, Beans) with Green Chile Tomatillo Salsa

Three Sisters (corn, beans, squash) with leftover chicken and tomatillo-green chile salsa | mjskitchen.com

Three sisters” is the name given to three companion crops – corn, squash and beans, grown as major crops by Native Americans for generations.  If you are a gardener, you understand what is meant by companion crops – crops that aid each other in some manner.  For the three sisters it all starts with the corn.  Corn provides a tall stalk on which bean vines grow.  In return beans produce nitrogen in the soil that feeds the corn and the squash.  Squash spreads along the ground providing a mulch as well as shade for roots and plantings.

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Collection of Cucumber Recipes

A collection of cucumber recipes from MJ's Kitchen - vinegars, soups, salads and more. #cucumber #recipes @mjskitchen

Whether you’re growing them or buying them, cucumbers are cheap and plentiful right now, and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your meals. Here are some of my favorite cucumber recipes from MJ’s Kitchen that feature the mighty cucumber.

 

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Green Chile Peach Preserves – Small Batch

Green chile peach preserves are made with fresh peaches, roasted chile, and no pectin. A delicious jar of sweet and spicy. | mjskitchen.com

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Fresh peaches and roasted New Mexico chile – what a great combination!!!  This simple little recipe for Green Chile Peach Preserves yields a jar of sweet and spicy goodness, chunks of sweet peaches with bites of spicy chile.  These preserves are made using the same method as all of my quick & easy, no pectin jams.  The only difference is that I chop the peaches rather than chopping and smashing them. If you want jam – then just smash the peaches after you chop them, mince the chile, and cook as directed in the recipe.

Green Chile Peach Preserves can be added to marinades, used as a sauce for grilled or roasted meats, scooped on top of baked brie, spread on hot biscuits, muffins or toast, or one of my favorites – spread on top of a toasted muffin with cream cheese.  Then, of course there is the option of just eating it right out of the jar.  Hope you enjoy!

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Green Chile Cheese Breakfast Bake – Quick & Easy

A quick and easy Green Chile Cheese Breakfast Bake with the toast baked in. A great use for stale bread or cornbread. | mjskitchen.com

This Green Chile Cheese Breakfast Bake is not only just a quick & easy breakfast dish, but it is also a great way to use up leftover cornbread or pretty much any stale bread you have available.  There are no exact measurements for the ingredients.  It’s basically some green chile and cheese piled on top of stale bread, covered with whisked eggs and spices, and baked.  It’s hearty, spicy, high in protein and a delicious way to start the day.

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