Herbaceous Mushrooms

Mushrooms stewed in olive oil and butter with a variety of fresh herbs. mjskitchen.com

 

Herbaceous Mushrooms is a simple dish that celebrates the umami of mushrooms and complements it with the combined flavors of fresh herbs.  The fun part of making this dish is walking out to the herb garden and sniffing and clipping the herbs that you want in the dish.  You can choose two or three different herbs or as many as six or seven.  For this particular batch, I used a sprig of sage, tarragon, Thai basil, oregano, a few sprigs of thyme and lemon balm.  Some groceries sell little packets of  a mix of fresh herbs which are great for this dish. With all of the herbs and the fact that umami is also a flavor enhancer (due to the presence of glutamate), the amount of salt needed for this dish is minimal.  I add just a touch of salt before baking, and that’s usually all I need.

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Hash Brown Cakes with Andouille Sausage

Hash Brown Cakes with Andouille sausage and red chile pepper flakes. mjskitchen.com

 

There are potato cakes and then there are hash brown cakes.  Hash brown cakes are made with grated, uncooked potatoes, where as potato cakes are made with mashed potatoes.  My preference – hash brown cakes – any day of the week.  The Hash Brown Cakes that I’m dishing up today have it all.  They have andouille sausage, some diced vegetables, Pecorino Romano, and last, but not least, a very special red chile flake all the way from Turkey.  Serve these cakes with a vegetable side, some pinto beans or top with a fried egg for a complete meal.  See the Kitchen Notes for more side suggestions.

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Spicy Mint Pesto with Grilled Lamb Chops

Mint Pesto with Lime and Red Chile Flakes | mjskitchen.com

 

From the title of this post and the pictures, you’ve probably figured out that this post is more about the mint pesto than the lamb.  I could just sit and eat this Spicy Mint Pesto with a spoon.  To heck with the lamb chops. :) Not really, we do love lamb chops and get some great ones at Costco.  Bobby always grills them and then I make a simple little sauce to go with them.   During the summer when my spearmint goes bonkers, as mint always does, I love making this spicy mint pesto, which, as all lamb lovers know, mint is a great complement to lamb.

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Mixed Berry Pudding (aka Summer Pudding)

Mixed Berry Pudding (aka Summer Pudding) - just fresh berries, a little bread, and sweetener. mjskitchen.com

 

Before you head on down to the recipe, let me go ahead and tell you that this Mixed Berry “Pudding” has no dairy and no eggs and no bake time.  It’s simply fruit simmered for 2 minutes with a sweetener and a little bit of water, poured into a bread lined ramekin and weighted down overnight to allow the fruit, juice, and bread to all come together as one.  It’s best served cold with a bit of warm berries on top.  It’s amazing!

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Smothered In Red Chile Sauce

Smothered in Red - A collection of dishes smothered in New Mexico red chile sauce @MJsKitchen

Every fall we buy either a ristra or a sack of dried red chiles and then use them throughout the year for New Mexico red chile sauce, chile paste, chile infused oils, or to season soups or casseroles. In the early summer I try to use up any remaining pods by making a huge batch of red chile sauce. So with so much sauce now sitting in the freezer, I thought I would gather up a bunch of recipes that use red chile sauce and share them with you in one post.

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Bok Choy with Pecans and Lemongrass

An easy side of bok choy, pecans and Asian spices. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

The primary inspiration for this Bok Choy with Lemongrass recipe came from some spices that I Assortment of Asian spices from Season with Spice mjskitchen.combought a while back from one of my favorite online small businesses – Season with Spice (SwS), an Asian Spice Shop.  Being a lover of a variety of herbs and spices, I purchased quite a few new spices, some of which I had never heard of before. One of those spices was galangal powder, which comes from the fibrous rhizome galangal plant.  The flavor (to me) is earthy and peppery with a hint of ginger. I found it was a nice complementary spice with another of my favorites from SwS – lemongrass powder.

The following recipe uses SwS’s lemongrass powder, galangal powder and Sweet Ginger Sea Salt to make a very simple side dish of bok choy and pecans.  The idea of combining bok choy with pecans comes from a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks – Great Greens by Georgeanne Brennan.

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Hibiscus – a Flower, a Simple Syrup, a Soda and a Tea

Pink Hibiscus flowers mjskitchen.com

 

The hibiscus flower is widely known for its beauty, but there is more to this flower than meets the eye.  The dried flowers are used to make a variety of beverages from hot tea to chilled Agua de jamaica (“ha-ma-ike-ah”), sparkling drinks to cocktails. And they have some health benefits as well.  I’ve been playing around with these dried flowers for a couple of years now and today, I’m sharing with you a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them.

Dried hibiscus flowers make a delicious simple syrup that is both sweet and tart.  The syrup can be added to sparkling water for a refreshing soda or used to make a hibiscus cocktail.  It can also be poured over vanilla ice cream and who wouldn’t love that?!  Following is a recipe for making Hibiscus Mint Simple Syrup.  Since I normally add a sprig of mint to just about any summer drink, I decided to also add some mint to the simple syrup.  However, you could choose to eliminate the mint all together, or even replace it with a small piece of ginger or a stick of cinnamon.

You can purchase dried hibiscus flowers from a variety of sources online, some herb or tea shops or a local organic/health store.  I buy mine at the local La Montanita co-op.

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Beef and Chorizo Enchiladas

Restaurant style enchiladas with beef, chorizo and red chile sauce  mjskitchen.com

 

During our Abiquiu trip, we took a drive through El Rito, New Mexico, and on to Ojo Caliente.  Ojo Caliente is another small New Mexico town which is well known for its Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Originally, we were going to eat lunch at the spa restaurant, but once we arrived and saw how crazy, busy the place was we decided to go elsewhere. We were looking for something a lot more laid back, which was the general theme of our vacation. :) So we drove back to the main road where we saw a sleepy looking cafe called the Mesa Vista Cafe.

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The Beauty Surrounding Abiquiu, New Mexico

A double rainbow over the Rio Chama as it runs through Abiquiu, NM mjskitchen.com MJsKitchen

 

For Memorial Day weekend (which was also our 40th wedding anniversary), Bobby and I took some extra time off and spent several days enjoying and exploring the area of northern New Mexico surrounding Abiquiu.  Abiquiu, New Mexico, is a little village less than an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe.  The village has less than 3,000 people and is positioned in one of the most enchanting areas of New Mexico.  All around Abiquiu you have breathtaking views, hiking trails, horse riding trails, boating, and hundreds of places to just sit, meditate, pray, whatever your preference, and take in the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings.

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