Welcome to MJ’s Kitchen, a spicy kitchen in New Mexico. For well over 30 years I’ve been cooking up a variety recipes – classics, New Mexico classics and originals – for family and friends. A few years after we were married, Bobby gave me a journal so I could start writing down my recipes. This was long before homes had personal computers so through the years I have filled that journal and a couple more. Finally, a PC landed on my desk and writing down recipes became so much easier. In MJ’s Kitchen I share some of these recipes and more with you. I also hope to show you how easy it is to cook and create your own dishes if you don’t do so already.
Besides being my favorite fruit, there’s a story behind the peach. When Bobby and I moved from Louisiana to New Mexico in the 70’s our starter home was a 900 square foot house on a tiny lot with 10 mature fruit trees: 6 peach, 2 plum, 1 apple and an apricot. All of the trees were quite prolific keeping us very, very busy from spring to fall. With six peach trees, I had more peaches than I could handle so I was giving them away to anyone who would take them. When friends or family dropped by, I made them peach daiquiris or a peach cobbler or gave them homemade peach jam or spiced peaches, and of course, sent them home with a bag of juicy, picked ripe peaches. It didn’t take long for me to acquire the title – “The Peach Lady”, a name that has stayed with me for years – and thus – the peach.
The recipes that you find in MJ’s Kitchen are mostly my own creations that reflect my love of New Mexico cuisine and ingredients. Every once in a while you’ll see some of my southern upbringing thrown in to the mix – like grits and green chile. Most of my recipes are simple, with only a few ingredients that can be cooked any day of the week in less than an hour, and in many cases, 30 minutes. Cooking almost every night, I try to make dishes that are fast and simple. I also apply what I learned from my mother – be frugal and use what’s in the refrigerator before going back to the grocery store. Don’t throw anything away!
The ingredients for my recipes are pretty common and found in most every grocery store worldwide. However, there are a few ingredients that are more common in the southern or the southwestern United States – like grits, New Mexico red chile and green chile, and chile powder. However, do not be discouraged when you see a recipe with New Mexico green chiles. With the internet right at our fingertips, one can pretty much order whatever ingredients are needed. In addition – there is usually something that you can use as a substitute; therefore, always be sure to read the Kitchen Notes for every recipe.
A comment about serving size – the serving size that I state in my recipes is NOT based on FDA or any official organization. It’s based on how many servings I get when I fix a dish for me and Bobby. I try to keep my serving size to what is recommended while Bobby just eats what he wants (and can!).
In addition to loving to cook and eat, I have been working my dream job in adult education since I was 24. I’ve taught everything from mathematics to nanotechnology, so now it’s time to go light. Starting this food blog just seems like a natural thing to do at this time in my life.
I hope you enjoy it here and that you make MJ’s Kitchen one of your favorite places. I look forward to meeting you.
Credits and Acknowledgements
Photography – MJ Willis and Bob Willis
Peach illustration – Junifer Nez
A special thanks to
Holly for her willingness to test as many recipes as I can throw her way and to
Kylene for her invaluable assistance with dishes and accessories for the photos as well as a wealth of information on food styling.
All content (e.g., recipes, images) of the MJ’s Kitchen website is copyrighted by MJ and Bob Willis. Any use of this content requires written permission. Thank you for respecting this copyright.