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Andouille and Shrimp Jamabalaya – Quick & Easy

A quick and easy and delicious Shrimp Jambalaya with spicy andouille. #jambalaya #andouille @mjskitchen

 

Looking for another comfort food?  Try jambalaya.  It is so easy to make, hot and spicy, packed with lots of flavor, everything you’re looking for in comfort food.  Plus it takes less than 45 minutes from start to finish.  Today I’m sharing my Andouille and Shrimp Jambalaya, a dish we make about once a month, because it is so good and a meal we just never get tired of eating.

As with gumbos and etouffées, you use the holy trinity (onion, celery and bell pepper) for jambalaya, but you skip the roux. The remaining ingredients are added quickly after the trinity is sauteed, and in the amount of time it takes to cook white rice, your meal is done.  Ready in less than 45 minutes!

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Sweet and Spicy Red Chile Pecans

Red Chile Pecans roasted with a slurry of maple syrup and New Mexico red chile powder #redchile #New Mexico #pecans | mjskitchen.com

 

When you live in a state that is one of the top three pecan producers in the U.S., why buy pecans from anywhere else.  On a yearly basis, Bobby and I go through about 20 pounds or more of New Mexico shelled pecans.  Last week I bought my first 5 pounds of the year from the New Mexico Pecan Company and just couldn’t resist making a couple of batches of these red chile pecans.

We love these pecans!  They’re spicy, but not too much, and just a little sweet.  The spiciness comes from a medium hot Dixon or Chimayo red chile powder and the sweetness from maple syrup, as well as a bit from the chile.  With only five ingredients (one being the pecans), these red chile pecans are SO easy to make, but the problem is, they are addicting.  This makes them disappear as fast as you can make them.  Of course the solution to that problem is to make a double batch and that’s easy to do.

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The Bolita Bean – A Locally Grown Favorite

Bolita Bean (similar to the Pinto), but creamier in texture and sweeter in flavor mjskitchen.com

Bolita (left) – Pinto (right)

 

The bolita bean is similar to a pinto bean. It is high in protein, but a little sweeter with a creamier texture, and, from what I’ve read, easier on the digestive system. If you’re not familiar with the bolita bean, it is a small pinkish bean similar in shape and size to the pinto (as you can see in the picture).  It’s locally grown here in New Mexico and can be found at many of the Growers’ Markets in the fall. It can also be purchased online from farms like Schwebach Farms and Sichler’s Farms.

The stories I’ve read say that bolita beans were first cultivated in Peru 10,000 years ago and brought north to New Mexico by Spanish settlers. They became an important crop of the American Indians of northern New Mexico who still grow them along with many other farmers in central and northern New Mexico.  Today, bolitas are grown throughout the Four Corners area and other parts of the southwest.  Apparently, it is a good crop for the southwest because its root system is deep, making it able to withstand dry spells and drier climates like ours.

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Avocado Onion Salad with Pepitas, Cotija Cheese and a Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

Avocado Onion Salad with sweet and spicy pepitas and cotija cheese. Serve as a starter or salad. | mjskitchen.com

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Because of the nutritional value of avocados and the fact that they are available year round, I’m always looking for more and more ways to use them.   A few months ago I came across an Avocado and Onion Salad in my favorite cookbook, Gran Cocina Latina, the 2013 James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year.   It sounded delicious because I love the classic combination of avocado and onion, and then the addition of a garlic-lime vinaigrette just seemed to be a perfect match.  And it was.  However, in my opinion, it was missing something, primarily texture.  So the next time I made it, I embellished on the original recipe by adding sweet and spicy pepitas and cotija cheese, and by tweaking the vinaigrette a bit.  Voilá!

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Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Red Chile and Cotija Cheese

Our favorite Scrambled Eggs - Farm fresh eggs scrambled with roasted red chile and cotija cheese #chile #cotija #eggs #breakfast @mjskitchen

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One of the challenges of retirement is coming up with a more varied breakfast menu.  When we were working outside the house, fruit and cereal was our standard breakfast; but now, with more time in the mornings and breakfast being closer to a brunch, our repertoire has increased.  One of the breakfasts that we both absolutely love is scrambled eggs with roasted red chile and cotija cheese.  These scrambled eggs are so easy to whip up and are complemented with a variety of sides.  Serve with beans, potatoes or something as simple as a piece of toast, and you have a spicy and tasty meal with which to start the day.  And, for those of you that aren’t retired, these eggs are actually easier than putting together a bowl of fruit and cereal.

Note:  If you can find a local source for farm fresh eggs, you’ll learn what an egg should really taste like.  The eggs we buy are fresh, hand-picked eggs, less than a week old.  They have huge dark yellow to orange yolks (as you can see in the pictures), with firm whites as opposed to the runny whites one finds in most storebought eggs.  And the flavor…the best eggs we’ve ever eaten.

 

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Bourbon Braised Pork Loin with Mushrooms and Apples

A quick and easy meal - Bourbon Braised Pork Loin with apples and mushrooms, served over Israeli couscous #pork #easy #meal |mjskitchen.com

 

This Bourbon Braised Pork has a fabulous combination of ingredients – apples, mushrooms, aromatics, lots of sage, and a braising liquid of bourbon and apple cider.  It’s hearty, healthy, full of flavor, and, when served over toasted Israeli couscous or brown rice, a complete meal.  And on top of all of that, it takes less than 45 minutes to make.  It’s one of those meals that you’ll be asking – “How soon can I make it again?”.

 

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Composed Salad with Green Chile Sausage

A composed salad with green chile sausage and a variety of healthy salad ingredients. | mjskitchen.com

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[Jump to recipe for Salad]

Today you’re getting two recipes for the price one – a Green Chile Sausage recipe and a Composed Salad recipe that uses the green chile sausage as a salad component.  Normally, I would never have considered using sausage in a salad, but this chile sausage has a flavor profile that allows it to be used in a variety of ways, including in salads.

The composed salad shown here is just one variation of a salad using green chile sausage.  There are many other ingredients that can be used in addition to or in place of what you see here.  The recipe below lists the ingredients shown and a few other ingredients that are complementary to the green chile sausage.  Of course, putting together a salad like this usually just comes down to using what you have on hand.

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Breakfast Chimichanga Smothered in Red Chile

Breakfast Chimichanga filled with either egg and chorizo or egg and black beans, then smothered in NM red chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

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Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why not embrace it, and treat yourself to a breakfast chimichanga smothered in red chile.  It’s so very hearty, high in protein, and exploding with lots and lots of flavor! When you cut into the crunchy, lightly pan fried tortilla you’ll find the ultimate breakfast ingredient – eggs – wrapped with spicy Mexican chorizo or spicy black beans, whichever you prefer.  To enjoy a multitude of goodness, use each bite to scoop up some red chile with a little bit of the toppings. Now that’s a breakfast! If this doesn’t become a standard for your household, I don’t know what will.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s really easy to make?

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Slow-Cooked Red Beans

Slow cooked pot of spicy red beans. mjskitchen.com

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When it comes to red beans, it seems that the larger kidney bean gets most of the attention.  Of course this could possibly be due to the classic red beans and rice, “an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine“.  To be honest, red beans and rice is normally our go to dish for red beans.  However, sometimes I like to cook up the small red bean.  It’s more tender than the kidney bean and has a sweeter, more delicate flavor, in my opinion.

This red bean recipe yields a flavorful bowl of tender beans that’s savory, spicy and quite versatile. As with most beans, we love to eat these as just a bowl of beans with some cornbread or tortillas and maybe a topping or two. But you could also add them to salads or soups, serve them on top of a bowl of rice, or wrap them in a tortilla and smother with red chile.  Lots of possibilities…

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