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Aji Panca Chile Paste

A rich, smoky, spicy paste made with aji panca chilies from Peru | mjskitchen.com

 

Thanks to my chile loving soul mate, European blogger friend, Sissi of With a Glass, I have now had the privilege of tasting a new chile…the Peruvian Aji Panca chile.  Thank you Sissi!!!!  What a chile!  A few weeks ago, I received a bottomless package of goodies from Sissi that consisted of products from all around the world – biscuits from Switzerland, chocolate from France, spicy seasoning from Japan, and dried aji panca chile from Peru (just to name a few).  Of course I zoned in immediately on the dried chiles.

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New Mexico Chile Spice Blends

Spice blends made with New Mexico red and green chile powders | mjskitchen.com

 

What do you do when you find yourself with over two pounds of New Mexico red chile powder and almost a pound of green chile powder?  Just to put this into perspective, a typical large jar of chile powder that you buy at the store is between 1.6 to 2.0 ounces (16 ounces = 1 pound). So 48 ounces of chile powder is a lot!  Yes, I do go through quite a bit of chile powder, but, like most herbs and spices….if you keep it too long, it loses its punch.  Thus the motivation to create these chile spice blends.

The Green Chile Spice is a blend of mild and hot New Mexico green chile powder with a variety spices and herbs.  The Red Chile Spice is a blend of New Mexico red chile powders, a couple of other chile powders, spices, and herbs. The red chile powders that I used are from Diaz Farms and Dixon. The green chile powders are from Diaz Farms and Chimayo Chile Brothers.  As I’ve mentioned before, not all chile powders are alike, so using powders from different parts of the state or from around the world for that matter, yields a very interesting blend.

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Conversation With a Cheesemonger

A conversation with Derrick Sanders, Cheesemonger at the Nob Hill La Montanita Co-op

Derrick Sanders, Cheesemonger @ La Montanita Co-op | mjskitchen.com

The other day I was perusing the cheese section at the Nob Hill La Montanita Co-op looking for a particular cheese. When I couldn’t find it I asked Derrick, the cheese clerk for help.  You know what it’s like having a sommelier help you select a wine to go with your meal?  Well, that’s how I felt with Derrick helping me select a cheese.  This guy knows his cheese!  So rather than keep Derrick’s knowledge of cheese to myself, I thought I would share some of it with you.

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Roasted Red Chile Spread

Roasted red chile spread - use as a sandwich spread, for pasta, seasoning for soups and other dishes | mjskitchen.com #redchile

 

It’s October which brings about the last of the green chile season but the beginning of the short, and oh so sweet, fresh red chile season.  Toward the end of chile season, farmers let some of the green chile stay on the bushes allowing them to turn red.  When the red chile is picked, it is either strung into ristras or sold just like green chile. Here in my area of New Mexico, the amount of fresh red chile sold at the market is limited, so one needs to keep a careful eye out for its arrival and buy it quickly. It will be gone within a couple of weeks.  Normally, mild, medium, and hot chile are all available, but this year I could only find hot and mild. The mild was quite mild, but was still meaty with that amazing roasted red chile flavor; and the hot…same sweet flavor, but HOT.  If you haven’t tried roasted red chile, then it’s something you need to try.  There’s really nothing like it.

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Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers and Chipotle

 with pickled peppers and chipotle flakes | mjskitchen.com #salsa

 

Last week I showed you how to make Quick and Easy Pickled Peppers.  This week a few of those pickled peppers came together with some fresh garden tomatoes and chipotle flakes to make a delightfully tasty pico de gallo.  Bobby and I have eaten three batches of this in the past few days because it’s so addicting and we wanted to get the seasoning just right.  Lucky us. :)

Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers can be used as a dip or a topping for tacos, tostadas, burritos or a nice bowl of pinto beans.

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Quick and Easy Pickled Peppers

Guero and red cherry chile peppers | mjskitchen.com

 

After the pesky racoons ravaged my chile plants back in June, I did manage to find a few lonely plants tucked away in the sale section of the nursery.  Even though it was late in the season, I still planted them and now, in September, I’m getting some peppers.  YAY!  My first picking yielded a few guero chiles (yellow hot or caribe) and three red cherry chiles. It wasn’t much, but it’s something.  So what did I do with these beauties?  I made some pickled peppers!

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Grilled Cheese with Urfa Biber Chile

Urfa Biber chile and toasted pinon (pine) nuts make a great grilled cheese sandwich | mjskitchen.com #grilledcheese #urfabiber

 

Recently, I read an article about grilled cheese sandwiches and after reading the article I skimmed through the comments where it became quickly apparent that there are a number of people that think it’s sacrilege to add anything to a grilled cheese other than cheese.  Well, I’m not one of them. :)  Personally, I find a grilled cheese sandwich with ONLY cheese to be rather boring. However, it doesn’t take much to change that. One or two additional ingredients can take a grilled cheese from boring to downright exciting.  And downright exciting is what you get with this grilled cheese with roasted urfa biber chile and toasted pinon nuts.

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Raspberry Mole’ Jam

Raspberry Mole' Jam made with spice, red chile and a touch of cocoa. mjskitchen.com

 

Have you ever had black molé (aka Molé Negro)?  Molé Negro is a dark, rich, spicy sauce that is one of the seven molés of Oaxaca, Mexico. I made it once with great success, but it was a very time consuming and laborious process, so much so that the next time I wanted to make it, I wimped out and bought some from the local Mexican market. My love of molé is what drove me to make this  Raspberry Molé Jam. I wanted a sweet and spicy jam with a little nuttiness, and the richness of a black molé.  For this jam, raspberries are cooked down with a little sugar (less than normal), minced dates, almonds, red chile, chocolate and spice.  You’ll be hooked on the first bite.
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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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