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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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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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Green Chile and Lime Zest Relish

New Mexico green chile seasoned with lime zest for a refreshing relish. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

This Green Chile and Lime Zest Relish was HUGELY inspired by a recipe from my spicy Switzerland counterpart – Sissi @ With a Glass.  Earlier this year Sissi posted a Chilli and Lime Zest Paste (Raimu Kosho), a simple paste made with fresh chilli (chile) peppers, lime zest and salt.  The moment I saw it I thought – “this would be great with some of my roasted green chile” – and I was right!  What a refreshing and deliciously simplistic way to serve green chile!

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Red Chile Sauce from Powder

Red Chile Sauce made from chile powder mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

My usual red chile sauce is made from New Mexico dried red chiles pods, but every once in a while a reader asks about chile sauce made from red chile powder. So today I’m sharing a recipe for red chile sauce made from red chile powder.  The red chile powder I use is from New Mexico of course; however, this recipe can be used for just about any type of red chile powder. (See Kitchen Notes)  The three sauces you see in the picture below are from three different chile powders:

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Chile de Arbol Pecan Sauce

A spicy and nutty sauce made with chile de arbol peppers, pecans and pumpkin seeds mjskitchen.com

 

Ever since I ate my first chile de arbol pepper I have been in love with the flavor of this pepper. It is totally different from the traditional New Mexico red chiles and quite a bit hotter. You’ll find them in my Chile de Arbol Salsa and Red Chile Paste, and many times I throw a couple of peppers in a pot of beans or soup. Last year I came up with this Chile de Arbol Pecan Sauce which is completely different from the salsa and paste, but just as tasty.  This sauce is similar to a Mexican molé or pipián sauce which are puréed seed/nut/chile sauces used for a variety of dishes.

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Spicy Orange Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes roasted in ghee and tossed with orange juice and chile powder mjskitchen.com

 

Who doesn’t like roasted sweet potatoes?  There are probably a few people that don’t, but I’d bet the majority of you do.  We certainly love them and have them quite often.   During the colder months, I roast them in the oven, and during the warmer months, on the stovetop.  My usual preparation is pretty much the same as what I use for Roasted Fingerling Potatoes – an infused oil, salt and pepper, and some type of chile powder. However, I changed it up a bit with this Spicy Orange Sweet Potato dish.  Ghee (a type of clarified butter) is used in place of olive oil, and after roasting, the potatoes are tossed with orange juice and then sprinkled with chile powder.  For this batch I used a new chile pepper from my friends at Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants – murupi amerela.  This is a completely different pepper than the urfa biber I introduced in the Fiery Chocolate Shots – quite a bit hotter and more of a citrus flavor than that of dates. To learn more about murupi amerela or to see alternative chile powders you could use, be sure read my Kitchen Notes.

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Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce

Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce

This red chile pumpkin sauce can be used for enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or for whatever your heart desires.

 

This Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce sauce combines the spicy and unique flavor of dried New Mexico red chiles with the flavor and a little bit of the texture of pumpkin purée.  Not only is this sauce just downright delicious, but it is a great solution to toning down the heat in a red chile sauce.  You get all of the flavor of a traditional New Mexico red chile sauce, but not the mouth-burning heat that can come with it, especially if you are using HOT or Extra HOT chiles.

I’ve had several inquiries as to how to make a red chile sauce “less hot” and my typical answer is to add honey, 1 tsp. at a time.  But the problem with adding honey is, if you add too much, then you end up with a sweet sauce that can ruin a good batch of enchiladas.  This chile-pumpkin sauce is definitely the solution.

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