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Green Chile Pathiri with Pinon Nuts and Queso Fresco

Green chile stacked with crepes (Pathiri), pine nuts (pinon) and queso fresco. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

This Green Chile Pathiri is a dish that I have had in my head and have been wanting to make for a very long time, so I was thrilled when I saw that April’s Daring Cook’s Challenge was to make a savory Pathiri.

What is Pathiri?  Pathiri is an Indian dish that is made by alternating crepes with a sweet or savory filling.  The crepes are normally made with rice flour and dipped in coconut milk or brushed with ghee during assembly.  This process is very similar to the one I use for stacked enchiladas, just different ingredients.  For enchiladas instead of rice flour crepes, corn tortillas are dipped in green or red chile sauce and alternated with a savory filling and cheese.

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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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Red Chile Chicken Tamales

This red chile chicken tamale is a non-traditional tamale that is easy to make and is just as tasty as a traditionally made tamale. mjskitchen.com

 

In New Mexico, making tamales is a holiday tradition where families and friends gather in the kitchen and spend the day cooking, assembling and steaming dozens upon dozen of tamales. It’s a great tradition with a delicious outcome.  There’s really nothing better than a tamale right out of the steamer. So in keeping with tradition, Bobby and I made two different types of tamales for the holidays this year – Corn, Mushroom and Green Chile and these Red Chile Chicken Tamales.

The tamales we make are not the traditional tamales where the masa is made with lard then layered with a pork filling onto a corn husk.  If you saw my corn, mushroom and green chile tamales from last year you may remember that I replace the lard with canola oil and instead of layering the masa and the filling, I mix them together, making the assembly process A LOT easier and faster.  As a friend of mine said “It all comes together in the mouth anyway.” :)

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Chile Pequin Pepper Sauce

A quick and easy pepper sauce made with chile pequin

 

It’s the first of October and it’s getting chilly here, so this year’s green chile crop is just about over. I roasted my last batch yesterday. :( Any chile peppers still on the plants are turning red and even they are almost gone.  However, the smaller chiles, like chile pequin (above), jalapeno, and chile de arbol, are still quite plentiful which is a good thing because I recently discovered that I’m totally out of pepper sauce.  Everybody’s gotta have a pepper sauce to finish off dishes like black-eyed peas, pinto beans, greens, stews, and succotash.  Just sprinkle a few or a lot of drops/dashes on top of each serving for some flavored spice, just like you would use Tabasco.

My mother taught me how to make pepper sauce when I was a kid and I’ve been using her method ever since.  It’s easy, it’s good, and you can use any type of hot, fresh pepper – chile pequin, chile de arbol, Thai chiles, jalapeno – any hot, small chile pepper.  When I went to the market to get some chiles, it had a bunch of chile pequin. So there you go – chile pequin pepper sauce it is.  To make this sauce all you need are peppers, vinegar, salt and a bottle.  Can’t get much easier than that.  Make it now and it will be ready in a couple of weeks to use on fall greens.  By the time you’re making those black-eyed peas on New Years Day, you’ll have a really nice, hot pepper sauce.  Put it in the refrigerator and it will keep indefinitely.

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Make Your Own Peppered Cucumber Vinegar

Make your own cucumber vinegar with pepper and garlic

 

My garden this year was very small, mostly herbs, a few cucumber plants, and a volunteer butternut squash plant. The cucumbers we grew in an elevated container with a trestle. and it worked much better than expected. Lots of cucumbers and no half eaten cucumbers due to our turtles and the wild racoons that patrol the neighborhood.  We’ve been able to harvest more than enough cucumbers for our salads, salsas and cold soups, and with the extras, I’m brewing a batch of our favorite homemade vinegar – Peppered Cucumber Vinegar.  We’ve been enjoying this vinegar for several years and so have our families and friends because there is always plenty to share.

For this recipe, vinegar is infused with cucumber, pepper and garlic.  The prep takes about 30 minutes and then the jar is left to sit for 6 weeks.  I use to let it sits for 3 months, but one year decided to test it after only 6 weeks (just couldn’t wait). I didn’t notice any difference in the flavors. The cucumber and pepper flavors were just as robust after 6 weeks as they were after 3 months, and the garlic – very subtle and a nice finish. After 6 weeks, the vinegar is strained into pretty little bottles and used for salad dressing or holiday gifts.

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Roasting Peppers on the Grill

Fresh New Mexico Green Chile

 

It’s green chile time in New Mexico! Producers and consumers alike are firing up their grills and burning the skin off of these beautiful chile peppers in order to produce some of the tastiest and most delicious chile on earth! Yes, I know that’s a big boast, but, as I’ve said many times before, we New Mexicans are proud of our chile. :)  It was a couple of years ago when I first introduced green chile and chile roasting by chile growers and sellers.  Today, I’m going to show you how I roast chile on my home grill. I use this same method to roast bell peppers and poblanos as well. Once roasted, the peppers are peeled and de-stemmed, some if not all of the seeds and piths are removed, and then the flesh is used immediately in a variety of dishes or frozen to be used later in the winter for enchiladas, green chile stews, grits, or whatever your heart desires.  So let’s get to roasting.

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Smoky Polenta with Aged Cheddar

Polenta with smoked paprika and aged cheddar

 

Can you remember the first time you ate a particular dish?  One dish that I remember eating for the first time is “polenta”. It was about 30 years ago when Bobby I went out to eat at a semi-fancy restaurant in Albuquerque. The meal I was interested in ordering was grilled salmon served with a side of polenta. Back then, I didn’t know what polenta was so I asked the waiter “What’s polenta?”  He told me that it was a cornmeal dish. Sounded good, so I ordered the salmon.  When he set the plate in front of me, I took one look at the “polenta” and in the thick southern accent I had at the time, said “Well, that’s just cornmeal mush!” It was a tasty cornmeal mush, but it was definitely cornmeal mush which, like polenta, is just cornmeal boiled in water or milk.

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Time to Cook up a Pot of Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans grown by Diaz Farms, Deming, NM

 

Those of you who have been visiting MJ’s Kitchen for a while know that I love cooking up dried beans and putting them in all sorts of dishes.  You’ve had my black beans and bolita beans, but you haven’t had my pinto beans. In fact, I haven’t had my pinto beans for years because I’ve been eating so many black beans.  However, that’s about to change.

Last week I received a package from Diaz Farms, a family-owned farm in southern New Mexico.  Inside the package was a bag of their dried pinto beans, along with a few other items to be revealed soon. I think these beans have made me fall back in love with pintos.  They were so buttery and flavorful and made a great bowl of beans for Sunday’s supper and burritos on Tuesday. I wonder what I’ll be making with the rest of the beans.

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Mixed Berry Jam – Quick and Easy

A spoonful of Mixed Berry Jam

 

When it comes to making jam, the days of torturing my feet with a 12 hour day processing the fruit and making 20 jars of the same jam are over.  Now I make jam one jar at a time and as needed or whenever I have a little excess fruit that needs to use before it becomes compost material.  Because we eat a lot of berries, we almost always have a jar of Mixed Berry Jam in the refrigerator.

This recipe for the perfect jar of Mixed Berry Jam is one I’ve been working on since last spring.  I’ve been looking for the ratio of fruits that yielded the flavor of “mixed berries”.  What I mean by that is one of my earlier batches tasted like blueberry jam with a hint of other berries.  Another batch, with matching amounts of blueberries and raspberries, tasted like raspberry jam.  The recipe I’m sharing with today isn’t dominated by any individual flavor. You’ll be able to taste “hints” of each berry used – a little blueberry, a little raspberry and a little blackberry.  If you don’t have blackberries, you can substitute strawberries with the same mixed berry jam result.  Both versions are delicious!

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