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Refrigerator Chicken and Vegetable Soup

How to make Chicken and Vegetable Soup from what you have in the refrigerator |mjskitchen.com

 

Do you ever find a refrigerator full of a little of this and a little of that?  Well, this happens to me 2 to 3 times a month.  Once the refrigerator gets to this point, it’s time to make a pasta or soup.  This week the ingredients screamed SOUP.  This Chicken and Vegetable Soup was made using the last of a roasted chicken from which we had already had two meals, some leftover green beans, and fingerling potatoes, and few other fresh vegetables I had in the fridge.

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A Review of Three Heirloom Tomatoes – Growing to Eating

Basket of heirloom tomatoes. mjskitchen.com

 

I can’t believe I’m actually writing about my garden.  Up until 10 years ago I had always had a very prolific garden, but then whoops – life got in the way.  Well, now my garden is back – thanks to Bobby.  Last year he built me two 4′ x 10′ raised beds and spent last fall and winter making the soil for one of the beds.  By April it was ready to plant.

As you can see below, I may have gotten a little carried away in my plantings. In this one bed, I have four heirloom tomatoes, four bell peppers, one cherry bomb pepper, two eggplants and four “bush” cucumbers plants which, I have discovered, that there is no such thing as “bush” cucumbers.  The peppers plants aren’t producing yet, because I had to replace them when the neighborhood racoons found my garden and used it as a playpen.  Several plants got broken, and even though I tried desperately to save them – the attempt was a no go.  But in spite of the racoons, the June heat, and the heavy thunderstorms, my little garden has survived and to date, has provided us with several tomatoes and cucumbers.  Eggplant and peppers are well on there way.

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Fennel Spiced Ham and Mushroom Pasta

An easy pasta dish with leftover ham, mushroom, greens and spices. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

Let’s talk pasta….About once every two weeks I’ll make a pasta dish.  At times it’s my fallback dish Capellini with Lemon, Garlic and an Egg (quick, easy and delicious), but most of the time I just throw a pasta together using a “little bit of this and little bit of that” from the fridge and pantry.  This fennel spiced pasta with ham and mushrooms was the result of last week’s throw together.

When I made it, I didn’t measure anything because I wasn’t expecting to post it.  However, since it turned out SO good, I thought I would post it as a lead in to how to make a delicious pasta dish without a recipe, using what you have and needs to be used.

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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 Chile and Bell 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 chiles 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 chiles 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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