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Cara Cara Orange and Persimmon Salad

A simple salad of cara cara orange and persimmon | mjskitchen.com

Cara Cara oranges and Fuyu persimmon are my favorite winter fruits.  It was not until I had a flat of both sitting on the counter that I thought of putting them together in this simple salad.  If any two fruits below in the same bowl, it’s these two.  We have been eating this salad a couple of times a week since November.  By using different flavored sea salts, one can slightly alter the taste of the salad to best complement the meal and to provide a different finish.

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New Mexico Chile Spice Blends

Chile 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 – a red and a green.

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 some very interesting chile spice blends.

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Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup

Pumpkin Beer Cheese soup with Zamorano and Parrano cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

This Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup was inspired by my Conversation with a Cheesemonger (Derrick Sanders).  During this conversation I asked Derrick for a cheese that could be used as a topping on my Roasted Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup, a sweet and savory, spicy soup.  After looking at the recipe, he recommended a “hard, salty grating cheese: Piave, Parrano, Podda, Capra sarda, and Zamorano.”  All of these cheeses sounded so good, and gave me the inspiration to start from scratch and come up with another pumpkin soup that was still sweet, savory and spicy, but also, deliciously cheesy.

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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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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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The Quintessential Green Chile Cheeseburger

It’s a great weekend for a Green Chile Cheeseburger don’t you think?

The quintessential Green Chile Cheeseburger | mjskitchen.com

 

New Mexico’s chile season is upon us!  Yesterday I went over to one of my favorite local suppliers, Sichler Farms, and bought my first 10 pounds of chile for 2014 – 5 pounds of medium and 5 pounds of hot.  When I got home I couldn’t wait to try it, so I lit up the grill and started roasting and peeling.  For supper we made the Quintessential Green Chile Cheeseburger.  Both of us agreed that, even though we’ve eaten A LOT of green chile cheeseburgers in our lifetime, this was the best hamburger we had ever made and possibly ever eaten.  Every bite was a burst of spicy, meaty chile complemented with the sweetness of Golden Jubilees picked fresh from our garden.  A burger can’t get much better than this.

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Hash Brown Cakes with Andouille Sausage

Hash Brown Cakes with Andouille sausage and red chile pepper flakes. mjskitchen.com

 

There are potato cakes and then there are hash brown cakes.  Hash brown cakes are made with grated, uncooked potatoes, where as potato cakes are made with mashed potatoes.  My preference – hash brown cakes – any day of the week.  The Hash Brown Cakes that I’m dishing up today have it all.  They have andouille sausage, some diced vegetables, Pecorino Romano, and last, but not least, a very special red chile flake all the way from Turkey.  Serve these cakes with a vegetable side, some pinto beans or top with a fried egg for a complete meal.  See the Kitchen Notes for more side suggestions.

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Bok Choy with Lemongrass and Pecans

Bok choy with lemongrass is 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, which unfortunately, is now closed.  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.

This Bok Choy with Lemongrass 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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Spicie Foodie Interviews Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants

fordsfieryfoodsandplants_interview

 

What is this man and his cute little daughter holding?  Lots and lots of exotic chile plants, ready to sell and be planted in every home garden.

Several weeks ago I introduced you to some of the chile peppers grown by Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants, a small business in Eugene, Oregon, that offers rare fresh pepper strains from Europe, the Middle east and South American.

Chocolate shots with ginger, chile, and Baileys Irish Cream mjskitchen.comRemember those Fiery Chocolate Shots for Valentine’s Day that were spiced up with urfa biber peppers – a spicy sweet pepper with a hint of raisins.

 

 

 

Sweet potatoes roasted in ghee and tossed with orange juice and chile powder mjskitchen.comThen there were the Spicy Orange Roasted Sweet Potatoes seasoned with murupi amerela chile powder – a hot, fruity pepper with a hint of citrus.

 

 

 

Today I’m going to give you the opportunity to learn more about John Ford and how he got into the business of exotic chile peppers. My friend Nancy of Spicie Foodie posted a delightful interview with John recently and I think it’s one everyone will enjoy. So if you have a little time, take a few minutes to learn more about John Ford and his chile plants.  And if you are interested in trying some of John’s chiles, do what I did, and order some of his starter plants for your summer garden.

To learn even more about the peppers at Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants, browse through Spicie Foodie’s post on 6 Chiles Peppers You Gotta Try!.

 

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