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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016

Pictures from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016 | mjskitchen.com

[Photo courtesy of Myra Gadson]

The 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is over and it was a great fiesta!  We did have a couple of cancellation days due to wind or rain, but there were still lots of flying time, events, and fun by all.   The balloon fiesta always starts the first weekend of October and runs through the second weekend.  The energy in the city during fiesta week is exhilarating. Morning skies are filled with peacefully floating colorful balloons and on a few of the evenings, the sky fills with fireworks and the balloon field becomes aglow with hundreds of inflated glowing hot air balloons.  After the events of the day are complete, spectators move out to local restaurants or take drives to other parts of our enchanting state.

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Pork Kabobs with Tomato Red Chile Jam

Pork kabobs marinated in tomato red chile jam | mjskitchen.com

 

A few weeks ago you were introduced to my Tomato Red Chile Jam, a sweet, spicy, and savory jam.  There are several ways to use this jam, but one of our favorites is as the marinade for pork kabobs.  If you already have made the jam, the marinade and the pork kabobs are so easy to prepare and grill.  As kabobs, the pork grills relatively quick and can be ready for the table within 45 minutes from applying the marinade.

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Watermelon Salad with Preserved Lemon

A cool and refreshing watermelon salad with preserved lemon, mint and olives @mjskitchen #watermelon #preserved #lemon

 

Several years ago when Bobby and I were spending a long weekend in Taos, New Mexico, we went to the El Meze Restaurant for dinner. We had a marvelous meal as we always do at the El Meze, but the shining star of the evening was a watermelon salad with preserved lemons.  It was SO good that we went back a couple days later, just so we could have it again.  This second time, I paid extra special attention to the ingredients and flavors because I knew I would want to be able to make this salad at home.

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New Mexico Red Chile Mole

A red mole' sauce made with New Mexico red chile, pecans, pistachios and an assortment of spices. | mjskitchen.com

 

A few weeks ago a friend and I took a cooking class at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy.  The class was on mole and was taught by Chef Fernando Olea, a well-known Santa Fe chef, originally from Mexico City.  The class was a demonstration of Chef Olea making his family recipe for Mole Poblano while engaging the class in a discussion on the different types of moles and the endless variety of ingredients.  Chef Olea encouraged us to create our own family recipe for mole, addressing our own tastes and using local ingredients.  Chef Olea was so inspiring, that when I got home, I did just that.  The main ingredients in the New Mexico Red Chile Mole recipe below are mostly local, New Mexico ingredients. The primary chile is dried New Mexico red which gives it more of a red color than the dark chocolate color that one might get from a combination of other dried chiles such as pasilla, mulato, and ancho.

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The Loop to Pie Town, New Mexico

Pie Town, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

 

Have you ever driven 2.5 hours for a piece of pie?  People do it quite often here in New Mexico and some people drive even longer.  Last week Bobby and I took the day off and drove to Pie Town, New Mexico, for lunch.  Pie Town is on Hwy 60, west of Socorro, NM and north of the Gila National Forest. It’s one of those towns that if you end up there, then that’s because you were headed there.  Why else would you be out in the middle of nowhere?

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Asparagus with Orange and Kalamata

A simple side dish of asparagus with orange and kalamata relish | mjskitchen.com

 

Asparagus with orange and kalamata is a light and delightful dish that I love making this time of year when there’s the overlap between good quality citrus and young shoots of fresh asparagus. This dish that can be served as a warm side or cold salad.  For a warm side steamed asparagus is immediately serve with the cold orange kalamata topping.  The contrast of the hot asparagus with the chilled orange is quite enjoyable.  For a cold salad the steamed asparagus and the orange kalamata topping are both chilled at least one hour or over night.  As a cold salad, this makes a mouth calming complement to a spicy entree.

Asparagus with orange and kalamata makes an excellent lunch or dinner salad as well as a dinner side for numerous entrees.

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Grilled Portabello Tacos with Red Chile-Yogurt Sauce

Grilled portabello tacos with sauteed summer squash and red chile. #vegetarian #tacos mjskitchen.com / yogurt sauce. mjskitchen.com

 

These Grilled Portabello Tacos with Red Chile-Yogurt Sauce were inspired by some Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos that I saw over at Oh My Veggies when I was searching for meatless main ideas.   Kiersten’s tacos looked delicious, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I improvised (a great deal actually) with what I had on hand.  The result was outstanding.  Bobby and I enjoyed them so much that when we went to Pagosa Springs with some friends, this was the meal we chose to dish up on our night to cook.  I had to increase the recipe a bit in order to serve 9 people, and in doing so, found that it is a very easy recipe to make for a small dinner party.

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Beef and Chorizo Enchiladas

Restaurant style enchiladas with beef, chorizo and red chile sauce mjskitchen.com

 

During our Abiquiu trip, we took a drive through El Rito, New Mexico, and on to Ojo Caliente.  Ojo Caliente is another small New Mexico town which is well known for its Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Originally, we were going to eat lunch at the spa restaurant, but once we arrived and saw how crazy, busy the place was we decided to go elsewhere. We were looking for something a lot more laid back, which was the general theme of our vacation. 🙂 So we drove back to the main road where we saw a sleepy looking cafe called the Mesa Vista Cafe.

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The Beauty Surrounding Abiquiu, New Mexico

A double rainbow over the Rio Chama as it runs through Abiquiu, NM mjskitchen.com MJsKitchen

 

For Memorial Day weekend (which was also our 40th wedding anniversary), Bobby and I took some extra time off and spent several days enjoying and exploring the area of northern New Mexico surrounding Abiquiu.  Abiquiu, New Mexico, is a little village less than an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe.  The village has less than 3,000 people and is positioned in one of the most enchanting areas of New Mexico.  All around Abiquiu you have breathtaking views, hiking trails, horse riding trails, boating, and hundreds of places to just sit, meditate, pray, whatever your preference, and take in the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings.

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