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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 molé 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 Molé Poblano while engaging the class in a discussion on the different types of molés and the endless variety of ingredients.  Chef Olea encouraged us to create our own family recipe for molé, 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 Molé 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 asparagus with an orange and olive 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.

This dish 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

Vegetarian tacos with grilled portabello, sauteed summer squash and red chile / 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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Twinkle Light Parade Albuquerque 2013

Twinkle Light Parade Albuquerque 2013 AMAFCA float

 

A Huge Thanks to all of the friends and visitors of MJ’s Kitchen

for your continued support.

Wishing you a very Joyous and Safe Holiday Season!

 

Twinkle light parade Albuquerque 2013

As my last post of 2013, I’m sharing a few pictures of this year’s

Twilight Light Parade

that ran through the Nob Hill area of  Albuquerque,

a short section of the old Route 66.

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Chocolate Pudding, New Mexico Style and the Museum of International Folk Art

A chocolate pudding seasoned with red chile powder, cinnamon and ginger

 

Before I get to the New Mexico Style Chocolate Pudding recipe, I want to share our visit to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  There were three exhibits that we wanted to see and all three exceeded our expectations.

[Jump to pudding recipe]

Amish Quilts Exhibit

The first exhibit we visited was a display of Amish Quilts.  Many of the quilts displayed were more than 100 years old and were still vibrant and richly beautiful.  The museum allows photography as long as you don’t use a flash; therefore, I’m able to share some of this lovely quilts with you.   Having been a quilter at one time in my life, I never tire of looking at quilts, old quilts, new quilts, contemporary quilts.  Knowing the amount of time and love that goes into making one, I’ve never found a quilt I didn’t like.  The artistry and craftsmanship in these 100 year old quilts blew me away.

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