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The Bolita Bean – A Locally Grown Favorite

Bolita Bean (similar to the Pinto), but creamier in texture and sweeter in flavor mjskitchen.com

Bolita (left) – Pinto (right)

 

The bolita bean is similar to a pinto bean. It is high in protein, but a little sweeter with a creamier texture, and, from what I’ve read, easier on the digestive system. If you’re not familiar with the bolita bean, it is a small pinkish bean similar in shape and size to the pinto (as you can see in the picture).  It’s locally grown here in New Mexico and can be found at many of the Growers’ Markets in the fall. It can also be purchased online from farms like Schwebach Farms and Sichler’s Farms.

The stories I’ve read say that bolita beans were first cultivated in Peru 10,000 years ago and brought north to New Mexico by Spanish settlers. They became an important crop of the American Indians of northern New Mexico who still grow them along with many other farmers in central and northern New Mexico.  Today, bolitas are grown throughout the Four Corners area and other parts of the southwest.  Apparently, it is a good crop for the southwest because its root system is deep, making it able to withstand dry spells and drier climates like ours.

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Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Red Chile and Cotija Cheese

Our favorite Scrambled Eggs - Farm fresh eggs scrambled with roasted red chile and cotija cheese #chile #cotija #eggs #breakfast @mjskitchen

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One of the challenges of retirement is coming up with a more varied breakfast menu.  When we were working outside the house, fruit and cereal was our standard breakfast; but now, with more time in the mornings and breakfast being closer to a brunch, our repertoire has increased.  One of the breakfasts that we both absolutely love is scrambled eggs with roasted red chile and cotija cheese.  These scrambled eggs are so easy to whip up and are complemented with a variety of sides.  Serve with beans, potatoes or something as simple as a piece of toast, and you have a spicy and tasty meal with which to start the day.  And, for those of you that aren’t retired, these eggs are actually easier than putting together a bowl of fruit and cereal.

Note:  If you can find a local source for farm fresh eggs, you’ll learn what an egg should really taste like.  The eggs we buy are fresh, hand-picked eggs, less than a week old.  They have huge dark yellow to orange yolks (as you can see in the pictures), with firm whites as opposed to the runny whites one finds in most storebought eggs.  And the flavor…the best eggs we’ve ever eaten.

 

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Breakfast Chimichanga Smothered in Red Chile

Breakfast Chimichanga filled with either egg and chorizo or egg and black beans, then smothered in NM red chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

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Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why not embrace it, and treat yourself to a breakfast chimichanga smothered in red chile.  It’s so very hearty, high in protein, and exploding with lots and lots of flavor! When you cut into the crunchy, lightly pan fried tortilla you’ll find the ultimate breakfast ingredient – eggs – wrapped with spicy Mexican chorizo or spicy black beans, whichever you prefer.  To enjoy a multitude of goodness, use each bite to scoop up some red chile with a little bit of the toppings. Now that’s a breakfast! If this doesn’t become a standard for your household, I don’t know what will.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s really easy to make?

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Slow-Cooked Red Beans

Slow cooked pot of spicy red beans. mjskitchen.com

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When it comes to red beans, it seems that the larger kidney bean gets most of the attention.  Of course this could possibly be due to the classic red beans and rice, “an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine“.  To be honest, red beans and rice is normally our go to dish for red beans.  However, sometimes I like to cook up the small red bean.  It’s more tender than the kidney bean and has a sweeter, more delicate flavor, in my opinion.

This red bean recipe yields a flavorful bowl of tender beans that’s savory, spicy and quite versatile. As with most beans, we love to eat these as just a bowl of beans with some cornbread or tortillas and maybe a topping or two. But you could also add them to salads or soups, serve them on top of a bowl of rice, or wrap them in a tortilla and smother with red chile.  Lots of possibilities…

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Calabacitas Cornbread (Roasted Chile, Corn, and Zucchini)

Calabacitas Cornbread - Roasted chile, zucchini and corn all wrapped up in cornbread batter for a hearty and spicy cornbread. | mjskitchen.com

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We can’t let summer end without a calabacitas dish – a dish with corn, summer squash and New Mexico’s roasted chile.  In years past, I’ve dished up a few other versions of calabacitas which you can find listed at this end of this post.  This year’s recipe is Calabacitas Cornbread, cornbread with zucchini, corn, roasted chile and cheese.  With all of these ingredients, calabacitas cornbread is a meal in itself.  Just serve with a few homegrown tomatoes and you’re all set for an enjoyable and filling meal.  You can also serve smaller portions as a side for any meal that screams for a piece of cornbread.

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Green Chile Cheese Breakfast Bake – Quick & Easy

A quick and easy Green Chile Cheese Breakfast Bake with the toast baked in. A great use for stale bread or cornbread. | mjskitchen.com

This Green Chile Cheese Breakfast Bake is not only just a quick & easy breakfast dish, but it is also a great way to use up leftover cornbread or pretty much any stale bread you have available.  There are no exact measurements for the ingredients.  It’s basically some green chile and cheese piled on top of stale bread, covered with whisked eggs and spices, and baked.  It’s hearty, spicy, high in protein and a delicious way to start the day.

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Three Onion Green Chile Soup – Served Cold

Stay cool with this cold Three Onion Green Chile Soup topped with toasted pinon, herbs and sour cream. #greenchile | mjskitchen.com

Green chile season is quickly approaching.  Picking should start within the next couple of weeks, so what better time to begin introducing some new green chile recipes. Last year I started with this Baked Blooming Onion with Hatch Chile, so in keeping with the onion and green chile theme, here is a Cold, Three Onion Green Chile Soup.

Cold soups help us get through the long hot summer, so they are a favorite meal this time of year.  This three onion green chile soup is a tasty cold soup with a richness created from the use of three different types of onion and a little spice from roasted green chile.  For a bit of sweetness and crunch, this soup is topped with a dollop of sour cream and toasted pinons (pine nuts).  Serve with a simple grilled cheese of cheddar and bacon bits or your favorite for a complete meal.

For links to more chilled soups, a couple grilled cheese sandwiches, and a list of New Mexico fresh green chile suppliers, check out the links at this end of the post.

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Pita Pockets with Cabbage Apple Slaw and Green Chile Dressing

Pita pockets with a cabbage apple slaw and green chile dressing #greenchile #slaw #pita | mjskitchen.com

This cabbage apple slaw pita pocket is a recipe I’ve been making for decades with little changes here and there for variety.  The most recent change was the addition of green chile dressing.  This dressing is made with homemade mayonnaise (recipe below), Dijon type mustard, and a generous  amount of green chile spice mix.  The green chile mix adds a bit of a bite to the slaw as well as the delectable flavor of green chile.  So good!

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Red Chile Chilaquiles and SE Arizona-Part II

Red chile chilaquiles made with New Mexico red chile, queso fresco and egg. mjskitchen.com

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Chilaquiles (chē-lä-ˈkē-lās) is a traditional Mexican dish made with fried corn tortilla chips, a red or green chile sauce or salsa, cheese, fried eggs and complementary toppings.  I was introduced to a Sonoran version of red chile chilaquiles during a recent visit to Tucson. The Sonoran chilaquiles were as simple as they could get – corn tortillas with a tomato-based chile sauce, queso fresco and fried eggs, served with a side of black beans. Simple and hearty, though not spicy, and a very tasty way to start the day.

Following the simplicity of the Sonoran chilaquiles, I’ve been making red chile chilaquiles at home using New Mexico red chile sauce, a Mexican style cheese, some simple toppings, and fried egg. Because there are so many toppings that  complement this dish, you can change the flavors of this dish each time you make it.  It’s a meal you can make over and over again and never get tired of.

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