Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Whole Wheat Penne w/Garbanzos & Toasted Garlic

Sometimes pasta meals from the pantry can be pretty dull but this recipe is amazingly good. The difference is the 12 whole cloves of garlic that are cooked until golden and sweet. This easy pasta dish is definitely good enough for entertaining and will ward off any stray vampires as well.

To begin you only need a few staple ingredients.

Whole Wheat Penne with Garbanzos and Toasted Garlic

Serves 4

¾ lb. whole wheat penne or other pasta
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, preferably all the same size
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
15 oz. no-salt-added garbanzo beans drained
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water over medium-high heat until tender, about 12 minutes.
Over medium heat in a large saute pan, cook garlic in oil, stirring constantly, until cloves turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes.

To add the tomatoes, first carefully pour the juice from the tomatoes into the pan. Caution - the hot oil will splatter at this point. Wait a few minutes until splattering stops them crush the whole tomatoes between your hands to add to the pan. Stir in garbanzo beans and add sea salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add pasta to sauce in serving dish.

For a satisfying cold-weather menu, add the Roasted Green Beans with Shallot Vinaigrette and my Rosemary-Garlic Pan Rolls.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Upscale Kitchen Photos from Parade of Homes

Despite my own inadequate rental kitchen, I love to keep up on current kitchen trends. Some day I just know I'll use some of these ideas. Yesterday we went to our local parade of homes to see the best work of New Mexico builders.

This modern kitchen had the most beautiful red granite and I really loved the mix of light and dark cabinets. Unfortunately there was not a straight path from the refrigerator (located on the right outside of the photo) to the stove; actually most of the kitchens I saw did not have a traditional work triangle. I think the higher island section for eating is attractive but it also cut down on the amount of space for food prep. I actually didn't think this kitchen had enough counter space for me although it had plenty of cabinets. Isn't the ceiling gorgeous? (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

This was probably my favorite kitchen especially because it had a window - most of the other kitchens did not. The Wolf range was massive - 6 burners plus a French ring. You can see the warming drawer which every kitchen had - I'd be really surprised if people actually use these. I cook all the time and I doubt I'd even use one regularly - maybe for bread dough rising? The sink was hammered copper which was incredibly beautiful.

This is the same kitchen - the homeowner made all the cabinets out of alder and the floors were travertine. I also liked the open shelving on the far right which could be used to showcase dishes.
This was the only kitchen that did not have a butler's pantry (separate nook with sink and cabinets and shelving) - I guess regular old pantries are out of style.
This kitchen had a lot of warmth (but not enough natural light for me) and I loved the high ceilings (all the kitchens I saw had great high ceilings). I also think I'd prefer more space on either side of the range.

This is the same kitchen as the photo above. One detail I liked about most of the kitchens is that the cabinetry was flush with the top of the refrigerator so it is easier to access.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More CSA Goodness

Here is this week's colorful CSA box. Farmer Monte reports that the CSA members emailed him and voted to limit the number of weeks we receive eggplant, turnips, arugula, and basil next summer. Basil? I can't believe people think there is such a thing as too much fresh organic local basil. For some reason Italian cuisine really isn't as popular here in NM as it is in other parts of the U.S. I may try making salsa with those green tomatoes.

Here's the Pumpkin Ziti w/Caramelized Onions from Veganomicon before the sage breadcrumb topping was added. Our local grocery store was out of cashews for the cashew ricotta so I subbed macadamia nuts and I liked it even better.

Grilled Vegetable Wraps with Chipotle Mayonnaise - another delicious dish from my continuing efforts to cook through the non-dairy recipes in Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen. I love the emphasis on vegetables in all of her recipes as they are my favorite foods.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hatch Green Chile Stew

Hatch Green Chile Stew

Serves 8

Be sure to use mild green chiles for this hearty stew. I like to serve it with warmed flour tortillas. This stew is topped with cilantro and chopped scallions but you can also use tofu sour cream, green olives, or shredded soy cheese.

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
8 c. homemade vegetable stock
4 c. roasted, peeled, and chopped Hatch green chiles
1 green tomato, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. sea salt or to taste

In a large stockpot, saute onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add oregano and cumin and continue to cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Fall has finally arrived at our casita.

Here are a few of my other chile pepper blog posts:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apartment Therapy's Kitchen Cure, Week 1

I can't believe how embarrassing this is! The first task of Apartment Therapy's kitchen decluttering project is to open all your kitchen drawers and cabinets and take photos. I've already discussed my severe lack of storage space but I don't think I realized how chaotic my pantry is until I looked at the photos. You're not allowed to clean or tidy up before you take the photos.

After you post photos, you're supposed to go through and clean out your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.

Since my refrigerator is usually pretty clean I figured I'd just devote 10-15 minutes. THREE HOURS and 2 garbage bags later, my pantry and refrigerator are cleaned out.

These are all before photos - I think my biggest problem areas are my spices, my collection of medicinal herbs which are all over the place, the above drawer where I keep foil and plastic wrap (they don't all fit), and the fact that I have two whole cabinets that are either not used (the one above the fridge which is impossible to access without getting on a chair) or underused (the one above the microwave).

It is a continuing battle to keep a handle on my condiment addiction/"condimania".

I'm looking forward to next week's tasks! It is so nice to think that my kitchen will be organized just in time for the holiday cooking frenzy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Mexico Pinon Nuts

First, a few links:

Prolific cookbook author and chile pepper expert Dave Dewitt has posted an excerpt from my Fiesta Vegan booklet on his blog at Mexgrocer.com.

On the Fiery-Foods.com site there are some additional recipes from my booklet including an avocado and corn tostada recipe.

HERE is an article on raw southwestern cuisine I did for Vegetarian Journal last year. I am really in love with the sunflower seed tacos with the jalapeno "cheese" sauce.

I've decided to join the Apartment Therapy Kitchn Cure this year in an effort to declutter; there are already 2000 participants signed up and it lasts 4 weeks. It isn't too late to sign up - the first assignment is to take a photo of your kitchen with all the cabinets open. You're not allowed to clean beforehand either. Yikes! I'll get that done tomorrow and post it here.

DH usually hikes 10-15 miles a week in the Sandia Mountains. This time of year he brings me back a lovely gift from his hikes.

This is the New Mexico pinon nut - the pinon (pronounced pin-yon) is our state tree and an important wild crop that can grow in very barren landscapes. The photo below shows a good-sized pinon tree in Embudito Canyon on the other side of the mountains from our house.

There are other pine nuts including the Italian pignolia and the Nevada pinon nut but around here they insist the New Mexico pinon is the most buttery and delicious of them all. (Wild foods expert Euell Gibbons supposedly said that the New Mexico pinon was the tastiest wild food of all.) In fall around the state you'll see cars and trucks all over the side of the roads while everyone picks pinons. If you have ever have purchased pine nuts, you know how expensive they are. At Whole Foods they are around $29 a pound.

The reason they are so expensive is because they are a real pain to process - you have to remove the pinons from the pine cones first. Then they need to be sifted carefully to remove rocks, pine needles, and parts of the pine cones. Then they can be rinsed well and salted if desired.

I roast them in the microwave but you can also use your oven. Be careful as they burn VERY easily. (If you do ever over-roast any pinons, you can shell and grind them in your coffee grinder and add to coffee or hot cocoa.) This batch took 1 1/2 minutes in a single layer on a plate on HIGH in the microwave.

Next is the fun part. (I'm lying!) The pinons need to be shelled. I put them between two kitchen towels and bash them to pieces with a rolling pin. I've seen articles that say you can remove the shell with your fingers but I've never been able to. Some people eat the pinons with the shell on and just spit out the shell but they need to be shelled to add to any recipe.

This process is so painstaking that you will soon be telling yourself that $29 a pound is an absolute bargain. I'm personally planning on sitting DH down in front of a play-off game and giving him the rest to shell.

The finished product. As you can see they also have a papery husk in addition to the shell.

As soon as DH finishes shelling the rest of these I'll post my recipe for Red Chile Pinon Flatbreads.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Egg Replacer Experiments

I continue to play around with the unusual homemade egg replacer recipe, Eggscellence, from The Cornbread Gospels. I used it for the Tesuque Pumpkin Cookies from Lois Ellen Frank's beautiful cookbook, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations shown above.

I also used the egg replacer for a Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix. I'm not experienced in gluten-free baking at all and I have no idea if this is what gluten-free pizza crust is supposed to be like??? I expected a biscuit like texture which I got but the pizza dough was quite unusual - moist, springy, with lots of holes. It did rise slightly after mixing.

Here's our CSA box for the week including some delicious shiitake mushrooms, roasted green chiles in the bag, bok choy, collards, and other good things. In Farmer Monte's letter this week he said some CSA members have been complaining of too much eggplant and basil this summer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Foodie Tour of Santa Fe

I was wandering around Santa Fe today and thought I'd show you some fun places to visit if you're ever in the area.

The Chile Shop near the plaza sells their own line of chiles along with cookbooks and some lovely dinnerware.

Kaune's (pronounced COW-knees) is across the street from the Roundhouse (the NM state capitol) and is a fun little gourmet store where you can buy $45 olive oil, fig confit, all sorts of premiere European chocolates, and some great local baked goods.

Here's the cooking school part of the Santa Fe School of Cooking; there's also a market that sells salsa and cookware. They have all sorts of day classes you can take on your vacation; I highly recommend the hands-on chile pepper class with Chef Rocky Durham. If you're a local, they offer classes at a reduced price in January - check their schedule.

The Spanish Table has some beautiful ceramics along with cazuelas, smoked paprika, and paella pans in every possible size.

Also, don't forget the wonderful Santa Fe Farmer's Market (voted one of the top ten farmer's markets in the country by USA Today) - I previously did a blog post about it HERE.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spicy Snack Mix

If you're a Major League baseball fan you know that this time of year is stressful. Exciting of course but also stressful. The games get longer in the postseason and days like today they actually show three games in one day. So how does a fan survive several weeks in the face of potential heartbreak after a long season? Comfort foods and lots of snacks of course.

My main playoff dish is a very simple macaroni dish from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Silken tofu is pureed and gently cooked with Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine and non-dairy cheese for the sauce. But honestly I don't do that much cooking during the playoffs. Instead I just make sure I'm stocked up with the essentials.

Crunchy snacks are also helpful when your team is hanging by a thread at the bottom of the ninth inning after two outs. Here's a simple but versatile mixture you can make in advance. Although it you make it during the game at least your house will smell great.

Spicy Snack Mix

The nutritional yeast in this mixture is optional but it really is great with popcorn. In Albuquerque you can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section at Whole Foods or pre-bagged along the far wall at Vitamin Cottage. I really love Valentina hot sauce from Mexico - it is lower in sodium and thicker than other hot sauces.

Serves 6

5 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (I used 1/2 c. peanuts, 1/2 c. macadamia nuts, & 1/2 c. pecans)
1/4 c. Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tsp. Valentina hot sauce
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic powder
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast.
1/4 tsp. sea salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 275 F. Melt margarine in the microwave and stir in hot sauce, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and salt to taste. Mix with popcorn and spread mixture on a large baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until nuts are golden brown.

The MasterCook 9 nutritional database doesn't include nutritional yeast so this analysis is for the non nutritional yeast version.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 233 Calories; 28g Fat (79.9% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 187mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 4 Fat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cranberry Waldorf Salad

I love this time of year. We don't have a lot of fall color here but I always get in a great mood when I sense the quality of the light changing. Plus I love all the foods of autumn. Farmer Monte writes in the latest newsletter that Los Poblanos Organics is going to start offering an extra fruit addition to the CSA boxes with 4 or 5 different fruits for $9.99; we can either add the extra fruits permanently or just add them to the box on a one-time basis via the web site. I will probably do it once or twice to inspire me in my holiday baking or if we have guests.

I keep cranberries in my freezer year-round because my pet house rabbit Bubbles eats a few every single day. She'll actually eat them still frozen but I do have to cut them in half so she can grab them easily. Here's a version of a recipe in 'Tis the Season that can be done with fresh or thawed frozen cranberries.


Serves 6

This recipe doubles easily (the above shot shows half the salad as written) and is served chilled. Sweet apples like Gala or Delicious work best. If you use thawed frozen cranberries your salad will be a little pinker.

1 c. fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, halved
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 large apples, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. Vegenaise or other non-dairy mayonnaise

Toss the cranberries with the agave nectar to mix. Sprinkle the sliced apples with lemon juice. Mix the cranberries and apples with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill an hour before serving.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 200 Calories; 13g Fat (63.5% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 78mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cookbook Review: Great Chefs Cook Vegan

"Following a vegan diet doesn't have to be boring if you cook with talent and heart - you'll have great and exciting dishes in front of you to enjoy." Chef Eric Ripert

In the book Great Chefs Cook Vegan Linda Long asked many of the world's great chefs (the sort of people you'd see judging on Top Chef) to send some of their plant-based recipes with gorgeous results. This book contains some of the most beautiful food photography I've ever seen and all the recipes look absolutely spectacular. I bought the book because I plan to choose some recipes by the seasonal ingredients and cook one or two a month when I feel like making a special dinner.

Some of the chefs featured include Eric Ripert, Jose Andres, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Mischel Nischan, Marcus Samuelson, Thomas Keller, Suzanne Goin - actually most of the chefs in the book have indeed been featured on Top Chef over the years. Todd English and Cat Cora's recipes really appeal to me as they are heavy on the vegetables. I consider most of these recipes splurge recipes - many use quite a bit of oil - there is one vermicelli recipe where the pasta is cooked in 1 1/2 quarts of oil before being boiled.

If you are guessing that this cookbook contains recipes that involve lots of time and not-so-easy to find ingredients, you'd be right. Here's an example of someof the more esoteric ingredients used in the book: carrageenan, Swedish vinegar, cocoa butter, sea beans, lilybulbs, soy sprouts, Indian semolina/suji, kokum, Affilia cress, cashew fruit puree, kinome seeds, and prepared fondant. Some of the chefs do list ingredient substitutions - lime juice for yuzu, apples for quince, etc. to help out those of us who are shopping-impaired. One recipe involves a cotton candy machine and there are a good amount of sorbets and at least one homemade pasta so you'll also need a pretty tricked-out kitchen to get started.

So is this book worth it? If you're like me and enjoy the process of hunting down unusual ingredients and if you think a day spent in the kitchen is always a great day, then yes, absolutely it is worth it. It is worth it if you're seeking more vegan special occasion recipes or if you are a serious Top Chef fan as well. And if you enjoy making spectacular plant-based pastries and desserts, buy this book immediately!

Note: I'm purposely not showing any of the gorgeous photos from the book because then my unspectacular photos of some of the dishes would seriously suffer in comparison.

This is Cat Cora's Basque Veggie Kebabs with Key Lime Sauce. (Sorry - I couldn't find any skewers) I switched out some of the veggies to what I already had but they were all wonderful grilled with a rub of chili powder, orange rind, and olive oil. The tartness of the sauce really worked well with the sweetness of the grilled veggies.

This is Chef Josef Huber's take on migas - Homemade Garlic Tortillas with Tofu Scrambled Eggs, Roasted Seven-Tomato Salsa, and Fresh Guacamole. The homemade corn tortillas were delicious with the addition of garlic and cilantro and once they were fried, they were impossible to stop eating. There was also a macadamia nut cream with coconut along with grilled scallions. I actually like the Deborah Madison vegan migas from her Vegetarian Supper book a bit better (plus it is much faster) because it uses fresh tomatoes instead of roasted but I am going to start making Chef Huber's tortillas for migas when I have time.

"When the heart and essence of culinary arts are applied to vegan cuisine, it exemplifies the importance of top-quality ingredients and time-tested techniques to create flavorful and extraordinary new dishes." Chef Alex Stratta

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The World of Chile Peppers

Years ago when I wrote 'Tis the Season I had to send an issue of Chile Pepper Magazine containing one of my articles to the copy editors because they wanted to change the spelling to chili (chile is the pepper, chili is the stew... at least here in New Mexico). They weren't really familiar with the concept of a dried mild red chile powder so unfortunately in the Green Chile Enchiladas recipe they changed the 2 Tbsp red chile powder to 2 Tbsp. cayenne and I didn't catch it in time. Yowza! Anyway if you have the book, change the the sauce recipe from cayenne to mild red chile powder unless you have an asbestos mouth.

Chile names and spellings can change from region to region and heat levels can vary. So take everything I'm saying here with a grain of salt as some chile names change outside of New Mexico . If you are interested in learning more about chiles, any of the chile pepper books Albuquerque's own Dave DeWitt has written are definitely a must-have. Dave has a blog about all things chile-related HERE and I also found a great interview with Dave busting various myths about chiles.


Contrary to popular belief, our famous Hatch green chiles are not a type or variety of chile. They're all green (except when they turn red late in the season) and I *think* they're all from southern NM (chiles are grown in the rest of the state as well) but they vary greatly in heat. The 300 acre Berridge Farms in the Hatch Valley lists their specific varieties of Hatch chiles as Mild - New Mexico #20, Medium - Big Jim, Hot - Sandia, and Xtra Hot - Barker. (Even these varieties can change from farm to farm and year to year.) If you are in other parts of the country look for Anaheim or Big Jim green chiles. Poblano chile peppers are a bit greener in flavor and thinner and rounder and are quite popular for stuffing.


There are a wide variety of mild dried red chiles. Around here the superior type of dried mild red chile powder is Chimayo red chile powder. That is what we use for our red chile sauce when we aren't using the whole dried guajillos sold in big bags in most supermarket produce sections here.


I'm still trying to figure out the difference between morita and chipotle chiles. They are both smoked jalapenos and both can vary in hotness. Recently I was at El Mezquite Market in Albuquerque and in their chile aisle the moritas were black and the chipotles were brown so now I'm guessing the difference is how long they are smoked.


Ancho chiles deserve their own section - Food Network chef Bobby Flay always describes them as having the flavor of a spicy raisin. DH usually adds a tsp or so of ancho powder to his red chile sauce for greater complexity and I love them added to any potato dish. My greatest chile find was a container of frozen Baca's ancho chile puree Pro's Ranch Market in Albuquerque - not near all their other Bueno frozen chile purees but in an end aisle near their enormous carniceria


From jalapenos (which aren't always hot), serranos, and Thai bird chiles to cayenne, habanero, and I believe the current world's hottest, the Bhut Jolokia from India, hot chiles are more for embellishment than the main dish. Some of them do have flavor other than heat - the habanero actually has a lovely flavor once you get past the heat - but I generally use them all similarly to spice up a dish. I especially like to get out my El Yucateco habanero hot sauce to use liberally in soup when one of us is feeling under the weather.

Some more links about chiles

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