Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It's been a while since I posted anything, and so I just wanted to share this picture of a lovely young doe that I took this morning.
Also, it's a very good idea to have snow chains in Cloudcroft, NM. I asked Left Brain today if I remembered it right. "Aren't you supposed to turn into the slide?" His reply was that yes, you were, unless you were just trying to stop without going over the side of the hill. OK, I'm getting it.
Next post: Mrs. Griggs' Cookbook.
Posted by Jan at 3:33 PM
Monday, November 30, 2009
My mother used to make this when the situation was dire. DIRE. When she was really worried about someone, or when that someone was broken-hearted and had had impacted wisdom teeth dug out and had contracted the flu at the same time and and they were scary skinny. And this soup would make
First, you need some soup bones. Your up-scale type grocery stores will not have these good soup bones. Trust me.
These bones must have some meat on them, but most importantly, a big patch of marrow in the bone. Mmmm. Mmmmarrrow.
When the meat is tender, or as tender as it is ever going to be,
Make sure all the marrow is out of the bones, too. Put that all back into the broth, along with some salt, about a half-dollar's worth.
Then add your pearl barley. About a cup.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Corn Tortillas. Only corn tortillas. Fresh is better.
Cheese. We like to use mild Wisconsin cheddar in these parts, but in Mexico you would use "Chihuahua" which is similar to mild cheddar. The kind that is blended cheddar and monterrey jack is fine, as well. I think some restaurants and recipes use mozzarella these days which I think is weird and must be because it's cheaper.
Onion. White or yellow.
Spray oil like Pam or whatever you've got. You could use corn or olive oil and a brush as well.
Now, get a couple of quarter sheet pans and put them in the oven and turn the oven to about 400. Don't use insulated pans, we're using them to "fry" the tortillas. When they've been in there for a little while and are hot, open the oven and pull them out and spray the pans with the oil. Then put your tortillas on them, and then spray the top lightly.
Close the oven and wait about 3 minutes. When you look at the tortillas they should show "bubbles".
Now take them all out and stack them on a plate. You can put another batch in now, but if you do you might get distracted and let them get too cooked.
Put a large pan in front of you with a pool of sauce in the bottom.
Make sure you have sauce left over!
This is all a matter of preference, but I don't like enchiladas that are just
swimming in sauce, and if you put all your remaining red sauce on now, your tortillas will get too soft. They should have some texture and bite-ability, and not be mush.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
This part really isn't very difficult at all. It just takes some 'splainin'. Once you've done it once or twice it's really NBD and only takes about 15 minutes. You just need to do this earlier in the day or at some earlier time because it's much easier to assemble your enchiladas when the sauce is cool. Also, red chile sauce freezes very well.
A word about chile. My father, Buck Sommerville, a renowned chile farmer and an innovator of the dehydrator and packaged red chile, always wanted to eat "fresh" red chile. The taste is actually better. So look for a package that has chile that is slightly soft and bendable, not crackly and breaking. Also, the color is slightly more red than brown with freshly packaged red chile. But if you're desperate, any whole dried pods will do. And a warning about ground up dried red chile "powder". Don't do it. You don't know what it is, how old it it, what bugs are in it, how it was stored, etc. It is the last resort of a chile lover.
I always get "MILD". That's because farmers today have a hard time getting pure seed. And if the seed isn't produced in a field that is isolated from another field that is growing "HOT" you might burn up everything from your lips to your *. So get mild. You might get a hot batch anyway.
Wash the chile and start breaking the stems off. You don't really have to wash out the seeds but it might help make the finished product milder. We like a little "pica" (bite) with our chile so I don't bother washing out the seeds...they will get strained out later. Keep the water running over your work, the dust can bring on a coughing fit.
Then cover your chiles with water and on the stove top they go.
Get your blender and a dish towel.
You'll see why in a minute.
Fish your chiles out of the pot and put them in the blender. And here is where I put in some fresh Oregano. Or you could use a pinch of dried. Just thrown it into the blender with the chile. Use a strainer to pour some of the boil water in, just enough to cover well.
And you really don't want to be trying to get a chile stain off the ceiling. Or anything else.
Blend up your chile and the water and oregano.
So now you've got a bowl of pure chile. Isn't it beautiful? Do you have a sweater or something you want to dye?
Alternatively, you can use a food mill, such as this trusty old stand-by. It belonged to my Grandmother!
I say a pinch because cumin is very powerful and I just like a tiny bit of it in my sauce. You may want more, especially if you grew up in Arizona or eating Tex-Mex, which isn't the same as our Southern New Mexican food. In my opinion, all that garlic and cumin just muddies up the taste, and possibly was needed where you didn't get good chile. You want to taste the chile.
Then pour your pure chile in there, be careful not to have your pan too hot. We don't want spatters.
Now, this part is controversial. Or just personal preference. But I think adding another liquid at this point is preferable, mainly because you need to stretch out your sauce a little. I personally like to use chicken broth. About the amount of a small can is enough. My dear Auntie likes to put in tomato soup. Lots of people want just water. But I think chicken broth is best and it mellows the bitter bite of the chile just enough.
Okay, so when the sauce has thickened to the point it coats a spoon, you're done. That was easy, wasn't it?
Next installment: Assembling the Enchiladas.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It took me a long time to finally break down and buy another mellon baller. I know I had one at some other house, and can just imagine myself saying, "I never use that. Out it goes." And out it went along with some other stuff I had quit using like a potato ricer, plastic immersible egg timer, glass anti-boil-over device, etc., etc.
Then I started wondering why I had tossed it. They are good for so many jobs. So I bought another one, an OXO. Eight bucks! I was mad at myself, but not mad enough to punish myself any longer by not having the right. tool. for. the. job.
Start out with big fat Rome apples. That's what my Mom told me and that's what I get. Wash'em up good.
Then switch over to the small side and scoop out the seeds and the tough middle stuff.
Turn the baller over and press the cup side into the sugar to smoosh it down. Then sprinkle clove, ginger, and cinnamon over the sugar.
Just to be decadent, I put a little fresh whipped cream on top and served with a gingerbread blondie. I love cooking in the fall.