Still Hungry? August 2017

DeborahMadison_Cover In My KitchenTo food—and especially vegetable—lovers, kitchen dwellers, cookbook collectors, New Mexico locals and beyond, Deborah Madison needs no introduction. The veteran food writer and chef is, for many of us, a household name, and her recent cookbook, In My Kitchen : A collection of new and favorite vegetarian recipes, is bound to become another kitchen staple. It’s a beautiful homage to, and revisiting of, Deborah’s favorites, recipes that have survived, thrived and evolved over the decades—among many new additions.  

“I started cooking for others decades ago,” Deborah—who has cooked in the kitchens of the San Francisco Zen Center, Chez Panisse and Santa Fe’s Café Escalera—writes in the book’s introduction. “I began cooking when vegetarian food was weird.” These days, of course, “vegetarian food is part of a great mash-up of taste, values, and experiences.” Much has changed in the decades since she began cooking—“from values to ingredients” to ourselves, and Deborah’s dishes, like time, culture and individuals, are the result of a fluid, organic evolution. In My Kitchen shares over 100 recipes “that have settled happily into my kitchen and my life,” she writes. “So in a sense, these are all new albeit familiar dishes. Sometimes they’re recipes that have been forgotten or overlooked but that deserve to be revisited and brought to light.”

This month, we share three recipes from In My Kitchen that exemplify Deborah’s gift for simple yet creative dishes with fresh, seasonal ingredients that we might pluck right out of our own gardens, or purchase from our local farmers. As Deborah puts it in the book’s introduction, “I hope you find these—some of my favorite recipes and approaches—delicious and that they enhance your life as they do mine.” Continue reading

Cava

Cava-dreamstime_m_3777248There are many wines that make an excellent start to the meal as an aperitif.  Your wine aficionado may want to drink Champagne, but there is a good alternative that’s less expensive, especially at this time of year. When we eat outdoors, we focus on appetizers or small plates, and eat lighter foods. This is typical of the lifestyle in Spain, where they drink Cava.

Cava is a sparkling wine from Northeast Spain that has come full circle in the wine consumer’s appreciation. It was very much in fashion 20 years ago, but fell out of favor when locally produced sparkling wines, Prosecco and French Crémant, displaced it in the market. Prosecco has become especially popular, but to understand Cava it is best to describe how it differs from that Italian bubbly, and to look at the production methods of both wines.

There are seven generally recognized methods for making sparkling wines, but the two most popular methods are Champagne and Charmat (also known as “cuve close,” or Tank). Cava is produced by the Champagne method. The words Metodo Clasico or Metodo Tradicional will be found on the label of Cava as a legal reference to that method. The term “Champagne method” is not allowed on a bottle of Cava since Spain is part of the European Union, and it respects that legally protected appellation of France. So what is this special method that applies to Cava and Champagne? And how does it affect the taste of the wine? Continue reading

Celebrating the Churro

Sheep-DSCF7494“In our Native way, food is our medicine,” Walter says. “We use the herbs in our ceremonies, we pray with them. Our food is art and it’s our prayer, too.”

The ultra-modern seven-story administration building at Diné College in Tsaile, Ariz.—the tallest building on the Navajo Nation—is affectionately referred to as the “lug nut” building for its rounded six-sided shape and metallic reflective finishes. So it’s something of a pleasantly dissonant surprise to pull into its nearby parking lot and hear the sound of bleating sheep.

For the past 21 years, the annual three-day Sheep is Life celebration is held to honor and deepen the long and valued relationship between the Navajo people and the old-time Navajo sheep, or Churro. Sponsored by The Navajo Lifeways nonprofit, or Diné be’ iiná, Inc., the conference and celebration took place this year, and is contracted for the next several, at Diné College in Tsaile, “the place where the stream flows into the canyon.” Canyon de Chelly is about a 30-minute drive away and is the place in the Navajo creation stories where Navajo deity Spider Woman, who taught weaving to her people, lives on a spectacular 800-foot spire. Continue reading

Through the Years…KoKoMan

Kokoman_DSC1269It’s an all too familiar story. A person with a casual interest in wine is served that epiphany wine, a wine so good their eyes are opened to what wine is all about. And then begins that precipitous descent into the depths of wine geekdom.

One of the rules that geeks learn early on, when searching for that next epiphany wine, is not to be fooled by the appearance of a wine store. Oftentimes, the grittiest, most unostentatious of wine shops will harbor unknown wine treasures. Invariably, there is someone behind that shop who has an abiding interest and passion for fine wine. That characterization fits Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor in Pojoaque to a T. It’s not much to look at when you enter the front door, but take that sharp turn to the left and all sorts of wine treasures are there for the taking. And the mind behind it all is none other than Keith Obermaier, a fixture on the New Mexico wine scene for a good many years. Continue reading

August Fishing Report – Jicarilla Lake

Taylor Streit Fly FishingThese lakes are south of the town of Dulce about 30 miles west of Chama. In my earlier book Fly Fishing NM, I listed several lakes to fish here. Although the north central part of the state has been largely unaffected by climate change––the inconvenient truth is that global warming has reduced the fishing to just two trout lakes. The better of the two seems to be Mondo Lake which has warm-water species as well as bass, trout, small sunfish, catfish and tiger muskie.

It used to be that Stone Lake was a famous fishery for huge rainbows. They were stocked in spring and within a year the rainbows were gargantuan as they chewed on the meaty and chewy water dog. Fisherman in-the-know would drive for hundreds of miles to get one of the lunkers. Lets hope for more continued rain and snow, and more and more normal—do we recall normal?—temperatures.

What actually hurts these fisheries is not the high water temperatures per se, but the weed growth that comes with it. As weeds die in winter and decay they take the oxygen out of the water. Also, weed beds impede the movement of fish––and anglers. Continue reading

Terran Kipp Last Gun

 

TERRAN_05_klWe think of artists as this rarefied species that splashes brilliantly into life like meteors, child prodigies of astonishing genius instantly recognizable. While the rest of us struggle to figure out who and what we want to grow up to do, they’ve known since the beginning—it’s the air they breathe! But not all artists arrive like meteors, and some breathe the same air we do. In fact, among the most daring and adventurous artists are those whose paths of discovery appear to them just like ours do, one clue at a time.

Terran Kipp Last Gun, 2016 graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, says, “I’ve always felt creative—I always did creative stuff. But I never felt like I was an artist, growing up.”  His father, Terrance Guardipee Last Gun, is a painter and ledger artist, “so I grew up around it that way. And my dad always encouraged me,” he says. “But romanticized art—realism—that you see a lot of in Montana was just not intriguing to me.” Some adults from previous generations “didn’t want to be Indian or felt ashamed; they had almost no pride, just a sense of disconnect,” and Terran neither understood nor felt a part of the Catholic faith in which he was raised. But in fourth grade, he began attending the Lost Children immersion school on his reservation, founded partially by his great uncle Darrell Robes Kipp as part of the Piegan Institute, and there, Terran first learned the cultural narratives of his Piikani people and to speak the Blackfoot language. He continued through seventh grade and, although he didn’t know it at the time, that turned out to be his first step on his path to being an artist.   Continue reading