Harsh and frigid, scalding and cracked, ancient with fossils of the inland sea that once was, and fresh with shoots that somehow rise from the earth’s snow-quenched crevices. The sky is huge and open enough to cradle both the bright, searing sun and the drenching monsoons and billows of snow that stumble in, early or late, never apologetic, each summer and winter season. Soft from afar, jagged up close; seemingly dead as a fossil, crystalized—but, just there, a fragile shoot. Part of the magic, the miracle of this place, the high desert, is the paradox of, the contrast between, the aliveness that bursts through what seems to be the uncaring, solid stillness of earth.
And then there are the people who cultivate this earth’s soil. All year at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, these men and women from their various plots of Northern New Mexico land sell the creations they’ve nurtured with their own hands. “Life for such a creation in northern New Mexico is unlike anywhere in the world,” writes Lesley S. King in photographer Douglas Merriam’s 2016 cookbook—a book born of, inspired by and in ode to the Santa Fe Farmers Market. The book, A Farm Fresh Journey Santa Fe Farmers Market Cookbook, is a gorgeous testament to the stark beauty of New Mexico as well as to Doug’s artistic talent, his ability to capture the earth, its fruit, its people. It’s the portrait of the contrast to and relationship between the New Mexico landscape, the plants that grow from it, and the people who cultivate and make these delicacies thrive. Ultimately, it’s a taste of our local earth. Continue reading
St. Patty’s Shepherd Pie
From La Montanita Co-op
A recipe perfect for St Patrick’s Day, or anytime!
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 cup frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, onions)
2-3 cups mashed potatoes
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups beef stock
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
Preheat oven to 350
Brown beef, remove from pan and add olive oil
When hot, add flour and brown until caramel colored. Stir often and keep a close watch—don’t burn the flour!
Add the stock and mix well, bringing back to a boil. Add the frozen veggies and beef. Pour into casserole dish and cover with the mashed potatoes. If desired, top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 30–45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve with your favorite bread.
From Arlene Wagner
of Wagner Farms
1 1/2 lbs beef steak, cubed
2 Tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn cut off cob
3 medium zucchini squash, diced
2 medium summer squash, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup chopped, green chile
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Montery Jack cheese, grated
from Tasting New Mexico: 100 Years of Distinctive Home Cooking by Cheryl & Bill Jamison
Pork is the most common meat for carnitas in New Mexico and the rest of the borderlands, but many cooks also make a stellar rendition with beef. This is the popular version that Roque Garcia and his wife, Mona Cavalli, have served for decades from their street cart on the Santa Fe Plaza. The couple credits Roque’s mother for the original home recipe, which Roque recommends duplicating in other home kitchens in the following manner. He calls for an overnight marinating for the meat, but we have had good results with as little as a half-hour soak when rushed.