Still Hungry? August 2016

It’s late July as I write this, and my goodness is it hot. The apricot tree in our yard rains down big, juicy apricots, but the water that usually blesses our parched earth at this time of year has yet to roll in on the billowing back of dark clouds and thunder. And our sunflowers droop their wilty golden heads come late afternoon. Yet somehow, come drought or downpour, our local chefs are endowed with the gift of creating the delicious out of even the most dire. Such is the magic of desert-inspired cooking.

This month, Still Hungry? brings you two of our very talented chefs, who are also intimately familiar with this local soil and all it yields—or doesn’t—as their dishes are brought straight from the earth to the plate. Chef Carrie Eagle of Farm and Table tells us that this year, in this heat and drought, produce is struggling in the dry earth, but the onions are prolific. And inspired by that bounty, she’s shared with us her Sol Harvest Farm French onion soup.

Chef Jonathan Perno of La Merienda at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm brings us a decadent breakfast to be enjoyed in the cool of the early desert-morning air. His blue-corn yogurt pancakes are rich and delicious—and especially delightful when topped with local stone fruit, which has been so bountiful this summer. We hope you enjoy these farm-created dishes as much as we do, for their ingredients reveal our earth’s local gifts. Continue reading

Still Hungry? December 2015

Plucked from the pages of the local cookbooks we are featuring this month in “Gifts for the Home Cook,” here are four great recipes that will bring a little local flavor to your holiday table.

For the holidays, I have a few traditions I share with my family. We always have breakfast together after everyone gets in, and this year, I’m making everyone these Southwestern-style pancakes from Sharon Niederman’s gem, The New Mexico Farm Table Cookbook.

Toasted Pinon-Dusted Blue Corn Pancakes

Serves 4

This is a Sunday morning brunch treat that my family serves with bacon and chokecherry syrup that we make from chokecherries we forage in Cimarron Canyon each August. This recipe is good with honey butter.

1 ½ cups finely ground atole (toasted blue cornmeal) preferably horno roasted
¼ cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup toasted ground piñon nuts, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk or a combination of whole milk, yogurt, or unsweetened soy or coconut milk
¼ cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)
Honey butter, for serving (optional)
Chokeberry syrup, local honey, or pure maple syrup, for serving

Heat a griddle, preferably cast iron

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including ¼ cup of the piñons. In another bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir quickly, just enough to mix. Spoon the pancakes onto the hot griddle, using 2 large tablespoons of batter per pancake. When the edges start to bubble, flip once with a spatula. Serve hot with honey butter, if desired, and chokecherry syrup, local honey, or real maple syrup, sprinkled with the reserved ¼ cup of toasted piñons.

Niederman, Sharon. The New Mexico Farm Table Cookbook: 100 Homegrown Recipes from the Land of Enchantment (The Farm Table Cookbook). The Countryman Press, 2015.

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Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Serves 4

With Mother’s Day brunch in mind, Beth Draiscoll offers a Zia Diner staple, their Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. “We smoke whole sides of salmon here at the Zia,” she says, “but I think good commercial lox is also just fine.” Beth notes that at the Zia, “We use the iconic blender Hollandaise first made famous by Julia Child. It holds fairly well and doesn’t ‘break’ as some recipes tend to do.”

To prepare the hollandaise sauce:

3 egg yolks

2 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of black pepper

1/4 pound butter (1 stick), melted and warm

Whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, cayenne and black pepper in blender. With blender running, slowly drizzle in melted butter and mix until sauce comes together and thickens.

To put it all together:

8 English muffins

8 eggs (two per serving)

1 ounce Nova lox

Sprig of dill or Italian parsley

Poach eggs and rest on paper towels while toasting English muffins. Place Nova lox on each toasted muffin, top with a poached egg and pour some Hollandaise over each. Garnish with a sprig of dill or chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe by Beth Draiscoll of the Zia Diner; recipe appears in May 2014 Local Flavor

In Chile We Trust

In Chile We TrustI admit that upon moving to New Mexico it took me longer than some to fully embrace the state vegetable. In fact, at the risk of losing my New Mexico residency card, I’ll go so far as to say that I still prefer my pizza and hamburgers to be chile free. Days can go by without a chile appearing on my menu, and my comfort food is more along the lines of risotto or mashed potatoes, sans chile, than it is mac and cheese with chile or a heaping plate of chile cheese fries. Chile has gradually crept into my diet, however, and I certainly don’t stare at the waitress with a blank look on my face and stutter when asked, “Red or green?” Chile rellenos and carne adovada, two dishes unheard of in the East, have become favorites. But I guess I’m kind of vanilla in my chile tastes—I like it on New Mexican food but not crossing over into other cuisines and, beyond the occasional breakfast burrito (usually eaten when there’s a tray of them at an early work meeting), it certainly doesn’t carry over into breakfast.

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French Toast Even a Child Can Make!

A traditional favorite for kids is to make breakfast in bed for Mom. Says Beth Draiscoll of Zia Diner, “I cannot think of anything more iconic than homemade French toast with fresh berries. Even fairly young children can help, as this is very simple and still delicious!”

6-8 eggs

1 loaf of bread—I like a tasty bread with a soft crust like challah or brioche, but even inexpensive white bread will work

1 1/2 cups milk, half and half or a combination of the two

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon maple syrup Continue reading

Breakfast Quinoa from Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café

Yashoda Naidoo, founder of Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café in Albuquerque, suggests quinoa for breakfast, because, she says, the morning is an important time for elimination. This quinoa dish is packed with protein, fiber, liquid and, most importantly, spices. “The spices actually reduce the kapha [one of the three Ayurvedic doshas, or energies], which is prominent at that time, and the characteristics of kapha are cold, but the spices are all very warming.” In Ayurveda, Yashoda explains, you want to do the opposite of what the existing condition is, and in the morning, you want to bring heat into the body. The spices open up the chest and bring oxygen to the brain. She notes that it’s best to eat the quinoa with a lot of liquid so the food “goes right to your system rather than making you sluggish.” Continue reading