Still Hungry? July 2015

“When did ginger beer become indispensable?” I turned on the TV just in time to hear a fictional bartender utter these words. When, indeed? There was a time when mixers came out of a gun and the most exciting fresh fruit behind a bar was an orange. Mixologists are more than mere bartenders, they are passionate about their craft and take time to create cocktails that use fresh, seasonal ingredients, usually sourced locally, which enhance the flavors of the spirit rather than mask them. These drinks are fabulous on their own, but when paired with the right food the combinations complement each other the way a Chianti complements pasta with tomato sauce.

Apothecary Lounge at Hotel Parq Central

Katixa Mercier, Apothecary Lounge Manager, and Frank Sanchez, Chef

When Katixa Mercier came to the Apothecary Lounge three months ago she had the opportunity not only to develop the cocktail program but to work with Chef Frank Sanchez to create a bar menu of small plates that would work with the cocktails. On mixology Katixa says, “It’s important to honor the classics,” but she also likes to “push the envelope a bit and get to play.” Katixa focuses on local ingredients for her cocktails as much as possible. “Hotel Parq Central is a local business and we feel a social responsibility to give back to the community.” A restaurant and bar can’t stand out there on their own—they need to “be involved with the whole industry. People want to know where things come from.” Continue reading

Chef Ruiz’s Red Chile Pork Posole

Fernando's mother

Chef Fernando Ruiz’s mother told him to always “cook from your heart.” Red chile pork posole was a staple at Chef Fernando’s house—his mother made it at least once a week from a recipe passed down from his mother’s mother. To this day, “it reminds me of my mom, every time I see it on a menu.” Continue reading

Juniper Lamb Stew

By Dcrjsr (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dcrjsr (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

From Chef Michael Giese of The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

2 pounds lamb meat, cubed
3 cups fresh corn cut from the cob
6 green onions
3 bell peppers
1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons lard
1/2 cup celery leaves (no stalks)
1/4 cup juniper berries
2 Tablespoons chile powder
6 cups water
salt to taste Continue reading

Spicy Corn Soup

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On April 12 at the Hotel Santa Fe, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is hosting A Celebration of Native Food and Wine, a first-of-its-kind dinner featuring the culinary talents of four acclaimed Native American chefs paired with the wines of Fire Mountain Wines, founded and helmed by Jamie Fullmer (Yavapai-Apache Nation). The four-course dinner of contemporary Native foods will be prepared by Jack Strong (Siletz), Nephi Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo), Walter Whitewater (Navajo), and Lois Ellen Frank (Kiowa).

We can think of no more fitting way to conclude our Homestead Issue than with these stories and recipes from the descendants of the original homesteaders of our beloved southwest. 

With Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Chipotle Chile Purée

“There is nothing like the taste of fresh sweet corn,” says Lois Ellen Frank, describing the soup that Walter Whitewater is preparing for the SWAIA dinner. Continue reading

Romesco (Spanish Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce)

peppersfrom The Spanish Table
Anna, manager of The Spanish Table, has taken a page out of Steve Winston’s book by the same name. Romesco is a sauce from the Catalan region of Spain. This sauce is infinitely variable, can be as hot and spicy as desired and is a perfect use for homegrown tomatoes or Northern New Mexico chiles. The Spanish Table sells Romesco by the jar.

Prep time 30 minutes

4-5 nora peppers, re-hydrated with boiling water (can substitute 4 tbsp sweet pimenton)
1 small red guindilla pepper (cayena) if desired
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for frying
1 slice to 1/3 cup stale bread
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup almonds or hazelnuts or pine nuts (can substitute walnuts)
1 tomato, peeled and seeded (Roasting tomato adds depth to sauce.)
1 sprig parsley (optional)
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (optional)
4 Tablespoons reserved liquid from nora peppers

Cover nora peppers with water and bring to boil. Allow to steep for 30 minutes. Reserving the liquid, remove stems and seeds while saving flesh and skin.

Fry nuts in olive oil until brown. Remove with slotted spoon. Fry stale bread in olive oil, adding more oil if necessary.

Put garlic and salt in mortar and blend together with a pestle. Or put in food processor and given them several bursts. If making spicy Romesco, add hot pepper. Add cooled nuts with bread and grind. Add nora peppers and blend in. If using parsley, add now. If using tomato, add now.

Season with a splash of vinegar. If serving with vegetables, add a bit more vinegar. If serving with fish, omit vinegar. If sauce is too thick, add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. As with all sauces, running the sauce through a food processor yields a smoother, more sophisticated product. Leave it chunky for cocina pobre.

The Spanish Table is located at 109 N. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, 505.986.0243. www.spanishtable.com.