Friday, August 24, 2012

Bowl o' Red

Pecos River is the name of my spice company and was oringinally the name of the ranch I owned in New Mexico--formerly deeded by the King of Spain.  I learned my love of chili from my maternal grandfather, who was an executive with the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  He was in charge of the tracks, both giving back surplus land, earlier claimed and determining the direction of expansion.  My grandfather developed this recipe after spending five years sampling chilis from the "cookies" who cooked for the cowboyts herding cattle to the various rail heads. 


The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who when working with the Santa Fe Railroad learned how to prepare it from the “cookies,” or trail cooks.  It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis.

2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium-size garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup ground hot chile or to taste
1/4 cup ground mild chile
1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
About 3 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste*
1. Heat lard in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Remove from heat.

2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and half the cumin to the pot.  Break up any lumps.  Stir in the water and salt.  Return to heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended.  Add more water if necessary.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding the rest of the cumin and determining the need for salt.

*Many times little or no salt will be needed.  If salt sensitive, wait to add salt until just before tasting

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Green Chile Corn Custard

This super yummy corn custard dish is wonderful because it does not dry out when keeping it warm for a party.  Just stir everthing together and use your most Southwestern casserole dish to bake it in.

This corn custard is the best I have ever tasted. The dish is especially nice to serve with any buffet featuring roasted or grilled  meats.

Yield: 4-6 servings

2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups, or 2, 14.5 oz cans of yellow cream-style corn
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal (if desired, crumbled tostado or taco shells may be substituted)
1/2 teaspoon salt (reduce amount if using salted tostados)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup, or 1, 4 oz can or frozen chopped green chiles (about 2 parched and peeled fresh chiles)
1 cup, or 1/4 lb grated sharp cheddar cheese (or Mexican Blend Mixed grated cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed and pour into a buttered  2 to 3 quart baking dish.

2. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325F and continue to bake for 15 to 45 minutes. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Flan Caramelisado

This is my all-time favorite Flan, that I like to say has garnered me a multi-thousand dollar wardrobe from Double D, a superior couture type designer of high fashion Southwestern clothes.  It all started with the fact that the President of the company loved this Flan recipe from my original "Tex-Mex" cookbook.

(Custard with Caramel Topping)
Years ago, my Mexican aunt shared this, her favorite flan recipe.  It is fool proof if you carefully follow the instructions and it is so delicious. 
Yield:  4 – 6 servings

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
6 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick, preferably canela or Mexican cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
Cold unsalted butter, for buttering custard cups

1.      Caramelize ½ cup sugar in a small skillet over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is melted and browned.  Pour immediately into the bottoms of 10 to 12 well buttered 4 ounce custard cups.

2.      Beat eggs until well mixed with a simple whisk.  Gradually add the remaining cup of sugar, beating  after each addition to dissolve the sugar.  Do not beat until foamy.

3.      Heat the milk with the cinnamon stick until warm.  Add milk to egg flan mixture, stirring to combine well.  Add vanilla and stir to combine.

4.      Pour into the caramel-lined custard cups.  Set cups on a cloth towel in a 10 x 14 pan(or one large enough to hold the custards) of hot water and bake in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes, or until they are slightly bubbled up and barely jiggle when the water bath pan is shaken a bit.  (I prefer to not insert a knife, as it will make a hole.  However an  inserted knife should come out clean when done.)  Overbaking is a popular problem.  Do not bake past the point of doneness.  Allow to cool for at least three to four hours.  To serve, warm slightly in the microwave (about three minutes) or in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until the liquid in the bottom has softened and they slide out easily.  Then using a table knife, insert it against the side of each bowl and invert onto a small dessert plate.

Notes:  One large flan can be made if preferred.  It will take longer to cool and must be made one day in advance. 

This recipe can be halved successfully.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Salsa Roja

I developed this Salsa after tasting many, many restaurant salsas and wanted one with more zip and zing than just another tomato based salsa.  If you like it spicy hot, you will just love this and it is so easy to make.  Reserve the cilantro and add it only just before serving.  Do not add cilantro if planning to keep the salsa for several days in the refrigerator or the freezer.

This salsa is hot and typically New Mexican.  It will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to 6 months.  It’s a popular style of table salsa in northern New Mexico.

Yield:  1 ½  cups

1 ½  cups chopped fresh tomatoes or whole canned tomatoes, crushed
1 tablespoon finely crushed chile pequin or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½  teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½  teaspoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.