Green chile & lime crab with avocado & mango salad


Folks think that at the Chile Trail we’re all about the heat and the hotter the better. Sure, we like things spicy but I’m here to tell you that there is a kinder, gentler side to us too.

Because the truth is, chile doesn’t have to hit you like an 18-wheeler to be good. It doesn’t have to rip your taste buds out and dip them into a hot lava flow. It doesn’t – well, you get the idea, right? Au contraire, mon ami (that’s French btw, and roughly translates “on the contrary sweet lips”).

Chile can be subtle. Chile can be smooth. Chile can be a tease. And frankly, not every dish is up to a Scoville busting, mouth incinerating blast of heat. Take this dish of crab, avocado and mango. It has a hint of heat thanks to some mighty fine Green Chile Powder. A nice hit of lime and a bit of mayo and you’ve something that sings. A sassy little salad on the side of mango and avocado and you’ll hitting all the high notes.

Yes, it’s got chile. Yes, it’s got some heat. But it’s also got class written all over it. And at the Chile Trail we ain’t nothing if we ain’t classy.

Green chile & lime crab with avocado & mango salad

Limes vary tremendously with the amount of juice they give you so you’ll need to do a bit of tasting and testing but we figure around 1- 1 ½ should do you. And don’t scrimp on the mayo – use a nice quality one, it’s worth it.

Serves 3-4

1 lb white crab meat

zest of 1 lime

juice of 1- 1 ½ limes

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp Green Chile Powder, or more to taste

1 avocado, chopped

1 mango, chopped

Salt

Lettuce leaves

Green Chile Caribe to garnish

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the mayonnaise, Green Chile Powder and half of the lime juice and half of the lime zest together. Add the crab meat and mix gently. Taste, season with salt and add more Green Chile Powder if desired. Place in the fridge covered until ready to serve.

Mix the chopped avocado and mango in a separate bowl, add the remaining lime juice and a generous sprinkle of sea salt.

Place some lettuce leaves on each plate. Divide the crab evenly between the plates along with some of the avocado and mango salad. Garnish with the remaining lime zest and a sprinkle of Green Chile Caribe.

 

 

 

Roasted butternut squash with a chile, lime yogurt sauce

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Halloween – like youth – is wasted on the young. We send out a bunch of adrenalin-fuelled kids to terrorize the neighbours with thinly veiled threats of ‘trick or treat’. Meanwhile, their older hormonally-challenged siblings pelt eggs and strew toilet paper on the homes and yards of long-suffering teachers.

The young ones arrive back home with enough candy to feed a small island state and proceed to eat themselves into a sugar frenzy that ends in tears and tantrums. You get little Susy into bed (finally) just as the phone rings to alert you that her older brother is down at the station, caught red-handed with half a dozen eggs and a can of shaving cream.

Sometime around midnight you collapse into an armchair, clutching a large whiskey like it’s a life jacket on a sinking ship.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we left the kids at home and the adults went out instead? Forget the trick or treating, I’m thinking glam Halloween parties instead. Imagine costumes, but nothing made of rayon or other ghastly fabrics –Swarovski crystals and vintage Dior will do nicely, I think. Music – of course – but ‘70’s disco or classic Motown. Food – natch – will be a more refined offering and candy will be nothing less than 70% dark chocolate.

No eggs, no shaving cream, no toilet paper except in the bathrooms (Diptyque scented candles shimmering seductively, please). This is a kinder, gentler Halloween where order is restored and kids are where they should be – at home doing a rather lengthy and laborious project on the Louisiana Purchase with a babysitter who resembles Mary Poppins in look and attitude.

It’s an idea, right?

Roasted butternut squash with a chile, lime yogurt sauce   

img_0873This recipe looks long but only because I’ve given rather lengthy instructions on cutting up the butternut squash. The basic idea is that you want the squash pieces roughly the same size so they’re done at the same time. I peel butternut squash but you don’t need to – the outer skin is edible or you can remove after cooking. The choice is yours.

Serves 4

1 butternut squash, roughly 2 lbs

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt

½ tsp Ancho chile powder

Sauce

4 Tbsp CO YO coconut milk yogurt

Zest and juice of one lime

1/2 tsp New Mexico green chile powder

1 tsp honey

Garnish

1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

1 tsp New Mexico green chile caribe flakes

Preheat oven to 425°F

I peel my butternut squash as I think it looks nicer but by all means leave the outer skin on if you like. Regardless, slice off a bit from the top and bottom to remove any stem and tail. Then slice the butternut squash into two pieces. Make the cut at the end of the slender neck, right before it bulges out into the round bottom section.

Take the tall ‘neck’ portion and cut it in half creating two short columns the same size. Take one of these and slice it down the middle. Cut one half into four wedges. Repeat with the other half and then again with the other column. You’ll end up with sixteen wedges that are about the same size.

Now take the round bottom section. Slice it down the middle so you have two bowl-shaped pieces. Scoop out the seeds and remove any fibrous bits. Slice each half into six wedges, for a total of twelve wedges.

img_0875Place all the squash onto a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and a generous sprinkle of sea salt.

Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes or so until they’re nicely browned on the outside. If a knife slips in the squash easily, it’s cooked. Give the vegetables a turn every ten minutes or so to ensure they brown evenly. For the last turn, sprinkle with the Ancho chile powder and give a toss.

While the squash is cooking, make the sauce. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, lime juice, Green chile powder and honey. Give a good stir and add salt to season.
img_0878Place the roasted butternut squash on a serving platter. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, Green chile caribe and the grated lime zest. Serve hot or at room temperature with any remaining sauce on the side.

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Gourd-zilla

Do you know the world record for biggest squash ever grown? No? We didn’t either. Thank heavens for this new fangled thing called the ‘internet’. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. Anyway, turns out that the award goes to one Joel Jarvis from Ontario (read about lovely Joel here). His squash weighed in at almost 1,500 pounds which one news report equated to the size of a polar bear. Gosh, who knew?

SQUASHES

Joel says it was all down to lots of fertilizer and TLC. The prize-winning specimen – so we understand – gained up to 40 lbs per day. Which of course makes you wonder how they figured that one out. Did they drag the bathroom scales out to the veg patch every day?

But I digress. Why you ask, this obsession with squash? Because dear reader, the season is upon us. Plant a squash plant – just one – and you’ll be inundated for what seems a lifetime. They grow exponentially (okay, maybe not like Joel’s but you get the idea) and if you turn your back on them, they go from cute wee things to the squash that ate Manhattan.

So as summer draws ever nearer, you’ll see people frantically searching their files for squash recipes. Remember Aunt Flo (she was the one with the rather heavy beard) and her zucchini bread? Get the ovens cranked up for that puppy. And how about that squash puree bake with cracker crumbs (on second thought, nix that one)? Or just let your fingers do the walking and go to that marvelous new thing, the ‘web’. We came up with – and we’re not kidding here – over 30 million hits in .22 seconds. Don’t you love technology?

But to get you started, here’s an old favorite. Actually, it’s not that old. We just dreamed it up about 15 minutes ago. It’s quick, easy and you’ll be thanking us for the next 3-4 months. And if you are growing squash, consider setting up a sentry schedule with family members and loved ones to keep an eye out on your crop. You may not get close to Joel’s record but you’d be surprised what squash get up to when you’re not looking.

Summer Squash with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Serves 3-4 as a side dish

1 lb yellow squash (about 2 medium)
1 cup plain tomato sauce
1 tsp Chile Pequin (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp olive oil + additional for the squash
1 garlic clove finally chopped
Salt
Chopped herbs to garnish (basil, cilantro or parsley are good choices) – optional
New Mexico Chile Caribe Green to garnish

Preheat oven to 425˚ F

Cut off the stem and tail ends of the squash and slice the rest into thin rounds. Brush two baking sheets with olive oil then place the squash slices on the pans and brush the slices with some of olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and place in the pre-heated oven.

SQUASH COLLAGE

Roast until cooked through but not mushy – it shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes. While the squash is roasting, make the spicy tomato sauce. Place the chile, olive oil and garlic in a saucepan and cook gently until the oil starts to sizzle and the garlic cooks slightly (watch it like a hawk because garlic loves to burn and burned garlic is a no-no). Add the tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

FINISHED SQUASH

To serve, arrange the squash around a platter. Drizzle some of the tomato sauce over the top and place the rest in a serving bowl so folks can add more if they desire. Garnish with the herbs (if using) and Green Chile Caribe and serve. This is also mighty tasty with the additional of a bit of goat’s cheese or cubes of feta on top.