Caviar and blinis with a chile lime crème fraiche

Caviar serving shotThey’re gone. Close the door, draw the curtains and unplug the phone. Find a comfortable chair/couch/bed and collapse. You did it: you survived the holidays. Let’s admit it – it wasn’t always easy. Tensions flared. Family annoyed. Perhaps the odd bit of food burned (clever how you scraped that off and tossed it to the dog). But you did it. You’re still standing although a shadow of your former self.

Of course New Year’s looms ahead but that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.  New Year’s is all about possibilities and choices. Want to party like it’s 1999? Then by all means do so. Want to be a hermit? Feel free to wrap yourself in a goose down duvet and binge watch Nick and Nora Thin Man films.

Dress up to the nines or down to your favorite onesie. Okay, on second thought skip the onesie. It’s never a good sartorial choice unless you’re a baby sleeping in a bassinet.

But whatever you do, you’ll need sustenance. Here is where we can help at Chile Trail HQ. Forget the excesses of the Christmas season. Forget stuffing and potatoes and cranberries. Forget the pies and cakes and by all means forget that horrid mulled wine that the neighbors plied you with.

Caviar ingredientsNew Year’s is about fresh beginnings and bright new starts. It’s about things that wake up your taste buds and get you ready for the new year. Our recommendation? Blinis served with a dollop of chile crème with an even bigger dollop of caviar or salmon. If you can splurge for the good stuff then by all means do but to be honest, the jars of salmon roe you find at the grocery store will do nicely.

And might we suggest a sneaky glass of champagne or desert-dry martini to accompany? So cheers, here’s to you m’dear. May your 2017 be nice and spicy.

limeprepBlinis with caviar and chile crème

We make these with salmon roe but you could substitute smoked salmon instead or a combination of the two.

12 blinis

3 1/2 oz salmon roe caviar

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1/2 tsp New Mexico Green Chile Powder 

Chile pequin flakes to garnish

Zest and juice from half a lime

Place the blinis on a pan and warm is a low oven for a few minutes. While they’re heating up, place the crème fraiche in a bowl and add the New Mexico green chile powder, lime juice and zest.

Remove the blinis from the oven and place on a serving plate. Top with a dollop of crème fraiche and a spoonful of caviar. Garnish with a few chile flakes.

Caviar serving shot

 

Roasted butternut squash with a chile, lime yogurt sauce

img_0884
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.

img_0887

 

Spicy Chicken Fingers with Salsa Santa Fe

fullsizerender-3It’s official. Autumn is here. Gone are the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Heck, they’re barely a distant memory. Stretching before us are shorter days, longer nights and a definite nip in the air.

But that’s not bad – in the world of food, that’s pretty darn good. Now we can break out the slow cooker, select a sassy bottle of red (or two) and gather round the imitation-log-effect-gas-fire with friends and loved ones. On second thought, forget the friends and loved ones – snuggle up with your dog instead.

Autumn also means football and if ever a sport cried out for food, that’s the one. I mean, why were chip ‘n dip trays invented, if not for football? Don’t like football? Who cares? Turn down the sound and focus on the food instead. Plates full of cheesy nachos, bowls of salted nuts and a go bag of Tums for your guests.

fullsizerender-4 Of course at Chile HQ, we prefer to serve something more refined to our guests, game on or not. Something that whispers elegance, sophistication and drop-that-last-one-cuz-it’s-mine. Voila! Our Spicy Chicken Fingers. Now as anyone knows, chicken don’t have fingers. Thank heavens as the idea of chickens with ten digits and a pinky ring is simply too weird for words.

When we say fingers we mean strips. Basically they are slices of white chicken breast meat. Now you could slice these yourself and save a bit of money and feel smug and virtuous. Or you could whip a package already sliced off the shelves and get over it. Your choice. We’ve added a kick of green chile to a mix of cornmeal and flour. If you have the time (and you would, if you weren’t so busy slicing up those chicken breasts), then fry one up to sample. If it’s not spicy enough you can always add in a bit more chile. Too hot already? Nah, of course not.

We serve these up with our Salsa Santa Fe mix (Red & Green). Frighteningly easy to make and dazzling in its results. Close the curtains (it’s already dark outside anyway), throw another imaginary log onto the gas fire, give Fido a tickle behind the ear, and hunker down. Summer’s over but who cares. Bring Autumn on.

fullsizerender-2 Spicy Chicken Fingers with Salsa Santa Fe

Serves 2 hungry people or 3 who just ate lunch an hour or so ago

Salsa

1 ½ Tbsp Salsa Santa Fe mix (Red & Green)

1 green onion, finely chopped green part only

Juice of half a lemon

14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

 

Spicy chicken

12 oz. Chicken breast strips

1 egg

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

1 Tbsp New Mexico green chile powder

1 tsp sea salt

Olive or vegetable oil.

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Set aside about half of the green onions and chopped cilantro to use as a garnish when you’re ready to serve the chicken. Place all of the rest of the salsa ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Allow this to sit for about a half an hour before serving in order to allow the flavors to marry.

In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon or two of oil on medium high heat. While it’s heating, whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and add a pinch of salt. Mix the flour, cornmeal, green chile powder and sea salt in a separate bowl. Dip the chicken in the egg then the flour/cornmeal mixture. Place in the pan and fry until golden brown on one side then flip and cook on the other. Don’t crowd the pan – fry in batches if you need to and top up with additional oil as necessary. Place the cooked chicken on a serving platter and garnish the salsa and the chicken with the remaining green onions and cilantro. Serve with wedges of lemon.fullsizerender-5

Sweet as candy

Do you remember that time last winter? You know…. when the snow was up to your armpits and you were sure spring would never come. You walked into your local grocery store, staggered over to the veg department and there you saw it: a red tomato. It was a beacon saying, “Winter won’t last, I promise.” So you picked up that tomato and cradled it like a baby and went home.

SUMMER TOMATOES 1

But guess what? You sliced that puppy up and it tasted like nothing. Absolutely nothing. Cuz tomatoes may look nice in winter but they don’t taste so hot. So here you are – it’s late summer and winter seems pretty far away. But it’s not. So now is the time to eat your fill of tomatoes. Eat them raw, cooked and anything in between. Eat them until you’re positive you can’t stomach another.

SUMMER TOMATOES 2

Because sooner than you think, winter’s going to be back. So make some memories now that will last you a good long time. This Tomato tart is a great way to boost your tomato intake. We slow roast them in the oven so the flavor is super concentrated – they taste like candy only way better. We use a store bought pastry because life is short and who needs the hassle of making it? But we don’t go for the cheapo stuff – we like Dufour pastry. Why? Because it’s made with lots and lots and lots of butter. Need we say more? And we didn’t say this recipe was lo-cal, ok?

SUMMER TOMATOES 7

Here’s another tip. Make an extra batch or two of the tomatoes. Pop them in a plastic container and put them in the freezer. That should get you through this year’s winter.

Sweet.

Roasted Tomato, Green Chile & Goat’s Cheese Tart

Serves 4-6

1 ¾ lbs cherry tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp chile molido mild
14 oz. puff pastry
3 oz. soft goat’s cheese
½ package New Mexico green chile, rehydrated

Preheat the oven to 220°.

Slice the tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the salt and chile molido over the top. Place the tomatoes in the oven and cook for 1 ½-2 hours until the tomatoes have lost their moisture. They should be soft and slightly chewy. Remove from the oven.

SUMMER TOMATOES 3 SUMMER TOMATOES 4

Increase the oven temperature to 425°.

Place the puff pastry on another baking sheet. Place the tomatoes on the puff pastry, leaving a small border along all the edges. Slice the green chile into strips and add to the tomatoes then crumble the goat’s cheese on top.

SUMMER TOMATOES 5 SUMMER TOMATOES 6

Place the baking tray in the oven and bake the tart for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is lightly browned and the cheese warm and melted. Slice into squares and serve hot or at room temperature.

Foodie Friends: Laurie Nielsen Neumayer, “The Sauce Queen”

They call her “The Sauce Queen.” We call her Our Hero. Laurie Nielsen Neumayer, certified chile fan and Omaha, Nebraska resident, got in touch with The Chile Trail to share her recipe for Green Chile Sloppy Joes.

LAURIE

Okay, let’s pause for a moment. Sloppy Joe + Green Chile + Velveeta = happiness. That’s why we’re pleased as punch to award Laurie the Golden Chile Award this week. Laurie’s been kind enough to share her recipe with us, her humble subjects. So get cookin’!

Here’s what The Sauce Queen has to say about her killer Green Chile Sloppy Joe recipe:

“One time I had some left over roasted green hatch chiles to add to my usual sloppy joe toppings of mayo and Velveeta and voila, a new family classic was born.  By the way, on the sloppy joe meat, it’s really good to double or triple the recipe and then use the leftovers for tacos, burritos, etc.”

Green Chile Sloppy Joes

1 lb. lean hamburger
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
1 can tomato sauce plus water to rinse out the can (about 1/2 a can)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. ground mustard
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. New Mexico Red Chile Powder

To top:

Sliced onions
Slices of Velveeta cheese
Chopped Green Chile

Brown the hamburger and onion together, until both are well cooked, at least 15-20 minutes. I don’t drain the hamburger/onion mixture, but this depends upon the cook. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer together for 30–60 minutes. It will look very wet at first, but the liquid cooks off. The more this cooks, the better it is. Leftovers are really good in a burrito or taco.

Place sloppy joe mixture on buns, top with sliced onions, Velveeta cheese and chopped green chile.

Christmas Chile—Red and/or Green?

In New Mexico we’re not that interested in what you do for work. Or if you’re married, single, all-of-the-above, none-of-the-above, or other. The question we’re burning to ask is: Red? Green? Or Christmas? It’s a question that makes for some fiery – excuse the phrase – debates around the dinner table.

Some peacemakers will say there’s no right or wrong answer. There are folks who like red chile, folks who like green and heck, some people like Christmas – a bit of both.


But not everyone is so kumbaya calm. You hear grumblings. They’ll say that people who like Christmas can’t make up their minds. They dither. Vacillate. They’re fence sitters. Others think that Christmas lovers are just gluttons. They want it all and now. They can’t imagine making it through one meal without red and green – so they get ‘em both.

But in this Christmas season is there perhaps a kinder, gentler way to look at the great chile question? I turned to all-knowing, all-consuming Chef Johnny Vee to get his take. “I love that we associate red and green with Christmas so it’s a perfect fit for our state question…Red or Green?”

But surely there’s a right answer and a wrong answer, isn’t there? “I’m like Santa,” said Chef Johnny, who come to think of it does bear an incredible likeness to St. Nick. “I love both especially at this time a year…not on everything but snuck in here and there…warms us up in winter!”

Have you got a favorite? Let us know. In the meantime, remember that blessed are the peacemakers, so here’s a handy recipe for Christmas Chile Corn Bread.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Christmas Chile Cornbread

This is good – very good. Great with a bowl of soup or hearty stew. Yummy alongside a plate of scrambled eggs and it makes a mean stuffing. This is pretty mild but with a bit of a kick. Just ramp up the salsa mix if you want something spicier.

CORNBREAD

Makes about 10-12 servings

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche
1 ¾ cup whole milk
½ Tbsp Los Chileros Christmas Salsa Mix (or more to taste)
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ cup corn, canned or frozen
¼ pine nuts (optional but very tasty)
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and grease an 8×12” baking dish.

Pour the milk into a measuring cup and add the Christmas salsa mix, giving it a good stir. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together then add the eggs and sour cream or crème fraiche and mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together then stir in the corn meal. Add the milk and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg/sour cream mix, alternating between dry and milk. Mix in the corn, nuts and cheese.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving if you can bear to wait.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS