December 07, 2008

Southwest Holiday Recipes

December and the holidays are upon us once again! We went on the hunt for some southwest holiday recipes and came up with two great ones from the "Gourmet Gringo" by Mari Meyers. Permission to reprint the recipes has been granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85014.

1/4 cup BUTTER
2 cups chopped ONION
1 cup finely chopped CELERY
2 APPLES, large dice
8 cups stale crumpled JALAPENO CORNBREAD
3 cups cubed WHITE TOAST
2 EGGS, beaten
1 cup (maybe more) CHICKEN STOCK
1/2 teaspoon SAGE
PARSLEY or CILANTRO (optional)

Use a large (10-inch) skillet to melt butter and saute onion and celery until soft. Place in a large mixing bowl along with apples, crumbled cornbread and cubed toast. Toss to combine all ingredients.

Blend in beaten eggs and moisten with stock. Add seasonings and toss to mix thoroughly. Stuffing can be made a day ahead to settle flavors, but only should be added to fowl immediately before roasting.
Makes 12 cups.

1/2 cup (1 stick) BUTTER
3 tablespoons POWDERED SUGAR (1st amount)
1 cup sifted FLOUR
1 cup finely chopped WALNUTS
1/2 cup POWDERED SUGAR (2nd amount)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with sugar in medium-size bowl. Gradually add flour and mix thoroughly. The dough will be crumbly like the corn meal stage of pie dough. Stir in nuts and chill.
Form teaspoons of dough into marble-size balls using your fingers (the warmth of your hands will help shape the dough). Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Once shaped, cookies can also be flattened, if desired; they will bake in the same shape as formed before cooking.

Bake single cookie sheets at a time for 15 minutes each or until cookies are a pale golden color. Remove from cookie sheet with spatula. While still hot, roll in powdered sugar. Cool on wire cake racks.
Makes about 40 cookies.

November 01, 2008

More Pumpkin Recipes

I've been munching on our home roasted & spiced pumpkin seeds all week long. If you're familiar with our blog you are probably aware that pumpkin is one of my favorite foods.

While we separate out pumpkins from squash in our thinking, the Indians thought of pumpkins as squash. Recipes can be interchanged between winter squash and pumpkins. Although most people use canned pumpkin (available year-round), now is the time to experiment with the real thing!

Check out these interesting recipes we found for winter squash (aka pumpkins) - get out to your farmer's market and buy some pumpkins to experiment. The following recipes are from “Foods of the Superstitions” by Don Wells and Jean Groen. Permission to reprint the recipe has been granted by Wells/Groen Publishing, 1375 S. Mountain View Rd., Apache Junction, AZ 85219.

  • 4 cups cooked & mashed WINTER SQUASH
  • 2 Tbsps. BUTTER
  • 2 Tbsps. CREAM
  • 1/2 tsp. SALT
  • PEPPER to taste
  • 2 large ORANGES, grated rind & juice
  • 1 Tbsp. CORNSTARCH
  • 1/3 cup BROWN SUGAR
  • 1/4 cup BUTTER
Mix the squash, butter, cream, salt & pepper well and pour into buttered casserole. Combine oranges, cornstarch & brown sugar and stir over low heat until thickened. Add butter, stirring well. Pour over squash mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

    • 1 1/4 cups SUGAR
    • 2 Tbsp. SHORTENING
    • 2 EGGS, beaten
    • 1 cup mashed cooked SQUASH
    • 1/2 tsp. VANILLA
    • 3 cups FLOUR
    • 3 tsp. BAKING POWDER
    • 3/4 tsp. SALT
    • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground NUTMEG
    • 1/2 tsp. CINNAMON
    • 1 cup MILK
    • OIL for frying
    Combine sugar & shortening and cream together. Add eggs, squash & vanilla and mix well. In the meantime, sift together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately. Chill for at least 2 hours. Roll or pat 1/4 inch thick.

    Heat oil to 365 degrees. Fry doughnuts until brown, turning once. Drain. Dust with powdered sugar.

  • September 03, 2008

    Beer History Trivia!

    Since our Beer Bread Mixes are one of our top sellers, we wanted to share some trivia that we had “dug up” on beer.

    Beer is one of the oldest products of civilization, & may even have been a stepping stone to the invention of leavened bread. Historians believe that the ancient Mesopotamians & Sumerians were brewing as early as 10,000 BC. Dr. Solomon Katz theorizes that when man learned to ferment grain into beer, it became one of his most important sources of nutrition. Beer gave people protein that unfermented grain couldn't supply. But in order to have a steady supply of beer, it was necessary to have a steady supply of beer's ingredients. Man had to give up his nomadic ways, settle down, & begin farming. And once he did, civilization was just a stone's throw away.

    It is said that the Sumerians discovered the fermentation process by chance. No one knows exactly how this occurred, but it could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, it began to ferment & an inebriating pulp resulted.

    The earliest description of the making of beer, found on an ancient engraving in the Sumerian language shows barley, followed by a pictograph of bread being baked, crumbled into water to form a mash, & then made into a drink that is recorded as making people feel "exhilarated, wonderful & blissful." It could be that baked bread was a convenient method of storing & transporting a resource for making beer. The Sumerians had discovered a "divine drink" which certainly was a gift from the gods.

    Both sexes & all classes drank beer. It was so important that in the Code of Hammurabi (18th century B.C.), owners of beer parlors who overcharged customers were to be put to death by drowning. On the ancient clay tablets we also read about "bappir", a bread that was used in brewing, but only eaten during food shortages. Bappir conveniently kept the grain from spoiling. Another of these laws established a daily beer ration. This ration was dependent on the social standing of the individual, a normal worker received 2 liters, civil servants 3 liters, administrators and high priests 5 liters per day. In these ancient times beer was often not sold, but used as barter.

    In ancient times beer was cloudy & unfiltered. "Drinking straws" were used to avoid getting the brewing residue, which was very bitter, in the mouth.

    In the middle ages, European monks were the guardians of literature and science, as well as the art of beer making. They refined the process to near perfection and institutionalized the use of hops as a flavoring and preservative. However, it wasn't until Louis Pasteur came along that a final, important development was made. Until that time, brewers had to depend on wild, airborne yeast for fermentation. By establishing that yeast is a living microorganism, Pasteur opened the gates for accurately controlling the conversion of sugar to alcohol.

    While grapes grow well in warm climates, barley grows better in cooler climes. This is how the northern countries of Germany and England became famous for their beers.

    Beer was of major concern for revolutionary thinkers like Thomas Jefferson, who quickly passed legislation to create a healthy beer industry in the new United States. Everything went swimmingly until the dark day in 1920 when Prohibition took effect. Many breweries went out of business or switched to the production of soda pop. Of course, not everyone stopped drinking, but gangster-controlled operations were not known for high-quality products.

    Late in 1933, Congress passed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which repealed the unpopular law. However, the new breeds of American beer that came after World War II were generally mass-produced & very bland. Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing, ushering in the age of microbreweries, beer hobbyists, & beer snobs.

    July 30, 2008

    Nuts About Piñons

    Piñon nuts, or pine nuts, are considered a delicacy in many of the world’s cultures. In addition to being eaten raw or roasted, they are an ingredient in a variety of dishes including breads, candies, cookies, sauces and cakes as well as vegetable and meat dishes. To learn more about this delicacy, visit Pining for Piñon.

    Both of the following recipes are from Grand Canyon Cook Book by Bruce and Bobbi Fischer. Permission to print the recipe granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.


    1 cup CELERY, chopped
    1 ONION, chopped
    1 cup FRESH MUSHROOMS, sliced
    2 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
    3 cups BROWN RICE, cooked
    1 cup WATER
    1 cup PIÑON NUTS, chopped

    Sauté celery, onion and mushrooms in oil. Add rice, water, green chiles and piñon nuts. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with sour cream. Serves 4.

    1/2 cup PIÑON NUTS
    2 cups WATER
    3 DATES
    1 BANANA
    1/2 tsp. SALT

    Using a blender, combine ingredients together. Can be used immediately or refrigerated for a nutritious and tasty drink.

    July 08, 2008

    Prickly Pear Paradise

    The Southwest United States, in particular the Sonoran Desert, is a natural home to the Prickly Pear Cactus. In fact, did you know that the Prickly Pear was named the official state plant of Texas in 1995? Both the fruits and pads of the Prickly Pear are edible.

    The cactus will blossom and set fruits which will line the edges of the pads from early spring to summer. The beautiful flowers – which are either yellow, orange or red – are pollinated by bees. These fruit are about the size of a small pear; they are referred to as tuna in Mexico and prickly pear in the United States. The prickly pear will ripen through late fall - it should only be harvested when ripe. If you would prefer not to pick the fruit yourself, they can be found in a grocery store. The fruit is a favorite in the southwest for making jams, jellies, syrups and the famous “cactus candy”!

    The pads (called nopales) of the Prickly Pear Cactus are also edible, and treated like a vegetable. They can be eaten grilled or boiled. The nopales are frequently added to eggs, or used as a vegetable in soups and chilies. The nopales should be harvested early in the spring while they are very tender and do not have spines (or stickers). Again, if you do not feel like picking the pads yourself, they can be found in a grocery store. You can get the whole pads or chopped up ones (called nopolitos) which are available canned. (The pads will keep up to one week if refrigerated and wrapped in plastic,)

    WARNING: Both the pads and fruits are covered with spines and, at the base of each spine, are clusters of hairlike spines that are so small they are barely visible (called glochids). Although they appear harmless, these glochids can be extremely irritating to the skin yet they are difficult to remove. Make sure you remove all spines and glochids from your Prickly Pear! Both can be removed by peeling its skin, using a knife to cut them off or by burning them off.

    The Prickly Pear is also somewhat of a medical marvel. Illnesses that the pads are used to treat might surprise you – they include:
    • The Prickly Pear is grown in Mexico to make medicine to treat diabetes.
    • The pads are steamed, peeled and then chilled to treat arthritis.
    • The juice of the pads is used to treat urinary tract infections.

    The pads have also been used to aid a variety of injuries, including:
    • the treatment of cuts, if used as a poultice
    • the treatment of infections and mouth sores
    • the decrease of hair loss, if used as a rinse

    Below are a couple of recipes for Prickly Pear!! The first is from Plants of the Sonoran Desert and their Many Uses by Don Wells and Jean Groen. Permission to print the recipe granted by Wells/Groen Publishing Co., Apache Junction, AZ.

    1 (28oz) jar NOPALITOS, rinsed, drained & chopped
    1 15oz can BLACK BEANS, rinsed & drained
    ½ cup minced GREEN PEPPER
    ½ cup minced ONION
    ½ cup SALAD OIL
    1 tsp. SALT
    ½ tsp. PEPPER

    Place drained nopalitos and black beans in glass bowl. Add minced green pepper and onion. Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in pan. Heat until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour over vegetables and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Enjoy.

    The following recipe is from Cowboy Cook Book by Bruce and Bobbi Fischer. Permission to print the recipe granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

    • Prickly Pear Salsa
      • ½ large CANTALOUPE
      • ½ large HONEYDEW MELON
      • 1 large PINEAPPLE
      • 1 RED PEPPER, finely diced
      • 1 RED ONION, finely diced
      • 1 bunch GREEN ONIONS, finely diced
      • 1 bunch CILANTRO, finely chopped
      • JUICE of 1 LEMON
      • 1 Tbsp. CUMIN
      • 1 cup PRICKLY PEAR SYRUP
    To make salsa, cut cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple into 1/4-inch pieces. Place fruit and vegetables in a bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the mixture; add cumin. Pour prickly pear syrup over all and stir. Grill chicken breasts. When done, pile salsa on chicken and serve immediately.

    June 04, 2008

    Chile Powder VS. Chili Powder

    I feel a strong need to clarify something - as I was searching the web last night (for other things) I was troubled to learn that there is real confusion about an issue. Some folks out there think that there is no difference between chile powder and chili powder. As any chile-head or southwest chef can tell you, chile powder is not the same as chili powder.

    Chile powder is ground, powdered chiles - our bestsellers are the good old New Mexican (we offer both a mild and hot version). For those that like a little variety in their chile powder, we also offer ancho, chipotle, guajillo and habanero.

    Chili powder is a combination of chile powder and spices (such as cumin, garlic and oregano). Most commonly, it is used to make chili.

    Check out these recipes for a Chile Rub and Chile Powder. Note that powdered chile is an ingredient of both. The recipes are from Too Many Chiles by Dave DeWitt. . Permission to print the recipes granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

    3 Tbsp. ground ANCHO CHILE
    2 tsp. ground CHILE DE ARBOL
    2 tsp. ground CHIPOTLE CHILE
    2 tsp. dried, OREGANO, Mexican preferred
    2 tsp. ONION SALT
    1 tsp. ground CUMIN
    1 tsp. powdered GARLIC

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store any unused rub in a sealed container in the freezer. Yield: 2/3 cup. Heat Scale: Hot.

    5 Tbsp. ground NEW MEXICO RED CHILE
    1 Tbsp. ground HOT CHILE, such as PIQUIN or CHILTEPIN
    1-1/2 Tbsp. ground CUMIN
    1-1/2 Tbsp. ground OREGANO
    1-1/2 Tbsp. GARLIC POWDER
    1 tsp. SALT

    Mix all the ingredients together and process in a blender or spice grinder until fine. Store the excess powder in a glass jar. Yield: 1/2 cup. Heat Scale: Hot.

    May 25, 2008

    Mesquite Gruel & Mesquite Muffins - Recipes

    These mesquite recipes are from FOODS OF THE SUPERSTITIONS by Don Wells and Jean Groen. Permission to print granted by Wells and Groen, Apache Junction, AZ.

    4-1/2 cups WATER
    1 cup finely ground & sifted MESQUITE FLOUR
    1/2 cup of some other FLOUR or GROUND GRAIN
    1/2 teaspoon SALT

    Combine water, salt, mesquite meal and other ground grain (such as whole wheat flour or oat flour) and cook for about 30 minutes. If using another flour, cook mesquite mixture for 10 minutes, then add flour, and cook another 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently.

    1-1/3 cup regular FLOUR
    2/3 cup MESQUITE FLOUR
    2 teaspoons BAKING POWDER
    1/2 teaspoon SALT
    1 beaten EGG
    1/4 cup SALAD OIL
    3/4 cup MILK
    In small bowl combine dry ingredients. In another, combine egg, oil, and milk. Beat together until well mixed. Combine the dry ingredients with the liquid mixture. Stir just until moistened. (Over-mixing causes peaks and tunnels in muffins.) Spoon into 12 muffin cups, which have been well greased. They should be 2/3 full. Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool slightly before removing. Optional: Add cinnamon or nutmeg. These are wonderful with mesquite jelly.

    May 02, 2008

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

    This excerpt and recipes are from "Mexican Family Favorites Cookbook" BOOK by Maria Teresa Bermudez. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.


    2 large AVOCADOS, mashed
    2 tsp. LEMON JUICE
    SALT/PEPPER to taste
    2 Tbsp. diced ONION
    1 small TOMATO, diced
    4-oz. can diced GREEN CHILES
    1 Tbsp. PIMIENTOS
    1 cup shredded CHEESE

    Mash avocados well, add lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, blend well. Add onions, tomato, green chiles, pimientos, mix. Place dip in blender for desired thickness. Place in bowl & chill before serving. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with chips. Makes 3 cups.

    4 hard-boiled EGGS, cut lengthwise
    4 to 5 Tbsp. MAYONNAISE
    ¼ tsp. SALT
    ½ tsp. PAPRIKA
    2 Tbsp. creamed AVOCADOS
    1 Tbsp. LEMON JUICE
    2 Tbsp. diced GREEN OLIVES
    Mash egg yolks thoroughly. Mix mayonnaise & dry mustard & combine with yolks. Add rest of ingredients & chill for 2 minutes, then fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese if desired. Serves 4.

    COARSE SALT (kosher)
    2 oz. TEQUILA
    ¾ oz. TRIPLE SEC
    ½ oz. LIME JUICE
    2 to 3 tsp. LIGHT CORN SYRUP
    3 to 4 chopped STRAWBERRIES
    Moisten rim of glass & dip in salt. Combine all ingredients in a blender & mix thoroughly. Pass through sieve once, then pour in blender with crushed ice & mix. Pour into glass & enjoy!