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Tag Archives: New Mexico

Fin De Semana! 6-12-15

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A Colorado Sheriff’s department is changing their uniform to look less militaristic. This has been experimented with in the past, with middling results. Personally, I like this western-styled uniform. I think it makes a fine middle ground between being approachable and authoritative and it matches the style of the community. I think a lot of the current stormtrooper-ninja uniforms start every encounter off on the wrong foot for both officer and civilian.

The single most country headline you’ll ever read.

Drought might ruin the next jar of salsa or burrito you eat.

What I’m Listening To

Mike and the Moonpies played here Wednesday. Because I enjoy country music I was watching them be awesome and not watching the CMT Awards. They’ve got a new album out soon. Keep an eye out for it.

What I’m Drinking

A protein shake. It’s either work out harder or buy new jeans. My jeans are perfectly broken in right now, so off to the gym I go.

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Red Enchiladas: The Best Way To Destroy Your Kitchen

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You’ve probably seen dried red chiles. Walmart here sells them by the pound out of a big bin in the produce section. They look like this:

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If you’ve ever wondered what to do with them, today is your lucky day. We’re going to make enchiladas. We’ll probably also make a fine mess in your kitchen. It’s gonna be totally worth it.

Some people have recipes for chiles where you use combinations of different chiles to create a sauce. Living this close to New Mexico we have access to some spectacular chile so I always go all red Hatch chile. Don’t let me stop your from experimenting but there’s something about New Mexico red chile that is indescribable. It’s not just the heat, but the earthy richness and the floral scent. So…yeah. Let’s do this.

I used about a dozen individual chiles. Give them a good rinse first because it’s not unusual for them to be a little dusty from the field. I cut the stems off mine, dumped most of the seeds out (a few seeds in your food is ok, it gives your dish a little life they say) and chopped them in to a few pieces. I like to toast them in a dry skillet for a bit, until they just start to get fragrant, after I rinse them. You can skip if you want but you’ll miss out on the really deep, complex flavor of red chile. Once toasted dump them, along with a roughly chopped yellow onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of oregano and a tablespoon of cumin (easy on the cumin if you’re not sure) in to six cups of water and bring it up to boil. Once it hits a full rolling boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and put the lid on the pot for about half an hour. You want everything to get good and soft. While everything is boiling preheat your oven to 350.

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Once everything is softened up, you’ll scoop the solids (chiles and all) into a blender and add just enough of the liquid to it to make sure in blends. You’ll probably have to do this in batches. Blend until you have a thick liquid. Pour the blended chile into a sieve over a second pot and work the chile pulp around until you’ve got a smooth, deep red liquid. Again, you’ll probably have to do this in batches, adding the chile and onion solids to the blender, adding the water they were boiled in, blending and sieving until you’ve got it all done. What you should wind up with are these:

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Thats the skins and seeds of my chiles on the left, hovering above my trash can and the resulting sauce on the right. You’ve just made red chile sauce. You can stop here if you want.

Red chile sauce is great for lots of things. It can be frozen and saved for later or you can home can it in a mason jar. The sauce is great for making pozole, tamales, chilaquiles, chile colorado, or even just bathing a burrito in.

Now is the REALLY messy part. You’re going to want to set up a little assembly line here with corn tortillas, a pan to fry them in, your sauce, your filling, and the pan you’ll bake them in. Put about two fingers of vegetable oil in a skillet. This is the trickiest part. You’re going to need to fry a corn tortilla (DO NOT USE A FLOUR TORTILLA FOR THIS). Getting the temp right is hard. If it’s too low, the tortilla soaks up all the oil, gets soggy and will fall apart. Too hot and you’ll smoke up your kitchen or fry the tortilla solid. Ideally you want the oil just a little under the smoke point so that it only takes a few seconds on each side to fry your tortilla.

Take a corn tortilla out of the package, dunk it in the sauce (the sauce doesn’t need to be heated for this), enough to coat both sides. There’s two schools of thought about the order. Some people fry first, then sauce. I’ve always heard sauce first, then fry because it cooks the chile into the tortilla. I’m starting to get doubtful about this. I think you season your oil more than anything else. I’m going to experiment with frying first next time. Buy more tortillas than you need, you’re going to lose a bunch. Just solemnly nod at these lost tortillas and move on. They got ruined in service to something delicious.

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Then, take your sauced up tortilla and fry it in the oil, flipping once and removing it. You want the tortilla to form bubbles and puff up a little on each side. Once both sides are fried, move it to you pan. Dump some white cheese in that dude and roll it up, placing it seam side down. Your hands are going to be covered in red chile. It stains easily and doesn’t wash out so much as gets bleached out by the sun, so be careful with your clothes. You’re kitchen is going to be several shades of New Mexico red and grease splattered. This is part of the process. Enjoy it, because it pays richly.

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I’ve sauced up the bottom of the pan a little. This is optional and doesn’t make much difference I don’t think.  White cheese vs. yellow cheese is kind of a personal preference. I’m ride or die for white cheese, personally. I usually go with either muenster (a local favorite) or a soft Mexican cheese like queso blanco. You’ve got a lot of control over fillings. I usually stick to either cheese or ground beef. If you want to go ground beef, fry up some lean ground beef, add just enough red sauce to make it bind and shovel in queso blanco until you get a thick paste. Once you’ve got all your enchiladas rolled and laid down all Kentucky, pour the remaining sauce over the top and kinda half heartedly move it around to coat everything with a spoon. You can top the enchiladas with more shredded cheese, or a crumbly white cheese like queso fresco (sorta like a milder feta). Queso fresco and queso blanco don’t melt, but they get more delicious in the heat. Pop your enchiladas in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until everything is slightly browned on the top and bubbling around the edges.

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Before and after the oven.

Enchiladas are great for lots of things. Especially turning your entire kitchen red. They’re a traditional lenten food when filled with cheese and a hearty dinner when filled with meat. If you topped yours with queso fresco a little drizzle of table cream across the top when you plate them is going to make you want to lick your plate like some hungry cartoon bear. If you topped them with shredded cheese why not go all the way into decadence and top with a fried egg? You can serve them with rice and beans. Or scrambled eggs. Another great thing to serve with enchiladas is a steak. Something about the marbled, salty steak and the rich, deep flavor of chile go together so well that enchiladas and steak will replace thanksgiving dinner as you go-to fantasy meal. Cut off a piece of steak, spear a chunk of enchilada and drive them into your face.You’re not eating like a king, because they eat boring stuff. You’re eating like someone who scoffs at kings and rides raging stallions across the desert. You’re eating like someone who knows that sometimes to have something really good, you’ve got to really mess up your kitchen.

 

Fin De Semana! 3-13-15

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How Mexico Learned To Polka

Bill Richardson, who as governor of New Mexico saddled some of its poorest counties with a tax to build a spaceport, is now lobbying for a group building a competing spaceport in California. Meanwhile, the New Mexico spaceport is still vacant with an uncertain future.

The Tigua tribe had a pretty nice casino, and used the money they made from it to do a lot of good for their community. The Texas Legislature shut them down and now the Feds are accusing them of violating that injunction. 

What I’m Listening To

Ryan Culwell-Flatlands Steeped in West Texas heart, shot through with echoes of Springsteen and as atmospheric as an abandoned house out on the plains. Flatlands covers a lot of ground, stylistically, but maintains the high-plains heart of The Flatlanders. I can’t wait to play this through my truck speakers while heading north out of town, out where the mountains finally give way to the plains. Out there, there’s nowhere for anything to hide, just the bare earth, light and shadow, and the ever present wind. That’s kinda how this album works, you get the same feeling of space and honesty.

What I’m Drinking

Protein shake. Off to the gym. Have a good weekend.

Fin De Semana! 2-13-15

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Digging up the past at one of Texas’ oldest missions.

Texans and their tie to the land.

Most of us saw this coming. That, is those of us who don’t hold office.

Remembering Waylon Jennings, who passed away on this day.

What I’m Listening To This Week:

J.D. McPherson-Let The Good Times Roll-McPherson makes straight-up, unabashed old-fashioned rock-n-roll like no one else. Taking a more R&B based tack than rockabilly, he breathes new life into one of America’s most vital art forms. Part of this is in the way he approaches what has traditionally been considered a hide-bound genre. Using modern production techniques that owe more to RZA than Sam Phillips, his songs are sneaky. They’re full of little modern ticks that ear doesn’t quite pick up, making everything sound fresh. It isn’t until you listen closely that you realize these aren’t straight up recreations of 50’s rock, but crafty homages. This is a long, fancy way of saying I love this record and I can’t stop listening to it.

What I’m Drinking This Week

Tecate, because it’s in the high 60’s and sunny out right now. We’ve got another cold front moving in, so better drink up and enjoy the sunlight while I can, right?

Fin De Semana! 2-6-15

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We’ve probably reached Peak Marfa.

Can’t wait until the Coen Bros make this into a movie.

A somewhat more sensationalistic look at el Valle de Juarez.

New Mexico’s favorite industry is back in business.

What I’m Listening To:

Dwight Yoakam-Secondhand Heart

Man, I am really glad to see Dwight Yoakam back on a major label and making new music. He’s going out on tour again, and Sam Outlaw is opening for at least one date if you want a great night of California country, that’d be the one to see. Dwight’s always played with form and sound, trying to meld a lot of different things. His newer stuff seems more ragged and rockin’ drawing more on Liverpool than Bakersfield. I’ll take it.

What I’m Drinking

Shiner Birthday Beer. I try to pick up a sixer of these every year. This is certainly one of the most memorable of their birthday beers, a chocolate stout that tastes pretty much exactly like a chocolate cake. This one’s good in small doses, since it’s heavy and rich. Definitely best enjoyed on it’s own or after dinner.

Fin De Semana! 9-12-14

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A brewery in Indiana gets around a stupid and very specific law by following it to the letter.

Much further West, the hunt for Sasquatch continues, even as hunters question why they’re chasing something everyone says is a myth.

An old article that got passed back around recently. Ralph Lauren’s ranch in Colorado. Say what you want about the man and his clothes, this is pretty similar to what Buffalo Bill Cody’s ranch would look like if he were alive today.

There’s been a lot of unsubstantiated, untrustworthy rumors that ISIS is in Juarez planning an attack on the U.S. Hysteria runs rampant in certain parts of the internet. Ft. Bliss, however, is on high alert. A gruesome murder  in El Paso was rumored to be related to terrorism but looks to be just senseless crime instead. My two cents: if ISIS is in Juarez (and remember, Juarez was supposedly full of Al Qaeda once, and Communists before that) they’re there for business and not to cause trouble in the U.S. An attack on the border would tighten drug smuggling corridors into the U.S. and put a huge dent in profits for the cartels. Put simply, it would be too bad for business.

What I’m Listening To

The Imperial Rooster

Imagine a marching band and an old time band broke down in the high desert of New Mexico and somehow, Tom Waits got involved. There’s polkas about butts and wage slave rebellions and pig forks. It’s all catchy and fun and settles into that sorta rootsy, greasy groove Ray Wylie Hubbard is always laying down. That’s the Imperial Rooster. Straight outta Espanola, New Mexico and fresh from Muddy Roots, The Imperial Rooster plays fun, surreal roots music like no one else. I have to say, they’re also some of the nicest and most fun folks I’ve ever interviewed. All the songs are pay what you want on their bandcamp page. But leave a little somethin’ for them will ya? I bet they’d appreciate the beer money.

What I’m Drinking

Sleepytime Tea because for some reason, I can’t sleep lately. Man, I’m the worst.

Tumblr Tuesday 7-1-14

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When I was a kid in school, we were taught about Peter Hurd the artist. I randomly found this album he made on Spotify the other day. I had no idea he was a musician too. And cataloging an under appreciated folkloric tradition too!