Welcome to Jane Butel’s Southwest cooking Blog.

Great Game Food, Half Price February Weekend and More

By Jane Butel  January 30, 2019

Brrrr It is cold outside--even here in New Mexico.  One of the very best ways to warm you up is with chiles and they also act as Nature's protector against getting colds.   It doesn't really matter if you cook with red or green chile--it is the heat or Scoville heat unts that determine how hot they are and the hotter the chiles you eat, the more health benefit  you get. It is the amount of Capsaicin in the chiles that provide the healthiness.   If you can't think of anything you want chile in right off the top--try Chile Tea.  Add 1 teaspoon or more each of red or green chile powder, cider vinegar and honey to 1 cup of hot water and stir together.  This tea is really a great pick you "upper".

I promised great game food for watching the big game or anything.  Did you know that more tons of avocados are sold for Super Bowl Sunday than for any one other  event or occasion.  To make the best tasting Guacamole--use only fresh ingredients--fresh avocado, tomato, onion, garlic, lime juice and jalapenos and cilantro if you wish. 

Do not blend or process the ingredients.  Scoop out the avocado and coarsely cut it with two kitchen knives to about 1/2  inch squares.  Then add  the chopped and minced  ingredients.  Just gently fold the ingredients together--do not mash them or stir too much.  Fold in very coarsely cut cilantro at the end, if using.  When making guacamole this way--any left overs can be kept by placing them in a rigid container and pressing cello wrap closely down on top of the Guacamole.  Leftover "Guac" is great over omelets, hamburgers, in tacos or a Vinegarette Salad dressing.

For extra "show", create Composed Nachos by centering the Guacamole in Nachos with garni--recipe follows.

Homemade dipping salsas are always the best--freshest flavored and just plain great along with the Tostados you have out for the Guacamole.

Homemade Carnitas are great for also dipping in the Guacamole or Salsas.  I am attaching the recipes.

Treat your self and your favorite friend or valentine to our very special half price  weekend cooking class taught here in my very own kitchen.

And if you haven't looked at our Oaxaca itinerary--please do--we would love to have you and there's still space.

Here's the recipes--

Perfect Guacamole

Guacamole at its best! For greatest flavor, appearance and keeping quality – always cut avocados with two knives into coarse chunks about 1/2 inch square.

Yield: 4 servings

2 ripe avocados (preferably Haas)

½ teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste

1 medium-size tomato, chopped

¼ cup finely chopped Spanish onion

1 medium fresh jalapeno, minced

2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Halve the avocados; scoop pulp into a bowl. Coarsely chop with two knives. Add salt and garlic; then slowly add lime juice to taste.

2. Fold in tomato, onion, chiles and cilantro. Let stand a few minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.

3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Some like spicy guacamole, while others like it quite mild. Often piquancy is best determined by the other foods you are serving. If some like it hot and others don’t, a solution is to serve a side dish of spicy salsa.

4. Serve guacamole in a Mexican pottery bowl and garnish the top with a few tostados thrust into the top. Serve with a basket of tostados. As a salad, serve over chopped lettuce and garnish each serving with a cherry tomato.

Note: Many myths seem to abound about placing an avocado pit in the guacamole to keep it from discoloring or oxidizing. I don’t find that to work so well. Covering the guacamole well or sprinkling it with a few drops of ascorbic-acid mixture, the mixture used to prevent darkening in freezing fruits works better. Be careful not to add much of the acid, as it can be slightly sweet.

Composed Nachos

These alone are almost a meal. When artfully arranged as described below, they are beautiful

and look like a sunflower—a picture really worth eating. The crispy, cheesey nachos serve as a

scooper for the guacamole, refried beans and garnish! 

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Oven Temperature: 425 F

Baking Time: 17 minutes about

6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, crisp-fried or baked

1 cup mixed shredded Monterey Jack cheese and Cheddar cheese

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno chiles, or to taste

1 cup or more Guacamole (recipe, above)

1 cup or more Refried Beans (recipe, follows)

2 Tablespoons each chopped onion, fresh tomato, and ripe olives

2 Tablespoons dairy sour cream, optional

1. Deep fry the whole tortillas in vegetable oil heated to 375 F until crisp, about 22 seconds each. If baking the tortillas, preheat the oven to 425F. Arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet, topped with a smaller baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes, then remove the top, smaller sheet and finish baking about 7 more minutes or until crisp. Prepare Guacamole and Refried Beans. Generously sprinkle cheeses on tortillas. Bake about 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.

2. Cut each cheesed tortilla into four pieces like a pie. Arrange them on a round large plate or platter, placing them in an overlapping chain – the point of one slightly overlapping the top of the next. Position a mound of Guacamole in the center of the platter. Spoon a circle of beans around the outside edge of the Guacamole. Garnish with jalapeno slices, onion, tomato, and olives. Top beans with sour cream, if desired.

Refried Beans 

I think most refried beans just occupy space in a rather ugly way. They are tasteless and gooey looking. When made this way, refried beans are very flavorful and excellent as a side dish and in nachos and many Southwestern specialties. The addition of  chopped, pickled jalapenos adds a nice bit of spicy flavor, however you can certainly leave them out.

Yield: 4 servings

1 Tablespoon lard, bacon drippings or butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tablespoon finely chopped Spanish onion

2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 (16-oz.) can pinto beans

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped, pickled jalapenos,optional

1. Melt lard in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and as soon as it starts to barely turn golden, add the onion. Then immediately add the pinto beans with a little liquid and mash them, using a potato masher or a heavy wooden spoon, leaving some of the beans almost whole. Mash the beans as they fry, adding additional liquid or chicken stock as needed.

2. Fry over medium heat about 15 minutes, turning to prevent burning, until the beans reach a thick, paste-like consistency. Stir in the chopped, pickled jalapenos if desired. Serve piping hot. 

Salsa Rojo

This salsa is hot and typically New Mexican. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator. It’s a common table salsa in northern New Mexico. It is great on most any tacos or burritos and is a great garnishing salsa. Also, it freezes well.

Yield: 1 ½ cups

1 ½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1, 14.5 ounce can diced or crushed canned tomatoes

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 coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended or place in a blender jar and puree if desired.

All recipes reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s publishers.

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