Plans for Posole

Posole(pozole) is traditional holiday food in some places in Mexico, as well as in New Mexico. I was treated to some white posole while in Albuquerque last week. I plan to make posole rojo on New Years Eve or New Years Day this year, which I’ve done before, but apparently not for several years. I had trouble finding the recipe I’ve used (which I recall, I cobbled together after looking at various other recipes), but I finally did! I wrote it in a Word document with a file name: my first attempt at posole 060611 (meaning it’s from June of 2011. I can’t wait to make it. I might make a few variations from what I have below, but I do recall it being quite good. I was pretty new at cooking then, as you’ll see. This is what it says:

My first attempt at posole

  1. Make a red chili sauce (2:45 pm)

I bought 4 red chilis.  I didn’t know enough about different kinds of chilis to even know if they were dried, even though they were thin and papery.  But I thought that’s just how they might be.  I googled peppers and have finally determined that they are dried California chilis.  Apparently, both California chilis and New Mexican chilis are Anaheim chilis, but when grown in California, they are more mild than those grown in NM.  After looking at a few posole recipes, I decided to cook and make a sauce out of the red chilis first.

Ingredients:

  • 4 dried red New Mexican or California chilis*
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ~ 2tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt
  • two pinchfuls of oregano (all recipes call for Mexican oregano, but I don’t have that, nor do I know what it is)
  • 1.5 c. chicken broth

Steps:

Dice and sauté onion in oil in Dutch oven on the stove (over medium or low/medium heat).  (This time, I also diced and sautéed the top ¼ of a red bell pepper just because I had it and wanted to use it – it was going bad).  Slice open the side of each red chili then slice off stem and pour out as many seeds as possible and pull out the vein(s) if possible.  After onion is soft, add salt and oregano.  Add garlic and sauté for less than a minute.  Add chicken broth.  Add peppers and let them soak/boil in the stock for 15 minutes.  Move everything to a food processor and process until smooth.

Store extra in the fridge, or freeze.

Makes about 1.5-2 cups

2. To make soup:

  • 2 cups red sauce
  • 1 lb pork, cut into ½-1 inch pieces (most recipes call for pork shoulder, which I can never find… I’ve just been using pork loin chops)
  • 28 oz hominy
  • 8 cups liquid (mix between broth and water)

Steps:

  • Brown pork
  • Add 4 cups liquid (broth)
  • Bring to a boil, then decrease to simmer/low boil
  • Add hominy
  • Add enough more liquid to make it seem like enough
  • Add the red sauce after an hour
  • Cook for however much more time you have.
  • (Note: some recipes call for shredding pork… so you cook the pork for an hour or so and then shred it and then put it back in. I think you just have to cook the hell out of it to get it shreddable…?)

accompaniments:

  • avocado
  • cabbage or lettuce
  • cilantro
  • radish

*“Anaheims are the California produce industry’s name for the New Mexican pod type. When Anaheim chiles turn red and are dried, they are called California chiles. California chiles are mild in comparison to other chiles. Dried California chiles are a shiny dark red. They’re mildly pungent, ranging on average from 2 to 3 out of 10 on the Scoville heat scale.” (from: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/index.php?item=734&name=Dried_California_Chile_Peppers)

 

 

Advertisements

Pumpkin Nut & Seed Loaf

Today is the day after Christmas. Dan and I arrived home from Albuquerque at 1am, where we’d been celebrating with my family and close family friends. I don’t have work today, so I’ve been spending the day shopping and cooking to prepare for the week.

I mentioned last week in my post about what I’ve been up to lately that I’ve been making Alanna’s Cranberry Pumpkin Nut & Seed Loaf on Love & Lemons regularly. I’m not generally into alternative foods to replace other foods… I never wanted to ‘soy-sage’ when I was vegetarian, and I don’t want non-bread (i.e., gluten free) bread now. But. This is nicely termed a ‘loaf,’ not bread. And it’s delicious. And, it’s probably not even gluten-free because I’ve been using regular Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats. So there.

It does have grains (oats) in it, and I’m not sure where the paleo community stands on psyllium husk (okay, I just googled and found this as one data point), so this isn’t really a paleo-friendly recipe. I eat it in the morning, generally as part of my breakfast after working out. The ingredients initially made me fear a bathroom nightmare, but it hasn’t caused any problems. Ahem. (It’s had no effect either way, as far as I can tell.)

I have not once followed the recipe exactly. I try to keep the oats, binding ingredients (flax, chia seeds, and psyllium husk), and wet ingredients to the right proportions, but I’ve varied the nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and oil each time I’ve made it. I may have varied the maple syrup one or two times also, since I often prefer to limit my use of sugar in recipes, even natural sugar. I’ve used almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, dried apricots, dates, and raisins. Often in more or less the right amounts, but often less as well. I’ve used olive oil and melted coconut oil for the oil. I’ve used canned pumpkin and homemade pumpkin. Today, I added some shredded coconut.

I cut each 9×5 loaf into sixteen thin slices. I toast and eat one each morning with butter. The rest stays wrapped tight in tin foil and kept in the fridge for eating over the next two weeks. Yum.

Below are some of MY photos, but if you follow the link to the recipe on Love & Lemons, there are some really beautiful photos.

My host in Albuquerque sent me home with some fresh frozen roasted green chiles, bless her. My holiday in Albuquerque included posole and green chile stew instead of traditional Christmas fare. We left in a bit of a hurry yesterday, and Dan was sad that he missed another serving of green chile stew, so I promised him I would make him some at home. Voila!

I didn’t follow a recipe, but I progressively threw all of the following into a Dutch oven, brought it to a boil, turned it down, and simmered for over an hour:

  • 1 tbsp? bacon grease
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Less than half of a red pepper (the amount determined by what was leftover in the fridge)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 10 oz. green chile (6 oz. of the defrosted fresh chiles, plus 4 oz. from a container – but still from New Mexico)
  • 3 russet potatoes (~650 grams)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 container (4 cups) beef stock

About to head downstairs and eat it now. I haven’t tasted it yet! Hopefully it’s good :-).

In addition to the green chile, I also brought home New Mexican piñon coffee and memories of luminarias, beautiful New Mexican scenery, and a barely-white Christmas.

Lately – December 2016

Lately:

Things I’ve been reading:

  • The Sympathizer. I’m definitely enjoying this book, though it’s taking me a long time to get through. I was distracted early on by reading Food Freedom Forever (which I haven’t technically finished all of) and Chris Kresser’s The Paleo Cure. I was hoping to learn a little more about the Vietnam War from the book than I think I am, but it’s good regardless. I mean, would I question a Pulitzer anyway?
  • The December 2016 issue of the Atlantic. Before they knew the result of the election. Sigh.

Things I’ve been eating:

  • Alanna’s Cranberry Pumpkin Nut & Seed Loaf posted on Love & Lemons. I’ve made this four times now, and I’ll probably make it again this weekend. I’ve been eating a piece each day for breakfast. I’ve never followed the recipe exactly (I don’t use dried cranberries, and I mix up the nuts and seeds according to what I have). I’ll post about it soon, hopefully.
  • The Logan salad with grilled chicken at Taylor Gourmet. Love. Fall/winter should never end.

Things I’ve been listening to:

  • The Spotify playlist I made of the The Bitter Southerner’s Best Southern Records of 2016
  • Daphne Moreau of Mode and the City‘s Ultimate Christmas Playlist
  •  Podcasts:
    • Paleomg Uncensored. I don’t know what happened. I used to find Juli Bauer a little annoying. I think that began when I read her About page and it said something about being from Colorado but NOT loving the outdoors. As someone  who really misses living in Colorado BECAUSE of the outdoors, that annoyed me. And she’s loud. But. She’s won me over with her honesty, opinionatedness, and who-gives-a-fuck attitude. (Not that she has any idea who I am or should care how I feel about her.)  Now I follow her on Snapchat and Instagram and listen to her podcast. Her podcast skills are beginner, but she’s going for it.
    • Girls Gone WOD. Ugggghhhh. I actually love this one. They’re smart and funny and relatable. I say ugh because I’m realizing how many things on this page are paleo or CrossFit. I’ve been drinking the paleo kool aid for a while now, but now CrossFit too. Sigh. I especially enjoyed episodes 176, 171, and 168. That last one because Juli Bauer.
    • You Had One Job, a short story read on This American Life. Written by the brother of one of my husband’s colleagues.

Things I’ve been watching:

  • The original Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I do this every. year. No joke. I don’t actually really watch it anymore, it’s just on in the background, usually while I’m cooking. But also sometimes while I’m brushing my teeth, putting away laundry, and other mundane things.
  • Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Of course. So…. okay. Part of me kind of wishes it hadn’t happened, because it actually affects how I’m feeling when I’m rewatching the original. But… mostly it was really great.

 

 

Chicken Pumpkin Stew

Last Sunday, Dan and I put up our holiday decorations. It was two days after Thanksgiving, which had been nice and filling, but not incredibly painful and indulgent. Nevertheless, I was in the mood for something filling but not super-heavy to round out the weekend and to enjoy after we set up our house for the holidays.

I wanted to use the small butternut squash from our Hungry Harvest box the week before as well as some of the pumpkin purée I’d made in October and have frozen in the freezer. I decided to make a pumpkin stew. I looked up a couple recipes for ideas but didn’t follow any particular one. On the stovetop in my Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch oven, I progressively added each of the following (all amounts ‘ish’):

  • 1 tbsp bacon fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, after peeling, removing seeds, and cutting into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Ish.
  • About 1.3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • About 1.3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4? Cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 4 cups homemade pumpkin purée
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth

I let it come to a boil, then put the lid mostly on and put it on low to simmer for 90 minutes. I then added a bit more chili powder and salt. I definitely should have added more spices at the beginning. It was tasty, but not spicy (or spiced-tasting).

We garnished with lime juice, cilantro, green onion, and Dan added some shredded cheese. We froze the leftovers and have been continuing to eat them. It’s thick and hearty without feeling too heavy.

And our house is decorated! We put on holiday music and got it done. Dan spent most of the time getting the lights on the outside railing while I put ornaments on the tree. Penelope had a blast hanging out in the box with the newspaper that had been used to wrap the ornaments.

The Nearest Outdoors

I’ve been feeling a little stifled by the urbanness of my environment lately, so I’ve been trying to get outside as much as possible. Our backpacking adventure in Virginia a few weeks ago was great, but isn’t getting me through. So I took the opportunity a few weekends in a row to go to Patapsco State Park, which includes several different areas across central Maryland. I most frequently go to the Orange Grove and Avalon areas, because they are the closest, but I’ve been to several of the other areas and they are also nice.

I did the same quick trail on both of these two weekends, once just with my dog and the second time with Dan and the dog. The trail is called Buzzard Rocks, which I got to from the Orange Grove area parking area and by crossing the swinging bridge over the Patapsco River. It starts out very steeply but then evens out and is fairly flat. The leaves were lovely. Afterward, on the first weekend, Clio took a dip in the water.

Weekend 1:

 

Weekend 2:

 

Patapsco is also great for picnics and mountain biking. Last summer, I planned a surprise picnic for Dan to celebrate the end of his residency, and I tried to do it in one of the many Patapsco pavilions. I quickly learned that the largest pavilions start getting rented out in January (or before) for summer weekends, so we weren’t able to do it there. (We ended up doing it in a county park.) There were many smaller picnic pavilions available, but either they were to small or they didn’t allow alcohol (some do, some don’t).

Before the picnic, I surprised Dan with a mountain biking adventure in the McKeldin area, which was a ton of fun. Until Dan got a flat tire and we had to bushwhack our way to a road so that I could uber back to the start and then come back to pick him and the bikes up. Anyway, I’d like to do more mountain biking there. We’re talking about giving each other mountain bikes for Christmas. We’ll see. MTB Project is a great resource for finding mountain bike routes.

Anyway. A decent place to get outdoors.

img_0498