Category Archives: food

Strong Storm for Florida

From what I can see in the forecasts, Hurricane Irma will resume her Cat 5 status as she crosses the warm water of the Gulf Stream and the Florida Straits.  If she steers West up the western coast of Florida, then all the more reason she will reach some high windspeed records.

But I don’t think the storm will cross the really susceptible parts of Florida.  Miami, Ft Lauderdale, the SE coast.  This is an intense, well-developed hurricane with extremely dangerous wind.  When she strikes the Florida peninsula, I predict there will be wind gusts above 200 mph.  If you think the theme parks at Orlando are such a big deal, please go now and write a check to the American Red Cross.

Irma’s a nearly picture-perfect repeat of Hurricane Andrew; but with some important differences.  Andrew came ashore as a force 5 storm in South Dade County and caused such significant loss of property and life over Homestead Air Base, the reports and post-storm imagery were simply devastating.  Unfortunately, FEMA was barely an agency confronted by a huge loss of life.  There are many, some maybe credible, accounts of US Govt responders (FEMA) burying the dead in mass graves.  Estimates of life lost in Hurricane Andrew range from about 1,000 to well over 10,000.

But FEMA is a fully legitimate (and accountable) federal agency now, and we have many more ways to insure credible response from FEMA and other important disaster relief agencies.  Our gross response to Irma is phenomenal and very well coordinated.  Federal response is exceptional and appropriate.  FEMA, Red Cross, and state agencies in Florida are wayy ahead of the tragedy this storm COULD inflict.

We gotta remember the people of Florida confront at least one big storm every year.  Many years 3-4 big tropical storms.  Public preparedness and planning, unlike in SE Texas, is taken very seriously and it’s much more effective than the government planning in Texas.

Still.  I do think Irma will make landfall, as a category 5 cyclone, on the SW tip of the Florida, and will remain a dangerous Category 4 storm as her center moves up the western half of Florida.  Onshore flows (storm surges) may not be as strong as those predicted for the eastern side of the peninsula; but winds surrounding Irma’s eyewall will be ferocious.  Remember, this storm was making windspeeds of 225mph as she traversed Puerto Rico – and she still has the Florida Strait (with very warm water temps) before we see her come ashore.

If I were in Miami, Ft Lauderdale, or Tampa, I’d be inclined to hunker down.  Run from water, stay for wind.

Ft Myers, though, or the barrier islands to the West, I’d already be gone.  Sanibel Island, for example, might be completely scraped.  I’m all for that, so long as life isn’t lost.

Y’all folks at Ft Myers and Sanibel Island, get your feet down deep in the sand!  If you’re gonna stay, then stay strong.  When the building disintegrates, find the lowest place you can and stay low.  It’s gonna blow.  Keep your love, tolerance and faith FIRST-most in your minds.  Gather up water, hunker down in safe places TOGETHER, be kind and care for each other no matter what, and be safe.  Remember our story of Noah and his Raven.  This too shall pass.

 

Prayers from a prayerful church of God,

Steven Milstead

Meanwhile in Taos…

Kalya Scintilla played Saturday night at the Startribe music festival on Taos Mesa – and his show was excellent!  The whole Startribe experience was an ideal introduction, for me, to the local scene.  Playing music outdoors here is complicated by our infamous wind (especially out on the mesa!), but I thought the sound system was up to the task.  We were on our feet wigglin’ for nearly all of Scintilla’s set.

I was pleased to see so many splendid dancers live in the community, and thrilled by all the fire dancing and poi!

There was a cool mystic quality, too, in the full moon on all the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the fires & lights on the desert.  A strangely peaceful, surreal, and spiritual experience!

I have to be back in Bernalillo next week for a few days, namely to pick up a car, then will complete my move to the house here on the Rio Hondo.  Our weather is becoming much prettier, though we’re having little rain showers in the afternoons which remind me more of the weather we expect here in Fall; but the late mornings and midday hours have gotten warm & sunny.

Much to the chagrin of locals, we’ve been named the most scenic place in the state by online travel guides; and, sure enough, there’s been an increase in foreigner sightings.  I’m inspired to spend a lot of this Summer with the cameras and recorders to capture what I can of the place before more development occurs!

Like I said, it still gets cool in the afternoons and pretty darned cold at night; so I’ve not traded the axe for a fly rod just yet!  Still gotta keep enough wood cut to run the stove at night – though we’ve had a few nights without it these last two weeks.

The wonderful things I’m discovering about living in Taos are coming to constitute a rather long list!  I definitely like the music and dance scene, the peace-first attitude of all the local starchildren, the spiritual communities that converge so well in such a spectacular place, the availability of outstanding organic food at the local market, and the sheer magnificence of the wild surrounding country!  We’re only half an hour from access points to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area, ten miles from the peak itself, and very close to Red River and Eagle Nest.  We’ve made some good trips already – mainly out on the West mesa and in the Rio Grande Gorge itself around the John Dunn crossing – but we’re really itchin’ to pack up the camping gear and disappear into the hills!

Sheesh!  Between painting, taking photos, playing and recording music, fishing, camping, pokin’ around in the mountains, going to raves, and simply participating in a really cool community, I am going to have a busy Summer!

 

 

Chile Puya

Puya ChileI don’t recall ever finding Chile Puya in Texas or California markets. It’s common in Southern Mexico, where I remember buying it in the market at Tecomán, Colima.

Spicier than New Mexico or Pasillas but not as hot as Chile de Arbol – and almost a cherry-like fruitiness. Delicious find in Albuquerque at Los Altos Ranch Market on Atrisco.    

Taco sauce:

2 cups loose chile puya without seeds or stems
1 Tbs cominos
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tsp kosher salt

Cover the chiles with water in small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Crush cumin seed and add, reduce to simmer for one hour.  Dump all into blender and add garlic, oil and salt.  Puree on high for 30 secs.

Italian Chicken with Kraut

Ingredients:
32 oz crispy sauerkraut
2-3 boneless chicken breasts
16 oz your favorite red pasta sauce
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Small container plain greek yogurt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Dump the sauerkraut into a collander and mash out all the liquid
3. Cut chicken breasts into portions
4. Cover bottom of dutch oven or baking dish with olive oil
5. Place chicken in bottom of dish
6. Cover chicken with a light coating of red sauce
7. Fork about half the sauerkraut evenly over chicken
8. Cover with about half the remaining red sauce
9. Add the rest of the sauerkraut, then the rest of the red sauce
10. Sprinkle or grind coarse black pepper to taste
11. Cover and bake for 80 mins at 350 degrees

Serve chicken with sauerkraut on top, with a dollop of greek yogurt.
Compliment with an artisan bread or mashed potatoes.

Notes: I like the Classico red pepper flavor of pasta sauce for this recipe but any spaghetti/pizza sauce should work. If you’re not concerned about fat content, then substitute real butter for the olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish.  I’ve always served this with mashed potatoes, but it works fine with a good artisan or fresh bread.

 

Quelites

Ingredients:
10 oz bag New Mexico red chile pods
12 oz bag frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup cooked pinto beans (drained)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil

How to do it:
1. Carefully remove the corazones, or “hearts”, from all of the red chile pods. Throw out the seeds and outside stems for the birds, and save the flesh of the chiles in an airtight container for making enchilada sauce. This is a tedious process, but the flavor of the corazones is wonderful, subtle and unique. I like the hot red chile pods for enchilada sauce, but the corazones are extremely spicy so stick with the mild chile pods for this recipe (consider yourself warned);
2. Saute the onion in a large skillet over medium heat until clear;
3. Add frozen spinach, corazones and pinto beans;
4. Stir until spinach is no longer frozen, then add garlic;
5. Cover and reduce to low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently;
6. Remove to serving dish.

Eat hot with green chile corn muffins or fresh corn tortillas. If you eat pork, then quelites are a sure-fire compliment to grilled pork carnitas.  I don’t cook with salt but a little bit of sea salt will help enhance the subtle flavor of the corazones de chile.

I sound a lot like this when I eat my quelites:

 

Do You Like Mexican Coca-Cola?

I don’t really understand why the US Coca-Cola bottlers are not selling an old-school cane sugar alternative, but Mexican Coca-Cola definitely rocks!  If you’re going to have a soft drink, why not have the REAL Real Thing?!?

You can buy Mexican Coca-Cola at The Merc on 165 for about $1.20/bottle – and at Albertson’s in Bernalillo for $1/bottle when you buy three.  Sometimes you find them in convenience stores for not much more.  Costco sells 24 bottles for $19.

Walmart does not sell Mexican Coca-Cola.

Mix this stuff with Carrizozo Cherry Juice (also sold at The Merc) for a genuine New Mexico Cherry Coke!

Best Green Chile Cheeseburger in New Mexico

Placitas Cafe is located on state highway 165 about halfway between Bernalillo and the village of Placitas.  It’s a quirky little dive full of people who all seem to know each other, and a menu with everything from hot dogs and gourmet salads to obvious local favorites – and the best green chile cheeseburger in the state.  Seriously.  The guys cooking don’t seem particularly interested in notoriety, so they don’t enter their food in the various competitions around the state; but their GCCB is dead-to-rights the best one you’ll find anywhere in New Mexico.
Don’t take my word for it!  Go eat one yourself!  Try the coleslaw, too.  It’s mighty fine.
The cafe (known locally as “The Cafe”) has peculiar days and hours of operation; but they have free live music on Friday nights, in an intimate setting, and the prices are fair.  Nice spot for a date, and certainly worth getting off the freeway if you’re traveling between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

page1page2page3page4page5

 

Gas Chamber Pie

Parts list:

  • 2 Oreo chocolate cookie pie crusts
  • 2 Pkgs Jello Coconut Cream pie filling
  • 1 Whole vanilla bean
  • 1 Pinch instant espresso powder
  • 1 Large 75-85% dark chocolate bar
  • 1 Small bottle Hershey’s dark chocolate shell syrup
  • 1 Pkg sweetened coconut flake
  • 1 Pkg Coolwhip extra creamy topping
  • 2-1/2 Cups whole milk
  • 1 Cup Half-n-half

Instructions:

  1. Set Coolwhip topping to thaw, grate chocolate bar, and extract vanilla from bean;
  2. Combine pie filling mix with 2-1/2 cups milk and 1 cup half-n-half;
  3. Add 1/2 cup coconut flake, pinch of espresso powder, vanilla, and all but 2 tablespoons of the grated chocolate;
  4. Whisk mix thoroughly for 5 mins then pour into pie shells;
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour;
  6. Drizzle half of chocolate shell syrup on each pie, refrigerate for 1 more hour;
  7. Top pies with Coolwhip topping (half the container on each pie);
  8. Sprinkle liberally with coconut flake and grated dark chocolate;
  9. Cover and refrigerate overnight

Note: don’t add the pinch of espresso if using very dark chocolate (more than 85%)