Category Archives: Vegan

Christmas Time: Red and Green Chile Sauce – New Mexico

The chile pepper is the official state vegetable of the Land of Enchantment — along with pinto beans. Spanish settlers brought the chile pepper to the state from Mexico where it had been cultivated by the Aztecs for centuries. Bright red chile ristras (strings of peppers) grace patios and fences across the state and are both decorative and utilitarian.

New Mexico Red and Green Chile Sauce

The official state question of New Mexico is, “Red or green?” When dining out, if a server asks you this, he or she is referring to which type of chile you want on top of your enchiladas or tamales. If you can’t decide, don’t worry, just order “Christmas” to get a taste of both.

Both of these chile sauces are remarkably easy to make at home. For the red sauce, buy dried chile pods that are labeled “Chile Nuevo Mexico.”  They will look like this.

New Mexico red chiles for red chile sauce    New Mexico red chiles for red chile sauce

We scraped out the seeds and membranes before preparing and the resulting sauce was delicious with just a hint of heat. If you like it spicier, reserve some of seeds and add them back in for a kick.

The green sauce is usually made with Hatch peppers which are grown in the Hatch Valley. Hatch, New Mexico, is the self-proclaimed chile capital of the world and hosts a Chile Festival each year in August. If you can’t find fresh Hatch peppers, you might be able to find them canned or frozen. We subbed in Anaheim peppers, but poblano or even cubanelle peppers will also work. Roast the peppers first to add depth of flavor. Our green chile sauce was mild but oh-so-flavorful.

Top eggs, breakfast burritos, enchiladas or tacos with either of these sauces. Use it to elevate mac-n-cheese, or add to cornbread to give it a spicy boost. Or spoon it over beef burgers to make green chile cheeseburgers – a Santa Fe classic.

If hot and spicy sauces, mustards, salsas and marinades are your thing, attend the 27th Annual Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, March 6-8, 2015, in Albuquerque.

 

New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Recipe courtesy of Al and Sheri Purdue of Santa Fe, NM, used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 12-15 dried New Mexico chili pods
  • Hot water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt

Instructions

Open each chili pod with a knife. Using latex or rubber gloves, remove the stems, seeds and any blemishes (reserve the seeds for later in case the sauce is too mild). Rinse the pods well with cold water. Place pods in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for about an hour or until they are quite soft. Place pods in the bowl of a food processor and add a bit of the water they were soaking in. Puree until the skins dissolve, about 2-3 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit more water until desired consistency is reached. Add garlic cloves, oregano and salt. Process another minute. Taste and adjust salt. Add a few of the seeds if desired to add some heat. Before serving, heat sauce until boiling. Will keep for about 5 days refrigerated.

 

New Mexico Green Chile Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Recipe courtesy of Al and Sheri Purdue of Santa Fe, NM, used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 green peppers (Hatch preferred, but we used Anaheim)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt

Instructions

Cut peppers in half. Flatten peppers with the heel of your hand. Roast under the broiler on a baking tray lined with foil, about 10 minutes until the skin is blistered brown. Remove from the oven and once cool enough to handle, place in a paper bag. Fold down the top of the bag and let sit for about 10 minutes. Remove peppers from bag. Remove stems, skin and seeds. Chop the peppers to ¼ inch dice. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent. Blend in flour. Add water gradually, whisking to break up any clumps. Add peppers. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Will keep for about 5 days refrigerated.

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Not so Thorny: Prickly Pear Margaritas – Arizona

Arizona already has some unique state symbols. Official state neckwear? The bolo tie. Official state fossil? Petrified wood. Official state mammal? The ringtail. We in the StateEats Kitchen propose the Prickly Pear Margarita as the official state cocktail of Arizona. We’re pretty sure that no other state has one.

Prickly Pear Margarita - Arizona

Prickly pear cacti are found all over the arid regions of the U.S. southwest. Prickly pear branches look like paddles and are often cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The fruit – also known as tuna – are thought to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Mayo Clinic. The fruit also may lessen the effects of a hangover. So, if you have it in a cocktail, that means you won’t feel lousy the next day, right?? Hmmmm, more research is required.

Sure, you can find commercially prepared prickly pear syrup. But homemade is always better; you can control the ingredients and the amount of sugar. You can find tuna in Latin-American markets across the country. Choose fruit that is firm, with no bruises or brown spots. If you are lucky, the thorns will already have been removed. If not, wear gloves and remove the thorns with a sharp paring knife.

Look at the beautiful color when you slice these babies open!

prickly pear fruit

Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

prickly pear fruit

 

Once pureed in the food processor it will look like this.

pureed prickly pear fruit

 

Strain the flesh into a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. This will remove the seeds and pulp. Transfer the strained puree to a medium sized sauce pan and add the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and mint. When the sugar is dissolved (after about 20 minutes of simmering), strain again. Add the vanilla extract. Let cool before using.

The flavor of the syrup is rather subtle with hints of mint and cinnamon but just look at the gorgeous color of this drink.

Prickly Pear Margaritas

If you don’t imbibe, you can also use the syrup to flavor lemonade, iced tea, smoothies, yogurt, or even over vanilla ice cream.

So what do you say Arizona Legislature? Not such a thorny dilemma to us.

Arizona Cocktail Week is February 14-21, 2015, in Phoenix. Join professional mixologists for lectures, seminars, dinners, competitions and of course, tastings. The grand finale of the week is National Margarita Day on February 22. Enjoy a free(!!) Latin-themed party with mariachi, a live DJ, cocktail samples, tequila education stations, and food pairings at the Hotel Valley Ho pool in Scottsdale.

Prickly Pear Margaritas

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For Syrup:

  • 2 1/2 pounds prickly pears
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Cocktail:

  • 4 ounces prickly pear syrup
  • 4 ounces tequila blanco
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 3 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Kosher salt (optional – for the rim of the glass)
  • Lime slices (optional – for garnish)

Instructions

For Syrup:

Scrape off any thorns off with a sharp paring knife, taking care not to touch with bare hands. Cut the ends off the prickly pears, then slice the pears in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Put flesh into a food processor and process until pureed. Strain this mixture through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheese cloth. The seeds and pulp will be left behind yielding about 2 cups of liquid. Transfer the liquid into a medium saucepan. Add water, sugar, cinnamon stick and mint. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. All of the sugar should be dissolved. Add the vanilla. Strain again. Let completely cool before mixing in a cocktail.

For Cocktail:

Add syrup, liquors and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into two margarita glasses rimmed with salt, if desired. Garnish with lime slices.

So Appealing: Grapefruit and Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette – Florida

If you’ve ever taken a drive into the Sunshine State, you know what awaits you at the Welcome Center: free samples of chilled fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice. While Florida is a powerhouse

Grapoefruit and Orange Salad - Floridaproducer of both fruits and veggies, it’s citrus that reigns supreme. Ironically, even though the popular orange had been in the New World since the early 1500s when Spanish explorers threw some seeds into the sandy, subtropical soil which they’d begun to settle, the fruit wasn’t given its public props until relatively recently. In 2005, a group of fourth-graders in Sarasota noticed there wasn’t an official state fruit, and they waged a successful legislative lobbying campaign giving the orange its formal designation (not that we needed a fancy title to make us love the juicy tang of pretty much all forms of citrus). This wonderful recipe combines the sweetness of the orange with the crisp tartness of the grapefruit. Drizzled in a sweet-sour vinaigrette, it’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner – and even better, it packs a serious Vitamin C punch.

Travel way down south to the Key West Food and Wine Festival, January 27-February 1, 2015.

 

Grapefruit and Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe courtesy of Florida Department of Citrus, used with permission

Ingredients

For salad:

  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
  • 2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

For raspberry vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

For salad: In a large salad bowl combine watercress, grapefruit sections, orange sections, avocado, onion, raspberries and pine nuts.

For the raspberry vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together grapefruit juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

Hunka Hunka Pan-Fried Love: Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches – Tennessee

Tennessee is known for many Southern specialty foods, but being rabid Elvis fans, we turned our attention to Memphis – the River City – and its most famous house, Graceland, for inspiration. The King lived life large and is said to have enjoyed a special treat that

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana - TN

has become his signature dish – the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. Similar to a grilled cheese in construction and cooking, the sandwich has a number of variations. We used an artisan Italian bread as the basis for our recipe, as it held up a little better in the skillet, and we mixed the PB with honey for a sweeter, smoother spread. As for the banana, you can mash it and spread it – although we prefer slices. Add crispy bacon if you want that little extra salty crunch.

Celebrate Elvis’ birthday (January 8th!) with weekend-long festivities at Graceland and other Memphis venues including a dance party, movie screenings, concerts and Elvis bingo.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 slices Italian bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter (or to taste)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 2 slices cooked bacon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Instructions

Smooth peanut butter (mixed with honey, if you prefer) onto two slices of bread. Place sliced banana on top of peanut butter. Place remaining two slices of bread on top of bananas and spread outsides of sandwich with butter or margarine. Place in pre-heated fry pan or griddle. Cook until toasty brown and heated through.

 

Tart-n-Sweet: Cranberry Orange Sauce – Massachusetts

The humble little cranberry — tart enough to make your mouth pucker — has a long history in Massachusetts. Native Americans ate them, and the first commercial beds were planted in 1816. The name

Cranberry Orange Sauce - Massachusetts

 

is a bungled derivation of “craneberry,” so called by the Pilgrims because the spring blossoms resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane. The geography of the area is an ideal environment for cranberries. Glacial deposits left kettle holes which filled with water and decaying matter, creating bogs. In 1994, after two years of lobbying by school children, the Massachusetts legislature finally recognized the cranberry as the official state berry.

You can usually find fresh cranberries in stores from mid-September to December. We love this sauce at Thanksgiving with our turkey. It literally takes 15 minutes to make and once you try it you will never go back to the canned stuff. As an added benefit, this tart little fruit promotes urinary tract health and is a nutritional powerhouse, full of antioxidants, and a good source of fiber and Vitamin C.

If a visit to the Bay State is in your future, go back in time at Old Sturbridge Village, a New England living history museum that depicts rural life in the 19th century.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (orange part only)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

 Instructions

Wash and drain cranberries, pick over to remove any bad berries. Add water to saucepot along with sugar. Heat water on medium until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Add cranberries, heat on medium high for about 10 minutes or until cranberries split open. Berries will slightly pop. Remove from heat. Add orange zest and orange juice. Cool.

 

Guac and Roll: Avocado Wontons – California

Mmmmm, avocados. Who doesn’t love the creamy, buttery fruit (yes, a fruit!) with the delicate, nut-like flavor that melts in your mouth? California supplies 90 percent of nation’s crop, with the

Avocado Wontons - California

majority (60 percent) coming from San Diego, the avocado capital of the country. According to the California Avocado Commission, avocados were originally found in South-Central Mexico and made their way to the U.S. in 1871, thanks to the efforts of one Judge R.B. Ord of Santa Barbara. Hundreds of varieties exist but seven types are grown in California, with Hass making up 95 percent of the total crop.

Avocados are a nutrient-dense food, supplying 20 vitamins and minerals and they are one of the few fruits with “good” fats — the mono and polyunsaturated kinds — that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels when eaten in place of saturated or trans fats.

The recipe we’ve featured is an east-meets-west appetizer of Avocado Wontons. The soy dipping sauce adds a nice kick to the wontons, the filling of which is like a chucky guacamole. Yum!

If a trip to the Golden State is in your plans, check out the California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria, October 3-5, 2014.

Avocado Wontons

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe created by Alex Caspero of Delish Knowledge for the California Avocado Commission, used with permission

Ingredients

For Wontons:

  • 1/2 cup organic frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 ripe California avocados, diced
  • 30 wonton skins
  • Vegetable oil

For Dipping Sauce:

  •  1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin or simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, white and green sliced very thin on the bias
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili garlic paste

Instructions

For dipping sauce: Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.

For wontons: Add the corn, onion, garlic, roasted bell pepper, tomatoes, scallions, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Gently fold in the diced avocado, being careful not to overmix. Place 1-2 tsp. onto each wonton wrapper. Gently fold over to close forming a triangle. Dip fingers in water and gently press along wrapper edge to seal. Repeat until filling is used. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Pan fry wontons 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce.

 

 

Arkansas Rice Reigns

 

The Arkansas Delta is the sister region to the Mississippi Delta, both sharing an alluvial plain that is home to small rural towns, migratory birds, and large, flat tracts of farmland. One of the key crops grown on the Arkansas side is rice – that versatile grain that feeds a good portion of the world. A little more than a century ago, a farmer by the name of W.H. Fuller took a hunting trip to Louisiana where he saw rice growing. Thinking that the agricultural conditions in Arkansas would be quite similar, he brought the grain back, and is credited with starting the rice industry in the state. And a good job he did — because today, Arkansas is the leading producer of rice in the United States.AR & LA.003 sign

 

 

With so many ways to prepare rice, we opted to bring you a recipe that utilizes brown rice, which is a less processed whole grain without the husk. It retains the bran and germ layers, making it a Continue reading Arkansas Rice Reigns