Chile! Chili!

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Some New Mexicans are adamant about the spelling- CHILE is the good stuff: pedigree Hatch or Chimayo.   Chili is the Texas dish, a stew, with meat and beans. Spelling NEVER having been my strong suit, I am agnostic as to how it “should be” spelled. I just returned from NM last night.  What’s the first thing I do this morning?  Pull some green chile out of the freezer!

Since Ukulele Magazine published my RED Chili (chile) recipe I have had lots of people ask me where to buy good red chile. I found a great source of Chimayo red chile, the BEST in the world, in Santa Fe last week during the Uke-Culinary Fiesta.IMG_8601

We were singing “Celito Lindo” under the water tower at the train station farmer’s market when I noticed the man in the booth next to us singing along.  I skipped over, took his hands and we polkaed around.  After the show he called me over and invited me to taste the red chile he had ground the day before.  Divine!  I left the market with a bag of his green and red as well as his card.  If you want the REAL STUFF call Chencho!

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Thanks for the great photo, David Ward!

We made posole and enchiladas and all kinds of good food last week, we made music and made merry; we made memories.  I love these retreats.  After each one I come home inspired and happy, with new friendships and songs.

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There’s one coming up in Ajijic, Mexico at the end of January.  I know we will be cooking with chile there, too. Chili- a great way to escape winter’s chill!

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The Matriarchy of Sauces

If hollandaise is the mother sauce of French cuisine, red chili sauce must be the madre of New Mexican food.  When Old World meets New World magic happens- breakfast fit for El Rey! (recipe follows)

Poached eggs in a polenta nest with red chili bearnaise. Mmmmm.

Poached eggs in a polenta nest with red chili bearnaise. Mmmmm.

I am looking forward to the cooking element of our Santa Fe adventure as much as the music!  First thing we will cook will be both red and green chili sauces.  And I’ll be putting recipes and songs and photos together into a book.  I hope you will reserve a seat at the table!

Even if you are not staying with us at the Inn, you can join in- there is a walk-in  option on the registration form, and soon we will open individual workshops to registration. (if you want to be first in line for the open registration I suggest you subscribe to the Ukulele Adventures blog post.)

And everyone is welcome at the public events, including a full-on Flamenco show at El Meson on Wednesday November 4th, and the Smoking Jackets Giant Show at Tiny’s on Friday November 6th.  Or come enjoy hearing the participants play at the Farmer’s market on Saturday morning or at La Choza Saturday night!

Full disclosure- the title of this post is the chapter heading from The Making Of A Cook by Madeleine Kamman.  That’s the book which made me a cook. Everything I know about eggs, cakes and sauces comes from the 1971 edition of this book.  I give it as a high school graduation present to every kid I know, as I think learning to cook a good omlette can save your life.  My copy is held together by tape, nostalgia and love, and I still consult it every time I make crepes.

These two pages can save your life!

The secret to life, the universe and everything

My hollandaise recipe has become somewhat free-form, but you can accomplish something like the sauce shown in the photo above if you try this:

Wisk 3 egg yolks into a cup of cold, good NM red chili sauce, add a little lemon zest and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Over a medium flame wisk constantly.  Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of COLD butter.  The butter will melt as the chili and eggs come to temperature and you will have a no-fuss emulsified sauce. Pour over poached eggs nestled onto an english muffin or polenta or spinach…to make a NM Benedict.  Or serve with fish or asparagus.

Just be sure to make enough for me, because once I hear you are making it I may show up on your doorstep- Or- join us in Santa Fe and I’ll make it for you!