Hatch Chile Stew + End of Summer

Another Summer has come and is almost gone. Even though my life is approximately twelve times happier than it was at this time last year, the undeniable and unpleasant signs of the end of Summer haven’t changed a bit. My overheated body that still hasn’t managed 2 shades of a tan all summer, three cranky animals, and my sauna-like apartment. Then, there is the fact that Summer is only technically almost gone. Knowing Los Angeles, the heat is going to stick around until flash forward, I am stringing up Christmas lights on my patio wearing short shorts, a tube top, and 50 SPF. Not many things around this town resemble anything close to seasonality. There is at least one thing though, that only comes around once a year and is the best, most special thing in the world–hatch chile season.

With my Dad being from New Mexico, home of the hatch chile, I grew up understanding their importance and sheer glory. Whenever a family member made a visit to Albuquerque, large frozen containers of green chile came back to the house and were enjoyed most often simply with a bit of garlic salt and a tortilla. In New Mexico, there is a rare meal that doesn’t include it. “Red or green?” is a question you’ll be asked everywhere you go in the state–red chile is made from more mature chile pods where as the green variety is made from chiles that have been picked at an earlier stage. If you end up in town and are asked the state question, be cool like me, and get everything “Christmas style.” In my opinion, there is a distinct heat profile in the hatch chile–it’s quite spicy but always seems to come across low and slow in its flavor and finds its way into being enjoyable despite its spicy heat. 

Towards the end of the summer, many local grocery stores and markets in the Western United States, will not only carry the chiles in the produce section but also roast them at roasting events. You can definitely roast them yourself but the way they do it is just the best–they are roasted in a caged cylindrical drum that is rotated, constantly, over a propane fueled flame. This method provides an even heat and blistering on every inch of the chiles.  Every year, I pick up at least 5 pounds of these amazing things and freeze them for dishes all Fall and Winter long. 

The recipe I’m showing you guys today is easily in the top 5 on my favorite list of my own recipes (yes, I rank my own creations.) It’s my take on a New Mexican hatch chile dish that is absolutely mind numbingly good. This recipe is not about technique–just about ingredients and time. If you don’t enjoy spicy food and you must make this dish, I will begrudgingly let you use Anaheim peppers. They are in the same family as the hatch chile but are a heck of a lot more mild. But if you can please trust me on this one and the spiciness won’t cause you to hate me for writing this recipe, pretty please make this dish. Click below to read more and get one step closer to committing to making this for dinner this week.

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Vegan Summer Corn & Tomato Linguine + Monday Blues

I’m really slow on the climb up the Monday morning ladder this morning. You know that thing where the better your weekend is, the worse Monday is? It’s that today, times 84. Planes, cars, boats, country music, beers, fried chicken, pizza, kittens, and a complete adoration of everyone around me was just one slice of the weekend–capped off by a 4 hour flight home in an airplane that was trying to replicate a winter wonderland environment with an internal temperature of about 34 degrees and that was so dinky that tray table was about as big as the beeper I had in 7th grade. No wonder the ticket was in my budget (holler, Spirit Airlines!)

And as entertaining as it was to watch the woman next to me try to hoist up her big ol’ first generation iPad on the miniature tray to play her shadow puppet game (don’t ask me,) me attempting to place my $8.90 snack pack and $3.10 water bottle on said novelty table, took all amusement out of the situation. By the time I landed, shuttled, drove, and crawled into bed at midnight, I had a sore throat and was looking quite unhappily at the week ahead of me. What is it about having the happiest times that sometimes only makes you even more unhappy when it’s over? Boy, I sure am ungrateful sometimes. Well, I’m allowing myself until noon (central standard time–just to be neutral) to gripe and then it’s back to a sense of positively and a focus on how absolutely wonderful my life is right now. Furthermore, I need to undo those beers, that fried chicken, pizza, and this little cold I’ve got brewing–so, this week, is going to be beautiful food, an active body and mind, and only a bit of a whiney attitude. 

Today’s recipe, is the perfect summer meal. The noodles are tossed in the most magical thing, that is cashew cream sauce, and topped with a light, fresh, and rustic sauce made from summer corn, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Cashew cream, if a foreign concept to you, is a preparation that is beyond worthy of a try–even if its a skeptical try. The cashews are soaked and softened, and then blended with just three other simple ingredients at a high-speed to make the silkiest (vegan!) pasta sauce ever. Put this guy on the weeknight dinner list this week and know that if you do, somewhere out there in Los Angeles, you’ve made me a little less cranky. Click to read more below the pretty picture.

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Sorrel & Mint Pesto Pasta + Dream Journal

In recent conversation, I told a certain someone “I rarely remember my dreams”, with conviction. So, of course, every night since I made that declaration, I have dreamt to remember. You know how some people keep a dream journal? Or maybe that’s just a thing that people talk about that you’re supposed to do but never actually do–you know, keep a notebook by the bed and as soon as you wake up, flip on a light, grab a pen, and jot down the dream so that you don’t forget it. Side note, can you imagine sleeping over at someone’s house and at 5:02 am, they flip on a light, grab a pen, and start jotting down their dream? I’m totally doing that, just for the comedy, next time someone sleeps over. I digress.

My point in all this is that this blog, given that it’s 6:04 am right now as I write this, is serving as my dream journal. And to be honest, I didn’t have much else to say this morning to pair with this lovely pesto recipe. Alright, dream journal. In the dream, I had just had a baby–it wasn’t clear in the dream that I was a single parent but there was no specific guy around for what happened in the dream so, I guess we’ll never know. So, it’s a cold day and I’ve decided to go out with my new baby but I hadn’t bought any warm clothes or socks for my child. So, I called the one person I knew that had a kid and even though their daughter was now was 8 years old, I figured they would have some hand me downs. Then because apparently I’m going to be an amazing mother, I left my child sleeping at home in my bed to drive over and pick up the socks and jacket. Then on the way home, I got a really bad flat tire and had to call an Uber to get home. I woke up before I found out if it all worked out. It would seem that the years I spent being a nanny did nothing to increase my dream smarts about childcare. I mean, if this dream is a premonition that I’m going to be a careless new parent one day, then based on Monday night’s dream–I’m also getting a pet hippogriff. For you non-potter fans, a hippogriff is a creature which has the front quarters of an eagle and the hind quarters of a horse. 

And the only thing I love more than Harry Potter, is pasta. That was one of the best segues I’ve ever written. To get serious though, classic basil pesto pasta is quite overdone in my opinion. It’s tasty, sure, but I am such a huge fan of pestos made from other herb combinations. Sorrel peaks in late spring/early summer and is a tart, lemony herb. It’s paired with mint, garlic, lemon juice, and raw almonds to make a bright and clean pesto that is then mixed in with hot pasta and fresh asparagus. Click through below the photo to read more about the pasta and less about my dreams.

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