Message From Jane
What are your favorite fall memories? Is it the taste of a crisp, juicy apple? Or, is it the cooler mornings and evenings? Or, gorgeous foliage brilliantly coloring the horizons? Or, memories of more hearty foods? Or, all of the above? For, me I love fall for the ultimate beauty and the urge to return to the kitchen nearly full time to prepare long simmering and roasting delights. And to start baking yummy desserts for all to munch on and enjoy.
Here in New Mexico October is the “switch” month for our chile season. The green chiles become harder and harder to find and the red chiles are all about. You see the green chiles ripen to red with the shorter days and the more oblique angle of the sun.
Interestingly enough, with chiles—not only the color changes, but also the nutrition of the chiles and the general composition. In the green chiles, the major component is starch with vitamin C being the major nutrient and with red chiles, the starches change to sugars and the major component is vitamin A.
With red chiles—there is lots of controversy. Should sauces and dishes be prepared from the dried red pods or the powders prepared from the dried red chile pods or from fresh red chile puree? In New Mexico, the traditionalists tend to prefer the pods, whereas the others, such as myself; prefer the red chile powders. Why? The powders are often fresher flavored. Unless the pods are from the recent harvest, they are often stored in warm places where the fresh flavors dissipate.
With fresh red chile puree, my personal opinion is that the flavors haven’t developed enough because they haven’t thoroughly ripened and dried and they don’t taste as “finished” or as mellow as the powders or the pods.
Fall always brings lots of tailgating. And that brings lots of different ideas for menus. I think the best tailgating comes from keeping the menu simple with one dish hearty entrees like chili.
I am giving you three of my favorite chilis from my new, 2nd edition of Chili Madness. None of them are the predictable, thick, red Bowl o Red type of chili, they are all innovative and lighter.
You can now share the delicious Southwestern flavors of chili and other wonderfully delicious foods with your friends and family for the holidays.