Many might tell you, as they did tell me that a Knee Replacement surgery is really "almost like a piece of cake". Well they didn't have my poor knee, which the surgeon said was the most deteriorated inside knee joint he had ever seen in 30 years! I thought I would certainly be up and well--even able to work a complete fall schedule long before now--but that was "not in the cards". I had to wear a leg cast until last week and the Dr. still will not give me the permission to drive. So stay tuned--I know I will start giving classes in October.
I have missed hearing from you. Some of you have sent requests for our fall schedule and I am sorry to say my part-time assistant did not keep careful track for follow-up. So if you have requested a class for a fall date, please restate it, and or schedule one of the classes I have set. If you have a Gift Certificate for this year and due to Covid and my knee, you were unable to use it--I will honor it until March 31, 2023.
It is Chili Cook-off time. So, I am placing our pure Mild and Hot Red Chiles and Cumin on a 25% off sale, even though my costs have gone up. With the days getting shorter and the weather more brisk--it is "Chili Time", a wonderful time to cook up a big old pot of Bowl o' Red. You may know this, that chili became very popular during the cattle drives where the cattle could be transported to the major cities in the east, once the railroad lines were completed. A very popular rail head was Dodge City, KS. Cattle from all over Texas, down into Mexico were driven by cowboys on horseback to the end of the railroad at that time.
Chili, a truly American concoction became the food of choice to "fuel" the cattle drives because beef is the only meat that keeps for days, especially when cooked with lots of chiles, which are the world's best anti-oxidant or spoilage preventer. Chili was the meal--morning, noon and night. The original, true chili had no "foreign objects"--consisting of just cubed beef, onions, pure ground chiles fresh garlic and cumin--usually stirred into the concoction a few minutes before serving.
You might wonder how beans and other veggies got into chili. Well, as you know, it is impossible to accurately guess just how much a group of hungry "cowpokes" will eat over a many days long drive. And, once the drive was started--they could not stop it long enough to butcher another steer--so they had to "pad out" the beef, using what was available. Usually as they got into North Texas and Oklahoma, they would add beans. As too many beans were added, the color would not be red any more--hence they added tomatoes and other veggies. That explains why Midwestern and many of the canned chilis have beans and tomatoes.
Hopefully this little bit of history will fuel your appetite and desire to cook up a big pot of Bowl o' Red, which will keep in the freezer for many months, Bowl o' Red is so much fun to serve and eat with Fixins' 'n Mixin's of chopped onion, grated cheeses, sour cream with lime wedges and pickled jalapeno slices and more. Also, Blue Corn Parfait Bread is great served with the chili.
The classes I have set for this fall are our ever popular and almost always sold out. They are the Green Chile Fiesta on Thursday evening October 13 at 5 PM. Our Red Chile Fiesta class is set for Thursday at 5 PM on October 27. We have a weekend set for November 4 - 6, New Mexican Favorites set for November 17. The Holidays in New Mexico class is set for Thursday evening, December 8 at 5 PM. The fee is $115.00 for each class and they may be purchased online by clicking the title of the class.
Here's the recipes--
BOWL O’ RED
The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who was in charge of the line extensions going west from Topeka, Kansas. While working with the Santa Fe Railroad, he was stationed a long time in Dodge City, KS which was the end of trail for the cattle drives. He developed this recipe after commiserating with lots of “cookies,” or trail cooks who cooked for the cowboys bringing cattle up from Texas and Northern Mexico. It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis. I like to gussy it up with side dishes of Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s of chopped onion, pickled jalapenos, mixed grated cheddar and Jack cheeses, sour cream garnished with lime wedges edged in powdered mild red chile and a bowl of pequin quebrado minced Habeneros for those who like it red hot!
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pure ground hot chile or to taste
- 1/4 cup pure ground mild chile
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
- About 3 cups water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Melt the lard in a large heavy pot with a flat bottom and straight sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Remove from heat.
2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and ½ the cumin to the pot. Break up any lumps. Stir in the water and salt. Return to heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. NEVER COVER. Placing a lid on a stew such as this will steam the meat, toughening it, rather than allowing it to break down and become quite tender. Add more water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding remaining cumin. Serve with fixin’s ‘n mixin’s as noted above.
BLUE CORN PARFAIT BRAD
The best blue cornmeal is smoked in adobe ovens and then lava-wheel ground to a fine flour consistency. With the popularity of blue corn, a lot of blue corn on the market is “filled,” or blended with white or yellow corn. For the best flavor, buy pure blue cornmeal, if it is available. The moist quality of this bread has long made it a favorite with campers and picnickers.
Yield: 9-12 servings
1 cup blue cornmeal
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 cups cooked or canned whole-kernel corn, drained
¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese or Cheddar cheese, or a combination of the two, sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup sliced jalapeno chiles, either pickled or fresh
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center. Add eggs, butter and sour cream and blend thoroughly. Fold in corn kernels.
2. Pour almost half the batter into the prepared pan. Cover with the sliced cheese and chiles. Pour the remaining batter over cheese and chiles and smooth to cover the filling. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes our clean. Serve warm.