16 September 2010

Hot Tamale!

Yes, all my plates and bowls have snowflakes.  What did you expect?I had perhaps the best burrito I've ever eaten in my life last week, and having grown up in New Mexico, that's saying a lot.

grrrrrrrrrrr...Bunnies, raccoons and grasshoppers pretty much decimated my garden this year, so plans are in the works for a raised and caged garden next year, perhaps surrounded by and interspersed with marigolds. I think I've also come across a secret weapon of sorts.

When transplanting my seedlings, I accidentally surrounded one tomato plant with Seranno and cayenne peppers. That tomato plant, along with all the peppers, is about the only thing that survived my uninvited and apparently hungry critters.

Both The Lizard and I could eat food from south of the border every day of the week, so I may intentionally surround all of next year's seedlings with habaneros, Anaheims, cayennes, poblanos and Serannos. I don't think we'll have a problem using all the hotness.

babiesI planted 30 red onions; about six have survived. (Did you know rabbits and raccoons apparently like raw onions? I sure didn't!) Last week I noticed two Serranos were ready, so I plucked one of the onions. We had to buy tomatoes from the local farmers market because mine aren't ready yet (and with much cooler nights now, they may not ripen by themselves). I used the cilantro I grew in my kitchen window. The flavor of the resulting pico de gallo was out of this world. It truly does make a difference when you use fresh veggies!

My recipe probably isn't any different than anything anyone else has published, but this was so delicious, I'm sharing. Wish I could offer you a dish of actual salsa instead of just this electronic sentiment, but, well, we ate it all. There is none left!


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Snowcatcher's Pico de Gallo

2 fresh peppers, diced (I like Seranno best)
3 fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
1 fresh red onion, diced
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, shredded
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Allow to set for 10 or 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Enjoy with chips, or top a burrito! Refrigerate leftovers, if you have any. Onions sometimes grow hotter and more flavorful after 24 hours of refrigeration. Yum!

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With all the cycling we do, we don't always have time to cook. So we typically make a couple of dishes on the weekends we can store and then enjoy as leftovers during the week. One of our favorite meals is our homemade burrito bar. So here's what we stash in individual airtight containers and keep in the fridge almost all the time, specifically for that purpose:

hot, hot, hot1 baked chicken, deboned and shredded
2 or 3 ears of fresh corn, shaved from the cob
1 can of black beans
1 bowl of Snowcatcher's pico de gallo
2 or 3 cups of brown rice, cooked as directed
1 bag of shredded Mexican cheese
1 bottle of La Estrellita hot green vegetarian chile
1 pint of sour cream
whole wheat tortillas
fresh baby spinach

I season the corn and/or rice with cilantro, cayenne pepper, dried onions and sometimes a touch of garlic and/or fresh basil. We heat a tortilla briefly so it will roll easier without breaking, then spoon on some rice, chicken, beans, corn and salsa. We roll the tortilla, then cover it with La Estrellita sauce, which is the best store-bought stuff I've found. Any enchilada sauce or salsa will work, but we like this one and 505 the best, and I'm extremely picky! We cover the burrito with a layer of cheese, then warm The Whole Enchilada (sorry, I couldn't resist that) until the cheese melts. Top with a couple small scoops of sour cream, garnish with baby spinach, and voila! You'll never again be satisfied with Taco Bell!

Of course, the fun part is you can add or subtract ingredients according to mood or craving. Some nights I go meatless, some nights The Lizard wants REAL meat (beef or pork). Some nights we do without the sour cream. And sometimes we go wild with cheese. You can even do this naked! (I'll bet you weren't thinking sans tortilla!)

fresh pico de gallo

8 comments :

  1. This blog post is just terrible!!! There was no warning that the reader will drool all over themselves while reading!
    You are super to include the recipe, though, so that makes up for me having to wipe my chin off a few times. :)

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  2. Oh..I'm going to have to try this recipe. Looks/sounds good enough to eat!!!

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  3. I am not hungry, I am not hungry, I am not hungry...yummy, I AM hungry :).

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  4. Raised beds with 1/4" mesh cages over the top have worked for my veggie garden. Don't go for chicken wire - the birds and tiny rodents can go right through, and you'll still lose your garden!

    Of course, we can't grow the amazing stuff that you do. Wow, I'd love to be able to grow tomatoes. Alas, our growing season is only about 90 days so it's only very cold-hardy and fast-growing stuff for us! That is, unless I someday have the extra money to buy a greenhouse!

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  5. I learned something new today because I had no idea that raw red onions was a favorite food for many animals.
    Very delicious post :)

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  6. Married a woman whose family came from El Paso so I have learned a lot about Mexican food from her. I too had animal destruction this summer. Onions are supposed to be safe! get that cage.

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