Monday, December 31, 2012

happy new year!


saw this on facebook today (thanks gigi) and thought it accurately summed up my goals for 2013. i decided to post on all three of my blogs.
wishing each of you a very happy, healthy and inspirational new year. thank you so much for visiting red or green? this year.  i wasn't sure about starting another food blog, but your response proves there is a shared love of spicy, hot food out there. i so appreciate your comments, emails, facebook posts, tweets and support!   let me know if you have a favorite dish you would like me to feature in the new year.  be safe tonight!

my best,
red or green
napa farmhouse 1885

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i have started sharing my taos experiences on my newest blog "california girl in taos". please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

roasted brussels sprouts with garlic & red pepper flakes

it is brussels sprouts week at food network's fall fest and i couldn't be happier. while recipes for this vegetable abound at this time of year, many, many people i know turn up their noses and say "oh no..i do not like brussels sprouts! they are so bitter."  you know what? sliced and roasted at high heat in e.v.o.o., garlic and red pepper flakes with a splash of balsamic creates a totally different texture and taste and no one i know has ever taken a bite and responded with anything but "these are delicious".
as always, the ingredients really do make the difference so...if you can...choose local, organic or sustainably grown produce, excellent quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar...and good red pepper flakes, grey salt and black pepper.

we had a bit of fun with our raw brussels sprout photograph just to make the point that, when roasted, they are as sweet as candy. do you like them in the candy dish?

roasted brussels sprouts with garlic & red pepper flakes
(serves 4)

1 lb brussels sprouts
6 cloves peeled garlic
extra virgin olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
grey salt
freshly ground black pepper
excellent quality balsamic vinegar

preheat oven to 400 degrees. wash brussels sprouts and remove tough outer leaves. remove stems and cut sprouts lengthwise into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick). slice garlic cloves lengthwise as thinly as you can. spread brussels sprouts and garlic in bottom of foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. drizzle olive oil over vegetables...enough so everything is well coated...and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. roast in preheated oven for approx. 30 minutes....until the sprouts are very tender and well caramelized. remove from oven and place sprouts on serving plate. drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

it is brussels sprouts week at food network's fall fest, the last "food fest" of the year.  check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Almonds, Manchego and Pimenton Vinaigrette
Cooking With Elise: Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Brussels Sprouts With Vinegar and Cranberries
Red or Green?: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
And Love It Too: Lemon-Infused Brussels
Virtually Homemade: Fried Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Parsley and Parmesan
Thursday Night Dinner: Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan and Breadcrumbs
Devour: Our Best Pork-Filled Brussels Sprouts Recipes for the Holidays
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: Simple Brussels Sprouts Recipes

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and please visit my other blogs:
california girl in taos
napa farmhouse 1885 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Broccoli with Garlic & Chile, Puglian Style

broccoli with orecchiette pasta is a very popular dish in puglia, italy.  i reimagined the recipe by eliminating the pasta and bulking up on the broccoli.  easy, delicious, spicy with a strong garlic bite; you can serve as a side dish, top pizza, stir into scrambled eggs or....forget the reimagining part and toss with cooked pasta. 

i like to keep a bit of stem attached to the broccoli florets...about 1/2-3/4 inch.  this will mean you have to cook the broccoli a bit longer, but don't overcook.  it should be al dente (to the tooth) with a bit of when you cook pasta.  if you add to other dishes like pizza you may want to chop the broccoli into smaller pieces after cooking.

Broccoli with Garlic & Chile, Puglian Style
1-2 heads broccoli (about 1 lb total), cut into florets with about 1/2 inch of stem attached
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese for topping (optional)

fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. add a handful of salt and the broccoli florets. cook for 7-10 minutes – or until a sharp knife can easily pierce a broccoli stalk. remove from pot with a spider strainer and set aside in medium bowl.

while broccoli is cooking, add 1 tbsp olive oil to large skillet.  add garlic and stir for 1 minute.  do not let garlic burn.  add cooked broccoli to skillet.  add remaining olive oil, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch each salt and pepper.  toss until broccoli is coated and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  taste and add additional red pepper flakes if you want a spicier dish.  adjust seasonings if needed.  serve with cheese if  desired.

it is broccoli week at food network's fall fest. check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Easy Stir-Fry Broccoli and Red Bell Peppers
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta With Fresh Broccoli and Spicy Cashew Pesto
Red or Green?: Broccoli With Garlic and Chile, Puglian-Style HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Broccoli
Virtually Homemade: Broccolini With Walnuts and Sweet Soy Sauce
Thursday Night Dinner: Soy, Sesame and Ginger Broccoli
FN Dish: Six Broccoli Mains

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and please visit my other blogs:
california girl in taos
napa farmhouse 1885 

Monday, December 3, 2012

spicy twice baked stuffed winter squash

this is the perfect dish for chilly fall nights.  winter squash is first roasted in the oven until very soft and then filled with a slightly spicy mixture of ground meat, vegetables, squash pulp, greens and chile.  topped with panko bread crumbs and parmigiano reggiano cheese for crunch; all you need is a green salad and dinner is served.
spicy twice baked stuffed winter squash
2 winter squash, halved and seeded (i usually use acorn, kobacha or sweet dumpling)
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 lb ground beef, turkey or vegetarian substitute
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 oz baby spinach leaves, washed
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup "italian style" panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
preheat oven to 400 degrees F

line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  place squash halves cut side up on pan.  drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp honey over each squash half and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  roast in oven until squash flesh is easily pierced with a sharp knife (45 minutes to 1 hour).  remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.  reduce oven to 375 degrees F.  keep baking sheet nearby.
cook ground meat or turkey in medium sized skillet until done.  drain fat and return to pan. (if using vegetarian substitute, follow package directions.  stir in onion, garlic and jalapeno; cook until vegetables are soft. (about 4 minutes)  add pine nuts, spinach, red pepper flakes and orange juice, cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach wilts (2-3 minutes).

when squash is cool enough to touch, use a sharp knife and cut 4-5 lines lengthwise into squash pulp being careful not to cut into the skin.  repeat for each half.  then, using the same technique, cut 4-5 lines width wise.  you will be left with small cubes.  use a spoon to scoop out the squares.  they should be very soft.  add the squash pulp to the meat mixture and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir until squash is incorporated.  season to taste with salt and pepper.

mound stuffing mixture evenly into each squash half and place on reserved baking sheet. sprinkle bread crumbs and parmigiano over each squash half.  drizzle a bit more olive oil over the top. (this will crisp up the bread crumbs and cheese.  bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through.  serve immediately.

it is winter squash week at food network's fall fest. check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: African Peanut Stew With Shrimp and Butternut Squash
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Spicy Thai Coconut Winter Squash Noodle Soup
The Heritage Cook: Spaghetti Squash Two Ways
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Winter Squash Muffins With Honey and Molasses
Virtually Homemade: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese With Sage and Bacon Breadcrumbs
Red or Green?: Spicy Twice-Baked Stuffer Winter Squash
Devour: Rachael Ray's Easy Pumpkin and Winter Squash Lasagna
Thursday Night Dinner: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
FN Dish: 5 Light Squash Recipes

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and please visit my other blogs:
california girl in taos
napa farmhouse 1885  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

spicy roasted cauliflower & garlic

it is time to introduce you to the most simple, easy and delicious way to serve cauliflower...slow roasted with tons of garlic and a healthy dose of dried red pepper flakes. the roasting turns the vegetables deep brown, caramelized and incredibly sweet. the pepper flakes add a bit of heat.  the recipe calls for a large pinch...use more or less depending on your heat tolerance.
i first made this years ago for friends.  when the pan came out of the oven we descended on the finished dish and ate every bite literally from the pan...did not even wait to serve with dinner.  you may want to consider doubling the recipe...everyone will want seconds.
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic
  • 1 head organic cauliflower
  • 1 head organic garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • grey salt
  • large pinch red pepper flakes
    Cooking Directions
  1. preheat oven to 425 degrees. prepare cauliflower by first washing and removing leaves. (save for stir frys, soups or stock). cut off stem and then cut cauliflower in half lengthwise and then again into quarters. place one of the cut sides down on cutting board and...with the knife at an angle...cut off stem. repeat with remaining three pieces. break cauliflower into bite sized florets.        
  2. place prepared cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. run 4 passes of olive oil bottle over pan and, using your hands, roll cauliflower in oil ensuring evenly covered. place in preheated oven for 30 minutes. remove from oven and add garlic and another 2 passes of e.v.o.o. stir and sprinkle salt and red pepper flakes over vegetables. return to pan and roast for another 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, adding additional oil only if necessary. keep roasting until the cauliflower is deep brown and caramelized on all sides being careful not to let burn.        
  3. remove from oven, taste and adjust salt if needed. place in on a serving platter and pour all e.v.o.o from pan over vegetables. serve immediately.
it is cauliflower week at food network's fall fest. check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Red or Green?: Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic
Devour: 6 New Ways to Use Cauliflower
Thursday Night Dinner: Quick Cauliflower Curry
Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Cauliflower and Fennel Salad With Endive and Radicchio
FN Dish: 10 Standout Cauliflower Recipes
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Cauliflower
do you like us...really, really like us? then please like us on facebook

and please visit my other blogs:
california girl in taos
napa farmhouse 1885

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

bolitas bean salad

steve sando, of rancho gordo fame, recently sent an email update lamenting the absence of beans on this country's thanksgiving day menu.  his point was that the feast celebrates food from the "new world". so why are beans left off the table?  as steve says:

"I maintain that dried beans (cooked, natch) belong on the table with the turkey, the cranberries, the wild rice, the potatoes and other New World foods."

i couldn't agree more.  i will go a little bit further and add chiles.  don't you think the traditional dishes are sometimes a tiny but bland?  delicious...but bland.   a bit of heat sounds wonderful to me.

so...this year i am adding a spicy bean salad to my holiday table.  served at room temperature, the beans are paired with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and jalapeno.  the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, spices and herbs are the perfect complement to turkey...and taste delicious with all the other side dishes.   give it a try and let me know what you think.

bolitas bean salad
(adapted from a rio culebra recipe)

8 oz bolitas beans, rinsed
2  tomatoes
1 red onion, chopped
1 english cucumber, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp organic seasoned rice vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt

add beans to large stockpot and cover with water by 3-4 inches.  bring to a boil and then reduce heat to high simmer.  cook until beans are tender.  (note, cooking times depend on how fresh your beans are.  fresh dried beans, like the ones sold by rio culebra or rancho gordo take about 2-3 hours to cook.  older beans, like the ones bought at the supermarket, can take considerably longer...4-6 hours.  plan accordingly and begin testing every 30 minutes after 2 hours.  they should be al pasta...when ready.  drain beans (save that bean juice!)**  and add beans to a large bowl. add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, jalapeno and garlic to bowl. gently toss.  add lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, pepper flakes, large pinch each of salt and pepper.  toss and taste. adjust seasonings if needed.  (i usually need to add more salt because the beans were not salted while cooking).  add cilantro, toss one more time and serve warm or at room temperature.
*for spicier salad add the jalapeno seeds
**bean juice has tons of flavor and nutrients.  i use it in place of stock for soups and stews.  i cook greens in the juice to add flavor and sweetness.

note, i used bolitas beans for this recipe, but pinto, black or anasazi are equally good.  i am a big fan of the beans from rancho gordo but, now that i live in taos, new mexico i am trying to shop locally whenever possible.  i have recently discovered rio culebra, a cooperative of farmers from southern colorado (a short drive from taos).  their beef and lamb are 100% grass fed without the use of any antibiotics or added hormones.  their beans and corn are sustainably grown with no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  the crops have been adapted to our 8000 foot elevation and shorter growing season.  i discovered them at the last taos farmers' market of the year.  i look forward to telling you more about this wonderful group of ranchers and farmers in upcoming posts.  for now...check them out...they have an online store. 

it is favorite thanksgiving side week at food network's fall fest.  check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:

Feed Me Phoebe: Five Spice Winter Squash Soup
Chez Us: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Virtually Homemade: Brussels Sprouts Salad With Avocado and a Tangerine Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Red or Green?: Bolitas Bean Salad
And Love It, Too: Potatoes Au Gratin (Gluten and Dairy-Free)
Devour: Thanksgiving Yam and Sweet Potato Sides That Are Almost Desserts
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing or Dressing
Cooking With Books: Rosemary and Pear Potato Salad
FN Dish: Old School Sweet Potato Soufflé

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and please visit my other blogs:
california girl in taos
napa farmhouse 1885

Friday, November 2, 2012

corn, peppers & onion sauté

i am so happy to announce that, for the second year in a row, food network is getting the entire food community together to celebrate a virtual thanksgiving, called the communal table (hashtag #pullupachair) on wednesday, november 7th at noon EST. they have invited me to cool is that?

here's how it works....bloggers from all over the country, as well as the food network gang, will each  create a post/article on their respective sites sharing one of their favorite thanksgiving recipes. each blog will also contain links to all the other blogs so readers can see what everyone is “bringing to the table.” just think...a one stop place to view loads of delicious sounding recipes and plan your thanksgiving menu.  with two weeks before the big day, we will all have plenty of time to finalize our menus. 

i decided to submit this quick, easy and delicious corn, peppers & onion saute.  perfect for the thanksgiving menu which, i think, screams for a dish with texture, crunch and a bit of heat.  organic frozen corn is used for this time of year, but fresh corn in season is equally wonderful.  add it to the more traditional holiday lineup.  you will be glad you did.  happy thanksgiving-planning everyone!

corn, peppers & onion sauté
3 poblano chilies (about 1 lb)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded, deveined and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried cumin
2 16 oz bags frozen corn (organic if possible), thawed and drained
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges

place peppers on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler set to HIGH.  cook until peppers are blackened on all sides (check oven often and, using tongs, turn as each side is finished).  remove from oven and allow to cool (note, some people recommend placing the peppers in a paper bag, closing tightly and allowing to cool.  i never seem to need this step).
when peppers are cool, peel off the skin.  (just use your hands, the peel should come off really easily).  cut the peppers in half, pour off the liquid and remove the seeds.  cut into slices about 1 inch wide and then cut in half. set aside

warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  add onions (both yellow and green) and sauté until softened. (about 5 minutes)  add the bell peppers, jalapeño and garlic and sauté until softened (about 4 minutes). add oregano and cumin, stir and cook an additional minute.  add the corn and prepared poblanos, stir and sauté until corn is hot (5 minutes).   season to taste with salt and pepper.  pour into serving bowl and sprinkle cilantro over top.  squeeze 2 lime wedges over dish.  serve with remaining lime wedges. 

now check out the delicious sounding recipes from my fellow bloggers:
Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:
Haute Apple Pie: Apple Jack
Cooking With Books: Spiced Couscous and Walnut Salad
Mooshu Jenne: Honey Bacon Potato Pops
Food For My Family: Roasted Beet and Lacinato Kale Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Super Seeded Cornbread

FN Dish: Black Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey

Feed Me Phoebe: Cornbread and Wild Rice Stuffing With Hazelnuts and Cranberries
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chorizo, Cornbread and Tortilla Dressing
Sweet Life: Apple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
And Love It, Too: Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Sweet Spiced Winter Squash Casserole
Red or Green?: Corn, Peppers and Onion Saute
Simple Bites: Honey Pomegranate Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Virtually Homemade: Fresh Orange and Cranberry Sauce With Toasted Walnuts
What's Gaby Cooking: Sweet Potato Gratin
The Heritage Cook: Cauliflower Gratin
Creative Culinary: Creamy Mushroom Bake With Parmesan and Panko
Bacon and Souffle: Spicy Carnival Squash

I Am Baker: Pumpkin Bars in a Jar
Add a Pinch: Caramel Pie
Chez Us: Pumpkin Cheesecake With Chocolate Swirls

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Monday, October 29, 2012

spicy roasted peppers

all photos courtesy peter padoven
i am joining my sister blog napa farmhouse 1885 and participating in food network's fall fest, a weekly roundup from my favorite food network chefs and bloggers focusing on a particular in-season fruit or vegetable.  this week we are doing peppers.  what a perfect way to launch my newest blog!

i moved to taos, new mexico 2 weeks ago.  we have owned our home here for 13 years but, sadly, only visited a couple of times per year.  the rest of the time it was used as a vacation rental.  each time we left we promised ourselves that we would live here full time "one day".  well "one day" is finally here.  we are going to be here for a few years and then divide our time between taos and california. (at least that is today's plan...who knows what might happen?)  right now i am so in love with new mexico that i may never leave.  can you think of a better place to write a blog emphasizing spicy, hot, delicious food?

anyway...back to peppers week.  i visited the last taos farmers' market of the year saturday.  the market runs from may through the end of october...i got here just in time.  i went a bit crazy buying peppers...they were so beautiful and looked so delicious.  i pickled a bunch and roasted a large batch for the weekend.  i have so many ways to use the roasted peppers that i can never make enough. try them mounded on crostini or bruschetta brushed with extra virgin olive oil...maybe with some parmigiano reggiano?  or stir into hot pasta...use every bit of the delicious olive oil/balsamic vinegar vinaigrette which forms when the peppers marinate.  maybe topping a roasted chicken sandwich?  as a side dish with roasted pork?  as part of a cheese plate? you will find many uses for these delicious peppers.

spicy roasted peppers
2 large red bell peppers
2 large yellow bell peppers
2 large green bell peppers
2 fresh poblano peppers (sometimes called pasillas)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
1 tsp coconut sugar (or organic sugar)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch sea salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper

place peppers on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler set to HIGH.  cook until peppers are blackened on all sides (check oven often and, using tongs, turn as each side is finished).  remove from oven and allow to cool (note, some people recommend placing the peppers in a paper bag, close tightly and allow to cool.  i never seem to need this step).

when peppers are cool, peel off the skin.  (just use your hands, the peel should come off really easily).  cut the peppers in half, pour off the liquid and remove the seeds.  cut into slices about 1 inch wide and then cut in half.  place in medium bowl.  add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to blend.  cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator a minimum of 8 hours (overnight is best).  remove from refrigerator 2-3 hours before you plan to serve.

now check out the delicious sounding peppers recipes from all of the other participating bloggers.  fall fest begins at noon on wednesdays during fall.  please come back then to see the other recipes.  oh...and feel free to post your favorite way to use peppers in the comments section of this post.  ***note, due to sandy this week's fallfest is being delayed...will keep you updated...

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Friday, August 31, 2012

cucumber & chiles salad

i love this salad...crunchy, spicy, a tiny bit sweet...perfect alongside cold roasted chicken, piled on top of a roast beef sandwich, on fish tacos or as part of an asian food buffet. i also like it with new mexican or mexican food.  try with stacked enchiladas, beans and posole instead or the more typical green salad.

cucumber & chilies salad
(ensure you prepare at least an hour in advance to allow the flavors to meld and then serve it icy cold.)
8 oz. cucumber (i use an english cucumber)
coarse kosher salt
2 fresh jalapeño chilies
1 fresh red chili
3 tbsp champagne or sparkling wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar

thinly slice cucumber and place in a colander. sprinkle with the kosher salt. let sit for 30 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with cold water. pat dry and arrange 1/2 of cucumber on a platter. seed and remove membranes from jalapeño and red chilies.***   cut peppers in half lengthwise and then very thinly slice. sprinkle 1/2 of sliced chilies on top of platter of cucumbers. cover with the remaining cukes and arrange remaining chilies on top. place vinegar and coconut sugar in small bowl and whisk together until sugar is dissolved. pour dressing over cucumbers, cover platter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. serve really cold. make even not remove membranes from the make insanely hot..keep some, if not all, of the seeds...

**regarding jalapeños and serranos..if you have never prepared fresh jalapeños/serranos this note is very, very important..and i really, really mean it (have i emphasized this point enough? :)  immediately after you seed and chop the peppers wash your hands really well. if you don't, i promise you will forget, touch your eyes and cause a massive, painful burning. some people recommend wearing rubber gloves when preparing peppers.  i don't, but i always remember the washing hands tip...i learned the hard way.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

spicy braised artichokes

i am a huge proponent of stocking the pantry with amazing ingredients...think extra virgin olive oils, lots of different types of vinegars, high quality mustards, seasoning blends, rice, beans, grains/flours, jams, marmalade, chutneys, dried name it. then...coupled with a fridge full of fruit and vegetables, organic & free range eggs and a selection of artisan cheeses...wonderful meals are always possible without needing to leave home.
there have been artichokes in my csa box the past few weeks. the cool thing about being this close to the farm is that you can experience the progress of each crop. the first week, the artichokes were tiny..only a couple of inches long. the next week they were a bit bigger..bigger the next week...and today some are almost large. that is the reason the quantities needed in the following recipe are a bit vague...use as much or as little as you like depending on the yield of the prepared artichokes. as long as you keep liquid in the braising step you really can't screw this up! :)so here we go...spicy braised baby (or small, or medium or large) artichokes. i created the recipe when they were baby sized and the name stuck....enjoy!

spicy braised baby artichokes
8-12 or small or 4-6 medium or large
2 lemons
ice water
1 leek, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, shredded
extra virgin olive oil
splash white wine
1/2 cup water
1-2 tbsp chili paste (1 use a brand called chili sauce)
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper

have ready a medium sized bowl of ice water. cut each lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the water bath and add the used lemon halves...set aside. prepare artichokes by turning each artichoke onto its side and, using a sharp knife, cut off the top 1/3 of the leaves. pull off all the dark green leaves of each artichoke. this step is very need to remove everything until you get to the light green leaves. you will probably feel like you are discarding most of the worries! those dark green leaves will never soften enough to be edible. cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and then in half again into quarters. peel the stem using a paring knife and then scoop out the tough thistley part of the center or heart called the "choke". as soon as you finish preparing each artichoke, place it in the lemon water bowl. this will help prevent browning.

add a tablespoon of the evoo to a large sauté pan and warm. add the leeks and onion and sauté until soft and translucent. add the garlic and carrot and continue cooking until the onions just begin to turn brown and caramelize. add another tablespoon of evoo. drain the artichokes and add to the pan (discard lemon halves). sauté for a couple of minutes and then add a pinch of salt, pepper, the wine, water and 1 tbsp of the chili sauce. stir. cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the artichokes give easily when pierced with the point of a sharp knife. when tender, remove from heat and taste. add additional chili sauce if you want a bit spicier dish. correct seasonings if needed, but do this step last. chili paste/sauce often contains a lot of salt so you may not need to add any more.

serve as is for a side dish...or add to hot, cooked pasta with a bit more olive oil if needed...delicious! (also, terrific on grilled bread as a bruschetta topping.)

**this post was originally published on the napa farmhouse 1885 blog**

Saturday, July 21, 2012

my favorite guacamole recipe

first i should say that i love avocados...pretty much in any form. when i was a kid, my aunt lena had a really big avocado tree in her back yard in southern california. this tree produced massive amounts of avocados. my memory may be faulty...(ya think?)...but i seem to remember avocados year round. she used to give bushels of them away to everyone in the i ate avocados all the time. it wasn't until i was older and met people from outside of california that i realized not everyone was familiar with them. now, with the popularity of guacamole, most people know of avocados..but still have questions regarding their use and their fat content. happily, we now know that the fat in an avocado is the good fat and that they are full of fiber and vitamins.
i still use avocados all the time. i will spread mashed avocado on toast with a sprinkling of sea salt and eat for lunch or as a snack. i slice and add to salads, omelets, as a taco topping. i cut them in half and fill with tuna, chicken, shrimp, crab or lobster salad, i add them to sandwiches, make avocado salad dressing, avocado soup...hundreds of recipes. but my favorite is guacamole.  a friend came to visit last week  and brought over a few avocados. she decided to make her guacamole, the simplest version i have ever tasted. she just mashed up the avocados...added a bit of cilantro, salt and pepper and served. it was really good. the avocados were perfectly ripe, the cilantro had a bit of a bite and the flavor was really pure...we gobbled it up.

my version uses avocado, finely diced red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice, sea salt and diced jalapeño. i don't really used a recipe..i just add the ingredients to taste. i do ensure all the ingredients,including the avocado, stay chunky. i like texture in my guacamole.

for those of you that have never cut up an avocado, here is a classic and my favorite, technique. cut the avocado in half lengthwise. there is a big seed in the middle so you will need to cut around it. the seed will stay in one of the halves. use a chef's knife to gently whack the center of the pit so that the knife is slightly embedded in the pit...don't whack too hard or you will cut through the pit...twist the knife, pull out the pit and discard. (note..for safety's sake, put a kitchen towel in the palm of your hand and place the avocado on the towel the first few times you try this careful!).
slice each half of avocado lengthwise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch strips, and then cut across forming a grid. use a spoon to gently scoop out the avocado flesh.

i spent all day today trying out different versions of the basic recipe (i have a tough life!). i substituted lemon juice for the lime in one batch..and took at least one of my ingredients out of each option to see how it would impact the final result. they all worked so adjust the recipe based on what you like. if you dislike onions...leave them out. hate cilantro? skip (i find that people are seldom neutral regarding either love it or hate it). you will always need salt and the lemon or lime. and, if you are like me, jalapeño or other hot pepper is crucial...otherwise..go for it.

if you have never made guacamole before give this recipe a try. it may become your favorite too. just don't be afraid to experiment with ingredients you like. i challenge you to create your own "signature guacamole recipe". oh and since this requires salt and freshly squeezed limes...can you say "pitchers of margaritas"??!!

my favorite guacamole

3 large hass avocados
1 tbsp red onion
1 jalapeño, minced (i like it hot, so i use the seed and ribs, remove these if you want a milder version)
2 tbps diced heirloom tomatoes (skip when tomatoes are out of season)
2 tbs chopped cilantro
juice from 1 lime
sea salt

prepare the avocados as described above.  add the diced avocados, onion and jalapeños to a medium bowl and stir to combine.  gently stir in the tomatoes, cilantro and 1/2 of the lime juice.  add a large pinch of sea salt and stir again.  taste and add additional lime juice and/or salt if necessary.  serve with tortilla chips, on a salad or as part of a taco bar. 

we are having guacamole tacos for dinner with refried black beans, homemade green chile, corn tortillas and margaritas. want some?

red or green chile?

Friday, July 20, 2012

need to find a local farmers' market

i love farmers' one on a weekly basis is one of my favorite things to do.  carrying an overflowing basket of impossibly fresh, beautiful and delicious fruit and vegetables, creating recipes on-the-spot based on what is available, talking with the farmers who actually grow our food, visiting with friends....a perfect, perfect day.  i wish more people would/could support their local farmers' markets.
to do this, you have to know where the markets are located.  last winter i received the following email:

"Hi Diane,

My name is Evan and I'm a senior at UCSB in California who is dedicated to eating organic, locally-grown food. I stumbled across your blog when I was researching data for a farmers' market comparison table that I'm compiling. This database of farmers markets can be narrowed down by location, the type of produce sold, forms of acceptable payment etc. I hope my tool will help shoppers access locally-grown or organic foods they are looking for. Please check it out and let me know what you think.
I would really appreciate your feedback!"

how cool is this?  i so love the fact that this is a school project.  it is always such a joy to hear of young adults committed to eating local, organic/sustainably grown food.  check out evan's search tool and please let us know what you think in the comments section of this post.  i will ensure evan receives your feedback.
support your local farmers!
diane padoven
red or green?

Find a Farmers' Market Near You!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

why red or green?

a few people have asked me why i named this blog red or green?.the obvious answer is because this blog celebrates all things chile...and most chile peppers are either red or green.  the real reason though is that i launched this blog while spending time at our home in taos, new mexico.  i came to realize that...while i love many different types of food...spicy dishes, especially those from southwestern cuisine are my favorite.  when you order at a southwestern  restaurant you are always asked red or green? meaning, "do you want the delicious item you just ordered covered in red or green chile sauce?  it is so hard to pick...most people order their food "christmas style", meaning you would like both.  chiles and chile sauces are the foundation of southwestern food and, i must admit, i am addicted.   the question seemed the perfect title for my newest blog.

and, just in case you would like a recipe for red chile sauce, i am including my favorite. try it...just ensure you use pure new mexican ground chiles....nothing else will do.

red chile sauce
(use on enchiladas, smothered burritos, tamales, eggs, pork, chilaquiles, will find many uses for this delicious sauce.)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pure new mexican ground red chile powder, medium
1 1/2 tsp dried mexican oregano
1/2- 1 tsp chile caribe (caribe is crushed red pepper, seeds and all.  this one is hot so start with 1/2 tsp.  taste and add more if you like your sauce really spicy)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
add the oil to a medium saucepan and heat until gently shimmering.  add the onions and sauté until they are translucent (do not let brown).  add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. stir in the salt. add 1 tbsp flour and stir until flour is incorporated into the oil ensuring all lumps are dissolved.  repeat with second tbsp. of flour and sauté for 1 minute.  add the water and the chile powder and stir until combined.  add the oregano, chile caribe and cumin and bring to a boil.  reduce heat and simmer (low) for 30 minutes. taste and correct seasonings if necessary

**note, this recipe was first published at napa farmhouse 1885**

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

chips and salsa

i have been a fan of hot and spicy food my entire life.  i grew up in southern california where mexican food is practically the native cuisine.  most kids eat  french fries and ketchup as a favorite snack...for us it was always chips & salsa.  scrambled eggs seem incomplete without onions, jalapeño peppers and taco sauce.  don't get me started on beans...whole, refried, black, pinto, white, kidney, turtle (and on and on and on)...just ensure they contain plenty of hot peppers along with garlic and onion.  i think you get my point.

i have found that almost every culture has at least one traditional dish featuring chiles...chinese, thai, italian, indian, japanese, mexican, korean etc.  and i love them all.  my regular job is writing over at napa farmhouse 1885....where i focus on fresh, local, organic or sustainably grown ingredients...our motto is "buy the best quality ingredients you can and don't mess them up with overly complicated techniques".  the same philosophy applies here.  mark twain said " write what you know".  well i know chiles. that i am spending a bit of time each year at our home in taos, new mexico... i am thoroughly loving the time i spend researching, tasting, cooking and eating food prepared with chiles...lots and lots of chiles.  this blog specifically focuses on recipes featuring chiles...or dishes designed to be served with spicy food to tame the heat.  something tells me i am going to love my second newest blog!

fresh salsa..a.k.a pico di gallo
no cooking required. (or make if you are ambitious) excellent quality chips and..maybe..add margaritas?

2 cups heirloom tomatoes (any color) seeded and diced, and placed in a strainer
1/2 c diced red onion
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeño, remove seeds and membrane, finely chopped *see note
1 serrano chili, remove seeds and membrane, finely chopped
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tsp red pepper flakes (i use chile caribe from new mexico)
grey sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
juice and zest of 1/2 lime

combine first 7 ingredients in medium sized bowl. add salt and pepper to taste. cover bowl with plastic film and allow to sit for 30 minutes. add lime juice and zest...stir, taste and adjust seasonings. (note..i loathe watery salsa, so i place the mixture in a strainer and allow to sit for a few minutes).  place back in bowl, stir, taste and adjust seasonings.

this salsa is a bit spicy, removing the seeds and membrane from the peppers reduces a lot of the heat, but if you do not like hot foods reduce or eliminate the red pepper flakes.

**regarding jalapeños and serranos:  if you have never prepared fresh jalapeños/serranos this note is very, very important..and i really, really mean it (have i emphasized this point enough? :)immediately after you seed and chop the peppers..wash your hands really well..if you don't, i promise you will forget, touch your eyes and cause a massive, painful burning..some people recommend wearing rubber gloves when preparing peppers..i don't, but i always remember the washing hands tip. i learned the hard way.