Sunday Kitchen Adventures

So, here’s the thing about me.  I love food and I love restaurants, but I don’t particularly like cooking.  I’m not so much bad at it as reluctant to do it.  I cook because it would be ridiculous to eat out every night and because I generally like to know what goes into my food.  If I lived alone (and when I lived alone), I would eat mostly raw vegetables and fruit for dinner… less clean up.  Every once in awhile, though, I get an idea stuck in my head and I focus on it until I’ve seen it through.

 For weeks, pesto was the idea I’d had stuck in my head.  I love pesto… not quite as much as B does, but I DO love it.  I love basil in general.  Since I discovered that the 4oz package costs only a few cents more than the 2oz package, I’ve been buying the larger one weekly and usually end up with quite a bit left over at week’s end.  So, I’ve started making pesto almost every Sunday.  I put it in pretty much everything- caprese salads, eggs, pasta.  It really is the easiest thing in the world to make.  Toss the olive oil, pine nuts, parmesan, salt and basil into a food processor and there you have it!  I only have a Mini Prep since a full sized food processor really couldn’t earn it’s keep in my kitchen with it’s limited storage, but it works just fine.  So, here you have Sunday pesto:

Part 2 of this Sunday’s kitchen adventure was partially a happy produce surprise, partially born out of Autumn homesickness.  It happens to me every year.  Balloon Fiesta time comes around and I am overcome by the desire to just go home.  The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been an annual tradition in Albuquerque since 1972 and is one of the most special parts about Autumn in Albuquerque.  The other truly special aspect of the season is green chile roasting season.  While it’s an annual tradition in New Mexico to make your pilgramage to the grocery store parking lot or roadside stand of your choice to purchase your yearly supply of roasted green chile, outside of NM (and DEFINITELY outside of the SW), it’s basically impossible to find them fresh.  I usually mail order mine already roasted and chopped in jars by the case.  As I mentioned earlier in the week, I was shocked and thrilled to discover that Amazon Fresh had them available.  When they arrived, I could already tell the quality was nothing to get excited about, but I had them, nonetheless, and that was enough for me. 
I searched online for instructions on how to roast the chile without a gas powered roaster.  Multiple sites claimed that I could roast them just as well in my broiler or just place them a couple at a time on my burner grate.  I ended up having to do both. 

Before (Tray 1)
After (Tray 2)
I put them in the oven on the broiler setting for about 5 minutes on each side then tossed them straight on the burner grate on medium high for another couple minutes per side.  The actual chile wasn’t as ripe as it should have been and the broiler roasted pretty unevenly, so the peeling process was quite a bit more painful than it should have been.  This was the end product of both trays:

I portioned it into 4 Ziplocs, keeping one out for dinner and freezing the rest.  For dinner, I made green chile bacon cheeseburgers (with the green chile in the meat instead of as a topping).  They came out well enough that I didn’t even miss having the bun on mine.

Truth be told, I didn’t really love green chile that much growing up.  I appreciated it for being part of the culture and we certainly ate enough of it, but I just didn’t GET it.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s GREAT and I love it now, but I think that part of what makes New Mexicans so passionate about green chile (especially after they’ve left) is that it really truly ties us to an aspect of home that no other state has.  There’s a small cafe not far from us called the Bang Bang Cafe.  It’s owned and operated by two sisters from Albuquerque.  We’ve only been there once, but I instantly felt at home.  B told one of the sisters that I am also from Albuquerque and we were greeted with an overwhelmingly warm enthusiasm.  We traded methods for getting green chile in Seattle.  She told me of the woes of picking up their shipments at the airport to keep enough on hand for the cafe.  They make awesome breakfast burritos (one is enough for about a week’s worth of breakfasts).  Though they didn’t know me, I instantly had a sort of geographic credibility and they asked me how I liked each aspect of the burrito from the chile to the tortilla.  It was great.  I hadn’t thought about that place in a few months, but I think a visit may be in order soon.

I think I would probably be willing to try the roasting experiment again, but would use the grills we have access to here in our building.  In any case, the condo now smells like any NM home should in October (though B doesn’t seem to enjoy the smell quite like I do).  I just hope it lasts awhile.



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