Monday, February 9, 2015

Hatch Chili Ristras

Look at this plump Hatch chili ristras.  We just bought it on Saturday and the peppers are still soft, not totally dried.  Looking forward to using these peppers as we expand our cooking knowledge and step into a little more Mexican cooking.

There is an area of New Mexico which only grows this special type of Hatch chili.  Where to hang it was the next predicament.

This plant hook on the end of kitchen cabinet worked out just great.  Now if anyone has some recipes they love using these chili's, I could use some advice.  At least I am going to enjoy my new SW decoration for my kitchen

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Art of Gourds

Yesterday was spent at a Gourd Festival south of Phoenix in Casa Grande.  We were not familiar with the popularity of this craft until moving to the southwest.  It is very popular here, gourds are grown in this area just for artists and crafters and it is a big deal.

Go to Wuertz Gourd Festival to read more about it.  The Trout is scheduled for classes in learning this craft and  he is as excited as I am.  We did take a few pictures of the winning artists this year and their work is outstanding.

Woodburning  and painting are involved on the outside, but the cleaning of the gourds on the inside is another job in itself. 

Many artists add ropes, pine needles, antler horns to the gourds to give them a very beautiful touch.

Instead of pots, some makes masks for the wall and even purses.  We tend to like the southwest designs on the gourds the best.

We were on the Wuertz farm in Casa Grande which is located between Phoenix and Tucson.  They sell the harvested and dried gourds at a very reasonable price.  We picked up a couple for the future.
In fact, the Trout even picked out one to buy from an artist.  His classes start soon.  I'll be anxious how he does in developing this new craft. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Yummy Red Roasted Pepper Hummus

How easy is this and how yummy!  It certainly beats the pricey brand in all the grocery stores.  I found a recipe on the Internet which roasted the red peppers on the grill, cooled them, slipped the skin off, chopped them and then added to the chick peas.  I did it my way with a jar of red roasted peppers.  I just dried the amount of peppers I needed and chopped them.  Same results and so much faster.  The fresh red peppers will be used to dip into the hummus.  Sounds good to me!

Red Pepper Hummus

3/4 of a cup roasted red peppers from a jar
1 can 15 oz. chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. tahini
2 small cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for serving if desired

To a food processor (I always use my small 2 cup processor) add chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and cumin.  Pulse and then scrape down the sides.  Add olive oil and about 3/4 of the amount of the red peppers.  Pulse and then add 1 tbsp water to thin if necessary.  If still too thick, you can add a small amount of more water. 

Top with a small amount of the chopped peppers and serve with veggies or pita chips.  Store in the refrigerator. 

I like the color and it fits perfectly in my very first ever bowl that I turned on a potter's wheel several years ago. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thai Sticky Rice and Mango

New friends gifted us a few weeks back with some Thai Sticky Rice.  Because both of them have been so kind to us, we invited them to dinner for  Pad Thai and Sticky Rice and Mango.  This was a first taste for me on the sticky rice.  After a lot of searching, I found many, many ways to prepare this rice for dessert.  It seems that it is a favorite Thai dessert.  I now can understand why.

I probably took the easiest way to prepare the dish after watching a Thai mother and her daughter on a video.  If you are truly interested in preparing this lovely dessert, I would suggest you watch also.

Thai Food Tonight

Thai Sticky Rice
2 cups of sweet rice (sticky rice)
1 cup sugar
1/2 can (13.5 ounces) of coconut milk
1 or 2 ripe mangoes

Cream Sauce
1/2 can (13.5 ounces) of coconut milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Rinse the rice.  Soak it in water for 30 minutes.  Drain some of the water, leave 1/4 inch of water remaining on top of the rice.

Cover container and microwave on high for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes check the rice and see if it is still crunchy.  If not tender, turn it over in the pot and microwave 2-4 more minutes.

Mix 1 cup sugar and 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir until sugar dissolves.  Pour this sauce over the cooked rice and coat completely.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes and serve at room temperature.

Slice mangoes into bite size pieces and serve with the sweet rice.

Cooking instructions for the Cream Sauce.

Mix sugar and remaining 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir until sugar dissolves.  Add salt and cornstarch and put all ingredients into a saucepan.  Stir well.  Cook over low heat and stir constantly until just boiling, then turn off the heat.  Let cool.

When ready to serve place the sticky rice in the center of a plate, surround with mango slices and drizzle the cream sauce over the top.  Serves 6 easily.

The sticky rice can be found in Oriental Markets or on Amazon.