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A Fall Ritual in the Land of Enchantment

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP,, Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On a crisp Saturday morning in September, lines are forming outside the wooden barrier that keeps the chili lovers safely separated from the flames of the chili roasters. From the moment you step outside your vehicle, the scintillating aroma of roasting chili captures your attention, conjuring up memories associated with this unique odor and time of the year. It is just another one of the many annual traditions in New Mexico and it brings out the diehards in droves.  My favorite stand is Wagner’s Farm in Corrales, a small agricultural community outside Albuquerque, owned by four generations of the Wagner family since 1910. Besides the fresh produce, they have hay rides, a pumpkin patch, a corn maze and a petting zoo which makes for a busy day for the children. www.wagnerfarmscorrales.com

Ristras are red chilies hung from twine, which serve a dual purpose: to keep a ready supply nearby that one can simply pick off the rope and also to offer a bright visual that is a work of art. They are strung across the face of the farm stand in different sizes, casting a welcoming banner. Inside the “stand,” which is really a full sized building, there is bin after bin of fresh produce, from corn, squash, peaches, pumpkins, okra, green beans, cucumbers and jalapenos to melons, varieties of apples and of course a whole wall of chili options from the mildest to the extra hot, in either bushel or standard burlap bag size. If you have the freezer space and want your chili to last all winter, most folks grab the large burlap bag, throw it into the cart, pay for it with cash or a check, (no credit card accepted), and take it outside to the roasting area to await their turn. Today the line is long and the customers take this opportunity to catch up with each other on the local news.

These farm stands are all over New Mexico during the chili harvest season, well known throughout the world as simply the best chili there is. Even next door in Arizona, the taste cannot be compared to the crop that is harvested in the Land of Enchantment. Fortunately today, those who live far away need not be deprived as many varieties can be bought on the internet. However, the experience of getting your chili freshly roasted is truly a treat. The aroma will stay in the vehicle for several days and it smells just wonderful. Once home, the chili must cool down so the sack is opened and allowed to cool to room temperature. Some like to peel their chilies before freezing, which makes it easier when you want to use them later. Others freeze it with the skins on as the chilies are easily peeled as they are defrosting at a later time. I use both quart and gallon bags to allow for a more appropriate amount for any given dish. A gallon bag would definitely go into a large green chili stew; several from a small bag would go into a batch of scrambled eggs.

One of my favorite breakfasts is a salmon and green chili omelet. My favorite chili is the Sandia hot variety, which has a nice warming effect on the tummy without an actual burning sensation. If I have a grilled salmon steak for dinner, I put some aside to put in an omelet later. Along with two or three chilies and some melted cheese on top, it is a wonderful meal to start off the day.

Buen Provecho!

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Tags:  Carol Hunter  recipe 

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Vegan Lemon Cake

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 7, 2016
Dr. Vasant Lad and his wife Usha, in their cookbook, entitled "Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing", describe sour foods: “when used in moderation, they are refreshing and delicious to the taste, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, energize the body, nourish the heart, enlighten the mind, and cause salivation.” For my birthday cake this past month, my daughter baked me a lemon vegan cake that was all of the above and more. Vegan cakes are not for everyone, not that it is so much a taste issue as one of texture. Vegan cakes are more compact and dense, lacking the usual airiness of a typical cake. If that is a concern and you want to give it fluffiness and don’t mind adding in some animal protein, you can mix in eggs into the liquid ingredients. Bon appetite!

INGREDIENTS
• 2 cups of white unbleached organic flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup maple syrup
• zest of a lemon (organic unwaxed)
• ½ cup grapeseed or coconut oil
• 1 ½ tbsp almond milk (add more if needed for perfect consistency of batter)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 2 eggs (optional)
Lemon Glaze
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven at 350F. Grease a bread form pan and line the inside with a baking sheet.
2. Sift the flour in a bowl and combine with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
3. Add maple syrup, almond milk, safflower or coconut oil, lemon juice and (beaten eggs) and quickly combine all the ingredients to a smooth batter (be careful not to overmix).
4. Pour the batter in the bread form and bake in the oven for 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Carefully remove the cake from the form and let cool completely.
5. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to a creamy mixture, spread over the cake and let it firm before slicing the cake. Decorate with lemon slices.

ENJOY!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink  recipe  vegan 

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RECIPE: Basic Chili

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, March 7, 2016

before winter is truly behind us, let’s take a look at a recipe for the cold weather dish of chili, sometimes known as Texas chili. My favorite cook wear is Le Creuset and they provided this hearty recipe from My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life from Ruth Reichl.

Ingredient List:

3 medium onions

Olive oil

6 cloves garlic, smashed

Salt and pepper

Cumin and oregano

Homemade chili powder (recipe below)                

1 pound ground bison

1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 large can chopped tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 bottle robust dark beer

1 can black beans (kidney beans if you prefer)

Ruth gives options for adding in an ounce of dark chocolate, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, cream sherry, soy sauce, cilantro, scallions, sour cream (or Greek yogurt if you prefer) and grated cheese. (Also if you can’t find ground bison, you can use lean ground beef.)

 

Preparation:

Dice the onions and saute them in olive oil until they’re soft. Add the garlic and let it soften, too. Add the oregano, some salt and pepper, a bit of cumin and 2 teaspoons of your homemade chili powder- more if you really like hot food.

Add the ground bison and cook, stirring, until it loses its redness. Puree 3 or 4 of the chipotle peppers and stir that in, along with the tomatoes and another teaspoon of your chili powder. Add the chicken stock (preferably homemade) and a cup of the beer and let it all simmer at a slow burble for a couple of hours.

Ruth writes, “Before serving, stir in a cup or so of cooked black beans. Now you get to play with the flavors. Is it hot enough? Do you want more chili powder? Sometimes I’ll melt an ounce or so of really good chocolate and stir that in to give it depth. Other times I’ll add a spoonful of fish sauce, or a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sometimes soy sauce to spark it up, other times cream sherry to mellow it down. It all depends on my mood. The point is, when you’ve made your own chili powder, everything else is just window dressing .

You can serve this with cilantro, scallions, sour cream and grated cheese. Or not. It’s that good. “

Preparation of chili powder:

Ruth writes, “I like to use anchos for their winey richness, habanero for their fruity heat, and New Mexicos for their earthy sturdiness.

Wearing rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands, sponge off 2 ancho, 3 New Mexico and 3 habanero chilies (they’re almost always dusty.) Cut them in half and removed the tips, where the majority of seeds congregate in dried peppers. Discard the seeds.

Put the chilies into a heavy-bottomed pan ( I use cast iron) and toast them over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, turning from time to time with tongs, until they have darkened slightly. Allow them to cool and then grind the chilies to a powder in a spice grinder or coffee mill. Stir in a teaspoon of toasted ground cumin.

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Tags:  Carol Hunter  chile  recipe 

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Grapefruit & Avocado Salad with Dulce

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Grapefruit/Avocado Salad with Dulce

Spread a generous handful of spring mix on a platter.

Arrange the grapefruit slices and avocado slices in a circle on top of the lettuce.

In the middle place a few slices of cucumber.

Sprinkle walnut pieces on top.

Sprinkle dulce bits on top by snipping off small pieces with scissors.

Pour Citric dressing over salad. Use salt and pepper to taste.

Citric dressing:

2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange or lemon juice

2 tablespoons of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of lemon or orange zest

½ teaspoon of cumin

2 grated garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste.  (If you like a creamy dressing, you can add ½ cup of tahini.)

Enjoy, your thyroid gland will thank you!

Tags:  nutrition  recipe 

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Vegan Tomato Soup

Posted By Carol Hunter, Monday, December 7, 2015

Vegan Tomato Soup:

Fill a blender about half full with peeled fresh tomatoes, about 12 medium.

Coarsely chop large red onion and add to blender.

Chop 3 cloves of garlic and add to blender.

Add 2 tbsps. cold pressed fresh virgin olive oil.

Add about 16 oz organic vegetable broth.

Add half teaspoon of dried or 3-4 sprigs of fresh basil.

Add half teaspoon of Herbs de Provence.

Mix well on medium speed for several minutes, then high for several minutes, then back to medium. It won’t hurt the soup to keep mixing it while you open a 16 oz can of white cannellini beans. Drain, wash and drain again.

Add the beans and mix again on medium, then high, until thoroughly mixed. If the blender is too full, you can pour off half the tomato soup and add half the can of beans and blend. Set aside and do the second batch. Some recipes call for cream and butter which this recipe avoids. The beans thicken the soup and provide plenty of good fiber at a low calorie intake. If you are needing something sweet, you won’t taste it in this soup. If it’s a bit too acidic, add some spice like cayenne pepper to zip it up. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper and add a sprig of basil. Enjoy, guilt free!

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Tags:  fiber  healthy  nutrition  recipe  soup  tomato  tomato soup  vegan  vegetables 

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RECIPE: Blue Corn Enchiladas

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Beans are a mainstay of any vegetarian diet. Here is the recipe for Blue Corn Enchiladas:

INGREDIENTS:
One 12 pack stone ground blue corn tortillas. (www.buenofoods.com)

Two 15 ounce cans of organic pinto and/or black beans.
Flame Roasted green chile 40 oz bottle (you will use about half). (www505chile.com)

Red chile sauce made from red chile powder. 3 oz bag. Follow directions on bag (
www.northoftheborder.net).
One large chopped onion

Cumin
Daiyan cheddar cheese slices or other cheese as desired

One small tomato; lettuce

In a hot skillet or griddle, heat each tortilla on both sides until crisp and set aside. Line a large baking pan with an olive oil spray and line the pan with the tortillas.Pour organic pinto and/or black beans, chopped onions, and cumin over the tortillas. Pour half the pan with green chile and half the pan with red chile (Christmas!) Place (vegan) cheese slices over the top and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes.Garnish the enchiladas with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and raw onions if desired. Avocados or guacamole are also a delicious addition.

Bon appetit!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  recipe 

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RECIPE: Hummus

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, October 6, 2015

INGREDIENTS:

Two 15 ox cans organic garbanzo beans

3 cloves garlic
Juice of one half lemon
2 tablespoons Tamari

½ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil

One half cup tahini or sesame butter
Sea salt and cumin spice to taste.

In a food processor, mix the olive oil, lemon juice and tamari together for a minute or two until mixed well. Add in the parsley, garlic, garbanzo beans, cumin, salt and mix well until pureed. Then drop small spoonfuls of tahini into the top of the processor and mix well before adding the next. The processor should not be straining, but if it is, add a small amount of water. Taste and season as desired with a splash more lemon or tamari. The hummus should be light tan colored with a smooth and creamy consistency. Hummus can be refrigerated up to a week, so keeping it in a tightly closed container makes it easy to reach for when it is snack time or as a side for a salad at lunch. Sprinkle with paprika. It is delicious with chips, crackers and bread or as a filling for celery.

Bon Appetit!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  hummus  recipe 

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Fresh Peach Crisp Recipe

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Friday, June 5, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If you’ve never been in a health food store before, it’s an interesting experience. Try to go with a knowledgeable person who can show you the ropes. Staff can be helpful and some are experts in their knowledge base, so don’t hesitate to ask.  While you’re there pick up a bag of PureVia, a natural raw cane sugar and stevia blend sweetener with half the calories of sugar but with the same great taste. As soon as you can find fresh peaches, try out this wholesome recipe, courtesy of PureVia.com. You can substitute with your favorite fresh fruit.

Fresh Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

3 pounds peaches, peeled, sliced ¾” thick

¼ c orange juice

1 c flour

¾ c old fashioned oats

2/3 c PureVIa Turbinago Cane Sugar and Stevia Blend

¼ c chopped walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

4 0z (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces

Preparation:

1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2.      Toss peaches and orange juice in medium bowl. Pour into 2 qt. casserole.

3.      Stir together flour, oats, PureVIa, walnuts and cinnamon. Work in butter with pastry blender of fingertips.      

4.      Sprinkle crumb mixture over peaches. Bake 35-40 minutes until topping is golden and peaches are tender.

Nutrition Facts: ½ c PureVIa is equal to 1 c sugar. Serving size of PureVia is ½ tsp= 1tsp of cane sugar.

Calories per serving: 5. Enjoy! Recipe is courtesy of PureVia.com.

A word of caution: please do not feed hummingbirds any sweetener but pure cane sugar as they need the calories. Stevia has zero calories.

Tags:  nutrition  peach  PureVia  recipe 

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