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This here, my pretties, is truly happiness on a plate, well, at least, for me and my family.  Paris (Hello in heaven,sweet girl), as much as she may want a taste, will get no such thing.  It’s mine, bwa ha ha!  But, you, gentle reader, should you like to follow the recipe, can savor bite after bite.  I’m going to put on my teacher hat here and ask that you read the whole recipe before you start, because it is done in stages.  You’ll see.

Colleen’s Green Chile Burritos

2-4 pound pork shoulder roast, cut into 1″ chunks, removing as much fat as you can

28 oz diced green chiles (use more or less, to your taste). If you like it SPICY use some 505, jarred green chile.

2 fresh poblano peppers (optional)

2 dried ancho/pasilla chile (a dried poblano with different names – very dark and wrinkly)

2 dried New Mexican chile (dark red and slightly translucent)

1 large onion, diced

8 cloves garlic, diced or 1 T garlic granules

2 teaspoons salt (I use smoked sea salt fantastico!)

1 teaspoon mild New Mexico chile powder (optional)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 cup dried pinto beans

1 piece kombu seaweed (optional)



grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese

other toppings of your choice – lettuce, sour cream, avocado, black olives

For the beans:  The night before you want your burritos, get the beans soaking.  I use the same pot I will cook them in.  Use enough water to allow the beans to triple in volume.  Once the chile is going, drain the soaking liquid from the beans, and add enough water to cover by about an inch.  Add the kombu – it is supposed to help with the dreaded after-effects of beans, and truth be told, I think it works.  Whenever I make beans without it, I’ll be honest – there is more farting.  I bought mine at New Seasons ages ago, but I’ll bet an internet search will reveal more sources; the package lasts forever – unless you’re big on beans.  Getting back to it.  Add two cloves of diced garlic. Cook on low heat for 2-3 hours, adding 1 teaspoon of salt at the END.  Add it too soon and the skins will be tough.  Strain the excess liquid along with the kombu (It will be slimy and likely in a few pieces) and keep warm.

For the green chile:  Brown the cubed pork in a little oil on medium high heat, working in batches to keep from overcrowding the pan.  Place in crock or instant pot on low heat.  In the rendered fat of the pork, saute onion until soft.  Add to the crock pot. Add the canned green chiles to the pan, filling the empty can(s) with water to get all of the chile goodness and adding to the pan to deglaze.  Add this mixture to the crock or instant pot.

Chile Peppers: Chop the dried peppers into small bits with a very sharp knife, discarding the stem.  OR, even better, whirl the peppers, seeds and stems removed, in a food processor until they are thoroughly pulverized and kind of powdery. Add to crock pot.  If using fresh poblanos, I turn on a burner and hold the pepper over it until the skin gets blackened, rotating it to get it even.  Your kitchen will smell like chile heaven.  Once all sides are good and dark, place in a paper bag until cool.  Remove the skin by rubbing it with your fingers (don’t touch your eyes, ouch!).  Dice the peppers, discarding the stem, keeping the seeds if you like it a little more spicy.  Add to pot.  Add cumin, chile powder, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Add 1 cup water.  Cook for 2-3 hours, until the meat is tender and thoroughly flavored. If using an instant pot, pressure cook for seven minutes on normal-low and switch over to slow cook on normal until you are ready to eat.

Putting it all together:  Take a tortilla and set it on a burner turned on medium heat, rotating quickly to keep from sticking or burning.  Once it has softened a little, turn over and do it all again.  Add beans, a layer of pork, and a handful of grated cheese.  Roll up, um, like a burrito, tee hee.  Add another handful of cheese, and top off with another ladle of green chile goodness.  Add your favorite condiments and enjoy!

Added info – I don’t know how much this makes – I’d say at least ten burritos, but I don’t know if you are a Gregory burrito – MONDO or a Colleen burrito – just right.  Let’s put it this way – the recipe fills half of my crock pot, which  holds 6 1/2 quarts.  Also, if you want your chile thick, like a stew, turn the pot to high about a half an hour before you want to eat.  Once it is bubbling mad, take a ladle full of the chile and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour, stirring thoroughly to avoid lumps.  Put back in crock pot and quickly incorporate it.  Keep the the lid off.  It should thicken in a few minutes. I really don’t do this anymore, but some people prefer this texture.

Hey there, happy Friday!!

A small bowl of our burgeoning orchard bounty: a perfect strawberry, two plums of a dozen on the tree, and the blackberries, so many blackberries this year! The cobbler was a fine way to snazz them up, though they are pretty magical eaten straight from the cane.

Have you ever had the pleasure of a vlaai? It’s a pie or tart of the Limburg region of the Netherlands and Belgium, though different by virtue of a slightly sweet yeasted crust. I discovered it in the fabulous Home Made series by Yvette Van Boven, of which I own three. She’s a marvelously clever cook and infuses her books with fun humor and drawings.

This was my first vlaai with the cherries I canned from my neighbor Judy’s tree. In future, I will roll the dough thinner, as it puffed much more than expected. The pie was truly delicious, however, sweet and tart, and pretty cute, too, if I do say so, the squirrel and her quarry of acorns. We enjoyed it with our neighbors, Judy, Barb, and Jack, over a splendid afternoon of tea and conversation.

These super dark rosehips (plus two from another) are from a bush my mom gave me in memory of my Grandma Tess. In spring and early summer it is covered in sweet scented white blossoms, which makes it a real year-round stunner! I tried to make a jelly with them and crab apples from down the street, but despite their beautiful pink flesh and and flavor when raw, they were utterly bland and uninspiring when cooked. It’s too bad, because the rose hips made the prettiest purple color. I’ll see what I can do with them next year.

We’ve been hiking with Jeff (geocaching action shot!) every couple of months, enjoying discovering places midway between our houses and enjoying breakfast afterwards. This time it was Pegasus in Castle Rock – get the breakfast quesadilla and be glad.

Rainbow connection…

Greg, Juniper, and I had a super time, along with thousands of others, at the Chile & Frijoles Festival in Pueblo last weekend. It was a picture perfect day, not a cloud in the sky, air redolent of roasting chiles, of course. We enjoyed fair food in the form of a smoked turkey leg, some supposedly award winning, yet awful and outrageously expensive green chile, truly yummy green chile ice cream and a jalapeno brownie (thank you Bite Me Cake Company!). I also bought the fab poster pictured above, and a half bushel of organic Pueblo chiles from the nice people at the Hobbs & Meyer farm stand. It took me the better part of a day to prep and can them, but I have three quarts and a pint now ready to roll.

In making conversation with the kindly man on the right, I realized I’ve been eating chiles my whole life.  As my Great Aunt Mary (Hello in heaven!) would say about bananas, I’ll take them any way I can get them: in chile and tamales, of course, in salad, on top of eggs, filled with cheese in a relleno, in queso, atop a burger with cheese, roasted and straight into my mouth.

It’s funny how I never really thought of it as being a “thing” until my years away from the Southwest. When I talked green chile in Portland and Pittsburgh, most people assumed it was something completely different, Texas style with ground beef and kidney beans or a truly awful concoction with, gasp, carrots and celery. How  wonderful to be among people who know, even though they might still make a total cock-up of the recipe by adding tomato or beer or other nonsense.

p.s. For some cool and muy authentic Mexican recipes, with chiles, of course, visit this sweet lady.

Will ya looky there?  I can finally see my reflection in the bathroom.  Huzzah! No more dashing for the best light.  Many thanks the hubster, my worker extraordinaire, who did a fine job hanging said mirror and painting this weekend.  We edge closer and closer to a finished bathroom, my friends.  One fine day!

While he painted (the black window – his work!), I canned.  Eight pints garlic dills, six pints spicy dills, seven pints bread-and-butter, two pints pickle relish, four half-pints Hatch chiles, and two quarter-pints jalapeños.  Seeing the jars lined up in the cupboard is highly satisfying.  Being burned by hot vinegar solution is highly painful.  My thumb will recover, however, and I will be ever more careful.

We also spent a lovely day with the Twists, enjoying excellent company, the serenity of country living, grilled steaks, fine whiskey, home grown blueberries, a sky full of stars, and a visit from an owl!  Its profile was reminiscent of a cat atop a tree, and a big one, too.  Very cool.

Here’s hoping you had a lovely weekend and are keeping safe amid all the fires and storms.  Be well!

Local Scene

patiently waiting
rabbit brush + bees galore!
tinest neighbor
green chile chicken stew + homemade tortillas

The light, the color, the feast for the eyes that is fall. It has been another banner year of and yellows, ambers, and apricots. How lucky I am to live where I do. In peace, in comfort, in relatively good health.

I say relative good health, because, while my surgery went swimmingly, and I’ve fully recovered, something new came up. After I took my tumble that temporarily wrecked my knee, I thought I may have hurt my hands. My palms were suddenly tender and lacked their full range of motion. Turns out, you can be a non-smoker, avid exerciser (walking, biking, yoga, weight lifting!), maintain a healthy weight, and still get arthritis (damn genetics). I am now learning to adapt different moves, so they aren’t painful and taking on new challenges to build more muscles to support aching bones. A new normal, but also a little depressing, so I’m going to loop around to the beautiful images end enjoy them. It’s the best I can do.

I simply cannot resist the beauty of a perfect burger, grilled by the G-Man, of course. I am grateful he took up the mantle. I bake, broil, braise, and saute with the best of them indoors, but do not enjoy outdoor cooking AT ALL. Number 1,460,000 we are a match made in heaven.

In an effort to use a plethora of petals and keep our high desert skin as dewy as possible, I found a recipe for easy hydrosols and made a batch of rose. It left behind this gorgeous pink rosewater, and, as you well know, I hate waste, so I whipped it into a lemonade. It was delicious, a singular flavor I fail to find the words to exactly describe.

Blueberry Lemonade Cookies, the perfect summer treat, even though we are almost full on Fall, eek! I used the Cloudy Kitchen Funfetti recipe, substituting 3/4 cup dried blueberries for the sprinkles, one tablespoon lemon juice for the vanilla, and the zest of one large lemon. Highly addictive, they are delightfully tart with a crispy edge and soft middle. Even Greg, mister chocolate, loves them.

It is canteloupe season! This year has been especially flavorful.

You know how sometimes you forget the resources you actually own and look for the new? In one such fit for salad recipes, I was scouring the interwebs before remembering a Williams-Sonoma cookbook sitting right on the living room shelf. This is my riff on their Caesar Style with Poblano Chiles (page 23). I didn’t have poblano but a plethora of diced green chiles and Costco shredded rotisserie breast, so here we are. It was most delicious! In true Southwest style, I paired it with a glass of fizzy prickly pear lemonade. Yum-yum.

As somewhat of an organization freak, I enjoy me a well tidied shelf and drawer. I had a hodge-podge of bottles, jars, and zip-top bags here, and it honestly made my head hurt. I found some snazzy jars with bees on them at Sierra (since they were closeouts and could run out at any moment, I am not including the link), bought a boat load, and got to work. I also have a slightly embarrassing number of washi tape rolls and made the most of a cute polka dot pattern. How wonderful to easily find what we are looking for!

Sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers!

The horsetail milkweed blossoms are so tiny in comparison to the bees but no less favored for their sweet nectar!

My mom gave me some old seed packets she had lying around, and this zinnia is one of the few that sprouted! It grew into an amazingly large bloom in a fuscia hue.

This plant-filled stock tank hides our unsightly gas meter and is looking its very best. Also, how cute is the volunteer marigold?!

In an effort to save birds from an untimely death by flying into our sliding door when we first moved in, I bought a roll of polka-dotted film that prevented the glass from reflecting. It worked quite well until this summer when it started to flake and peel. I found the rainbow reflecting adhesives (“sticking” with water!), and Greg and I did the not-so-fun job of removing the old and replacing it with the new. How about that beautiful rainbow in the morning light?!

The World War II Aviation Museum here in Colorado Springs flew these planes over the weekend. The first is a North American B-25 Mitchell, and the second is a Grumman TBM Avenger. Pretty cool! I love how they have the ability to keep this history alive.

I think Juniper knows, even in sleep, what the sound of a lens cap being removed means. Mama, are you trying to take my picture???

More garden shots for you. The desert willow has hundreds of blooms and a near constant stream of bees, hummingbirds, and hummingbird moths. I often sit mesmerized at the living room window watching the spectacle.

I can’t believe the robins and squirrels haven’t gobbled all of the choke cherries, but here we are with an intact bunch.

Aspen leaves quaking in the breeze. With an abundance of rain this season, this tree, transplanted from a sprout in the front garden, has grown an astounding three feet this year to make it about 10 feet tall. Fingers crossed it makes it through winter!

Our reddest sunflower. Have a wonderful week…

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