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Savor the Southwest
 I produce a blog with two other remarkable women involved in the food of the Southwest. We discuss edible wild plants, foods that grow well here like citrus and olives, and flavors typical to the Southwest. Sometimes we'll highlight a new book by one of our colleagues. We take turns so there are three posts every month. The links will take you to the full blog.

Make A Delicious Drink with Mesquite

Mesquite broth mixed with coffee and topped with whipped cream makes a perfect brunch drink.

Mesquite pods are a reliable food that has sustained Southwest desert populations for millenia. One of the reasons Tucson was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy is that we still incorporate some of these foods into our modern diet. This week's blog post gives an easy recipe for making a delicious mesquite drink and some ideas for including mesquite into other easy recipes. People have said that the flavor of mesquite is sort of like a fruity brown sugar.

 

Read the whole post here.

How to Make Jam with Less Sugar

A breakfast set out at EXO Roast with Rusty's barrel cactus jam and toast made from heritage wheat by Barrio Bread.

 

I love to make jam and marmalade, but I cringe at the amount of sugar in most recipes. That sugar is necessary to make the product jell. But in researching my new book "A Desert Feast," I spoke to many professional chefs and learned some secrets. One, from Rusty the cook at EXO Roast, is how to make jam with less sugar. Here's what I learned

 

Call it Prickly Pear, Call it Nopal, It's time.

Fresh prickly pear pads are found in gardens in April and May. They are available year 'round in Mexican grocery stores. 

 

 

Prickly pear pads or nopales are a common vegetable in Mexico, as common as green beans in the U.S. They are a traditional food in Southern Arizona, brought by people who migrated from Mexio and eaten long before that for millenia by people who lived on the wild foods of the desert. Here are instructions for how to prepare the pads and several recipes to make nopales your new favorite vegetable.

 You can find many recipes for prickly pear pads and fruit in my Cooking the Wild Southwest, Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants and The The Prickly Pear Cookbook.

On the frontline of the 1918 flu

This pandemic takes me back to the research I did on the biography of Navajo politician Annie Dodge Wauneka. She was a child at Ft. Defiance School in 1918 during the Spanish flu. Her father Chee brought home to his ranch his other three children but left her at school. She got a light case of the flu and then helped the matron nurse the other ill students. Many died and she recalled "they just piled up the bodies like a bunch of wood and hauled them away." As an adult, she spent decades working for the health of the Navajo people. Her story is in "I'll Go and Do More," and the young reader "Keeping the Rope Straight."
Here is Annie about this time, second from right.

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Yes, We Eat Cactus in Tucson

Cholla cactus buds, plump and ready for picking.

Those of us who live in the Sonoran Desert are odd ducks. Many of us eat and relish cactus, just like people living on this land have done for around 10,000 years. This fact is one of the many reasons Tucson was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. My blogmate, Tia Marta, wrote about how to gather and prepare cholla cactus buds. A small handful of buds (cleaned of thorns) supply as much calcium as a glass of milk.  You can read her post here.

 

 

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Mexican Cornbread is Comforting and Delicious

In the Savor the Southwest blog, we usually incorporate wild foods gathered in the Southwest or unusual ingredients. In these difficult days, we generally gravitate to the familiar. Mexican Cornbread is a common comfort food in these parts, so my blog today gives a recipe for that and also comments on how Tucson, a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, is coping with the Pandemic challenges.  You can read the blog here.

 

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Herby-Salad Dressing for Spring

Simple ingredients all whizzed together in your blender will perk up any salad greens.
 

My Tucson garden is finally lush and producing. I needed a new salad dressing to make the lettuce even more delicious and I found the herbs in my garden. I found the perfect recipe in my just re-released book "The New Southwest Cookbook." I has all the flavors of spring. You can read all about it here.

 

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Grown-Up Mac 'n Cheese with Green Chile

Green Chile Macaroni is grown-up comfort food.

This is one of my favorite recipes from my recently re-released cookbook "The New Southwest Cookbook." Poblano chiles have a more complex flavor than regular Anaheims and make this dish especially delicious. 

See the full post and get the recipe at https://wp.me/p40XAV-3UH

New Southwest Cookbook: Recipe Inspiration

My kitchen is torn apart as a new floor is being intalled, so without a stove to cook and photograph something for my blog,  I wrote about the chef-invented recipes in The New Southwest Cookbook which was recently re-released. These chefs looked at the rich flavors and pungent spices traditionally used in Southwestern food and combined them in new and surprising ways. They used a generous hand and knew how to layer flavors so their dishes sizzled in the mouth. Inventive cooks can use some of their ideas to invent their own dishes.

You can find the full blog here.

 

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Sioux Chef Cooks Southwestern Heritage Food

 Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, at work with the indigenous ingredients he focuses on. 
 

The Desert People have grown and eaten tepary beans for more than a thousand years. In the mid-20th century they nearly disappeared, but became popular again when people began to realize how well they were adapted to the hot, dry Southwestern climate. Just recently, they appeared in the food pages of the New York Times, courtesy of Sean Sherman , who also goes by "The Sioux Chef."

 

I discuss and test two of the recipes in today's Savor the Southwest blog here.

 

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