Friday, September 28, 2007

Intoducing...The Blue Plate Spectaculars!

UNM's brand new, unofficial, culinary club has finally become a reality. We call ourselves the Blue Plate Spectaculars and this is our mascot. Actually it's just Alberto wearing my Flan Fuerte
mask, but it's the thought that counts, right? Speaking of Alberto, I suppose I should introduce the members of Blue Plate. First there is Lorenzo, a pre-med like myself. This whole kitchen catastrophe was his idea. Then there's Mike. He's a line cook at Flying Star, and so we all idolize his knife skills. And of course there's Alberto, who can cook even better than he can mascot. Amy has proven worthy of alcohol-food pairing and then there's me. For our first culinary adventure, we met at my casa and cooked some New Mexican specialties. You can see Mike in my dining room, toiling away with his salad while Amy observes. The first meeting was a success. Check back tomorrow to see the evening's menu and our mad plating skills!

Dedicated to Gary Scales

These chocolate-chip cookies will save your soul. They can resurrect Elvis, bring the sweetest fruits to your barren lands, and make Dick Cheney smile. By God, they are fantastic! Don't believe me? Feast your eyes! (and try the recipe)

I'd like to claim that I developed this recipe myself, but I have quite a distaste for dishonesty. So instead I'll thank my old roommate, Nena, for stealing this recipe from our local Co-op's bakery.

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 1/2 lb. Earth Balance (vegan butter)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups evaporated cane juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 cup vanilla extract
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbs. baking soda
  • 1/2 tbs. sea salt
  • 3 1/4 cups good-quality chocolate chips
In a very large bowl, cream together the butters and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and give your arms a good workout until thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by 1/3 cup full onto cookie sheets. Lightly press them out with the palm of your hand. Leave a lot of room between cookies (only add 3-4 cookies per sheet). Bake until done, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Delightful Slice of 3.1459265

Pie Town, New Mexico, with a population of roughly 65, is home to a lowly two restaurants–The Daily Pie and the Pie-O-Neer. It is also home to the annual pie festival. These people clearly love pie. And since I love pie as well, and free camping, I traveled with some friends from New Mexico Tech to this tiny village to indulge in a slice of heaven. The pie festival featured a pie baking contest, which I would have entered without a second thought had I realized it. Siona, however, submitted her own creation–a prickly-pear and strawberry pie. Unfortunately, it didn't place. Can the judges be trusted?

On the bright side, we enjoyed a day of bizarre and exciting activities, including a pie-eating contest (and no, I did not enter) and a horny-toad race. You read correctly, a horny-toad race. An ethnographer would have a field day with this one. And of course, there was PIE.

The first slice to enter my mouth was purchased on the fair-grounds from a pie stand. The crust, which was thick and rustic, had a fine taste. My cherry filling, however, was from a can. Hugely disappointing. It wasn't even good canned pie filling. But I suppose that's what you get for $2 a slice. Next I headed over to the Pie-O-Neer to try the famed, and Smithsonian-featured, New Mexico Apple Pie. This pie is an intriguing combination of apples, green chile, and pine nuts. Mmmm-mm. I had it a la mode. It would have been better warm, but the filling was a great play of flavors. Sweet and hot go together like Bonnie and Clyde. Some other award-winning sweet and hot flavor combinations in the Land of Enchantment include the Red Chile Dark Chocolate Pate from Santa Fe's Chocolate Smith on 2nd St. and Heidi's organic Raspberry, Ginger, and Red Chile Jam from Heidi's Raspberry Farm in Corrales. So much food, so little time.

I would have liked to have tried a slice of Pie from the Daily Pie, but there just wasn't any room left in my guts. There's always next year...