Tag Archive: Chile

Green Chile Crab Cakes

Fusion Cooking -(East Coast Meets West Texas)

I like crab cakes and I love green chiles.  Why not give them a try together?  It turned out delicious.  Just the right amount of smokey chile flavor.  The only thing I would do next time is make a tomatillo sauce to serve with them.  Other than that it was a great mix of two of great flavors.  Thanks to Cook’s Illustrated for the no-mayo crab cake recipe. My oldest, Krista, doesn’t like mayo.  How did that happen?  She says this lets the taste of really good crab go un-marred.  All I had to do was roast and peel the chiles and add them into the mix.  Then I topped them with Big Sister’s Pineapple Salsa.  As I said, I would make a tomatillo sauce next time.

Green Chile Crab Cakes

  • 1 pound lump crab meat (Phillips Premium Crab Jumbo or Miller’s Select Lump Crab Meat)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 11/2  cups bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped or diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 roasted, peeled, seeded and diced Hatch green chiles (or 1 can chopped green chiles)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces shrimp (size does not matter…will chop and use for filling)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add crabmeat and milk to a bowl submerging all the crab meat.  Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes.

Pulse celery, onion and garlic in a food processor or finely chop.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add chopped vegetables, salt and pepper .  Sautee 4-6 minutes or until soft and moisture is evaporated.  Put cooked vegetables in a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Add chopped green chiles to the cooling celery and onion.

Remove crabmeat and strain through a mesh strainer pressing to remove the milk but don’t break the crab meat.  Set aside.

Add shrimp to the small bowl of the Kitchen Aid food processor and pulse about 12-15 times.  Scraping sides if necessary.  Once finely ground, add cream and pulse until combined about 4 times.

Add shrimp puree to room temperature vegetables and add mustard, hot sauce, lemon and Old Bay.  Stir until combined.  Fold crab meat in gently with a rubber spatula.

Divide into 16 balls.  I used a tablespoon to measure.  Roll into ball and flatten into patty about ½ inch thick.  Make sure they are the same size.  Put on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Remove patties from refrigerator and coat with bread crumbs.  Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet to medium with one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon butter until shimmering.  Add patties and cook until browned about 4 minutes per side.  

Be careful not to crowd the pan and add more oil and butter as necessary.





I will be entering these in the Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Dreams, Sweet Heat challenge.

Mid-Week BBQ

I guess I am still hungry for Fourth of July festivals as I woke up this morning craving BBQ.  Good thing that I know just the quick fix to cook all day while I am at work.  I’ll set up my crock pot and let it cook dinner.  Throughout the day I began to elaborate on the Tuesday night party.  Maybe I want some Mexican and something fresh and fruity too.  How am I going to get this all in one dinner?  That is how my kitchen experiments start.  I began to imagine the recipe below.  It was good.  Real good.  I have leftovers in case I need some more this week.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

For the pork:

  • 1 pork tenderloin fat trimmed
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1 16 oz bottle of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Corn or Flour tortillas
  • Cheese and/or toppings

In the morning place all the ingredients through the salt and pepper into the crock pot and set to low.  Leave to stew for 6-8 hours.  Before removing from the pot fix the salsa (see below).

When ready to eat remove to pan and finish the shredding.  This should be very easy and almost done for you.  Serve with warmed tortillas, salsa and your favorite cheese.  I used Cotija.



For the salsa:

  • 2 pineapple rings
  • ½ of a red onion finely diced
  • 2 jalapeños finely diced
  • 1 cup of tomatoes finely diced  (I take mine as I get them from the garden, today’s crop was cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro finely chopped
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • Salt

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium.  Spray with cooking spray and add pineapple rings.  Spray the top side with cooking spray and let cook for three minutes or until deep grill marks appear.  Flip.  Cook 2-3 minutes more to char the other side.  Remove from pan to a plate and put in the refrigerator to chill.  When they are about room temperature, cut into small pieces.

Add all of the fruits and vegetables to a bowl and pour lime juice in and stir.  Salt to taste.  Serve over tacos.

I grilled a few extra pineapple rings for dessert!

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four

One potato, two potato, three potato,

four.  Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more!

Do you remember this song from when, as children, we sang it to make a choice about what we wanted to choose or who we wanted to pick for our team?  I don’t know what made me think of that when I decided to have a stuffed baked potato for dinner.  But it just popped into my mind.  Whoa!  Whatever!  I decided to see how many different stuffed baked potatoes I could come up with.  These are some of my favorites.

Of course, they are basically the same.  You start with a baked potato Idaho or sweet potato are my choices.  Do you bake yours in the oven or the microwave?  My mother always baked hers in the oven smeared with a little Crisco to make the skins crispy.  A baked potato and meatloaf was my favorite birthday meal.  With 4 children in the family you didn’t get your very own of anything very often, but you got your own baked potato.  I usually cook mine in the microwave.  My husband said he thought the microwave was the most expensive potato baker he’d ever bought.

I just found this on a blog.  I had never thought about a slow cooker for baking potatoes. Why not?

Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes
technique adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

Wash, scrub, and dry any number of potatoes that you need (or as many that will fit in your slow cooker). Prick each potato with a fork a few times. Place into slow cooker and cook on Low for 10 hours or High for 6 hours or until desired tenderness.

Then you cut it open and fluff the potato and little before you stuff it with all sorts of things.  Cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon are the typical stuffing ingredients.  But why not mix it up and make the baked potato the entire meal?  Works for me.

My favorite is steamed broccoli, cheese and a little butter.  I stuff this in a good old Idaho baker. (4-6 ounces)

Next, would be a sweet potato.  I like the broccoli in this one too, but no cheese please.  My favorite stuffing in a sweet potato is one slice of the pre-cooked bacon made extra crispy in the microwave for 1 minute with 1 teaspoon of Splenda Brown Sugar and a little cinnamon.  This reminds me of the Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole a little.

A baked potato with sliced chicken (rotisserie from the deli) stuffed in it with a dollop of sour cream is good.


Chili con carne (your style) ladled into the baked potato and topped with your favorite chile toppings is a warm and very hearty meal. I like green onions and cheddar cheese. I get a cup of chili from the deli and use this for my potato.  A little sour cream would be good if you like it.


And last, a taco stuffed baked potato.  I add sliced chicken breast meat for a chicken taco touch, fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and a little lime juice, grated jack cheese, cilantro and a wedge of avocado and tomato on the side with a few tostado chips. It makes it taste like a (chicken) taco.

Wait….one more idea.  St. Patricks Day is coming.  How better to honor the Irish than with the potato.

Twice Baked Potatoes – Lightened up

  • 4 medium russet potatoes ( 2 1/4″ – 3 1/4″ diameter ) , scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 wedges of Light Creamy Swiss Laughing Cow Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon Bits
  • 2 green onions (whites and greens), chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fat free half and half, if needed to thin out potato mixture (optional)
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheese (Swiss, cheddar, colby…your choice),
  •  and a sprinkle of Hungarian Sweet Paprika from the Savory Spice Shop is good.

Allow potatoes too cool enough to handle. Unwrap a potato and slice down middle long ways. With spoon, scoop out insides leaving about a 1/8″ potato in skin all around.

Place scooped out potato in large bowl. Set “potato shell” on baking sheet lined with foil. Repeat with all potatoes. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper and set aside.

To the scooped out potato in the bowl, add the Greek yogurt and Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges. With electric mixer, whip until fluffy. You might need to add a bit of fat free half and half or skim milk at this point to thin them out enough to fluff…maybe not. Depends on the potato. Stir in the turkey bacon bits, green onion, and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon mixture evenly into the 8 potato shell halves. Top with remaining shredded cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

At this point you can cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until you are ready to bake them or you can bake them right away. Set oven at 350°. Place potatoes uncovered in oven and bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 30 min for refrigerated potatoes and about 15 minutes for unrefrigerated ones.

No Syrup for My Pancakes

Traditionally, in Anglican churches, pancake dinners are served on Shrove Tuesday (the last day of Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.  St. Francis church made Mexican pancakes and had an enchilada dinner.  So, this time of year, I always think about making enchiladas before Lent begins.  I have people who work with me who have grown up in El Paso and take for granted that everybody knows how to make the red sauce to flavor their enchiladas.  I have asked lots of questions and finally have a recipe.  This is probably not written down in traditional Mexican homes, where you learn by watching your mother or grandmother make it.  I started with the basics to find the definition of molidoMolido means ground or pulverized in Spanish.  Thus, ground red chilis = molido.

RistraIn September, you can drive through the Rio Grande valley here in El Paso and suddenly see a bright red roof.  You look closer and what you see is long red chilis placed on a tin roof drying in the sun.  That fascinated me when I first saw these.  I would suggest to my husband we take a ride on Sundays in the valley just to see the red chilis.  It was then that I bought my first ristra.  Little did I know you were to use those chilis to make a sauce.  I thought they were beautiful and kept evil spirits from your door.  I think red is my favorite color and the shades of a ristra are beautiful to look at. Don’t touch your eyes after touching the chilis. Andy, my son, didn’t listen, of course, and learned that one the hard way.

This molido sauce is used to flavor all sorts of Tex-Mex dishes from tamales, chili con carne, and beans, to enchiladas.  I think enchiladas are my favorite — rolled or stacked.  Just the combination of the corn tortilla, onions, cheese and red sauce are a taste sensation like no other flavor combination.  It is probably purely Tex-Mex food and certainly not healthful.  But, making the sauce yourself is a true labor of love.  Mexican mamas in El Paso make their own tortillas too — not me.  That goes beyond my limitations!  I’m a gringa.

Georganne, a dear friend and excellent cook, finally took the time to write down how she makes her red molido sauce, and I am going to share it with you just like she gave it to me.  I will treasure this one forever.  Here’s what she says.

My molido sauce is easy.  I wash the dust off the dried chilis and put them in a big pot of water and bring it all to a boil.  I don’t tear the tops off or remove the seeds.  Once the chilis are “workable,” (and the time varies depending on how many are in the pot), I remove them and pull the tops/stems off and throw them away.  At this point, I also get rid of most of the seeds, depending on the heat I want.  The seeds puree up right along with the chilis in the blender.  I put the chilis in a blender with a bit of the water I have just boiled them in and start pureeing.  I like my molida thick, so I just add water until I get it “right.”  That’s all I do.  It freezes up beautifully and if I don’t freeze it, it refrigerates for about a week before it gets too old.  Gary and I tried adding garlic and oregano to the molido, and one time we used beer.  But the chili just didn’t cook up as good or with as pretty a color as when we used only the chilis and chili water.

When I make a pot of Chili Colorado, this molido gets added close to the end of cooking time.  The spices are already in the pot and after I add the molido and let it cook in for maybe 10 minutes, I re-season to taste.Chile Colorado

Chile Colorado, which is a thicker stew-like concoction than chili is made when you process and cook up the chilis, onions and garlic.  I love to make the roux with bacon drippings, but oil is healthier!  After the sauce gets hot and right, I add pork or beef round.  I haven’t made Chili Colorado in a looooong time.  This is the “sauce” that most people use to make tamale fillings, too.  Dang, I’m hungry now!

Me too.  Bring on some flour tortillas and we’ll make some Chili Colorado burritos to have with a margarita or two!”

Thanks, Georganne.  But I still want to watch you make your chili someday.


Red Enchiladas

  • 3-4 cups molido sauce
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • cheddar cheese, grated (or any melty cheese)
  • corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil


This is an assembly line set up. Grate the cheese, chop the onion and put these into separate bowls along with a small flat plate to fill and roll the enchiladas on.

Put the molido sauce in a wide, shallow skillet and begin to warm it.  Don’t boil it.  Put oil in a shallow skillet to soften the corn tortillas and keep it on medium.  Prepare the baking dish you want to put the enchiladas in by spraying it with non-stick spray.

Don’t answer the phone or step away from the stove:

Dip a tortilla in the oil and let it soften (about 10 seconds).  Dip it in the molido sauce to coat both sides using kitchen tongs. (Don’t let it soak.)

Place the tortilla on the plate and fill with onion and lots of cheese down the center.  Roll tightly and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Continue until you have used up all the onion and cheese. Place them in rows side-by-side.  If you are making a double batch you can stack them on top of each other. Pour the remaining molido over the rolled enchiladas when ready to put in the oven and then add cheese to the top.  Cover with foil and bake at 350° until bubbly (about 20 minutes) and heated all the way through.  Do not overcook.

One More Chicken…Chicken Chili

Combining my favorites!

This is a quick soup you can whip up Saturday morning and keep warm in a crock pot while you run your errands.  It is a light and flavorful, but hearty soup.  Keep it as light as you want depending how you top it.  About 7 tortilla chips are a good side for me.  I keep this made up for quick dinners when I am running late from work or I take it to work for lunch when it is really cold.  You know, like in the low-60s. Brrrrr!

I love to be able to spend Saturday afternoon doing what I want to do. Don’t you like it when you have some free time? I can spend my time catching up on all the Food Network shows I have recorded all week long, planning what I am going to cook for Sunday dinner.  Or, if it is warm outside, I’m working in the garden.  That work never ends, but it is time just for me.  So, some type of easy-to-fix soup is the perfect lunch on those days.  Enjoy.



  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies (about 4 if using fresh roasted)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped, cooked chicken breast (skin removed)
  • shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • sour cream

In a Dutch oven cook the onion in the oil for 4 minutes or until transparent.  Add the chilies and cumin and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and cook until warmed through.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and jack cheese.  Top with a little fresh salsa if so desired.

Chili Playoff

I love chili.  I like it in a lot of forms.  I just can’t decide which to make for the weekend. In the spirit of the Super Bowl maybe I can have a play off.  Take a read below and then vote here for the winner.  If none of these does it for you, send your chili recipe to me:  thecontessa@tumbleweedcontessa.com I’ll publish it and include it in the playoff.  Also, vote on your key chili ingredient.  Might be interesting to see what folks think.

Click the pic to vote for your favorite.

The results so far.  The mushroom chili is doing better than I thought it would.  I am honing in on my decision.  Keep those votes coming!

My friend, Georganne, who has participated in the Terlingua Chili Cookoff many times says, “If you add beans to chili, you don’t know beans about chili.”  So, no beans in my chili.  But she won’t give me her recipe for her prize winning chili, yet.  I’m still working on it.  This one is simple and you should have most of the ingredients to make this one.

Super Bowl Chili 

  • 2 pounds coarse ground chuck
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 8 tablespoons Gebhardt’s chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 jalapeño pepper whole (pierce about 5 times with a sharp knife

    Super Bowl Chili

  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced or 4 teaspoons powdered garlic granules
  • 1 28 ounce crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 tomato cans water (I like my chile a little soupier)
  • 1 box lower sodium beef broth

Brown the meat and onion in a deep Dutch over.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least an hour.  Remove the jalapeño pepper.  Cool and store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Put it in a crock pot and keep it warm to serve with grated cheese, sour cream and diced onion.  Some corn bread or tortilla chips are good with this too. Click Here for the Recipe Card


My mother was a great cook.  She made real food for real people and it was good.  She was also ahead of most trends.  She was a foodie before it was cool.  As soon as she “discovered” email we started getting recipes.  I am glad to say that I got my love of the kitchen from her.    My mother also loved football and planned meals so that they never interrupted the game.  It is fitting that she be a part of the Chili Play Offs.  My oldest daughter learned a lot from her in the kitchen too. So, here is one of her memories.

The favorite thing that Grandma made for me was apple pie.  I asked her a hundred times for the recipe.  She would shrug her shoulders and say, “I don’t have one.”  Then she would make the most delicious apple pie ever, crust and everything!   So, the favorite recipe I have of hers is for Chili Mess.  That isn’t what it is called.  She just called it chili.  It’s more than that though.  The way she served it was as a layered cheesy treat.  I loved it.  Still do.  I am sure there is a tex mex or proper Mexican food name for it.  I call it chili mess.  It is the one thing of hers I cook best.  I have made it a little spicier but the basics are still the same.  I like recipes like that.  I also have found stronger flavoring if you add dry spices before adding broth or juice to soups and chilis.  This is probably all wrong, but it is how I like it.

Chili Mess

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef or turkey (lean or fat to your taste)
  • 1 whole onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno diced (seeds or not to your heat tolerance)
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 64 oz. can tomato juice
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (the plain store kind or a favorite spice store concoction)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chipotle Chili Powder (add another Tablespoon of regular chili powder and leave this out if you can’t take the heat)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons of oil- 4 if you are making with turkey
  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Tortilla Chips

In a heavy bottom 6 qt. pot or dutch oven heat  1or 2 Tablespoon oil over medium heat.  Sautee onions, garlic and jalapeno until soft.  Crumble ground beef or turkey and cook until browned.  Add the dry spices right as the beef is finishing browning, one at a time, stirring into the beef.  Then add the chili beans (undrained).  Finally, add the tomato juice and green chiles.  The longer it sets the better it gets.  So, put it in the crock pot or set the stove to low and let it simmer for at least four hours if not eight.  Taste as you go to see if it needs more or less of anything.

When the chili has come to taste and thickened it is time to make a mess.  In a skillet heat the 2 Tablespoons of oil on the stove.  Add corn tortillas and cook until softened one at a time.  Remove the first  tortilla to a deep serving plate or bowl.  Add a ladle of chili and a sprinkle of cheese.  Then put another tortilla from the skillet on top of that.  Add another ladle full of chili, another sprinkling of cheese and a handful of chopped lettuce.  Get a knife and fork and eat the middle.  Then get some tortilla chips to clean up the MESS!  Click Here for the Recipe Card


Now, this is a strange one.  Albeit good.  For those of you looking to take Chili to the next level.

Mushroom Chili

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1.5 Pounds Ground Sirloin
  • 24 ounces mixed mushrooms (cremini, shitake, oyster, white)
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper diced
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced or 4 teaspoons powdered garlic granules
  • 2 Tablespoons Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 box lower sodium beef broth

Brown the meat, mushrooms, jalapeno and onion in a deep Dutch oven with olive oil until meat is browned and mushrooms are cooked.  Add the bottle of beer and cook until reduced by ½.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least three hours.  Cool and store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Put it in a crock pot and keep it warm to serve with grated cheese, sour cream and diced onion.  Serve with flour tortillas or tortilla chips.  Click Here for the Recipe Card