Green Chili and Cheese “Tamales”

polenta tamales
polenta tamales
Not authentic, but really good.

Okay, a confession. We have no idea how to make tamales. Well, that’s not quite true; we know that you make a dough from masa harina (flour made from dried hominy), place some on a corn husk, layer with chili and cheese, more masa harina, wrap and tie the husk, steam, and finally enjoy. We’ve always heard that it’s a lot of trouble, and, because it is, one makes dozens of tamales at a time. Well, we don’t have masa harina in the house, and we’re not going out to buy some. We really don’t need yet another type of flour in our cupboard. Maybe we can use stuff that’s in our cupboard to come close enough.

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You Think We’re Working on Labor Day?

Uh, the answer is no.

But, we will leave you with a photo of our weekly bread baking: plain, cranberry-apricot, and walnut-cherry, all based on our Easy Wheat Bread recipe. Which one’s which? You can figure it out.

plain, cranberry-apricot, and walnut-cherry breads
This is pretty much our bread for the week. We love scratchin’ out the best!

Spanish Rice with Nopales and Green Chilies

Spanish rice with nopales and green chilies
Spanish rice with nopales and green chilies
Quick, easy, and mostly hands off cooking!

Yesterday, we showed you how to clean nopales and get them ready for use, but we realized that we only have one recipe posted for using nopales. It’s a good one, Nopales Con Papas y Más (cactus pad with potatoes and more), and one of our favorites. In fact, it’s about the only way we cook nopales, but, this time, we were out of potatoes, so we made up this dish, instead.

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Cleaning Nopales

cleaned nopales
cleaned nopales
Don’t let cleaning cactus pads scare you away. It’s easy!

When we picked up our nopales (cactus pads) from the CSA we were surprised that they hadn’t been cleaned. This is the first time that’s been the case, and it seemed as though it scared people enough that the trading baskets were pretty much full of cactus paddles. Probably partly because nopales are a bit different, and, perhaps, because cleaning them seems daunting. Well, fear not, fellow scratcher, because we’re going to show you how easy it really is.

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A Real Southwest Pickup

weekly CSA produce share
Rex Allen would feel right at home with this week’s CSA share.

This week, our CSA provided quite a number of items that we’d consider to be evocative of the southwest. It’s not too surprising, since the foods that grow well in the desert are generally those that most people think of when they think about southwestern food.

We’ll note especially that one of the items we picked up was nopales; this is the first time we’ve had them from the CSA with the spines still attached. That seems to daunt some people, so tomorrow we’ll show you how to remove those spines safely, making your nopales eating adventure painless.

This week’s share:

  • Glendale Gold Onions (3)
  • Sweet potatoes (4)
  • Roasted green bell peppers (1 bag)
  • Roasted green chilies (1 bag)
  • Nopales or cactus pads (3)
  • Eggplant (3)
  • Black beans (1 bag)
  • Green beans (1 bag)

Cauliflower Gruyère Agnolotti

cauliflower gruyere agnolotti
cauliflower Gruyere agnolotti
Little cauliflower pillows!

It’s been a while since we’ve made a filled pasta, and agnolotti is one of the easiest and fastest to make. Of course, you can make another filled pasta shape; scarpinocc is another easy filled pasta. Or, of course, there’s always ravioli (see Sweet Potato Ravioli with Lemon Pepper Pasta for shaping ravioli). The filling for today’s post is based around sale items from the store.

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Watermelon Basil Sorbet

watermelon basil sorbet
watermelon basil sorbet
Cool color. Cool flavor. Cool.

Remember that watermelon in the photo last Wednesday? We surely do, because we had to eat it. While we love watermelon, it was too much for just two people, so we looked for ways to extend its “shelf life.” The first thing we came up with was watermelon sorbet; then we figured we’d go all exotic on you and add a bit of basil. Oooh. Exotic.

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