Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Red Chili Brownies July 29, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Events,Home Made,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 6:10 pm
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I am currently in the depths of catering hell. Well, not quite, but I can pretend in the hopes of getting sympathy right? Suffice it to say that while I am actually making a bunch of food for an event, it is generally going smoothly so the h-double-hockey-sticks is a bit of an exaggeration. I have successfully finished four deserts and am currently taking a short break from prep work for tomorrow’s breakfast. I figured what better time than now to share with you, my readers, the most excellent creation I conjured forth – Red Chili Brownies.

Now, I realize that this is not an entirely unique creation. In fact, chocolate and spice seems to be the thing these days, but I am proud of myself for the original recipe nonetheless and am hoping that some of you might enjoy nibbling on a few of these while imaging yourself in the Land of Enchantment.

For those of you familiar with the local fare, Red Chili is a staple in northern New Mexican food. Everyone seems to have an opinion about how to prepare it and while I do not purport to be an expert, I certainly have my own preferences. I tend to buy red chili powder, rather than pods, and use it as a seasoning for sauces and other savory dishes. This was my first foray into spicey-sweet.

I wish my camera was working because these things are beautiful. Basically I started with pan of brownies, which I then cut into circles with a biscuit cutter and topped with a thick bittersweet ganache and a dash of red chili powder. They are bite sized pieces of marvelosity. Which I realize isn’t a word but it certainly describes these little morsels!

Red Chili Brownie

10 TBSP organic unsalted butter
6 oz unsweetened chocolate of your choice
1 3/4 c organic cane sugar
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP vanilla
1 c flour
1 – 2 TBSP red chili powder from New Mexico red chili (if available)*
1 tsp cinnamon

*Depending on how hot you like it! I use about 1 TBSP because I am a whimp!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk the flour, red chili and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. While waiting for the chocolate to cool, beat the eggs and salt until light and foamy. Add the sugar and beat until mixed. Slowly add the cooled chocolate to the egg mixture, stirring while you do so in order to incorporate the chocolate fully. Fold the flour and chili mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake until just set, so that a toothpick stuck in the center comes out somewhat cakey, about 18 minutes.

For the ganache:

Heat 1 c heavy cream over a low heat until it just starts to simmer at the edges and begins to form a skin. Pour an 8 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl and then pour the hot cream over them, stirring until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Spread over the cooled brownies and sprinkle lightly with red chili powder.

Happy Eating! (and lets hope I can my camera up and running so I can have pics of these!)

 

Drought July 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — realfoodmama @ 8:59 am

Drought!

This year has been particularly difficult from a gardening standpoint here in fair Santa Fe, NM. While we do technically live in the desert and are used to dryness and all the things associated with it (dust, giant poisonous insects, bad skin…) we are also used to a monsoon season. Sadly this year it just hasn’t kicked in. In the past, our monsoons typically start up in early July, sometimes earlier, and give us a break from the heat in a form of nice, regular afternoon thunderstorms. Not so much this year. We have had three rains so far, and while the clouds start and try to build up every afternoon, they tend to disperse without dropping any of the wet stuff on us.

As a result our food plants are very stressed. The orchard is a mess. Our trees, which suffered some severe cold this winter (think 20 below) are now suffering from severe drought combined with extreme sun. While we can water them, we really can’t give them shade. Suffice it to say we only have one bearing fruit at the moment (a nice little plum that is hidden and shaded by the location of our RV) and the others look sickly. Our cherry tree doesn’t even really have leaves anymore.

We lost both of our red raspberries and while the black one is doing okay it isn’t happy. Our tomatoes, which I started from seed, suffered from a late frost and only about four survived so we bought replacements for them. And while our salad garden did great, our corn is pathetic, our squash still has borers and our carrots and beets never came up.

This has been a very hard year for gardening here in the high desert and it makes me realize how much work needs to be done in this climate to feed oneselves. Our chickens are doing well, although they started molting with the heat, and our goats are dusty but content so at least our milk and egg production is stable.

Suffice it to say one of the reasons I haven’t written here in some time is simply because I haven’t had anything from our garden to write about! It has been a hard year and I am hoping that the monsoons will come finally (the forecast has been for a higher chance of rain this week) and that our plants will start producing some delicious foods. We do have tiny zucchini’s, and some green tomatoes so I am hopeful we will be able to have a few harvests before too long.

In the mean time, I will continue to hope for rain and look toward the skies.

Happy Eating!