#43 | Sun-cooked Meals, Beet Mole, and Occasions
Hot, long days mean picnics at the swimming pool, naps with cucumbers positioned delicately on our eyelids, and increasingly obsessive relationships with ice cubes. They also mean ample opportunity for sun-cooked meals. Maybe this means using a solar oven, such as the ones designed by Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos or from plans like these provided by the New Mexico Solar Energy Association. Or maybe it means making some burgers or chocolate cake on your dashboard, as demonstrated in the recently viral videos of TikTokker Joe Brown.
While we remain slightly skeptical of how the crust would turn out on a slow-cooked dashboard pizza, we like the idea of harnessing this abundant and under-utilized energy source. Lately, we’ve been taking roots we’ve dug from the garden—chicory, dandelion, and burdock, to name a few—and washing them, chopping them up into small pieces, putting them in a paper bag, and placing them on the dashboard with all the windows up. A strong earthy aroma escapes as we open the car a couple times later in the day, shaking the bag a bit and flipping it to move the pieces around. After a few days, the dried roots are ready to be used or stored in a jar. We’ve ground some with our coffee, and some we’ve decocted on their own. This paper bag trick works with many leafy herbs as well, and can be a great way to preserve a foraged bounty.
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Of course we love the coloradito, and the negro, and even the verde, but the one that stunned us—the one that has stayed with us—was the beet mole. It was a bit of a surprise, although we know the betabel is more popular in Mexico than might be presumed north of the border: down south, we’ve been served yogurt cups with chopped sweetened beets, jugo de vampiro, roasted beets, grated beets, and more than a few beet-forward salads. But we weren’t expecting the earthy flavors of the chile—we’re nearly certain it was chipotle—to align so perfectly with the humble red root. It would’ve worked with mushrooms but we ordered it with duck. It was superlative. And its creator, Fernando Olea, is the first New Mexican since 2005 to win in a best chef category—Best Chef: Southwest—in the James Beard Awards. May there be many more to come.
Entrances & Exits
The folks behind High and Dry Brewing have another project in progress: Public House ABQ will open as soon as this summer at Hermosa and Copper. The theme is “Let them drink wine”—specifically, New Mexican wine. And maybe a little High and Dry beer on the side.
A couple months ago we mentioned that a new brewery was coming to Jemez. Jemez Mountain Brewhouse is now open, with pizza.
Toltec Brewing, however, abruptly announced that they were closing the doors of their brewery and restaurant on Albuquerque’s Westside.
Sunday is Juneteenth, and a celebration with music and soul food will be held today and tomorrow at Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza. Santa Fe’s second annual Juneteenth celebration, a partnership between Earthseed Black Arts Alliance and AMP Concerts, is Sunday evening at Santa Fe Plaza. We can’t confirm whether food will be served at Plaza de Las Cruces on Sunday as part of the city’s Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival, but isn’t jazz sustenance too?
We mentioned this before, but the Great New Mexico Beer Festival is today at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. No one under twenty-one is allowed entry, nor are canines welcome.
Speaking of New Mexico beer: Bow & Arrow, Boxing Bear, Nexus, and Sobremesa won an assortment of silver and bronze medals at the North American Beer Awards.
R U Still Down? It’s not in New Mexico, but still, the Tupac fans among us might be glad to know that a temporary soul food cafe is opening in LA, run by the estate of Tupac Shakur, that follows a vision the late rapper expressed in notes found by his family upon his death in 1996.
Hand-held, smothered, with sides or without; the temptation of spiked cherries; stunning views; cigars—Clarke Condé finds all this and more on his whirlwind tour of the understudied golf-course portion of our state’s famed Breakfast Burrito Byway.
The Netherlands announced a significant effort to decrease nitrogen pollution from farms, upsetting some Dutch farmers who will have to change their environmentally inefficient practices but also charting a course of action to tackle the pervasive effects of nitrogen pollution on both air and water that affect us both globally and close to home.