The Santa Fe Experiment

Recently I had opportunity to travel to Albequerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. To me it seems like the entire state smells amazing, and especially the farmer’s market that I visited in Santa Fe. The smells of sage, chili powder, piñons and fry bread wafted through the air like a savory air freshener, as I walked through sampling any and everything I could find!

When I returned it only made sense to try one of the “edible souvenirs” that I brought back with me. (Those also cost me an extra 20mins and an extra bag search at airport security.)

Posole mixes were abundant at the farmer’s market and after looking over all the choices I selected one that looked fool-proof for a gringo like me to make. Posole is a Mexican (or probably more accurately Aztec in origin) pork and hominy stew. The mix contained dried hominy and several over dried beans/seeds/legumes that I really have no idea what they were. It also came with a spice packet and recipe.

I followed the instructions exactly except for 2 things. I decided to use the slow cooker as one change to the recipe and since I have a smaller slow cooker, I only used 2.5 quarts water, figuring I could always add water. I was glad I used the slow cooker since it took longer then 3 hours on high – I actually ended up leaving on it overnight on low after the first 3 hours on high. And I never need to add the extra 1/2 quart of water.

Here is the recipes in pictures with one notation…after trimming the pork meat from the bones I tied up the bones in cheesecloth to add to the stew for flavor. Remove the bundle before serving. (click on the slide show below to enlarge)

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In full disclosure, I added a generous amount of salt and pepper to this as well as a healthy tablespoon of mild New Mexico red chile powder that I also obtained at the farmer’s market and made it through security at the airport. Without that and the fresh toppings, the stew would have been actually kinda bland. I am not experienced to know if the stew is supposed to be just a rich broth with a somewhat mellow flavor to allow the fresh toppings to shine? ( kinda like vietnamese Pho)

Or maybe I was supposed to season/brine the pork first? And perhaps even brown it first? I do know that it is common practice to add green or red chile to the stew and so I felt justified in adding some red chile to mine.

And while my version turned out pretty good – but not amazing – next time I would get even more elaborate on the fresh toppings… sliced radishes, avocado, thin sliced cabbage to name just a few more.

Here is a nice source for seeds if you want to grow your own chile peppers:




Radish Love

Like father like daughter goes the saying. And certainly when it comes to radishes that is very true for me.

My dad would sit down at night and watch TV with a bowl of freshly washed, trimmed radishes and eat them like candy bonbons. Now I love radishes too, but I generally don’t eat that many in one sitting. And frankly given a choice I would choose the bonbons over the radishes!

But I still incorporate radishes whenever I can into recipes. Recently that meant a spicy, salty, slightly sweet, extra crunchy coleslaw! This is delicious all on its own but is nice with BBQ, grilled meats or traditional hamburgers and hot dogs. You can make ahead -it will stay crunchy – but give it a toss before serving as the juices can settle at the bottom.

The Recipe (makes a ton!)


1 head of green cabbage shredded ( I got about 8 cups out of mine that day)

1 lb of radishes, shredded (wash and trim tops, bottom and any blemishes first)

a dozen or so very skinny green onions, wash, trim and slice small

2 cups fresh Cilantro – washed and chopped fairly fine. (loose pack, measure after chopping)

1 cup honey-roasted peanuts chopped (measure whole than chop) – keep a handful of whole ones for garnish

Combine the all the above ingredients and add dressing.


1 cup Mayo or Miracle whip – your choice

1/4 rice vinegar – unseasoned

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (apple cider would be nice too)

plenty of salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup regular white sugar (but you could probably use agave or sugar substitute – just start with less and taste as you go to determine perfect amount)

1 tb Sriracha -more if you like spicy (I use “Huy Fong” brand hot chili sauce)

1 tsp celery seed (a nod to tradition!)

mix vinegars and sugar until mostly dissolved. Add the rest and toss with the slaw. Refrigerate until nice and cold. Serve.