Southwestern Roasted Lamb Breast

Monica King here with a recipe for lamb, a Southwest staple for several centuries. Lamb has been a staple in my family for ages, indeed, it replaced many turkeys on the holiday tables. Though I do not raise any on my farm (yet) I always look for US grown cuts at my local grocery store. If you are new to lamb I recommend avoiding lamb raised in New Zealand or Australia because it has a stronger mutton flavor. Sheep in the New World The Southwest is no stranger to domesticated […]

Jicama – for Delightful Roots & Fruits Salad

Jicama is a crispy root with a light flavor that lends itself well to summer salads, or as a crunchy snack with dip on a veggie platter. You Know some Ancient Nahuatl Epazote, avocado, and jicama are all plants that were cultivated in MesoAmerica at the time the Spanish Conquest, and what they are called today comes to us directly from the Nahuatl names for them. We are going to use both jicama and avocado in this roots & fruits salad.   The Best Kitchen Tool In several of my […]

One Minute Mesquite Muffin – Gluten Free

No, this post is not about snarfing down a mesquite muffin in a minute or less. It is about making a muffin that cooks in one minute! Providing you have a microwave. One Minute Muffin (OMM) Journey Uncle Smokey worked for many years with a wonderful man who, along with his sweet wife, fostered a number of children. Feeding large hungry hordes of small children – a number of them with food allergies – and getting them off to school in the morning was a challenge until they discovered the […]

Ephedra – A Global Native Herb

Some of our native plants, like Ephedra, are found around the world. Everywhere that Ephedra occurs, Native peoples have found similar uses for it. Prehistoric Plant Ephedra is a fascinating plant that has been on earth since before plants had figured out how to make leaves, not to mention flowers. As a botanist I admire the plant for many technical reasons, and I won’t bore you with details but this unique plant was around LONG before dinosaurs roamed the earth. In fact, there is some evidence that dinosaurs fed on […]

Desert Lavender Floral Syrup

Desert lavender is a pretty shrub that grows in much of the Southwest, and blooms with the summer rains. You can harvest the flower sprigs to make some simple yet tasty desert lavender syrup – great for TGIF Cocktails on the patio, or added to vanilla ice cream for dessert – or both! Finding Desert Lavender Hike the canyons, because desert lavender prefers to grow in sandy soils found in canyon bottoms. Hard to mistake the lavender fragrance of both leaves and flowers, which are more blue than lavender I […]

No-Bake Cookies – A Summertime Low-Heat Treat

Make cookies when it’s an oven outside? Who want’s to turn the oven on inside?!  Here’s how to make some yummy chocolaty cookies when it’s too hot to bake.  This is fun for kids to make, and if the kids want cookies, why not teach them to make their own. (These are low-sugar so a healthy snack – but don’t let on!) I am posting this now, so you can make sure you have ingredients on hand for those picnic potlucks over the Fourth. I made these several years ago […]

Summer Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

Summer is salad season! The heat of summer is ideal for lighter meals including robust salads, like this salad of greens, some of them foraged.  In honor of National Pollinator Week, the third week of June each year, we are sharing this recipe that uses honey.  Thanks bees!! Summer Greens There are many to choose from for your salads – depending if you garden or forage. Once the traditional Southwest summer monsoon rains start (usually after June 24) there will be even more greens to forage. (Yes, I am an […]

Caldo de Verduras – A Good Summer Soup

In Mexican and parts of the Southwest, one often has either caldo or sopa at the mid-day meal. I first had this caldo over thirty years ago in the remote mountains of Sonora. I have since had many variations of Caldo de Verduras over the years, but the key ingredients stay the same – vegetables that are mostly green. Caldo Versus Sopa In many parts of Mexico, including still the remoter regions of Sonora and Sinaola, the main meal of the day is taken at mid-day, followed by siesta to […]

Creosote – A Fragrant Native Herb

PlaceCreosote is a remarkable herb! Low-water, lovely, and highly useful, this unique desert shrub rewards any extra water you give it by adorning its branches with masses of vivid yellow, star-shaped flowers. These flowers are replaced by charming fuzzy gray seed pods that dry up, split apart and blow away. Best of all – every time it rains, this shrub fills the air with a heavenly scent like no other on earth. Unique Desert Creosote Creosote (Larrea tridentata), is also called chaparral. In Spanish it is known as gobernadora, or […]

Castor in the Southwest

Father Kino may have brought castor plants into the Southwest. The plants were growing in mission gardens by the late 1700’s. Why Castor? Castor oil comes from the seeds of Ricinus communis.  (More about the name – here) Some highly effective medicines, insecticides, and uses of the oil come from the castor seeds (they are not – botanically speaking – beans). Caution right here at the start – castor is NOT a plant to grow for home remedies. All parts of the plant contain both useful and highly toxic compounds. […]