Learning To Blend Herbs & Spices

A while ago we reviewed the tasty Pereg spice cooking blends and I got to thinking about herb and spice blends and how I learned how to blend flavors – and how not to! Starting Out On My Own I remember when I had my first house of my own and setting up the kitchen was on a shoe-string budget. The flavors I had for my food was salt, pepper, oregano, and a blend called “Spike.” Within about 2 weeks I was ready for food that didn’t taste like Spike! […]

The Mind-Body Connection

The mind is part of the body. Science has “discovered” that the mind can affect the body, just as the body can affect the mind. The mind and the body are part of a single united continuum. This is not exactly news, but it is also not entirely understood. Why am I Sharing this in Savor the SW? Because food and nutrition (including poor nutrition) can have a very direct impact on how your mind functions. But also your mind can have a very direct impact on your body, and […]

Yerba Mansa – Southwest’s Own Antibiotic Herb

Yerba mansa is a native Southwest herb that has some proven anti-bacterial properties. This lovely herb is in the Lizard Tail Family (Saururaceae), an unusual plant family with only seven species in it, grouped into four genera. Yerba mansa is known more formally as Anemopsis californica. About the Name – Yerba Mansa Yerba mansa is one of those names which confounds linguists. “Yerba” is Spanish for herb, and thus one would think that “mansa” is also from Spanish as well, but all indications point to the fact that it is […]

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce – Sonoran Style

While the crunch of a fresh red bell pepper is a delight, what to do when you have a plethora of peppers? Make this red pepper sauce. New World Treat Peppers – both sweet and hot – originated in this part of the world, including the canyons west of Tumacacori, southwards into Central America. Back in 1493, seeds of bell peppers were taken to Spain and grown in the royal gardens. This very shortly lead to the king’s cooks devising ways to use the peppers, and one such way was […]

Smoked Red-Rind Steak

Ever had “red-rind steak?” It was a treat as a kid, but times have changed since then – until now. Resurrected this old favorite with a 21st century twist. Uncle Smokey here with a recipe and story about how I spent my 2021 summer vacation. What is Red-Rind Steak? This is a special kind of meat you buy at the deli counter of the local supermarket. You have them slice it to the thickness you want, and take it home and (usually) make sandwiches out of it. You have to […]

Barrel Cactus Seeds Are Great – and Easy to Forage

Barrel cactus offer ripe fruits at various times of year – but it’s not the fruit itself you want – rather the seeds inside.  Barrel cactus seed are very simple to harvest in quantity because the seeds are easily removed from the fruit.  Which Barrel Cactus? Barrel cactus is the generic term for a number of species of large barrel-shaped cacti. The one with the most edible of fruit is the fish hook or compass barrel (Ferocactus wizlizenii). This barrel cactus is unlike many other species of cacti in that […]

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 […]