Sunday, August 31, 2008

All We Need is Smell-A-Vision

Talk to any New Mexican, and they'll agree: there really isn't any smell so very "New Mexico" like the smell of roasting chile (perhaps the pungent nasty smell of tar for flat roofing says NM too, but it's not something to be proud of). Thanks to Mrs. D., I was able to put up a few meals' worth of chile yesterday. Mrs. D. has been farming all her life, and has taught me that roasting your own is better than having it barrel-roasted. That method burns the skin (and much of the flesh, if the operator isn't experienced) and even though the smokey smell is still good, it doesn't compare to the soft fragrance of a batch roasted just enough to evenly blister and brown the skin (making it peel nicely).

Last year, I made the mistake of 1) buying chile on opening day of chile season, 2) buying chile from Wal-Mart and 3) having it barrel-roasted. Anyone who knows his or her stuff about chile will tell you NOT to do the first two. The flavor isn't there, the heat isn't there, and probably half of the chiles were so small and meatless that they weren't even worth peeling. My sister (visiting for the weekend) and I were putting up at least 7 bushels, and wanted to cut costs where we could. I really should know better than this. How many times have I decided to go with the cheap knock-off or low-cost item and regretted it? You really do get what you pay for. What does it matter if we saved a third of the cost, when we haven't really eaten much of it because it's so BLAH? We still have at least half of last year's chile. Normally by this time, we've been out of chile for awhile.

This year, I will make a better choice. Living in a farming community now, I am only a few miles away from beautifully big, meaty, broad-shouldered chiles like the ones pictured. Perhaps next year, I will grow my own, and thus be able to do a small batch like this a couple times a week. (With a newborn this summer, I opted not to do much gardening. Tomatoes are it.)

It took about an hour (not including cooling time) to put up this much chile. The time commitment is pretty sizable when doing a regular-size (i.e. much bigger) batch. Not really baby-friendly, either. I don't want to be nursing right in the middle of the peeling phase. It can be PURRR-TY dangerous for baby and mama.

In other news, Casey had his Friday off this weekend, and we visited Gram at her new apartment. Case took the big girls for a quick swim while we were there.

Claire's the water baby of the bunch. Ruby gets cold quickly, and spent most of the time in her towel on the concrete.

Just one more thing: Haley's cousin Alan must have taught her more than just rolling over while he was here. I didn't have a thumb-sucker until last week.