Early Winter 2023: Rituals

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Open 7 nights @ 5pm! 505 CERRILLOS RD SANTA FE . 505.930.5325 radishandrye.com


GRIST FOR THE MILL By Briana Olson and Susanna Space




LOCAL HEROES Penny Rembe; Slow Burn Coffee; As Above, So Below Distillery; and The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop




COOKING FRESH Sweet Tooth A Collection of Recipes from Local Chefs






Three Meals in Sonoma by Stephanie Cameron Savoring Spain by Candolin Cook

FERMENTI’S PARDOX Backyard Chemistry by Michele Padberg

64 FACES OF FOOD +Rainbow Farms by Mallika Singh





Chocolate Education by Briana Olson




Baked Tomato Barley Risotto




82 MEANINGFUL MOVEMENT Following the Trail of Foods that Fuel New Mexico Runners by Nancy Zastudil


Biscochitos. Photo by Stephanie Cameron.





Rituals It’s the time of sandhill cranes in central New Mexico, shifting light, and the last flash of yellow before leaves brown and fall, opening a horizon more vast even as we spend more and more of each day in darkness. It seems that at this time of year, more than any other, we become aware that we are subject to planetary forces, that we are cosmic. From feast days to solstice gatherings, from solitary rites to sprawling family dinners whose center of gravity is the table, we reach for anchors, rituals that can ground us. In this issue of edible, we explore a multiplicity of practices through which New Mexicans find shape, meaning, and sustenance. Nancy Zastudil, connecting to the local landscape as a runner, sets out to shift the source of the energy that powers her runs from hyperprocessed fuels to real and local foods. Grower and poet Mallika Singh visits with a Diné farmer who sees centuries of Indigenous lifeways in the Los Ranchos land where he grows corn and community. In Albuquerque, we tour a small chocolate factory in the far North Valley and a backyard winery in the South Valley—learning, both times, what it means to start from scratch. Not least, author and archivist Denise Chávez reports on the firestorm she initiated in the form of a poll about New Mexico’s state cookie. In sharing not only die-hard opinions but moving memories and notes from family recipes, she reflects on how a cultural heartbeat can pulse through one simple dish. As Chef James Campbell Caruso tells Candolin Cook, “when people sit down to dinner, it is the most intimate of rituals.” In that spirit of sharing, we’re showcasing dessert recipes contributed by six generous local bakers and chefs. Consider their recipes, along with the stories in these pages, as an invitation to experiment with tradition—with or without gluten or lard, whipped cream or pumpkin spice. Whether we’re spiritual or secular, these are months where many of us find communion at the table and in the kitchen, once again immersed in traditions that remind us to celebrate the keepers and makers who give richness to our place.

PUBLISHERS Bite Size Media, LLC Stephanie and Walt Cameron

EDITOR Briana Olson


COPY EDITORS Marie Landau and Margaret Marti

DESIGN AND LAYOUT Stephanie Cameron

PHOTO EDITOR Stephanie Cameron


SALES AND MARKETING Kate Collins, Melinda Esquibel, and Karen Wine


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edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023


Corn at +Rainbow Farm (page 64). Photo by Stephanie Cameron.

STEPHANIE CAMERON was raised in Albuquerque and earned a degree in fine arts at the University of New Mexico. She is the art director, head photographer, recipe tester, marketing guru, publisher, and owner of edible New Mexico and The Bite. DENISE CHÁVEZ is a writer and owner of Casa Camino Real bookstore in Las Cruces. She is the author of The King and Queen of Comezón; A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture; Loving Pedro Infante; Face of an Angel; and The Last of the Menu Girls, among other works. Chávez is the winner of the American Book Award and the New Mexico Governor’s Award in Literature. Her long-term project, Museo de La Gente / Museum of the People, is the formation of a community resource center, library, bookstore, and living archive of the Borderland region based in her hometown. After all the hullabaloo, she has decided to write a book called Biscochos/Biscochitos: The Cookie. CANDOLIN COOK is a historian, writer, editor, and former coeditor of edible New Mexico. She recently received her doctorate in history from the University of New Mexico and is working on her first book. BRIANA OLSON is the editor of edible New Mexico and The Bite. She previously edited the Greenhorns’ New Farmers Almanac and Mount Tamalpais College’s OpenLine, among other publications, and has written on food, land, and art for outlets such as Southwest Contemporary, Cordella, and the local plant zine Rootwalk. She lives in Albuquerque. MICHELE PADBERG is an advanced sommelier, international wine judge, and co-owner of Vivác Winery. She has taught master 4

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

classes, hosted VIP tasting experiences, and lectured at the American Wine Society National Conferences, the University of Upper Alsace in France, and the Association of Wine Educators in the United Kingdom. Co-author of the e-book The New Normal in the Wine World, Padberg also wrote for Sommeliers International magazine from 2019 to 2022 and has covered wine for a number of newspapers and blogs. She loves to travel and explore new wine regions, often with her family in tow. Find her at winefirst.net. MALLIKA SINGH is a poet, farmer + farmworker, and cook who creates work about ecosystems and intimacies. Singh facilitates a study and writing group called Rivering Towards: Desert-Water Poetics & Politics. Their debut chapbook, Retrieval, was published in 2020 by Wendy’s Subway. Singh lives in Albuquerque and grows vegetables, herbs, and flowers with their coworkers at Ashokra Farm. SUSANNA SPACE is a writer and the associate editor of edible New Mexico and The Bite. Her essays have appeared in Guernica, Longreads, The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review, and many other literary outlets. She lives in Santa Fe. NANCY ZASTUDIL is an editor, writer, and curator working toward equitable representation in and access to the arts. She has more than fifteen years of experience in arts administration, regularly edits artists’ books and exhibition catalogs, and has written for Arts and Culture Texas, Art Lies, Hyperallergic, Southwest Contemporary, and more. Zastudil holds an MA in curatorial practice from California College of the Arts and a BFA in painting and drawing from the Ohio State University. She’s currently writing a book about how women have used running to advance equal rights. Find her at thenecessarian.com.







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The Olla Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions in the realm of good food work in New Mexico, and who are creating a more robust local food system. Nominations are submitted by the general public and the winner is determined by the edible team.

Penny Rembe at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Farm. Photo by Stephanie Cameron.

“Albuquerque has been my home for more than sixty years. My husband, Armie, and I fell in love with the art, food, and people here and busied ourselves with becoming part of the community. Being involved in the community has been one of my greatest joys,” says Penny Rembe, who wears the affectionate label of matriarch of Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Farm. “After years of volunteering, I became a serial entrepreneur. I opened Pennysmiths Paper and the Valley Deli, started a catering business and the New Mexico Catalog—just to name a few!” Her querencia, the place from which she draws her strength and feels most at home, is the inn and organic farm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque where three generations of her family work together. Armin’s bees, lavender fields, enormous cottonwood trees, and formal gardens complement the grounds. Reflecting on 6

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where Los Poblanos is now, Rembe shared that they recently hosted the 2023 James Beard Foundation Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change. In addition to dining, she said, the visiting chefs “learned how to butcher a lamb and cook it in a pit.” She also recalled the delicious food, fine wine, and interesting people and conversation at this year’s Lavender Harvest Dinner at La Quinta. “Dinner for eighty was under the portal on a long table decorated with pear branches with fresh pears and other fruits from the farm. . . . It really was amazing—and that is just one night on the farm.” You and Armin have spent a half century at Los Poblanos. Describe your memories of first setting foot on the property. Did you know those twenty-five acres would become your life’s work?




Penny and Emily Benak, Penny Rembe, Matthew Rembe, and Armin Rembe at the groundbreaking for restaurant and guest room renovations in 2016. Photo courtesy of Los Poblanos.

When the Simms family decided to sell Los Poblanos in the seventies, Armie and I jumped at the chance to purchase the beautiful property. Our impression was WOW! Trees, gardens, a pond, a farm, fields, barns—what could be a more wonderful life and place to raise a family? We moved with our four children into the ranch house—now the Hacienda Spa—while Armie’s sister, her husband, and their five children made the La Quinta building their home. Years later, they moved to Ireland, so we took over the whole twenty-five acres, and then tried to figure out how we could keep it and preserve it. Ponies, sheep, goats, chickens, and lots of gardens kept us busy. We created an agricultural trust that preserves most of the land in the fields. We turned our house into a B&B. Our friends thought we were nuts! I cooked breakfast for five years; Katherine Kagel from Cafe Pasqual’s helped me with my breakfast menu. Armie did the evening check-ins. One of our greatest joys is that we get to work together as a family. We have a family board with all the kids—Emily, Armin, Jay, and Matt, with Matt, our youngest, leading as director. With the support of his siblings, Matt began with what Armie and I started and has taken it to a level that I could not have imagined. Matt’s passion for preservation, innovation, and creativity, and his ability to put together a team of the very best people have made Los Poblanos what it is today. I could not be more proud. 8

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Talk about your relationship with lavender and your vision for developing agritourism in New Mexico. I was on the Agricultural Committee in the village, and preserving the agricultural lifestyle in Los Ranchos became even more important as farmland disappeared. We researched what we could easily grow here—what took little water, full sun, average soil—and lavender was the perfect crop! It was beautiful and fragrant, and we could build a festival around it and make value-added products, and it could be a draw for the village. Agritourism was a relatively new idea at the time, so we were finding our way. Armie and I visited Sequim, Washington, and Provence, France, and we tested different styles of lavender that would do best here. Growing lavender has created a village festival that has hosted thousands of people and resulted in more lavender being planted on village land—beautiful fields and great products for Los Poblanos. Los Poblanos is known for its strong relationships with local farmers, butchers, and herdsmen. How has sourcing local food changed since the inn and restaurant first opened their doors? When we first opened the inn, I was making breakfast for guests. With just six rooms, that might be two to twelve people any given day. I loved it. We did simple farm breakfasts with scrambled eggs, scones, fresh fruit, and bacon or baked Southwest strata. We had chickens and Armie would bring in eggs every morning. We were supplement-

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Armin and Penny Rembe. Photo by Sergio Salvador.

ing with trips to the grocery store and working with local caterers for private events, but a lot of the food came from the property. At the time, we were leasing the fields to local farmers who wanted to grow organically. We had Erda Gardens and Monte from Skarsgard Farms on site, so they would supply some of the vegetables and run their CSAs here. A few others who worked here were the Silverblatts (Silver Leaf Farm), Seth from Vida Verde Farm, and Ric from Sol Harvest. That’s one of the things we’re most proud of—so many young farmers got their start in our fields, either back then or as interns on the farm over the years. So now, we can help sustain an economy that supports small farmers by buying fruit, vegetables, and artisan products from them to serve at Campo or sell in the Farm Shop. Los Poblanos is closely connected to Albuquerque’s food community, but it’s also well known nationally as a top travel destination for food lovers. How do you balance the two? We try to just do what we do best and put all of our love for the place into everything. I think that comes through. We balance between making the space available and accessible to the community and also providing a true escape and sense of privacy for guests that are staying with us. I think what draws both locals and visitors is the real sense of place. Locals love the views of the Sandias overlooking lavender fields 10

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or cranes in the winter just as much as people from out of town. You just can’t experience food, architecture, and landscape together quite like this anywhere else in the county. How do the history, landscape, and architecture of Los Poblanos influence the community’s experience of the property, including the cuisine served there? We’re lucky to have such a unique mix of experiences on the same property. You can be out in the fields and run into Wes or Max, who love to hand out fresh herbs to taste or honey straight from the hives. Then sit down at Campo and experience food from the fields and ingredients from around the state while sitting in an original renovated dairy barn—or have a five-course, wine-paired dining experience at La Quinta, one of the most elegant John Gaw Meem buildings in New Mexico. It’s all here, the flavors, architecture, and agriculture, all on a piece of land that has been farmed for hundreds of years by all kinds of people. Describe a perfect day on the property. A perfect day for me is zooming around in my golf cart, checking on things, speaking to the guests, picking some tomatoes, cutting roses, seeing little kids hiding under the weeping mulberry tree, having friends and family over for drinks and dinner. And in bed by seven.

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Grey Smith and Jesus Zamora at Slow Burn Coffee. Photo by Stephanie Cameron.

“We want to build a sustainable business that supports small farms, our employees, and our community, and the reality is that is what shows up in the cup,” says Grey Smith, chief roaster and co-owner of Slow Burn Coffee. Smith credits his dad with teaching him to love good coffee. That interest, along with knowing he wanted to be an entrepreneur, inspired his first coffee venture, Prismatic Coffee. He first crossed paths with Jesus Zamora more than a decade ago, when Zamora was working at Anodyne and Smith came in to play pool. 12

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Their friendship became a business partnership when they opened Slow Burn Coffee in a beautiful adobe building in Albuquerque’s Wells Park neighborhood. How did Slow Burn come to be? Zamora: Grey approached me in 2019 about becoming a partner in his previous business, Prismatic Coffee. Initially, I wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea of becoming involved in another business, but I’ve

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Preparing espresso and iced pour-over at Slow Burn Coffee. Photos by Ungelbah Dávila.

known Grey for years and our skill sets really complement each other, so I was willing to give it serious consideration. It quickly became clear that it made more sense to partner up on a new business, and in 2020 we signed a lease on a new location for Slow Burn Coffee. Though not on an altar, the coffee roaster occupies a central space at the coffee shop, and last year Food & Wine named Grey Smith the best roaster in New Mexico. What makes for an exceptional cup of coffee? Smith: An exceptional cup of coffee starts with the farmer and the quality of coffee being grown. We source the highest-grade green coffee available to us and do our best to roast to profile. Early on, I homed in on a few different countries of origin that I prefer the flavor profiles of and that respond well to my style of roasting. I go through a couple distribution channels that have curated selections available. My baseline requirement is that it must be specialty-grade coffee that comes from small farms. I really like Ethiopian, Colombian, and Salvadoran coffees.

We offer wholesale services and you can find our coffee at Three Sisters Kitchen, Poulin Marketplace, Happy Accidents, Chocolate Dude and Coffee Too!, and The Shop Breakfast & Lunch. Grey reached out to Hanselmann Pottery in Corrales about making custom cups for us and we are very happy with what they’ve produced. In fact, we just placed another order and will soon have some available for sale at Slow Burn. Jesus Zamora is also the owner of Sister, a bar and music venue near the KiMo Theatre on Central. Do you have a vision for downtown Albuquerque? What would you like to see more of? Zamora: I’d love to see downtown Albuquerque embraced as an entertainment district and think that a greater density of venues, bars, and restaurants would make downtown feel safer.

This edible award is about the coffee, but fans of the coffee shop also talk about the light. What informed your choices in designing the space, and why did you choose this building?

Drinking coffee, like making it, can be a practice, a ritual, a ceremony. How and where do you take yours, and what, if anything, do you pair it with?

Slow Burn is in a very special building in the Wells Park neighborhood of Albuquerque. The building will soon be one hundred years old and has historically served the community in many iterations, including a general store, photography studio, architectural firm, and even a former café! We wanted Slow Burn to feel authentically New Mexican and were lucky enough to find an old adobe building that hit all the marks.

Zamora: We like to keep it simple. Most days I’m drinking a cortado with whole milk, and Grey typically drinks drip coffee black. However, I do love and highly recommend an iced pour-over in the summer.

Where else can readers find your coffee, and who makes those beautiful cups?

821 Mountain NW, Albuquerque, 505-503-7790, slowburncoffee.com


edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

Anything else you’d like to share with edible readers? Be on the lookout for a second location in 2024!

Join us for Winter Dining! Enjoy Wine Wednesday with 15% off all bottles in November & December. Indulge in Chef's Seven-Course "Omakase" Tasting Menus beginning in January. Be our guest for cozy, heated patio and restaurant dining all winter long. Visit website for reservations.







The Barbaras: A gimlet cocktail made with Sigil gin, simple syrup, and fresh lime.


edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023


Agua es Vida

Photo by Eric O'Connell

café es amor


“I’ve worked in spirits manufacturing my whole career, and believe that as small craft producers, we have an opportunity to showcase local farmers and locally grown botanicals, heritage grains, and foodstuffs,” says Caley Shoemaker of As Above, So Below Distillery. Shoemaker has been distilling since 2009, beginning her career at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey in her hometown of Denver. She served as the head distiller for Hangar 1 Vodka in Alameda, California, before making her way back to the mountains to open As Above, So Below with her husband and business partner, Jeff Gust. Shoemaker is passionate about creating spirits with a sense of place, and is dedicated to sharing her love of Santa Fe through her unique distilled spirits. You studied art, and have described distilling and product development as more of an artistic process than a scientific one. How does a spirit like your Aradia Aperitivo evolve from inspiration to final product? I ended up in art school as I was often described as creative, though I now know that most of my creativity comes from a desire to problem solve and achieve a specific end result. It is impossible to separate art and science in most cases. Even a painter must ensure that the paint is mixed correctly to achieve the appropriate consistency and presentation through chemistry. For the Aradia Aperitivo, I wanted to create a classic red bitter expression, with bright citrus notes and a deep herbal base note. As with most spirits, I began with very small batches in jars, infusing botanicals at different concentrations, then distilling them until the resulting notes presented in the way I was seeking. Most of the time, things come out as planned, though sometimes different botanicals will complement one another to create a new and unexpected experience. Once I am happy with a smaller batch, I repeat it in a larger quantity, usually five to ten gallons, before moving to a full production–sized batch. What goes into a bottle of Ritual Vodka? Ritual is a sort of culmination of all the things I love about distilling. It starts with barley grown and malted nearby in southern Colorado. The barley is transported to Bosque Brewing Company, where it is brewed into wash—an alcoholic barley base similar to beer but without the hops. To make our vodka, the wash is distilled to 190 proof through a column-style distillation. We use the same wash, double-distilled in our pot still, then aged in oak, to create our (yet to be released) American Single Malt Whiskey. I started my career making 100 percent malt whiskey and fell in love with the profile of the barley-based spirit, both newly distilled and aged in oak. After distilling vodka from wine for six years, I experienced how beautifully the ingredients come through in the final product, as distilling different varietal wines produced unique expressions. I wanted to bring my original love—barley— into vodka and create something classically reminiscent of vodka as it was made before the US market began demanding a totally flavorless product.


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Top: The Frigg cocktail with Sigil gin, lemon, house-made cherry liqueur, and house-made crème de violette. Bottom: Caley Shoemaker in the tasting room.

Visit Farm Shop Norte for a unique Los Poblanos holiday shopping experience in downtown Santa Fe. One block north of the Santa Fe Plaza, Farm Shop Norte is housed in a renovated 1935 gas station and farm supply store. This one-of-a-kind environment is a destination for shopping Los Poblanos’ signature lavender products, botanical gin, and Farm Foods, alongside curated objects for the home, and local wine and spirits. Adjacent, Bar Norte is an intimate space to sip a craft cocktail made with Los Poblanos Botanical Spirits and enjoy a light menu. 201 Washington Ave., Santa Fe | Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am - 9pm | LOSPOBLANOS.COM Farm Shop at Town & Ranch (downtown Albuquerque) 1318 4th Street NW

Farm Shop (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) 4803 Rio Grande Boulevard NW EDIBLENM.COM


in a nuanced way in vodka, or complementing classic oak notes in whiskey. I enjoy experimenting with different types and roasts of barley from various farmers and maltsters, especially since the craft beer boom has created a market that has so many unique presentations. How does New Mexico’s craft distiller license impact you, both as a distillery and a cocktail lounge? The craft distiller license is a big reason we chose New Mexico to start our business. We are primarily a distillery, with most of our focus on spirits manufacturing. That said, in many states, serving your own spirits onsite or selling bottles to the public is prohibited; the only route to market for small distillers is through a distributor. The craft distiller license allows us to present our spirits—by the bottle or cocktail—on our own while we retain all of the margin. As an extremely small business, this made opening a distillery much more feasible, and offered a revenue stream not available in other states. Also, it was important for us to be able to create a place where people can come, meet us, and taste and experience what we make. What gin cocktail will you be drinking (or serving) on a crisp evening in late November? I LOVE cocktails with rosemary for winter. Rosemary is piney and herbal, and pairs beautifully with the juniper and sage notes in gin. Our team makes a fantastic rosemary gimlet, and it is the perfect refreshing option as the weather transitions into winter. As a relative newcomer to Santa Fe, how are you building community, and where do you enjoy eating on your days and nights off?

Caley Shoemaker in front of stills at As Above, So Below.

How do you make space for the creative process amid all the nitty-gritty and administrative details of running a business? I find managing our business to be creative, even when I am not directly creating new spirits. Creating experiences through our lounge or through off-site events, adjusting to business growth, and learning and creating new ways to present our brand to the world offer tons of opportunities for me to delve into what I feel is a creative process. Do you have a favorite ingredient, whether to cook or craft spirits with? Where do you source it and how do you use it? I love working with all things botanical. I think it is fascinating that most plants have a relationship to humans, whether medicinal or through food or culture. Human culture is inextricable from plant life, and we’ve woven botanicals into everything we do. I am constantly finding new ways to interact with different botanicals and finding myself inspired to weave them into our spirits. That said, barley is at the root of everything we do at As Above, So Below. I love the profile it lends to distilled spirits, whether presented 20

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Santa Fe is such a beautiful food city, known (rightly) for all of the fantastic New Mexican food. I grew up in Colorado, and have always loved green chile, though I did not know what I was missing until I settled here. I joke that we call the red/green chile choice Christmas not because of the colors but because chile season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” I love cooking and take endless inspiration from the amazing restaurants we have in our state. Jeff and I will often do what we call a “progressive dinner,” working our way to two to four restaurants in town for a shared appetizer or entrée and cocktails, giving us an opportunity to try as many dishes as possible and to visit many of our friends working in service. What is a local food issue that is important to you? Why? I am fascinated by the history of food processing in the United States and how our economic system and federal legislation have created the highly processed food system we experience today. It often seems that as a result, we are very disconnected from our food and have little understanding of where it comes from or what goes into it. I am passionate about supporting farmers and producers in growing and creating food using heritage methods, leaving our food as close as possible to what nature intended. Our spirits tell a story about these products in an approachable way, highlighting the small farmers dedicated to growing in a way that is healthy for our bodies, communities, and environment. 545 Camino de la Familia, Santa Fe, aasbdistillery.com

THE GENEROUS LIFE. BOTTLED. Crafted by a team of dedicated farmers, gardeners, herbalists, distillers and mixologists, our new western-style gins are made with traditional steam distillation techniques and a blend of botanicals that express the flavor of Los Poblanos’ historic farm and gardens and the essence of the Rio Grande Valley. Our new Botanical Gin Gift Set includes both Lavender and Western Dry gins with an elegant copper jigger, perfect for a seasoned mixologist or newcomer to gin. Visit the Farm Shop this

season for unique gift sets, signature lavender apothecary products and Farm Foods favorites. Enliven your holiday table with elegant barware, tabletop and seasonal décor. Los Poblanos Botanical Spirits gin is available by the bottle in two sizes at The Farm Shop, Town & Ranch, Farm Shop Norte and purveyors throughout New Mexico. Coming soon to e-commerce in time to ship for the holidays.

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Nathan Sauceda-Halliday and Mekala Kennedy.

“We decided to create a space where people can come in, try some cheese, sit down and relax with a glass of wine and a board, and then grab some cheese and accoutrements for home,” say Mekala Kennedy and Nathan Sauceda-Halliday, owners of The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop. Beginning with La Finca Food Truck in Puerto Rico in 2017, “food has always been the driving force between us.” They opened 22

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La Finca Bowls in Albuquerque, Nathan’s hometown, in 2017, and The Mouse Hole three years later in the EDo neighborhood, where they focus on savoring slow foods. “We are dedicated to high-quality ingredients from great producers, local and imported,” the co-owners say. “When you can, go local!” What’s the origin story of The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop?

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Cheese and accoutrements at The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop.

Living in Studio City, California, we had a cheese shop at the end of our street. The women there would offer samples with stories and details about the cheeses we were tasting, and we really wanted to bring something like that to Albuquerque. Here we didn’t have a neighborhood cheese shop that people could walk or bike to, where you can take your time understanding what you are eating and what went into making a specific wheel. So we made one! Why do you think people are drawn to become cheesemongers, and what makes a good one? Working in a cheese shop sounds like the start of a romantic comedy, and people are drawn to the magic of sampling nibbles of cheese while chatting about the stories behind each one. The reality is similar, but on top of that is a ton of work caring for the cheese, cutting and portioning, rearranging and organizing. A great cheesemonger takes time to research the cheeses and understand the nuances, tasting notes, and history of each one. They’re able to listen and ask the right questions to make sure customers find what they’re looking for and leave happy with a fresh chunk, perfectly wrapped in cheese paper, of course. Dairy is the top agricultural commodity in New Mexico, and the state is fourth in cheese production, yet the number of artisanal cheese producers in the state can be counted on one hand. What can be done to support a more robust local cheesemaking community? 24

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

This is a huge, multilayered question. In answering, we’ve asked for assistance from one of our cheesemongers, Lissa Knudsen, who recently founded the New Mexico Cheese Guild. In Wisconsin and Vermont, artisanal cheesemaking is encouraged and subsidized as an investment in creating a sense of place. In New Mexico, despite industrial dairies receiving federal subsidies, smallscale dairies and cheesemakers aren’t receiving much, if any, public funding to support their more labor-intensive, more humane practices. This means that for a cash-strapped entrepreneur, there is currently no accessible pathway for cheesemaking in our state. In order to shift the culture, we need to invest in community education to teach more New Mexicans about artisan cheese and why eating it matters. We also need to help cheesemaking entrepreneurs defray costs. If the city or state made a capital investment for processing equipment and a cheese-aging facility, with a food-based nonprofit serving as the fiscal sponsor, local producers could pool their milk and share space. Or a community college could dedicate a facility for small dairy producers to have shared access to process their milk, as well as offer courses in artisanal cheesemaking. Cheese may be the shop’s reason for being, but you also carry a sizable assortment of products that are not cheese. What are your considerations when sourcing?

LET YOUR JOURNEY BEGIN From thoughtfully curated treatments infused with functional botanicals inspired by the native herbs and plants of the high desert region to the healing energy of a holistic wellness journey, your experience at the Spa at Chaco will be… like no other.

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the case to enjoy in store. We will plate up pretty much anything you purchase for you to enjoy right here, so if you come in and there’s a great raw cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland you want to try with Pickle Jar sauerkraut, let’s do it! With its gluten-free, vegan-friendly menu, your first Albuquerque restaurant, La Finca Bowls, might seem the antithesis of a cheese shop. What common interests and concerns shape your decisions at both venues? They’re honestly meant to be antonyms, so we enjoy when people notice the differences between the two spaces—La Finca being healthy, quick, clean, and a little wild; Mouse Hole being deep, lush, and patient. Where they meet is in the common goal of sourcing the best ingredients we can. It’s all about moderation. We hope that you aren’t eating only cheese for every meal, but it’s not always about having only greens and gluten-free food. Eight ounces of New Mexico steak isn’t necessarily better than two ounces of a fresh French goat cheese with local tomatoes and cucumbers. There is a place for all food when it’s sourced and consumed responsibly. And of course, both places can cater to a guest’s dietary needs. Also, both places share our value for individual, personal growth among staff. We have one team member at Mouse Hole who has started his own gluten-free cracker company, Izaak’s Table, using La Finca as his commissary. Another has moved into an event planner role to get more involved in the community. We hope to allow the space and confidence in our team to pursue their own ventures. Cheese case at The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop.

We carry all the accoutrements that pair well with cheese, from jams to crackers to tinned fish. Our first consideration is always sustainability, starting with locally produced items. We carry boards from 505 Resin Works, bread from Ihatov Bread and Coffee, chocolate from Eldora Chocolate, Pickle Jar mustards and ferments, Farm Shark pickles, Heidi’s Raspberry Farm jams, Bluefly Farms sparkling waters, New Mexico Ferments kombucha, Milagro Vineyards wines, and produce from Carrasco Family Farm, Montoya Orchard, Vida Verde Farm, and others. Our biggest goal is to support the local food system and create a sustainable, reciprocal relationship that brings value to our community. Although we can’t source many local cheeses, we can offer wonderfully made local items that pair perfectly with our selections. The Mouse Hole is a restaurant as well as a food shop. What’s your most popular menu item? Is there something you wish people would order more often? Our house boards are by far the most popular, the first being Pardon My French. It is one of four regionally based boards (the others being Vamos a España, Mambo Italiano, and Coast to Coast), each with three cheeses from the represented country alongside tasty pairings inspired by items grown in their region. Meat lovers can choose to add charcuterie to their boards. We wish people would order more cut cheese! We would love for people to get a little bit more adventurous and pick a cheese from 26

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

What are you reading and listening to lately? Any recommendations for readers who want to dive into the complexity of cheese? Mekala just finished Cowgirl Creamery Cooks by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, and Nathan is reading Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin. Amanda Brown of Corrales-based Brown’s Micro-Creamery recently recommended The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher, which we hope to start soon. We have several cheese books in our shop, and we encourage our guests to take one to read while they’re enjoying a meal. And we highly recommend Cutting the Curd and Behind the Rind, two podcasts that dive beyond the basics of the cheese world. Do you have any daily practices or rituals that help keep you grounded? Nathan is a habitual and ritualistic coffee maker. It takes thirty minutes to brew the perfect pot and he does it every morning to start the day. Mekala is a habitual and ritualistic puppy cuddler. A day is not a day without puppy cuddles. We both try to spend as much quality time together as possible in our garden and at our house. Anything else you’d like to share with edible readers? Thank you to all the readers who selected us for this extremely high honor and, of course, to the team at edible for highlighting local farmers, artisans, and makers in New Mexico. It’s certainly not easy to run a small business with passion. It is truly an around-the-clock job, so please go out and support your local businesses—in person! 300 Broadway NE, Ste A, Albuquerque, mouseholeabq.square.site

Amazing coffee, incredible food.

1366 Cerrillos Rd 314 S. Guadalupe St 1600 Lena St

Pre-order food and coffee for take-out or dine-in @ Iconikcoffee.com Free parking everywhere




(North 4th St • Rio Grande Blvd • Chavez Rd • 2nd St)

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Explore the great businesses in the beautiful North Valley. Find unique gifts for everyone on your list and something fabulous for yourself! Participating shops will be offering discounts, music and holiday refreshments. View full list of participating business on the website.





edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

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Microgreens edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023


Photo by Stephanie Cameron.


Level: Easy | Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes

Microgreens are packed with nutrients and are more than just a garnish. With so many farmers producing microgreens, developing a recipe repertoire for them is time well spent. Cornmeal pancakes made with microgreens or sprouts are perfect for a sweet breakfast or for topping with savory ingredients such as beans, avocado, or cilantro crema. For the most part, microgreens have the same flavor profile they would have in mature form, so keep that in mind when you are deciding what microgreens to use for a recipe. You will probably not like radish microgreens if you don’t like radishes. 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup cornmeal 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup milk 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 4 ounces microgreens of choice

Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in beaten eggs, milk, and water. Mix batter and let rest for 5 minutes to hydrate dry ingredients. Heat a bit of oil in a large pan to medium heat. Drop a handful of microgreens onto the oil and pour 1/4 cup of johnnycake batter onto them. Cook for 1–2 minutes per side or until they are golden brown. Remove the johnnycakes from the pan and repeat until all the batter is gone, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Serve with maple syrup or topping of choice. Storage tips:

Microgreens are delicate—knowing how to store them is a great way to maximize your purchase. Give them room to breathe in a container larger than the one they might be crammed into at the grocery store. Store them between layers of slightly damp paper towels, providing just enough moisture to keep them fresh and crisp. Wait to wash them until you’re ready to cook, then gently pat them dry—this will keep them from wilting before you’re ready to eat. *Sourcing note: La Montañita Co-op carries microgreens from several local producers in addition to organic cornmeal. EDIBLENM.COM



Sweet Tooth

A COLLECTION OF RECIPES FROM LOCAL CHEFS Photos and Curation by Stephanie Cameron


edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

For me, winter means more time with people I love. Specifically, I appreciate that the season affords many opportunities to cook and eat with friends and family. In that spirit, we have taken a different approach in this edition of Cooking Fresh. I called on some of our chef community to contribute a recipe to share with our readers. My work began in convincing chefs, at the height of their busiest seasons, to share a sweet recipe that would help us celebrate. I wanted to make sure we had something for everyone at the table, including our vegan and gluten-free guests. With the ask being a simple “Will you share a sweet recipe that celebrates the season?” I certainly didn’t expect to have so many pumpkin spice fans! Over the course of two weeks, I shopped, measured, simmered, steamed, rolled, whisked, baked, and plated each recipe. I appreciated and took great pleasure in the tips, tricks, and secrets chefs shared in each unique dish. At edible, we take pride in knowing each recipe we print is tested and will work in your kitchen. While I have a few fancy tools, my kitchen is essentially just like yours. I also pride myself on photographing real food in its natural state. Delicious food prepared from fresh, whole ingredients does not need to be doctored to appear appetizing. Some of these recipes lean on familiar ingredients and skills, and others may take you into new terrain. I hope you will invite friends over to cook with you, sample your test runs, or simply enjoy the recipes that you whip up on your own. Consider these pages a gift to help you spend more time exploring and enjoying the culinary bounty of New Mexico from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Bánh Flan Cà Phê (Vietnamese Coffee Flan)

By Hue-Chan Karel, chef and owner of Alkemē at Open Kitchen You’ve likely heard tales of the wonders of Vietnamese coffee, with its rich, aromatic brew that has captivated caffeine lovers worldwide. But what if I told you there’s a whole new, delectable spin on this cherished tradition? For Alkemē’s Culture-to-Table menu, I created Bánh Flan Cà Phê—Vietnamese Coffee Flan inspired by my Vietnamese heritage—and it was perfected by my executive chef, Erica Tai. We present to you a dessert that marries the essence of Vietnamese coffee with the creamy indulgence of flan. Vietnam’s coffee journey is a tale of reclamation. Introduced by French colonialists in the late nineteenth century and transformed by ingenious adaptations by the Vietnamese people, coffee has since become a cornerstone of the nation’s identity and economy. Today, Vietnam stands as the world’s second-largest coffee exporter.

This culinary journey beckons you to discover the magic of Bánh Flan Cà Phê, an embodiment of cultural confluence that symbolizes the resilience and adaptability of Vietnamese cuisine. Brace yourself for a treat that’s as captivating as it is delicious. 4–7 servings Level: Intermediate | Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes; Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons water 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks 1 cup sweetened condensed milk 2 cups whole milk 4 tablespoons instant espresso powder Preheat oven to 325°F and place a rack in the middle. Gather seven 4-ounce or four 6-ounce ramekins. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan. Heat to medium low. Wait until sugar liquefies and turns a golden amber color—avoid stirring the sugar or it will crystallize. Quickly pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the caramel into each ramekin and set them aside to cool and harden. In a large bowl, add eggs, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, and whisk gently until the mixture is smooth and the eggs are completely mixed in. (Don’t overwhisk or incorporate too much air. This causes bubbles in the flan.) Pour 1 cup of whole milk into a saucepan, heat on medium until it starts to bubble, then turn off the heat. Add 4 tablespoons of instant espresso; stir until the granules are dissolved. Add the other cup of whole milk to cool down the coffee. Pour into the condensed milk and egg mixture and stir until combined. Strain the flan mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, then ladle the mixture into the ramekins and cover each ramekin well with foil. Transfer to a baking dish. Pour enough boiling water into the baking dish that the water reaches halfway up the ramekins. Bake until the custard is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 75–90 minutes. Remove from water, let cool, then chilll in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving. To unmold flan, bring to room temperature for 10–12 minutes and run a knife around the edges of the baking dish and invert onto a plate. Or, bring a pot of water to boil. Place the ramekins in a pan and fill with hot water. Let sit for 2–3 minutes. Place the ramekins upside down on a plate and let flan slide out.

Located in Santa Fe, Alkemē is culture-to-table dining with an innovative spirit. Alkemē’s vision is to honor culinary roots by bringing to life ancestral recipes, stories, and memories of flavors combined with an innovative approach. EDIBLENM.COM


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes By Dionne Christian, baker and owner of Revolution Bakery Makes 8 pancakes Level: Easy | Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes; Total time: 40 minutes 2 cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon xanthan gum 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 3/4 cups milk 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade) 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons butter (plus more for topping) Whipped cream and/or syrup, for topping Stewed apples or pumpkin puree, for topping

I make these pancakes during the holidays to tide over my family until dinner is ready. This recipe is really important because if there is not a hearty breakfast to be had, Thanksgiving or 34

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

Christmas dinner will be finished by those in the kitchen by the early afternoon. By 10 am I have usually had several portions of stuffing without anyone noticing . . . Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix all the wets—milk, apple cider vinegar, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla extract—just until combined. Mix the wet and dry ingredients and combine to get as lump free as possible. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Butter the skillet and quickly scoop 1/3–1/2 cup of batter onto the skillet for each pancake. When you see small bubbles on the pancakes, turn and cook on the opposite side until golden brown. Melt together some butter and warm syrup; pour as much as desired on the pancakes. Top with whipped cream and stewed apples or pumpkin puree.

Revolution Bakery is a 100 percent gluten-free and organic bakery in Santa Fe. From ham-and-cheese croissants to bagels and brownies to cakes, just about every baked good you can imagine is prepared without wheat at Revolution Bakery.

The Next Best Thing TO


—An extraordinary SHOP—


An Eclectic Shop with Gifts from Around the World & Work by Local Artists

We’ll be celebrating Diwali — The Festival of Light—on November 12 WWW.BEINGTHEREABQ.COM

Vegan French Toast

By Elizabeth Bibiano, chef and owner of Vegos and Nobody Calls Me Chicken The holidays in my family were always filled with decorations, themed music, and, of course, food. Christmas morning was always my favorite because my sister and I would run to the fireplace to retrieve our filled stockings, which kept us content until Mom woke up and we could open the presents tempting us under the tree. As children, we didn’t care too much for breakfast time—we just wanted presents—but as we grew older, we began to enjoy Christmas breakfast more and more each year, because unlike the everyday bowl of cereal, on this day it meant something special. This dish is my plant-based take on my mother’s breakfast special, french toast. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and maybe it can become part of your family tradition too. 6–8 servings Level: Easy | Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes; Total time: 40 minutes 3/4 cup split mung beans, rinsed 1/2 teaspoon black salt (this ingredient is very important) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1/8 teaspoon turmeric 36

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

1/4 teaspoon oregano 1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon tapioca powder 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk (I like oat) 1 cup water Oil or plant-based butter, for cooking 1 loaf of stale bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick Plant-based butter, for topping Maple syrup, for topping Add all ingredients except the bread to a high-speed blender. This mixture will serve as your “egg” mix. Place sauté pan on a medium flame and drizzle in the fat of your choosing, such as plant-based butter, oil, or nonstick spray. Dredge bread slices in your “egg” mix, then place in the hot pan and sprinkle cinnamon to your liking over the top. Cook for approximately 1 minute, then gently turn and repeat. Top the french toast with a plant-based butter and generously drizzle warm maple syrup. You can dress up this dish any way you’d like.

Vegos is an all-vegan food business in Albuquerque with a focus on New Mexican cuisine. The menu takes inspiration from the kind of food New Mexicans grew up on. Nobody Calls Me Chicken is a vegan sandwich shop centered around their famous tofu chicken sandwich.

& Explore our beautiful space filled with the best wines, spirits, and beers from around the world! Enjoy tastes, flights, and specialty cocktails in our lounge.

632 Agua Fria, Santa Fe • free parking in the back 505-984-1582 • SFWineAndSpirits.com


Fresh Italian Kitchen

Dozens of Interesting Wines by the Glass • Bruschetta Platters to Share • Our Famous French Onion Soup

DINNER Fri & Sat 5-9pm Sun, Mon & Thurs 5-8pm Closed Tues & Wed 304 Johnson St, Santa Fe 505-989-1166 terracottawinebistro.com

2574 Camino Entrada, Santa Fe Across from our sister restaurant: The Ranch House

505.780.5279 • RusticaSantaFe.com Lunch & Dinner 7 Days a Week

Planty Pumpkin Cheesecake


By Karina Cake, baker and owner of Planty Sweet

Preheat oven to 350°F.

I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, but I fell in love with pumpkin spice treats. I have been making this plant-based, glutenfree pumpkin cheesecake for Planty Sweet customers for seven years now, and it’s an all-time favorite!

Combine flour, coconut sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add coconut oil and vanilla extract, and mix until fully combined. Spread mixture loosely and evenly onto a half sheet pan. Bake for 18–20 minutes, until golden. Let cool for about 20–30 minutes.

10 servings Level: Easy | Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes; Total time: 40 minutes, plus 4–5 hours freezing time Crust 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour 1/2 cup rice flour 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or cane sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Filling 2 cups cashews, soaked for 2 hours in water 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or homemade) 1/2 cup coconut cream 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup maple syrup 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 38

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap (for easy removal). Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan until about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside and make the filling. Filling In a powerful blender or food processer, blend all ingredients until smooth. It is recommended to place soft ingredients like puree and coconut cream in the blender first. Be sure to scrape sides and blend again so mixture is consistently smooth. Pour filling onto prepared crust and freeze overnight or for at least 4–5 hours. Thaw for 2–4 hours in refrigerator (and keep refrigerated) before serving.

Planty Sweet is Albuquerque’s first 100 percent vegan and gluten-free cakery. They specialize in beautifully crafted cakes, Bundt cakes, and cheesecakes that one would never guess are vegan and gluten free.


IS MOVING TO THE CHOMP FOOD HALL ~ Expanded Menu ~ Sit Down Dining ~


Thai American Pumpkin Custard By Derek and Isaiah Rugsaken of Southeast by Southwest

My aunt Sumlee lived in the United States for twenty-five years and never really acculturated, which I loved her for. She grew lemongrass in her backyard and prepped food squatting on the kitchen floor. She would make this dish in the fall when her kabocha squash was ready. My son, Isaiah, who has been making Thai desserts since he was ten years old, helped me reimagine this dish with a nod to pumpkin pie. Three things I love most in life are my family, the fall, and Thailand. All three live in this dessert. Isaiah made Thai desserts with me for two years during COVID. He knows more than I do about Thai desserts, maybe because he lived in Thailand as a baby and took his first solid foods there. 8–10 servings Level: Intermediate | Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 60 minutes; Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus cooling time Crumble 1/4 cup flour 2/3 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature 1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 1/2 teaspoon salt Custard 1 medium kabocha squash 7 ounces coconut milk (full fat) 4 eggs 1 pandan leaf (or 1 teaspoon pandan extract; vanilla extract can be substituted) 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons cardamom 2 tablespoons squash or pumpkin puree For serving Fresh whipped cream Crumble Make the crumble in advance. Combine ingredients in a bowl, spread over a baking sheet, and bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, until brown. Allow to cool before breaking up into crumble with a rolling pin. Store in airtight container. Custard To make the custard, cut a hole 6 inches in diameter across the top of your squash and scrape out the seeds, jack-o’lantern style. If you’d like, cut the meat away from the top of the squash and boil for your puree (canned pumpkin works just as well). If using fresh pandan, infuse with coconut milk by simmering for 5 minutes, then strain and let cool. 40

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in cooled pandan coconut milk, maple syrup, salt, cardamom, and pumpkin puree. Pour the custard mixture into the cleaned kabocha squash. Place the squash (without the squash top) in a steamer or double boiler; and cover. Steam for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove squash from the steamer (carefully; it will be soft) and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes (and up to 8 hours in the refrigerator once completely cooled) before serving. Slice into 1-inch pieces and top with crumble. Serve with fresh whipped cream. Derek Rugsaken is a part-time private chef and cofounder and pop-up chef for Southeast by Southwest, which serves family-recipe Thai food with New Mexico influences.

Gluten-Free Rolled Sugar Cookies

By Heidi Moir, baker and owner of The Bakehouse Off the Wheaten Path My journey began in 2010 when I was diagnosed with a high level of gluten intolerance. However, the available gluten-free items were less than palatable. I wanted to continue enjoying the same baked goods as everyone else and not have to “settle” because there wasn’t a tasty gluten-free option. I began experimenting with recipes, and through much trial and error, I achieved my goal of baked goods that were delicious and indistinguishable as gluten-free. I was eager to share my success and in 2018, I began The Bakehouse Off the Wheaten Path, providing gluten-free baked goods to local coffee shops. Fast-forward to June 2023 and my dream of opening a storefront bakery came to fruition. For this gluten-free recipe, I adapted my grandmother’s recipe for sugar cookies, which we always made at Christmastime when I was growing up. Makes 4 dozen cookies Level: Easy | Prep time: 30 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes; Total time: 50 minutes 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 5 2/3 cups 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend (with xanthan gum) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until creamy, approximately 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and lemon extracts to butter mixture and beat on high until combined, approximately 1 minute. In a separate bowl, whisk to combine the nutmeg, glutenfree flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the mixer. Mix on low until all ingredients are combined. The dough will be soft. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days (2 days is preferable to impart flavor). Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Remove dough and let it warm up a bit so that it is workable (if too warm, it will be sticky). Cover your work area with plastic wrap or parchment to roll out the dough. Place a portion of the dough on the covered work area and a smaller piece of plastic wrap or parchment on top of the dough so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. Roll out to desired thickness, about 1/4 inch or less. Use a knife, glass, or cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Remove the excess dough around the outer edge

of the cookie shapes and add it to the remaining dough to be rolled out again. To remove the cookie dough shapes from the work surface, lift the edge of the plastic wrap under the cookie and flip the cookie onto your hand, then place it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave about an inch between cookies. Repeat until all the dough is used. If dough gets too warm and becomes sticky, place it back in the refrigerator for 10–15 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 5–12 minutes, until golden brown. (The thickness and size of the cookies will determine the baking time.) Let cool on pan. Three ways to decorate the cookies: • Before you bake the cookies, decorate with your choice of sprinkles. • After the cookies are baked and cooled, frost with your favorite frosting. • After the cookies are baked and cooled, decorate with royal icing. The Bakehouse Off the Wheaten Path is a 100 percent gluten-free bakery in Albuquerque. EDIBLENM.COM



Three Meals in Sonoma Words and Photos by Stephanie Cameron

Okonomiyaki at Cyrus.

Ribeye at Diavola.

Colonel’s Choice at Whamola Wieners.

Thanks to a unique blend of microclimates, California’s Sonoma County is known as one of the most diverse wine-growing regions in the world. It’s home to more than 425 wineries and eighteen American Viticultural Areas. But it’s not all wine: Sonoma County also includes a handful of Michelin-starred and Zagat-rated restaurants. Pumped-up Yelp reviews and SEO-driven picks top the online search results, creating a challenge for navigating the five hundred–plus dining options. Widely considered the more laid-back side of wine country, Sonoma County encompasses small cities like Santa Rosa, small towns like Geyserville, and all points in between. Accordingly, a few experiences are represented here, from bucket-list tasting menus to smaller, often overlooked highlights.

FAMILY STYLE: Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria

MICHELIN STAR: Taste of the Lounge at Cyrus

FOOD TRUCK: Whamola Wieners at Purple Pachyderm Station

After going dark for ten years, Cyrus was reborn in a brand-new space in Geyserville in 2022. Led by chef-owner Douglas Keane, the restaurant earned its first Michelin star three months after reopening. The minimalist restaurant interior with wraparound windows highlights the lush vineyard setting, and wandering from room to room is integral to the experience. You can choose the fourteen-course tasting menu, or do as my friends and I did and book the Taste of the Lounge for cocktails and small bites. With a group of seven, we made our reservations on short notice, tried everything on the menu, and left fully satisfied for just under a hundred dollars per person. The stars of the show were Soup Billi Bi and the Okonomiyaki. 42

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Diavola is an essential stopover after a day of wine tasting. Housed in a historic 1900s brick building in Geyserville, the restaurant specializes in Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked to perfection in the woodfired oven. On the patio, you can sit on well-worn wooden benches among herbs and flowers in a glass-roofed greenhouse. Chef Dino Bugica’s Italian-inspired menu also features house-made pastas, brick chicken, and house-made salumi. The restaurant constantly creates specials and new dishes highlighting Sonoma County’s best produce, meat, and artisanal products. My friends and I shared a margherita pizza and the forty-ounce bone-in ribeye with steak fries and grilled chicory salad.

Les Claypool, lead singer and bassist for Primus, decided he wanted to make his own wine to fill his cellars in 2007, and in 2008, Claypool Cellars released Purple Pachyderm, its first wine. In 2010, they opened the Pachyderm Station tasting room in easygoing Sebastopol. In addition to producing wine, it was Claypool’s dream to have a wiener cart. Who says you can’t pair a good wine with a hot dog? And these aren’t just ordinary hot dogs; these are high-quality beef wieners with carefully sourced toppings developed and named after Claypool family members. I paired the Colonel’s Choice (sauerkraut, stone ground mustard, and pepperoncini) with their pinot noir rosé.




SUSAN’S FINE WINE AND SPIRITS Sophisticated, unique, and desirable alcoholic beverages for any holiday occasion and budget. 632 Agua Fria, Santa Fe, sfwineandspirits.com

TIN NEE ANN TRADING CO. Celebrating 50 years!

Edible ristras from Hatch. One- to four-foot available. $16 per foot. 923 Cerrillos, Santa Fe Shop online at tin-nee-ann-trading-co.myshopify.com

BLACK DIAMOND CURIO Entertain and gift in style with these simple and modern place mats available in an array of rich shades and unique patterns. 219 W San Francisco, Santa Fe, blackdiamondcurio.com


TEA.O.GRAPHY Handcrafted teas + gifts made with love! 15% off with code TEAFORTHEHOLIDAYS 125 Kit Carson, Ste C, Taos Shop online at tea-o-graphy.com

MOUNTAIN STANDARD TIME Come shop our carefully curated items for your home. Some of our favorites are Carl Auböck vintage brass objects. $100–$1,000 224 W Manhattan, Santa Fe, mtnstd.com

DETOURS AT LA FONDA Kelly Jo Kuchar turns ceramic plates, bowls and vases into one-of-a-kind, hand-painted works of art. Discover her signature pieces inspired by the Land of Enchantment at Detours, La Fonda's Gift Shop. 100 E San Francisco, Santa Fe Shop online at lafonda.myshopify.com


LOS RANCHOS HOLIDAY MARKET Visit the Los Ranchos Art Market on December 6 & 16, 10 am–2 pm. 6718 Rio Grande NW, Albuquerque, thelosranchosartmarket.com


Find hand-printed Kei & Molly products and beautifully curated gifts from local and global artisans!

Choose a unique gift from our premium collection of handcrafted home and garden items, or work with us to create your own one-of-a-kind basket, planter assortment, or statuary display for a holiday offering that lasts all year long.

4400 Silver SE, Ste A, Albuquerque Shop online at keiandmolly.com

501 Osuna NE, Albuquerque, osunanursery.com



OLD MONTICELLO ORGANIC FARM Made in New Mexico with estate organic grapes. America’s only traditional balsamic vinegar, aged 21 years in Italian casks of 7 rare woods. Stunningly delicious. Prices vary. Also find their products at the 14th Annual Monticello Holiday Store at #20 Plaza de Monticello in Monticello on December 2 & 3 and 9 & 10, 10 am–3 pm, at wholesale prices. Order online at organicbalsamic.com

THE NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE An eclectic gift shop with art and gifts made locally and all over the world. 1315 Mountain NW, Albuquerque, beingthereabq.com



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Savoring Spain LA BOCA IS A SANTA FE STAPLE By Candolin Cook ∙ Photos by Douglas Merriam

“When people sit down to dinner, it is the most intimate of rituals. . . . We like being part of that.”


edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

James Campbell Caruso.

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Left: Boquerones. Right: Morcilla Pintxos with roasted piquillo peppers, roasted garlic aioli, and piparra.

I have an embarrassing admission. Until a week ago, I—a semiprofessional food writer, longtime New Mexico resident, and lover of all things delicious—had never eaten at La Boca. What was I thinking? Modern Spanish cuisine? Incredible. Sharing tapas so you can try more dishes? Essential. European-style ambience and live flamenco guitar? Muy romántico. Multiple James Beard Awards nominations? Irresistible! Fortunately, it seems that my oversight is not common. For many Santa Feans and repeat visitors to the City Different, dining at La Boca is somewhat of a ritual. “I have a lot of gratitude that people have supported us for so long,” La Boca chef-owner James Campbell Caruso tells me on my second visit, which happens to be his restaurant’s seventeenth anniversary. “Our customers always like to tell me how long [they’ve been coming in]. Or remind me that we catered their wedding or that it’s their anniversary.” He says their loyalty was especially appreciated during the pandemic: “We had the same people ordering takeout every week. It confirmed that we had a lot of love and support from our community. It was a beautiful thing.” Caruso and I are seated in La Boca’s intimate dining room, which has a European feel thanks to its small size, rustic brick floors, wood beams, and cozy bar. Adding to its continental vibe is a front patio 54

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lined with flower boxes that spills onto picturesque Marcy Street. The chef says he was inspired to create La Boca in 2006, in part, because this particular downtown location had become available. “The space looked like it could be in Madrid,” he says affectionately. Caruso is of Italian heritage but developed a passion for Spanish cuisine and culture while working as the executive chef for El Farol (1999–2006) and by eating and drinking his way around Spain on multiple visits. He says he fell in love with the country’s robust sherry culture (more on that later) and its experiential approach to food. “I decided to open a Spanish-inspired restaurant here partly because Santa Fe, obviously, has a strong connection to Spain. But what I really wanted to do is bring that energy that sharing tapas creates. Sharing and talking about the food . . . the food itself almost doesn’t even matter. The experience is what matters.” To La Boca’s devoted fans, of course, the food does matter. Caruso’s menu of entrées and shareables changes frequently to showcase local produce and purveyors (recent specials included a Dixon Musk Melon Carpaccio with local goat cheese and an Abiquiú Lamb’s Tongue served with sweet corn–saffron salsa, sunchoke puree, and morcilla chicharrones). But he says there are some items that have to “stay put or I’ll get death threats at the grocery store.” Such classics include the

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La Boca’s intimate dining room.

crispy Patatas Bravas (currently with Romero Farms fingerling potatoes, spicy sherry vinegar, minced garlic, and roasted garlic aioli), the Gâteau Basque (vanilla bean cream tart with house-brandied cherries and crème fraîche), and the small plate bound to be my new happy hour go-to, Boquerones (anchovy fillets marinated in vinegar and neatly nestled in olive oil) served with pan con tomate (toasted bread brushed with garlic and topped with grated fresh tomato and olive oil).

around the corner in the courtyard at Lincoln Avenue and Marcy Street. La Boca and Taberna now share a kitchen, but the latter has a larger dining room, bar, patio, and stage for performances of classical and flamenco guitar. Slurping black mussels in coconut broth while watching acclaimed musicians like Jose Valle “Chuscales” feverishly pluck his guitar strings has become its own weekly tradition for local food and music lovers.

For the restaurant’s weeklong anniversary menu in September, the chef and his staff offered several specials, each with a suggested sherry pairing. The light minerality of Herederos de Argueso’s San León Manzanilla sherry, for example, nicely cut through the fat and richness of the Croquetas de Jamón (perfectly breaded and fried nuggets of jamón serrano and creamy béchamel). Caruso considers himself an ambassador of sherry, a fortified wine that is exclusively produced in the “Sherry Triangle” region of southern Spain. “Some [Americans] think of sherries as being sweet, but that is probably just 4 percent. There are so many styles—dry, complex, savory.” Two years ago, La Boca hired a sommelier, Jesus Rodriguez, and expanded their sherry selection to include several on tap. The chef boasts, “You will not find a sherry list like this outside of Spain.”

Last year, Caruso further extended his culinary empire to include a bodega and café next to La Boca. “People were always asking us where we sourced our [imported] ingredients; now they can buy them here.” La Boca Bodega was in the middle of a remodel on my visit, but Caruso was looking forward to restocking its shelves soon with specialty olives, cheeses, cured meats, and spices, as well as providing fresh pastries, coffee, and a cold case with premade sandwiches and other grab-and-go options for hungry Santa Feans on the move.

Over the years, La Boca’s popularity and small space made a second dining room and bar necessary. In 2013, Taberna opened just 56

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For all his success, the celebrated chef-owner clearly hasn’t lost sight of the community that has supported him all these years, and he continues to strive to serve them and their evolving needs. “I genuinely care about our diners and their happiness,” he says. “When people sit down to dinner, it is the most intimate of rituals. . . . We like being part of that.” 72 W Marcy, 505-982-3433, Santa Fe, labocasantafe.com

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Pump-over at Sheehan Winery. Pump-overs rigorously extract flavor from the grape skins and make for rich reds.

Hiding between Bridge Boulevard and Central Avenue in Albuquerque is Sheehan Winery. This area of the city just west of the Rio Grande is one that, although a local myself, I didn’t know existed, and it’s home to a pretty little neighborhood full of charm. Normally when you think winery, you imagine a building resembling a castle, but Sheehan Winery is, like Sean Sheehan’s wines, nothing like you would assume. 58

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Starting with a biology and chemistry major’s lofty dream, quite literally in his backyard, Sheehan has created one of New Mexico’s top-rated wineries, winning Best in Show three years in a row at the New Mexico State Fair Wine Competition. His 2020 Aglianico was awarded 90 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine. Successes aside, the blond-haired, blue-eyed young winemaker is


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sweetness epitomized. The morning I showed up, crush was in full swing, and sweat beaded on Sheehan’s forehead, but a genuine smile graced his face. Crush is the name winemakers have given to the harvest season because they actually crush the grapes, but it is also the busiest time of the year and they are working around the clock. I arrived on a hot September afternoon to find cabernet sauvignon grapes, sourced from vineyards in Deming, being processed. Sheehan’s equipment was giving him a hard time, but he graciously answered my questions while cranking gears, changing hoses, and checking as grapes jammed up the pump. This experience would have had me yelling profanities; Sheehan, however, eyes twinkling through it all, showed me what patience looks like. He gave generously of his time, explaining that while people think winemakers are sipping wine all day, “the truth is that if you aren’t part mechanic, part janitor, part church tent revivalist, and part air traffic controller, it’s not going to work.” This backyard winery, made up of only a couple of small buildings, has expanded since its founding in 2015, but is still physically small despite the fact that Sheehan is making upward of six thousand cases of wine per year. Even with vineyards located in Corrales, Bosque Farms, and the South Valley, Sheehan, like most other winemakers in the state, sources a lot of grapes from southern New Mexico. Currently totaling twelve acres of private vineyards, Sheehan Winery is looking to increase its acreage by taking over the management of tiny backyard vineyard plots throughout the Albuquerque area. It is a fitting idea that Sheehan’s backyard winery should accumulate backyard vineyards as people retire or sell homes. His entire operation has grown, especially since the pandemic, and he now has two tasting rooms, one in Red River and the other in Old Town Albuquerque. Private tastings and wine club events are still available at the winery, but the focus is shifting to the tasting rooms. A slew of events are happening at the stunning Old Town location—yoga, New Mexico United watch parties, and winemaker-hosted wine classes are a few ways to entertain yourself with a delicious glass of Sheehan wine in hand. The Old Town Tasting Room is located in a newly developed group of shops adjacent to Old Town Plaza. Eclectic trinkets, tasty treats, contemporary art, and even a brewery and another winery coexist in this beautiful setting. Sheehan’s Tasting Room is elegant and spacious, with patio seating on the courtyard and incredible photography by Colin Sillerud hanging on the walls inside. Upstairs is the Wine Club lounge and event space. The wine list boasts so many choices, it really is hard to pick. Sheehan doesn’t want his wines to mimic another region but to represent New Mexico. He strives to create wines that are unique and approachable while highlighting the essence of the grape varieties. The 2022 Cinsault Rose, with its pretty, floral notes mingling with red berry and a dry finish, was particularly interesting to me since so many New Mexico rosés tend to be sweeter than I like. The earthy mourvèdre and the syrah, with its characteristic hints of baking herbs—think notes of anise or licorice—were also quite remarkable and tasted exactly like the fruit off the vine; now, that is varietal correctness to the tenth degree! The lengthy list has everything from crisp whites to rich reds to interesting blends (usually with Celtic names reflecting Sheehan’s heritage). If Top: Sean Sheehan preparing hoses for pump-over. Bottom: Barrel sampling. 60

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Sheehan at one of his South Valley vineyards.

Sheehan wines are a labor of love. The labels themselves are modern renditions of photos snapped from some of Sheehan’s travels, and each bottle is numbered and hand dipped in wax to seal the top, reminders that what you hold is one of its kind. His self-proclaimed “technicolor” wines are a true expression of New Mexico. An example of this is the release of five different merlots made with fruit from five different vineyards, showing how place and time can be expressed in a varietal wine. Despite his impressive wine club membership and long lines at his booths at New Mexico wine festivals, Sheehan says he is still trying to get the word out that his winery exists. The beautiful Old Town Tasting Room won’t be a secret for long; the charming nook beckons from the busy street, and Sheehan’s wonderful wines will entrance you. While you can certainly order a glass or bottle from the menu, I recommend a tasting. Options include the preselected Taste of New Mexico five-wine flight and the Choose Your Own Adventure flight, which allows you to select six wines that interest you. sweet wines are your thing, don’t miss the unique 2021 Fiona White Port. A high-alcohol infused dessert wine, Fiona doesn’t come across hot, but rather it is integrated, delicate, and beautiful. Born in Albuquerque, Sheehan grew up thinking he would be a doctor. While attending the University of New Mexico to achieve this goal, he caught the wine bug and switched gears. Working with the bygone Tierra Encantada Winery, he was inspired to believe in the potential of New Mexico wine. His passion was ignited through his work on blending trials, honing the skill of bringing a wine to new levels through testing the addition of other varietal wines at different percentages and in different combinations. With his wife, Elyce Sheehan (a doctor herself ), he put his chemistry and biology training to good work crafting his friendly wines, and started Sheehan Winery. Sheehan talks about his desire to be inclusive with his creations, to welcome all to the table, and to make people happy—a genuine goal for this good-natured man. And it doesn’t stop there: he and his wife are dedicated philanthropists, traveling around the world to donate their skills to help those in need. His partnership with New Mexico United supports the players’ scholarship fund, and donations from his bottle sales help bring affordable health care to locals through St. Anthony’s Alliance. 62

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As Sheehan Winery approaches its ten-year anniversary in 2025, I asked Sheehan what he saw for the next ten years. “My hope for our winery is that we continue to make better and better wine through experimentation with new techniques, better equipment, more attentive farming, and through building an ecosystem that allows us to be more present with the wine through its maturation process,” he said. “Ideally in ten years, we’re a similar size as far as number of cases/ bottles produced, but we are able to do it in a way that is easier on the minds and backs of the people who help us do it.” “In ten years,” he continued, “I hope to be having time to eat lunch every day, and making space and time for my boys (now three and six years old) to explore the idea of working in the winery, and decide if it’s something that ignites their passions. Ultimately, I want to smooth out the rough edges not only of our wines but also our days and weeks and months, such that the process of producing ever-better wines is joyful and exciting.” Especially as we settle into the reflective seasons of fall and winter, I think this is a goal we can all relate to, and reach for. 1544 Cerro Vista SW, Albuquerque, 505-280-3104, sheehanwinery.com

Fried chicken chronicles. Chilaquiles and momos. Glou-glous and food fights.

New Mexico’s Independent Culinary Authority

Enlightened, witty, and a little bit wily, The Bite is edible New Mexico’s unfiltered take on our state’s everevolving food scene. We cover what others don’t, from Albuquerque speakeasies to East Mountains eateries, from za’alook in Santa Fe to Silver City’s must-try barbecue. Vegan to carnivore, hot or cold, fruit stand to velvet curtains, we’re there. We’re not fussy, but we know our stuff. And we’re always independent. Oh, and we’re free. Sign up at thebitenm.com and get our newsletter: once-weekly hot takes on big trends with sides of handselected cool local events, restaurant and café openings, and a dash of foodie gossip. Twice-monthly longerform pieces get the inside story on off-the-radar foodscapes, like bánh xèo in Albuquerque’s International District, Cloudcroft’s breweries, what to order at the old Middle of Nowhere Bar, and the lowdown on that guy making shrubs at Radish & Rye. Hot food, cool people. Get out of your comfort zone with The Bite.


+RAINBOW FARMS THE GENEROSITY OF LATE SUMMER By Mallika Singh ∙ Photos by Stephanie Cameron It is a rainy, cloudy day in the North Valley of Albuquerque as I drive into the Agri-Nature Center to visit Joshuaa Allison-Burbank at +Rainbow Farms. I’ve spent the morning harvesting greens just down the road where I also farm. Allison-Burbank meets me in the parking lot, and we walk together to his fields, where he tells me a group from Acoma Pueblo Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps (ALCC) is also visiting today. The crew tells me they are young farmers growing and saving seeds with cultural ties to their communities. They made the trip to visit +Rainbow Farms and exchange seed, passing a jar of Hopi golden beans down to Allison-Burbank as we introduce ourselves at the entrance. 64

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Situated right across the road from Los Poblanos, the four acres Allison-Burbank grows in is a repurposed alfalfa field that is now full of corn, melons, beans, cucumbers, and squash. A huge wall of sunflowers divides the melons from the tomatoes, slowing down the flow of water from the acequia and directing spillover toward the winter squash. While the visitors from Acoma explore the fields and harvest melons, Allison-Burbank takes me on a tour. This is the farm’s first year growing here—previously they had a partnership with Lorenzo Candelaria in the South Valley. I wonder how it has been to farm in a relatively white and wealthy area of Albuquerque, and AllisonBurbank expresses that part of his goal is to “bring more urban Native

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Left: Joshuaa Allison-Burbank at +Rainbow Farms. Right: Sweet corn drying for chicos.

families to the Agri-Nature Center and to this area, again, to fight back against gentrification . . . this is all unceded Tiwa land, literally Tiwa land. Villages were here, farms were here, and we dig up stuff all the time on this field, pottery pieces and arrowheads.” Walking through the field, I can see evidence that kids have been playing here—next to the cucumbers, I spot a rubber crawfish bait Allison-Burbank tells me his daughter found in the ditch. At the edge of the field, there is a small blue-and-pink slide she uses to play in the water and mud. He says he brings his two kids, seven-year-old Kateri and thirteen-year-old Kaleb, to the farm as much as possible. Kaleb already wants to be a farmer and Kateri “has a little germination spot at the house. She’s our little seed keeper.” They both love to come help out, run through the corn fields, and take fresh vegetables to school to share with their classmates. I wonder if Allison-Burbank was raised in a similar way, and he tells me he grew up on Navajo Nation, where his mother’s side are dryland farmers. His father’s side is Acoma Pueblo and uses the acequia irrigation system. He uses both irrigation traditions at +Rainbow Farms and is working on adapting the seeds to the heat, water shortage, and 66

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bugs. He is adapting the Navajo white corn, for example, to a twoweek watering schedule. Almost half of the plot is Navajo white corn, half of which has already been harvested at the time of my visit. It’s Allison-Burbank’s first time growing this variety in Albuquerque, and the plants struggled with this summer’s heat wave; some of it burned or simply fell over. Despite those challenges, they’ve still had a decent harvest. The night before my visit, his children harvested about two bushels of white corn and put it into the farm’s onsite horno, letting it steam overnight. They also harvested about two and a half truckloads the previous weekend to give out at the Navajo Nation fair. Allison-Burbank’s commitment to community wellness is clear in the work that he does and in the way he communicates that work to me. His day job is as a full-time child development researcher at Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health, studying the effects of trauma and stress on young children, primarily on Navajo Nation. Allison-Burbank’s different vocations feed one another. He conducts research in a way that is “culturally grounded and truly community based,” as opposed to white researchers who often enter Native communities without context or relationship. Allison-Burbank also thanks

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Left: Mammoth sunflower. Right: Allison-Burbank harvesting corn.

farming for giving him the ability to make deeper connections while conducting research. “It’s all connected. I’ve learned that, through farming, and knowing the food system, you know what families are interested in, you know what’s meaningful and important to them, you know their routines and how to make the connection—‘I’m a farmer too, what are you growin’?’ And they light up. They perk up.” Allison-Burbank has many dreams for this land. One of his goals is to eventually purchase it from the Village of Los Ranchos, and he is thinking about partnering with “UNM or even an Indigenous firm to do the archeaological surveying in here—to see what can be found.” He also wants to build an outdoor kitchen with more hornos, which sounds like a way to make the farm more of a gathering space that can host meals, parties, and dances. He wants to host teens from the Native American Community Academy at the farm as part of the school’s STEM program. This would be a way to document and measure youth resilience and flourishing, encouraging in them hope and connection—rather than always assessing risk. He chuckles and tells me one of his dreams is to commission a Native artist to do an “art piece that says ‘Land Back,’ like a big piece, and light it up . . . I’ve thought about having it be a piece that can be broken down, so if there are complaints, we can just move it to another Native-owned farm.” 68

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We all drift back together to the front of the field, where the youth from ALCC cut open melons and cucumbers to share. The melon is likely a Navajo yellow that got crossed with cantaloupe this season, and the cucumbers are Armenian cucumbers, which Allison-Burbank tells me are popular in the Four Corners region and well adapted to this heat. Everyone is chatting, sharing recipes, stories from the season, and their techniques for growing, seed saving, and dehydration. Multiple goodbyes later, we gather again in the parking lot, where the crew pulls out a bag of sugarcane. It’s the first time I’ve had fresh sugarcane outside of India or Thailand, and it’s delightful. We discuss climate and exchange, how there are plants we would never expect to grow here but that are thriving. The other visitors head out, and Allison-Burbank takes me to see the last bit of the farm, including the hand-built adobe horno with a brick foundation. It smells sweet and smoky as he removes the cover, still full of steamed corn from the night before. As I enjoy the doughy sweetness of the kernels, he tells me more about the name he chose for this space, +Rainbow Farms, or +Nááts’íilid Farms. “The rainbow path in Navajo culture is about living in harmony and balance with everything,” a worldview that I can feel in the way he talks about wellness, education, gathering, family, and community. With cucumbers, melon, sugarcane, a steamed ear of corn, and an oxblood-colored Anasazi bean pod to plant next season, I’m coming away arms full and fed.








LEARNING TO CARE FOR CACAO WITH ELDORA By Briana Olson ∙ Photos by Stephanie Cameron

Cacao beans at Eldora Chocolate.

“She’s a melter,” chocolatier Autumn Martin said coolly, leaning back from her desk at Theo Chocolate in Seattle. I’d just mentioned a Chicago chocolatier whose bacon chocolate bar had impressed me, and Martin was schooling me in the distinction between beanto-bar production and one where the culinary artist melts down, flavors, and fashions chocolate produced by someone else. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the job as lead confectioner at Theo, for which I 70

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had approximately zero qualifications, and Martin eventually moved on from the company whose early reputation she helped create (and which recently announced plans to merge with the conglomerate that produces Red Vines). But the interview and tour of their original chocolate factory were an important part of my chocolate education. The roaster at Albuquerque’s Eldora Chocolate, used for fourpound batches of cacao beans, is tiny in contrast to the one I saw

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Left: Cacao beans roasting. Middle: Owner Steve Prickett with freshly made chocolate bars. Right: A variety of truffles at Eldora.

at Theo; instead of a conch machine roughly the size of a large cement mixer, five twenty-pound conchers sit upright on a counter in a room north of the café area. Opened in 2018 on a quiet corner in Albuquerque’s far North Valley, Eldora represents a newer era of small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate. Education, as much as chocolate, dominates my conversation with Steve Prickett, the company’s founder and master chocolate maker. He must utter the word a hundred times over the course of my visit with him, and I understand; here in the United States, almost all of us begin our chocolate educations in a state of sugarcoated ignorance.

This is not my first trip to Eldora, so the calm, easy vibes of the space are familiar. There are no pushy, overbearing salespeople, nor is there a sense of being supervised; instead, there is a quiet greeting and freedom to roam, peeking at raspberry rose and blueberry apple truffles among other confections in the display case, glancing through the window to the room where the granite rollers in the conch machines grind nibs into the silky chocolate liquor (no relation to booze) that will be tempered and poured into molded trays, meandering toward the shelves of single-origin chocolate bars. There is no limit to the number of samples one may have here; for Prickett, a quintessential component of a chocolate education is “developing your chocolate personality.” For that lesson, tasting is the only method—“on the back of your tongue,” he entreats me when I sample the Uganda semuliki forest from one of the conchers. Cacao, as Prickett points out while we stand in front of the large world map with which tours of Eldora start, grows only within 72

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twenty degrees of the equator. Thus, the notion of Belgian or Swiss chocolate is essentially a myth, or at best a partial truth, attributing origin status not to the birthplaces or sources of cacao but to the places where fine chocolates were historically processed. Prickett is also quick to contrast chocolate legacies. While Europe’s was defined by chocolate for royalty, starting with the first beans brought from Mexico to Spain, he sees the US legacy as one defined by Hershey. His father was one of thousands of GIs who received milk chocolate handouts during World War II—a move that Prickett believes helped cement the milk chocolatification of the States, where even now acquiring a taste for the brighter, bitter notes of dark chocolate is somewhat rare. Pricket estimates that just 2 percent of the US chocolate market is held by fine chocolates—that is, chocolate that is carefully sourced and minimally processed.

Much of what we call chocolate isn’t. In desserts or savory dishes, I still sometimes mistake vanilla notes for chocolate, having so early become accustomed to the pairing of these two flavors, the muting of chocolate not only with milk fat, oils, and sugars but (usually) artificial vanilla, a.k.a. “natural flavoring.” Even the ingredient list of gourmet chocolates can be surprising. “There are so many artificial colors and flavors to make truffles pretty,” Prickett says, such as the agents used to seal the bottom of a truffle and give it a perfect look. Eldora doesn’t use artificial additives or preservatives in any of their chocolates. In a sense, Eldora is more like a winery than a candy factory; the goal is to make chocolate bars that express the flavor notes of the beans.


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CHOCOLATE CARE: Prickett recommends storing fine chocolates between 58 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A wine refrigerator is ideal; if you don’t have one, store chocolates (both truffles and bars) in their packaging in a glass or plastic container with a sealed lid in the produce drawer in the refrigerator. Ten or fifteen minutes before eating or serving, take out the chocolate and let it warm up. Pro tip: If you order chocolate online during the summer, place the box in the refrigerator for an hour before opening it.

Hence the emphasis on single-origin chocolates, like the Ugandan semuliki, which tastes, in finished form, like a smooth, refined version of the raw bean I sample from one of the bins in what I think of as Eldora’s chocolate closet. It’s fruity and bright, with a burst of citrus—I offer plum when Prickett prompts me for flavor notes, and he says some people taste blueberry. The Venezuelan piaroa that I try later, at home—also at 70 percent—is remarkably distinct, rich, earthy, and almost smoky. I’m also a fan of Eldora’s 100 percent bars; the one I bought earlier this year was astringent and slightly floral, with a rainbow of flavor notes available to one patient enough to let a single square of chocolate dissolve slowly on their tongue. Prickett’s mantra is that the chocolate should speak for itself. He wants you to select your own perfect choice, the truffle or bar that you will adore in the comfort and privacy of home, absent the eyes and opinions of the person who sold it to you. Despite the strength of his own tastes and convictions, he steers clear of suggesting that other preferences, whether for milk chocolate or everything lavender, are in any way inferior. (To wit, Eldora makes a bar with Los Poblanos lavender that I myself have purchased for a fellow lover of the popular aromatic.) “The bottom line,” he says, “is treating people like human beings.” That includes his staff, whose quiet movements and focus, despite the disruption of having a writer traipsing through the middle of things, mirror the brightness of the space.

“This was designed on the back of a napkin,” he says of the twothousand-square-foot building that he and his wife built in a part of 74

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

town I wish more outsiders would visit. The main kitchen has twentytwo-foot ceilings and so many skylights and windows that, Prickett says, it’s not always necessary to turn on the lights. He and his wife, who designed the interior—sealed concrete floors and stainless steel wainscoting contribute to the bright, open feel—understood from the beginning that the space would influence the team. Of his four staff members, one has been there since Eldora’s inception, and all have the authority to cancel a batch of chocolate. “Everyone who works here has to know how to temper four ways,” Prickett says as he describes how they used double boilers until they bought their first tempering machine. (Industrial chocolate producers use lecithin to make tempering and pouring easier, hence the waxy texture of so much chocolate candy.) Inviting me to sample a trial of an Earl Grey truffle the team is working on, he describes how they decide together when they’ve landed on the final version. My vote doesn’t count, but I’m happy to actually taste the bergamot, because why subdue the essence if you’re calling it Earl Grey? There is a spirit at play at Eldora Chocolate, and it’s contrary to convenience or efficiency. As I tour the space, I can’t help thinking there’s something we often miss when advocating for small-scale producers. It’s creativity, joy, the pleasure of striving to make a perfect thing. I drive away with just that: a rich cup of drinking chocolate made from the same Zorzal beans, sourced from the Dominican Republic, used in Eldora’s pecan cardamom and gremolata bars. It leaves me blissed, fired up, convinced, as I was the very first time I drank real chocolate, that cacao is epiphanic. 8114 Edith NE, Albuquerque, 505-433-4076, eldorachocolate.com

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Biscochos and photo by Bernardine Baca Spiers.


edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023


“Who cares about the name, it’s still the same delicious official cookie of New Mexico. Of course, I’m going to tell you my mom’s were the best.” —Armando Maynes Jr.


he real question in New Mexico is not Red or Green, but Lard or No Lard? This article is not about whether you prefer red or green chile but what you know, understand, and love about our official state cookie. It is interesting that New Mexicans have such a strong love of biscochos/biscochitos. Only two other states have state cookies: Massachusetts’s is the much loved and most preferred cookie in the United States, the chocolate chip cookie, and Alabama’s is the lesser-known Yellowhammer, a sandwich cookie. But let’s start at the beginning. Is the name of the cookie biscocho or biscochito? Is it spelled bizcochito or bizcocho? I don’t have the time or the inkling to get into the universal ramifications of what a biscocho is—whether it is a sponge cake from Spain; a biscoito de huevo, the Sephardic tea biscuit again from Spain; the twice-baked bread from the Philippines; or what some call a Mexican wedding cookie, covered in powdered sugar.

I am talking about the New Mexican cookie, loved by so many, that is usually rolled in sugar and cinnamon, and that may or may not include whole, ground, or liquid anise, usually incorporating lard. The dough might also include a pinch of salt, whole eggs or just the yolk, cinnamon or orange rinds. The wildly adventurous may well include raisins or pine nuts. Some use orange juice or Mogen David wine or anise liqueur or rum, and some use just plain water. In my family, my mother, Delfina, used pineapple juice to give the cookie a distinctive sweetness. Just how distinctive do you want to be? This cookie accepts it all. This fall, I conducted a poll on Facebook and the Biscocho/ Biscochito-tude grew to gigantic proportions. The commentary, its liveliness and sometimes ferocity, became as complicated, rich, and culturally complex as our beautiful state. I never imagined the responses would be so hearty, heated, eclectic, and so deeply moving. Friends and followers from northern and southern New Mexico, and all points east and

west, responded. In the state of Michoacán, the cookie is called a galleta, and in Sonora a biscochuelo. In my family in and around Las Cruces, the cookie was called a biscocho. Friends report that once they moved north, the name changed to biscochito because that was the vernacular, and they were told biscocho referred to a part of the female anatomy. I had heard this, and wondered where this linguistic shift began. As a writer, I am interested in all the vagaries of our New Mexican culture, and that includes our language, our food, and how a word for food can be one thing in the north and another thing in the south. Was the root word of Mexican or Spanish usage? There is a difference, and I really don’t want to get into the north/south debate, as that would take a book. Let’s just stay with our state cookie. Do you crumble the anise or use it whole? Saundra SalasGuest says her mom started using anise extract because she didn’t like the seeds getting in her teeth. Friend Victor Sandoval bemoans the fact that anise isn’t what it used to be. “I have found recently that the anise seed one buys today is not as tasty as they were. I can’t bake my biscochitos to taste enough like licorice.” My mother had a battered old cookbook that I still use. The pages are food smeared, covered with telltale manchas, spots, where a piece of dough landed or water splattered. I treasure this cookbook as many do their mother’s and grandmother’s cookbooks, their recipes copied down on ragged pages of paper and in old notebooks. Our lineage is food. We know who we are from what we eat and who made it and provided it for us. This legacy and ritual of story comes down to us in many ways: Who were your parents, where did you grow up, what were your traditions, and how did they impact your life? These sacred customs were passed on from family member to family member. Don’t you mess with that anise! Lard, but of course! There were occasional forays and inventive and creative and sometimes necessary additions to a recipe that completed and made things better, this is for certain.



My first poll respondent was Dr. Erlinda Gonzales-Berry, retired professor at the University of New Mexico, who grew up in northern New Mexico and is now living in Oregon. She shared this biscochito memory: Every Christmas we broke out the flour, sugar, and anise and set about to make biscochitos. Mom mixed and rolled the dough, and we helped her cut the cookies. We cut small squares, then little slits on one edge. We call these the little toes. We then dusted them in sugar and cinnamon and into the oven they went. The trick was to roll them very thin so they would turn out delicately and delectably. We couldn’t stand Grandma Pole’s version because they were fat, ungainly, and downright indelicate. That’s why we called [ours] biscochitos. Biscochos were everything biscochitos weren’t, so never, ever, did we call our lovely cookies biscochos. When I returned from California after a two-year stint teaching school, I brought back modern ideas. For example, rather than creaming the lard and sugar by hand, which took hours of heavy labor (usually done by Dad), we taught my parents to use the hand mixer. And I bought cookie cutters (Christmas tree, stars, and other Christmasy designs) and little toes fell by the wayside. Years later, as I studied everything I could get my hands on related to la cultura nuevomexicana, I came across the following on biscochitos: the cookies were cut in the shape of the Spanish crown. Ergo the little toes! . . . From that moment on, I returned to making my biscochitos with little toes and taught my daughter to do the same. So every year at Christmas, we break out the ingredients, and we set about repeating a centuries-long cultural practice. No high falutin’ modern adaptations—well, except for creaming with the electric beater. Everyone is a storyteller when you start talking about food. Especially food you love and that has sacred meaning to you. The stories that emerged from my Biscocho poll tumbled out and came hard and fast. I learned from Victor M. Macías-González, originally from El Paso, Texas, that convents in Spain and Mexico heat their lard first, just as his abuela used to do and his family still does today. I have never put salt in my biscochos and learned that many do. Nor have I ever added an egg, either the yolk or the whole. Each recipe that came in gave me an impetus to learn more. I want to try out each one. I am eager to use piñóns, our beloved pine nuts, included (along with raisins) in a recipe from Casida Gonzales. Her family was originally from New Mexico, and she shared her recipe with some reticence, worrying that her version might offend the tried and true.

Top: Dr. Erlinda Gonzales-Berry’s biscochitos. Middle: Mancha-covered recipe. Bottom: Denise Chávez’s biscochos. 78

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So when does one make our dear cookie? For many, it is a traditional and loved Christmas standard. It is also enjoyed at weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, and after a good meal at home or at your favorite Mexican or New Mexican restaurant. California poet Marisol Baca remembers her grandmother and auntie baking fortytwo dozen cookies for her wedding. Now that was a feast!

I once made double-digit numbers for my beloved Tío Sammie’s anniversary and delivered them the next street over in a state of overheated Biscocho-tude, the likes of which are often seen in our biscocho-loving state. The gift of cookies is a treasure to anyone. It is like that unexpected loving letter that comes in the mail that says you are special and, yes, loved. I am always grateful for a gift of a cookie. My father’s favorite store cookies, pecan sandies, stir memories, as does the family biscocho. Connie Chacón and her husband ruminated about the biscochitos that her niece sold in Wyoming. They found it interesting the individuals who bought them had family connections to New Mexico, some with parents or grandparents who had moved to Wyoming as sheepherders or settled there to work on the Union Pacific. It is true that if a displaced out-of-state biscochito lover speaks out, they always remember and voice those family ties. The cookie links them to home. For neophytes who would attempt a biscocho, attention must be paid. The thing about biscochos/biscochitos is that, like all food, they have their fine points. Listen up, then. You need to approach the preparation and baking with respect and time. You cannot hurry a biscocho. The consensus is that lard is a must. As Paula Chávez-Talley from Albuquerque says, “Team lard, all the way.” Remain calm. You will have to determine this for yourself, but listen. It is recommended. And I am a vegetarian (for the most part). The use of lard in the recipe is a critical detail and has and will continue to divide families, friends, nations. Lard? Them’s fighting words. Anise or no anise? I say anise, but then again, I am a southern New Mexican who uses lard and says biscocho. The thickness of the cookie is crucial. Do you want them tostaditos or regular? I have burned many cookies because of lax stove presence and have learned to take them out of the oven before they appear to be done. The more batches you cook, the hotter the oven will get, so be prepared to camp out in the kitchen during biscochito season. Some cooks sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture on the cookie before cooking. I recommend doing it after the cookie has cooled for a while. You cannot take a freshly baked cookie and turn it in the sugar-cinnamon mixture, or it will break or crumble. You cannot wait too long either, or the sugar mixture will not adhere. Again, timing is of the essence. How do you cut your cookies? Many families have their revered cookie cutters, passed down from their grandmothers; others use a knife to make free-form triangles. I have used my mother’s set of playing card cutters, once a popular item, to make cookies in the form of hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds. I have tried to vary the shapes, once trying out an Eiffel Tower cutter in honor of my husband’s French ancestry. My recommendation: don’t go vertical. The biscocho will be fragile to bake and handle. Be inventive as you wish and, yes, the designs are myriad, incredible, fun. But I always go back to the basic forms. When reviewing my family biscocho recipe and comparing it to the many I read and reviewed, I am in awe of how very basic it is. I

Top: Liz Maldonado’s biscochos. Middle: Paula Yvette Martinez’s biscochos. Bottom: Ana Cordova’s recipe. EDIBLENM.COM


like it that way. Maybe that’s why it’s so good to me. The simplicity of the known and loved. The cookies preserve well—that is, if you can keep yourself from eating them. I keep mine in a metal tin in the refrigerator. At the Hispano Chamber of Commerce gala earlier this year, I was seated at the back of the room, the eagle’s roost table, always full of interesting loners and last-minute, stay-in-the-back types. At the same big round table were Miss New Mexico, her mother, a very dynamic and gregarious priest from down in the valley who gave the prayer before eating, and a woman furiously fanning herself, her husband fanning her as well (“It’s that time of life,” she stated). I asked Miss New Mexico’s mother about biscochos and she gave me her family’s recipe almost apologetically: a no-bake cookie made with Mexican Marías, condensed milk, and powdered sugar. It sounded good. Hardly a biscocho in my mind, but then again . . . a biscocho is a biscochito is whatever you know or want it to be. To give a true perspective on our love of our official cookie, some Decembers ago I decided to make biscochos. But when I went to the grocery store there was a run on lard. None to be found here, there, anywhere! When there is hurricane weather in Florida, there are often no candles or batteries to be found. Only in New Mexico will you find a shortage of lard! I thought of making a trip to El Paso to International Lard to stock up but ended up calling my cousin Darlene, the best baker in the family. She saved my life and handed over a small precious packet of Morrell lard. Christmas was saved! All things come together with a biscocho. For a moment in time, things remain tranquil and good, a nearby cup of café or a glass of milk or better yet, un vinito, a little wine, an assurance that all is well, all is as it should be, that in the next room is family, that you will soon be joining all those in spirit or in person, the living, the dead, the ancestors, the new friends, the neighbors, the generations all in the same place, children running around joyfully, a nearby animal vying for attention and a morsel of something to eat, abuela and abuelito in their favorite spots ready to enjoy that tradition that signifies belonging. Así es. That is how it is. Nuevo Mexicanos north, south, east, and west, and almost anyone else who has ever tasted our official state cookie, love it. Biscocho. Biscochito. Bizcocho. Bizcochito. No matter what you call it, it will always be New Mexico, always be family, always be home to anyone who reveres our beautiful land. To my sister, Margo ChávezCharles, a biscocho means Mother.

BISCOCHOS: A CHÁVEZ FAMILY RECIPE (excerpted from A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture by Denise Chávez) Ingredients 1 pound pure lard; Morrell is good 1 cup water, or pineapple juice for extra flavor 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon whole anise seed 7–8 cups flour Cream the lard, add water or pineapple juice, and cream together until practically all liquid has been absorbed. Add sugar. Cream the mixture until it is smooth. Add cinnamon and anise. Add flour until the mixture is stiff enough to shape by hand. Pat, then roll gently to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into small cookie shapes. Bake until brown, about 15 minutes, in a 350°F oven, checking that the bottoms do not burn. Let cool slightly. Sprinkle cookies with cinnamon and sugar, then turn them in a pan containing a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Left: Gonzales-Berry’s biscochitos. 80

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CLASSIC NEW MEXICAN COOKBOOKS • The Good Life: New Mexico Traditions and Food, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert • Historic Cookery: Authentic New Mexican Food, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert • A Family Affair: A Few Favorites of Mrs. Griggs, Josephine C. Griggs and Elaine N. Smith • La Posta Cook Book, Katy Camúñez Meeks • New Mexican Dishes, Philomena Romero • Original Native New Mexican Cooking, Yolanda Ortiz y Pino • Southwest Flavor: Adela Amador’s Tales from the Kitchen, Adela Amador • Recetas del Valle, Maggie Gamboa

FROM THE BISCOCHO/BISCOCHITO POLL What does a biscocho mean to you? Family. It’s my kids, my sister, and friends gathered in my kitchen mixing, laughing, using the cookie shooter to make all kinds of biscochos. The aroma of anise engulfing my home. It is my husband having the honor of the first taste. The best part, packing the cookies in containers and delivering them. We decorate a wagon, dress up my chihuahua dog, Papi, crank up the Christmas songs, and deliver cookies to our wonderful neighbors. —Liz Maldonado Have you made biscochos? Yes. After graduating college one of the things my mother gave me was Historic Cookery by Fabiola C. Gilbert. That was fifty years ago, and I still consider this forty-three-page cookbook a seminal work on New Mexican cooking. I use the bizcochitos recipe on pages 29–30 with the following modifications: I roll the dough 1/4 inch thick. I submerge the warm baked cookies in a cinnamon sugar mixture that is heavy on the cinnamon (1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon to 1 cup of granulated sugar). The first time I made them, I used cookie cutters that were the symbols on cards—spade, club, diamond, and heart. At Christmastime I like to make star and bell shapes. —Helen Beggane

Bernardine Baca Spiers’ biscocho recipe being rolled out.

dozen for my birthday gift. Very few presents in my life have been as memorable. Lovely to be remembered and lovely to enjoy delicious bizcochos. —John McDowell I will always think of my father picking up a rolling pin a couple of years after my mother died to keep the tradition going. Everyone is happy to see him arriving with a tin of cookies in his hands. —Kathleen Jiménez Lard or no lard? Yes, lard usually. I will use half or all Crisco to make them “healthier,” but the flavor and texture is not the same. I figure a little lard once a year or so won’t hurt too bad. —Mónica Córdova I make them only with LARD. My family has always served them at Christmas with port wine. Family members fight for the biscochitos that are a little burnt. —Bernardine Baca Spiers

Can you share a biscocho memory? My grandmother kept the cinnamon/sugar mixture in a diner-style sugar dispenser that had flower designs cut into the glass. The bottom had a flower too. When she made biscochitos, she would pour the cinnamon sugar into a dish, roll the dough, roll it in the sugar, then stamp it with the sugar dispenser. When she passed, that was the first thing I looked for in her house. It just holds sugar now, but it lives in my kitchen on display. —Ana Córdova

Were biscochos part of a family ritual? Who intiated that ritual and what does it mean to you? My mother was always the matriarch and she would make the biscochos and the three daughters would help. She is now ninety-two years old, and I have become the matriarch of the family. As the youngest daughter, y la traviesa, I never really paid much attention. Now I have had to research the recipes and had my mom tell me all the ingredients. It is kind of frustrating because she says, “Échale un puño.” What the heck is that? A cup, a teaspoon, a lot of trial and error! Needless to say, all holidays, birthdays, social events are now at my house with me cooking. It is my honor to step in for my mom and now my kitchen is named “Camila’s Kitchen” in honor of my beautiful ninety-two-year-old mom that I am so lucky to have come over almost every Sunday. —Liz Maldonado

Toncha Álvarez attended my fiftieth birthday party. Toncha remembered the bizcochos that were my favorite from when we worked at La Posta Restaurant at the same time in 1975–82. She baked me a few

Thanks to everyone who has taken the poll, submitted comments, or stopped to remember and celebrate. If you didn’t and would like to, contact Denise Chávez at comezon09@comcast.net. EDIBLENM.COM





hazel batrezchavez’s solo exhibition at La Chancla DIY space. Photo courtesy of hazel batrezchavez.

Choosing real food, grown and prepared locally, instead of food replacements that are manufactured elsewhere, makes my movement here more meaningful. 82

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023


n March 1896, a woman, believed by many to be Stamata Revithi, unofficially ran the first men’s marathon course in Athens, Greece. According to a local paper, she finished “without any stops except a momentary rest to eat some oranges.” I imagine Revithi knew that the best food for her journey was obvious: the city’s oranges were satisfying and readily available. I live in Albuquerque and have never been to Greece, and therefore haven’t seen or tasted the fruit of the trees that line the streets of Athens. But while running along the wooded trails in Cedar Crest and Tijeras, I have stopped to eat sections of the mandarins stashed in my pocket, those bite-sized juicy medallions offering a burst of flavor and energy to make my taste buds happy and keep my body moving. Earlier this year, mandarins were my gateway snack to experimenting with eating real, ideally local, foods while running. The desire to do so surfaced during one of my ritualistic Sunday trail runs. I tore open a packet of flavored energy gel and took a swallow of the gooey substance, marketed as “easily digestible fuel.” As I watched the morning sun shining golden on the trail, trees, and surrounding meadow, I thought of the miles of meaningful connection to the land that lay ahead of me. Suddenly I felt utterly disconnected. Why, during times when I’m asking my body to perform at its best, purposefully situated in nature, was I relying on fake food? What could I be eating instead—not just during my runs but in preparation for and recovery from them—that helps me feel more connected to the place where I live and run? What are other runners in New Mexico eating? To begin thinking through this topic, I contacted fellow Albuquerque runner Dinée Dorame, founder and host of the Grounded Podcast, for which she interviews Native and non-Native runners (and non-runners) about running, culture, land, and community. “I feel like New Mexico is largely defined by our food,” she said. “It’s what people are talking about when they say we are at the intersection of many cultures. People tend to see [New Mexican food] in opposition to running, which can be discouraging as an athlete and runner. I feel like there is a stigma attached to many of the natural and culturally rich foods here: heavy carbs, cheese, and oils.” When Dorame moved to the East Coast to attend Yale, many of the people she met were eating foods that she wasn’t used to, and she found herself feeling lost without those foods she ate at home. “I didn’t understand how to properly find nutrition for myself as a runner in a new place or maintain my routine when [my] regional foods weren’t accessible,” she told me. Back in Albuquerque during the pandemic, she began experimenting with new recipes and new ways to connect to food. She hired Starla Garcia, a registered dietitian, US Olympic Trials marathoner, and body and cultural diversity advocate, who helped her see how to embrace foods she was already drawn to regionally and culturally, and how to break down stigmas associated with those foods. Garcia, who is based in Texas, listed many foods from her own Mexican culture that were equally familiar to Dorame as a Navajo woman in New Mexico—tortillas, tamales, rice, and beans, to name a few.

In the process, Dorame learned to trust her instincts. “As runners, we’re fed the story that we need gels, drinks, and powders, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said, explaining further that Garcia helped her reconnect with some of the traditional foods of Navajo culture. And, said Dorame, although it can be difficult to make those foods every day because she doesn’t always have access to the ingredients or the time to cook, going through the process of making and eating blue corn mush, for example, deepened her relationship with both food and running. Traditionally sprinkled with juniper ash, blue corn mush provides Dorame with pre-run calories and nutrients, including calcium, essential to bone and muscle health. Talking with Dorame led me to consider the roots of placebased food connections (and disconnections). I reached out to the Albuquerque-based Wings of America, which offers American Indian youth development programs, including the Junior National Cross Country Championship and coaching clinics, inspired by the surrounding Native communities and their rich running histories. Along with the programs and camps comes the opportunity to educate young runners about their food choices. “At the beginning of every summer, Running and Fitness Camp facilitators create presentation boards that help them talk to youth participants about competitive Native running history, precolonial ways of running, as well as Indigenous lifeways and food ways,” said executive director Dustin Quinn Martin. “Many of our great-grandparents grew up with the responsibility of collecting and growing enough food to help their family survive. This demanded a great deal of movement and endurance that also fostered many world-class runners. But life today doesn’t demand so much time on our feet, so we have to be more intentional about the ways we get our nutrients and move on a daily basis.” Like Dorame, Martin cites blue corn as a traditional food that has connections to running. Cleo Otero, who owns Cleo’s Blue Corn Kitchen in Albuquerque, serves as the summer camp’s chef. Martin credits the Navajo/Hopi chef with providing a taste of traditional foods, such as piki bread, while also being practical about what’s available. Martin explained, “In general, we remind our youth that a lot of the things we enjoy eating, people just a few generations ago probably never had the opportunity to try in their lifetime. Or if they did, it was maybe once or twice, and it was a major luxury. That might seem great for us, but it’s also potentially hazardous because we have easy access to so many foods our ancestors didn’t.” Also actively educating young New Mexico runners and their families is Running Medicine, a program of the Native Health Initiative with running groups at Acoma, Laguna, and Zuni Pueblos; at Algodones Elementary School; throughout downtown Albuquerque; and in the Rio Rancho area. Program manager Jessica Begay explained that Running Medicine’s CSA partnership with more than forty farms increases access to organic food for participating youth and their families. They learn what’s available seasonally, and the CSA shares often include information about and recipes for produce, such as radishes, that may not be as familiar as others. Begay said, “We are trying to teach youth how to eat to fuel the body for what it is that EDIBLENM.COM


Wings Endurance Camp participants and facilitators work together to refurbish the earthen hoghan of their host family in Monument Valley. Photo courtesy of Wings of America.

they want to do. That’s been a big part of the conversations we’ve been having during our youth running camp. When we talk about nutrition, it’s more about where are we getting our food from? How are we getting it? How do we prepare it?”

own history and where I come from, things like honey, chocolate, and coffee,” they said. “I was also thinking about these items being sourced from the earth, and then of running, of moving through space on the earth. I saw an intersection.”

For Albuquerque artist hazel batrezchavez, food is not only where nutrition comes from but where culture lives. In 2022, batrezchavez illustrated this idea in running with relatives, a solo exhibition at La Chancla DIY space in the city’s Barelas neighborhood. The artworks in the show focused on the artist’s identity as a queer, first-generation, and displaced Salvadorean/Mexican runner and highlighted Indigenous communities that, as batrezchavez described, have always used running as a tool for transportation, communication, and gathering food.

The idea of intersections resonated with me, partly because of my own experience and partly because it seemed profoundly different from the language and marketing surrounding “fuel” in the mainstream running industry. Curious about the perspective of an ultrarunner with experience within that industry, I spoke with Santa Fe–based runner and author Katie Arnold about what she eats while training. Arnold was previously sponsored by one of the major energy gel companies, but today she tries to eat real food on her long, exploratory runs in the mountains. “If I have enough time to plan, I make little power balls with almond butter, dark chocolate, and coconut, and I freeze them. During my run, they turn into this big melted blob. But they’re still really delicious,” she said.

“At that time [of the exhibition,] I was running with some individuals in the community and we were talking about this word ‘running’ that plays a role in our everyday lives, especially for individuals who are Black, Brown, or Indigenous, and others who are in the history of movement and running. I’m engaging in this action that many of my ancestors also engaged in,” said batrezchavez. “I realized that a lot of the foods I was using for fuel were ones that were grounded in my 84

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

Making homemade snacks for oneself may seem easy enough, but for me the process is daunting, especially compared to the ease of tearing open a package. Sourcing locally prepared, ready-to-go food was a

Running Medicine cooking class with Kids Cook! Photo courtesy of Running Medicine.

welcome opportunity for me to learn more about Taos Bakes. During the Questa-based business’s inception, cofounder Brooks Thostenson believed there needed to be something better on the “energy bar” market, both in terms of ingredients and overall experience. Based on my sampling of the products out there, gooey substances included, I have to agree. Taos Bakes, which self-manufactures their nutrition bars, nuts, and granola, and employs all local people, is one of the few companies making real food bars in New Mexico. “Often people say, ‘Oh, I love the taste’ when what they really love is the experience,” said Thostenson. “It’s the branding that first hits you; it catches your eye. Then it’s the aroma and the texture. It’s also the moisture content. Especially when you’re running, the last thing you want to do is have to drink a gallon of water after you’ve eaten.” For me, Taos Bakes hits the mark for food on the run. Compared to some other brick-like bars I’ve eaten, theirs is a welcome alternative. Determined to find additional options, I spent time at some Albuquerque-area farmers markets, with my sights set on runningfriendly foods, including those that might go unnoticed and others still that don’t involve single-use packaging. At the Corrales Growers’

Market, I selected honey from Tony’s Farm, which sells apple chips later in the season, and pickles from Farm 448, which makes dried tomatoes with herbs. The sodium and electrolytes in pickles aids in hydration and recovery, and the natural sugar in honey provides caloric energy. Each of these can be carried in reusable containers like small jars and squeeze bottles and stashed in a running pack or vest. At the Downtown Growers’ Market in Albuquerque, I eyed the dried fruit at Montoya Orchard, tasted granola from Three Sisters Kitchen, and chatted with Nizhoni Farms about dehydrated vegetables, sampling their seasoned dried squash. After choosing fruit jams from Spice Jams NM, I headed over to stand in line at Sunday Bagels. The mobile but soon-to-be-brick-and-mortar business incorporates produce from Young Guns Chile, Vida Verde Farm, Chispas Farm, and Farm of Song. Dense with carbohydrates, nicely paired with a bit of the fruit jam I now had, and easily transported in a pocket of my running pack, the bagels would be great for the trail. Knowing that locally grown fresh fruit is plentiful at the markets, I’d incorrectly assumed that I would find an abundance of dried EDIBLENM.COM


Dried apple slices from Montoya Orchard, bars from Taos Bakes, freeze-dried radishes and tomatoes from Backyard Farms, Del Valle Pecans, Ruthie’s Bagels, and red chile and apricot granola from Three Sisters Kitchen. Photo by Stephanie Cameron.

apricots, peaches, and apples. But what I learned from farmers and other vendors surprised me. The additional time and labor needed to dry and package fruit, combined with the demand for fresh fruit, make it difficult for purveyors to offer dehydrated foods. My conversations with these runners and food producers drove home the idea that sometimes local is defined by the proximity to your heart or connection to your past. Although my familial history is not connected to New Mexico, my present is defined by it. Learning more about how food plays important roles in movement on the land has taught me that my food choices, especially related to running, are powerful ways that I can engage with this place. Choosing real food, grown and prepared 86

edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023

locally, instead of food replacements that are manufactured elsewhere, makes my movement here more meaningful. On recent runs, as complements to the local honey and bagels I packed, I sampled wild currants in the mountains and sumac berries in the bosque. As I write, I’m eagerly awaiting ripe prickly pear tunas and jujubes. And I’m looking forward to selectively foraging mushrooms, like Santa Fe–based runner, writer, and photographer Rickey Gates; to trying Siberian elm samaras, introduced to me by Albuquerque-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, and community herbalist Asha Canalos; and to (sustainably, of course) gathering New Mexico’s medicinal plants, for when, similar to Revithi, I need a little rejuvenation along the way.

Come Travel in Our Circles

Siena, Bologna, Modena, Art Journey Through Italy | Florence, Mantua, Padua and Venice

September 27—October 10, 2024 Featuring the 60th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia The Circles is the premier membership program of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and offers members a wonderful mix of friendship and philanthropy. Join today and enjoy year-round benefits and unique opportunities, including exclusive access to the Circles International Travel Program. Our next destination is Northern Italy. Enjoy luxury accommodations and private tours of churches, palaces and museums that illuminate the great medieval, renaissance and baroque eras of Italy, culminating in the Venice

Biennale on its 60th anniversary. To learn more contact Cara O’Brien, Director of The Circles, at 505.216.0848 or email cara@museumfoundation.org or visit museumfoundation.org/the-circles. EDIBLENM.COM



BAKED TOMATO FARRO RISOTTO Adapted from Paige Adams 4 servings | $8.98 | $2.25 per serving Level: Easy | Prep time: 5 minutes; Cook time: 50 minutes; Total time: 55 minutes No constant stirring with this recipe, unlike the stovetop version of risotto! Made with canned tomatoes and other common pantry ingredients, it moves the simmering from the stove to the oven. Barley can be substituted for farro. Eat as a main course alongside a salad for a complete meal. 2 tablespoons olive oil ($0.90) 1 small white onion, chopped ($0.89) 2 garlic cloves, minced ($0.16) 1 teaspoon kosher salt ($0.03) 1/2 teaspoon black pepper ($0.02) 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes ($0.07) 1 1/2 cups pearled farro ($1.80) 1/2 cup dry white wine ($1.28) 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes ($1.89) 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth ($0.95) 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving ($0.90) 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for serving ($0.09) Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof saucepan or dutch oven. Sauté the onions until they turn soft and translucent, about 4–5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in farro and cook for 1 minute. Add wine, letting it bubble until the farro absorbs it. Add tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid and transfer to the oven. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the farro is tender. After baking, stir the farro to fluff it up. Taste the farro and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Stir in the parmesan and parsley, and top with more parmesan to serve. The Last Bite is brought to you by Rio Grande Credit Union and highlights recipes on a budget. Costs are estimated using online budget calculators or based on purchases for edible’s test kitchen.

Photo by Stephanie Cameron. 88 edible New Mexico | EARLY WINTER 2023


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ARROYO VINO Restaurant and Wine Shop

Celebrating 5 years with Chef Allison 5 : 0 0P M WINE SHOP: TUESDAY–SATURDAY 11AM-–7PM




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