Because after August, there is September

In northern California, where I’ve been, the women in beauty shops were talking about fall. The seasons were beginning to change, they said — crisp nights, sweaters in shops, and we watched brave squirrels darting in and out of civilzation trying to stash nuts for the cold.

Our fall feels different, of course, but the experience gave me hope. It’s coming here, too, you know, and I’m looking forward.

1. Tumbled among late-summer peaches and cherries in my grocery basket at the market last night: Hatch Valley chiles. It’s time for those now, too. They remind me of my grandpa and Septembers in his northern Arizona garden. (My favorite Hatch chile recipes here.)

2. New season, new shoes. Sweet Cindy surprised me with an early brithday present when we both lost our heads for these naughty-nice heels at Nordstrom. (October, my brithday month — on the way, technically, wouldn’t you say?)

I’m also having heart flutters for these Tory Burch tasseled glories, $395:

3. My Steve-Martin-as-Renaissance-Man love affair continues, and I’m now heavy into to the actor-novelist-playwright’s joyful bluegrass banjo tunes. (Whither this? I don’t know, but it’s FANTASTIC and I adore.) He’s coming in concert to the Mesa Arts Center Aug. 19. Sample lyric: “Women like to slow dance, they like it for the romance. (Listen here.)

4. School supplies, so full of promise, everywhere you look. (Best movie line ever: “I would send you a bouquet of sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”) A sweet reader alerted me to black and white striped school supplies at See Jane Work and oh my.

I also like this New York Times replica box from Pottery Barn for stashing my paper problems.

5. One last great summer movie: One Day, from the book by David Nicholls, which I’m reading and loving right now. It’s a quirky and literary British love story that stretches over 20 years. Nicholls cool’ structure tells the story episodically by illluminating one day of each year — the same day, actually: July 15. Anyway, read it before Anne Hathaway and Hollywood make everyone forget that it was a book first. The film comes out Aug. 19.  (And thanks Kylie Gad for the recommendation.)

By |2011-08-08T16:22:24-07:00August 8th, 2011|Style|1 Comment

How to worship a Hatch Valley Chile

I have a refrigerator full of Hatch Valley Chiles, and what a lovely thing to say. To me, they’re a piece of my childhood — the scent of chiles roasting on the range at my grandparents’ house, my Aunt Marianne at the stove, turning them as they blistered and popped. (Then, there would be chiles rellenos — stuffed with cheese — and oh, my.)
Hatch Valley Chiles are special — an ethereal flavor imported from fields in New Mexico, and available for a few weeks in late summer and fall.


I got mine at the Guadalupe Farmers Market  in Mesa from T.J., who is our food writer Karen’s personal saint. She calls him her “supplier,” keeps his number close to our heart. (Read her ode.  It’s GREAT.) T.J. can also be your saint, because he’ll ship you Hatch Chiles wherever you happen to be.

This time of year, green chiles hang heavy in my grandfathers’ northern Arizona garden, next to wild sunflowers and sweet corn.

His aren’t Hatch, but I love them still. We pick them, roast them, love them. And then I need chiles every day.

You too? Azcentral’s step-by-step photo guide to roasting them is here — you need to roast and remove the bitter skins. Make sure not to rinse the chiles at the end. You’ll wash the flavor away. Sacrilege!

By the way, I think you should hoard them. Freeze roasted chiles and dole them out to yourself for months.

My favorite ways to enjoy:
1. Have you ever put green chiles on a cheese burger? Add bacon if you want to be really bad. (Photo:

2. The Barefoot Contessa’s cheddar corn chowder + a big handful of chopped green chiles? Happy sigh. (Photo: Food Network)

3. The Barefoot Contessa’s jalapeno cheddar cornbread minus the jalapenos, plus 1/3 cup of chiles? Dear Ina — you might want to move to New Mexico. (I might have added a wicked 1/4 cup of sour cream.) Photo- Food Network.

4. The classic Arizona cheese crisp, of course. Toast one side of the very best tortilla you can find in a buttered skillet. Flip the tortilla, and add more butter. (COME ON.) Add a big handful of cheddar cheese and some chiles. Cover to let the cheese melt. Eat like a pizza. Worship Arizona.
(I’ve found you the best tortillas in Arizona — come back Monday.) Photo:

5. Make my grandfather’s hash. Sautee an onion in butter until translucent. Add a cup and a half of thinly sliced ham. You can use posh ham, if you like. He uses thin deli ham, and I think it charming and delicious. When the ham is browning on the edges, add in two or three chopped green chiles. Serve over eggs. ( I like this minus eggs, over tomato-corn succotash on toast. Tyson STILL puts an over-easy egg on top.)

6. Of course there are also chiles rellenosGreen chile porkGreen chile pesto — which is a really  cool take on pesto with chiles in the background. (I like this particular recipe with half the garlic, double the chiles, and a lot of fresh mozzarella cheese.)

7. It is 4:38 p.m. I am now starving and have to go find enchiladas right now. Also, this entire post made me miss my family — and I think that’s just a little bit of what food is about.

By |2010-09-24T12:43:55-07:00September 24th, 2010|Recipes|1 Comment


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