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Salsa de Arbol

August 27, 2017

Spicy, sweet and balanced in flavor that draws you more and more in to its savory, nuanced goodness each dip you take.

On a recent trip to Mexico, the restaurant we frequented had an amazing Salsa that I put on everything. I couldn’t stop eating it. I reached out to the kitchen staff and they graciously shared their recipe with me. I have converted the recipe from metric to US and increased the ratio of tomato to balance the heat with the sweet.

Salsa de Arbol


1/2 cup Chile de Arbol (Dry Serrano Red Chili) 

2/3 cup Onion chopped

2 cups Tomato chopped

2 tbsp Garlic chopped

2 tbsp Sesame Oil

2 tsp Cilantro

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper


1. Add sesame oil to pan preheated to medium-high. Cook chile de árbol, onion, tomato and garlic until onion, tomatoes and chiles have softened. 

2. Pour hot ingredients into a bowl and purée. Let cool.

3. Once cold, blend all ingredients with cilantro, salt and pepper.

Almond Sugar Cookies

January 29, 2017


I’ve been making these chewy sugar cookies for a while when I have a last minute craving for cookies and want something quick and easy. When I want to try something new, I start with a familiar recipe as my control and then tweak it with whatever I am wanting to try at the time. Well, fast forward to today and mix cookie craving with a surplus bag of almond flour and here’s what you get:  The Best (and easiest) Almond sugar cookies. The texture is crackly, crisp with a nice chew to it. There’s a slight toasted almond flavor that hits after you take your first bite and then there’s a nice butteriness and then the sugar rounds it out. Not too sweet.

Check out this texture!

2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. add in the egg and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Gradually blend in dry ingredients.
Using small cookie scoop or roll about 2 TBS of dough into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes* or until golden. Move to a cooling rack after letting them sit for a few minutes.

* Cooking time may vary. My oven seems to take longer on most recipes so might be less for you.

La Fiesta Grandma’s Chicken Sauce (Enjococado)

December 18, 2016

La Fiesta Grandma’s Chicken Sauce (Enjococado)

Adapted from Travel the Senses: The Search for Enjococado:

If you’ve ever been to La Fiesta in Mountain View you probably tried grandma special sauce. It is a wonderful combination of chili flavors, tomato and creaminess that is hard to duplicate. We don’t get out there very often these days unfortunately. So I’ve been on a journey to find a recipe that re-creates the flavors of this wonderful dish. Luckily I stumbled upon the recipe link above from Travel the Senses.

3 chicken breast halves
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
3 medium tomatillos
2 roma tomatoes
6 guajillos chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
3 de arbol chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves
3 green onions, chopped fine
1 strip of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup slivered almonds
15 oz Mexican cream


  1. Salt both sides of the chicken breast generously.
  2. Place tomatillos and tomatoes in a medium pot and fill with water just to cover. Bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add chiles, then cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté 1 tbsp oil, garlic, yellow onion, green onion, cinnamon, and cumin over medium heat until the onions soften soft, then add the slivered almonds and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat and cook the chicken slightly (shouldn’t be fully cooked), no more than five minutes. Remove from pot and turn heat off.
  6. Drain the tomato/tomatillo/chile mixture, reserving liquid and place into a blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved liquid.
  7. Add the onion mixture to the blender and blend until smooth.
  8. Pass blended mixture through a Chinois to strain out any chile flakes, etc.
  9. Add mixture to pot and turn heat to medium-low. It’s important to do this when the pot is still warm. Stir well, scraping any chicken pieces off the bottom of the pot.
  10. Add chicken to the mixture and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add the Mexican cream and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat until the cream is fully absorbed and the mixture is warm.

Serve with Mexican rice and refried beans as well as warm flour tortillas. Alternatively, substitute a pre-roasted chicken and use chicken broth instead of water in the recipe.

Nana’s New Mexican Green Chile Stew with Pork

July 26, 2015


I called my mom the other day as I was attempting to make my Nana’s New Mexican Green Chile Stew with Pork. For the uninitiated, this recipe differs from Mexican chile verde. This recipe only uses New Mexican green chiles. No other chiles or tomatillos are used and my Nana’s recipe never had tomatoes. Also, no additional spices besides garlic and onions are needed as the roasted green chile flavor is showcased here. The New Mexican green chile has heat, smokiness from the roast, a slight sweetness, and just the right amount of acidity. My Grampo Garcia grew chiles down the hill and would bring them up to my Nana for her to roast, peel and then make green chile stew.

My mom walked me through how Nana would make it and I have distilled her oral remembrance into the recipe below. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a family source for fresh green chiles so I order them online and the mild green chiles are available in the international food aisle of your local grocery store. These are used to regulate the heat factor and add some volume as ordering canned chiles is not inexpensive. This recipe is as close as I can get to my Nana’s wonderful recipe.

2 – 16oz cans roasted New Mexican green chiles – medium or hot
2 – 27 oz cans whole green chiles – mild
4 cloves Garlic minced
1 large yellow onion diced
3 lbs pork butt cut in 1″ chunks (my mom says my Nana would cut them into 1/2″ chunks)
27 oz Water or chicken broth
1 cup flour
Lard or olive oil
Flour tortillas – warmed on an open flame or in a cast iron skillet

Pour New Mexican chiles and liquid in to large pot on medium heat. Shred whole green chiles by hand and add chiles and liquid to pot. In large skillet on medium-high heat, add two TBS lard or olive oil and add onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent then add to pot. I like to slightly caramelize until the onions around the edges of the pan are browned to add flavor. Add a little bit more lard or olive oil to pan. In a medium bowl add the flour and about a TBS of salt and mix together. Dredge pork chunks through flour mixture to coat then brown pork on both sides in pan. This will take a few batches. Add to the pot after second side is browned. The flour from the pork will thicken the sauce. Add water or chicken broth to get the desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Cook for 2-3 hours until pork is tender and fat is rendered. Serve in a bowl with a warm stack of flour tortillas! Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

January 6, 2015


Many years ago I took a trip to Mexico in a village off the beaten path and had one of the simplest and most amazing bowls of tortilla soup. It was a small village and my bowl had chicken broth, carrots, onions and some tortilla chips. The broth had so much flavor and nuance but was still mild and comforting. It was so wonderful that every bowl of tortilla soup since then has paled in comparison.

This recipe is my attempt to honor that wonderful and simple bowl of soup from many years ago.

Note: I have updated this recipe to improve flavor and texture

Chicken-Tortilla Soup

1 rotisserie chicken shredded
3 32 oz cans chicken broth
1 – 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 jalapeño minced
2 carrots chopped
1 yellow onion diced
2 TBSP olive oil
4 garlic cloves minced
1 bunch cilantro
2 ears of corn off the cob
1 TBSP Chile powder
1 tsp Paprika
1tsp Cumin
Salt to taste

crumbled cheso fresco
sliced avocado
chopped cilantro
Finely diced white onion
tortilla chips
lime wedges

In a large pot on medium heat, pour chicken broth, jalapeño and carrots. Crush tomatoes by hand over pot and pour in tomato juice left in can. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan and cook until onions are translucent and add to pot. Add shredded chicken to pot. Cook for 1/2 hour to combine flavors, add salt to taste. Add in corn. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until corn is cooked but still crunchy. Pour in to bowl and add crumbled cheso fresco, avocado, cilantro, white onions and crumbled tortilla chips and squeeze a lime wedge on top. Enjoy!

Homemade Goetta

January 4, 2014

My wife’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio has many unique and tasty foods. Since we live on the west coast we can’t just run to the store to pick up or out to a restaurant to eat our Cincinnati favorites. You can get goetta out next day air but the shipping costs have risen beyond what we think is reasonable. So I try to recreate the flavors myself. One of my favorites is Goetta. Goetta originates from German immigrants who wanted to use all parts of the animal to make their food stretch. I have been trying to get close to the flavor of the main Ohio commercial producer’s product for years. I’ve tried many different recipes and have finally settled on the one I have here. It’s a basic recipe that has been floating around the internet for many years so I’m not sure who wrote it. But the most important step is the seasoning. With out the proper bay and salt content it will not come out correctly. When you start seasoning it you will have to put in more salt than you think prudent due to the oats capacity to absorb flavor.

Rob’s Homemade Goetta Recipe

2 1/2 cups steel cut or pinhead oats
8 cups water
1 lb ground beef ( I use 80/20)
1 medium onion diced
1 lb loose Bratwurst sausage uncooked (if substituting ground pork make sure it is not lean)
8 bay leaves

Add water, oats, salt and pepper to large pot and cook on medium low heat for 2 hours. Add meats, onion and bay leaves and mix well. Cook for an additional hour. Season with more salt as it cooks to achieve desired saltiness.

Pour in to two 9×5 loaf pans, cover, let cool then refrigerate.

When Goetta has set overnight, cut into slices and fry both sides until crispy. You may want to add some of your favorite oil to the pan to help with the crisping as this recipe does not release it’s fat as it cooks like the store bought kind. Enjoy!

Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

October 20, 2013

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I remember my father occasionally taking us young boys to breakfast at a hometown diner and sitting at the counter. We could see the cooks making all the amazing breakfasts, including one of my favorites…biscuits and gravy. I have eaten at many a diner trying to get that perfect buttermilk biscuit that is light and fluffy with just the right amount of flaky layers and perfect chew. I’ve tried a few different recipes and have finally found it here! It’s got all the characteristics of a great biscuit and goes well with gravy or honey and preserves. I have simplified the instructions a little but otherwise left it intact. Also, I have frozen the biscuit dough pucks in advance as suggested on the original recipe and they turned out perfectly.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk (approx)

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.

4. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined. Add more buttermilk if too dry.

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick and cut into rounds.

6. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet touching each other.

7. Brush tops with melted butter

8. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until biscuit tops are a light golden brown.

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