Monthly Archives: October 2014

Soup Weather: Adobo Mixed Veggie Stew

013 Hello, this is Amy. I always love a bowl of hot soup, but especially when evenings are cool. We’ve been camping in the yard this week with our new dog, Leila and eating lots of soup. I have many basic templates and here is one of the easiest. Adobo powder really brings together the disparate characters in the veggie drawer. The entire CSA share in one big pot!A1 tin

Adobo refers to many different things around the world. It comes from the word adobar, to marinate. Made into a sauce (especially with vinegar) or used dry, it does make an excellent marinade. Mano Y Metate Adobo is made with Santa Cruz Chili, hot. This is very special chile from Tumacacori, Arizona. That bright red color! I pair that with a little chile ancho for depth. Sesame seed and organic corn tortilla meal give the finished soup or sauce some body. Cumin and Mexican oregano are two of the standout spices, with cloves and Mexican cinnamon in the background. Five flavors: spicy chile, the little bit of ancho has a hint of bitter, plenty of salt and evaporated cane juice for balance. All that’s missing is sour from a lime wedge squeezed into the bowl.

A2 pdr

To make a soup, put a tin of Adobo powder and a few tablespoons of oil in a soup pot.

A3 paste

Cook over medium heat until it turns a shade darker in color and smells fragrant.

a4diced veg

I have listed below some of the specific vegetables I used simply because I love them. Use what you have and love. Fresh or leftover meat is a great addition. Every single ingredient in this recipe is optional.

a5add veggies

Add the longer cooking veggies and stir to prevent sticking. Before it burns, add a quart of water or broth. When making Adobo into a sauce, I insist upon using broth. However, for this soup water works fine.

a6blue posole

Add the quicker cooking veggies as inspired, including precooked posole or beans, if using. I cook the posole and beans separately to ensure that they cook thoroughly but not at the expense of overcooking the tender veggies.

a7 soup cooking

When everything is tender, salt to taste. Garnish with lime wedges, avocado, thinly sliced white or green onion and cilantro.


Mano Y Metate Adobo Powder
Cooking oil, like mild olive
Water or broth
Summer squash (zucchini, patty pan)
Winter squash (Delicata)
Potatoes (Red LaSoda, Yukon Gold, Purple)
Sweet Potato (Beauregard)
Sweet peppers (various colors and shapes)
Chiles (roasted and peeled, or diced and sautéed in oil first)
Onion (red)
Blue posole (heirloom dry posole available from NS/S or Flor de Mayo. The Savor Sisters promise at least one post soon about traditional posole.)
White Tepary Beans
Lime wedges, green onion, avocado and cilantro for garnish

Mac and Leila

Mac and Leila

Categories: Cooking, herbs, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Petroselinum crispum flat leaf parsley

Flat leaf parsley grows well in the winter garden here in the middle desert regions of the Southwest.

Special for Savor the Southwest October 2014 by Jacqueline A. Soule, Ph.D.

Ever notice that restaurants often provide a sprig of fresh parsley on each dinner plate? They may not even know why, but it is a holdover from Victorian times and parsley’s reputed value as a digestive aid. Most diners avoid this strongly flavored green, but they shouldn’t! It may well be the most nutritious thing on the plate! Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 B9 (folate), C, and K as well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Parsley also helps the body in manganese absorption, a mineral important in building and maintaining healthy bones.

Petroselinum crispum salad

In Europe, salads may consist of parsley, onion and tomato, lacking the salad greens often seen in American salads.

Parsley is one of those plants that is easy to add to the garden, or even just a pot on the patio. And now is the time to plant them! First – there are several parsleys to choose from. Curly leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum) or flat leaf parsley (P. neopolitanum), and popular for stews, parsley root (P. crispum var. tuberosum). All of these forms of parsley are members of the Carrot Family.   [[By the way, cilantro is als in the same family and can be grown just like parsley.]]


Petroselinum crispum var tuberosum root

One variety of parsley is grown for it’s root – tasty in stews and can be stored for months in a root cellar.

Soil. All carrot kin grow best in a well drained, even sandy, slightly acidic soil, rich in organic matter. That makes them easy to grow in containers. Use a pot one and a half feet deep. Potting soil with some added sand makes a good growing media.

Petroselinum crispum IMG_1371

Just a few plants of parsley can be enough so you don’t need a giant package of seeds.

Light. Six or more hours of winter sun to do well.

Plant. Parsley can be bought as a seedling from a nursery or grown from seed. One or two plants are usually enough for most families so seedlings might be a better option.

Water. Keep the soil relatively moist during establishment. You can let parsley dry a little more between water once they get larger. Some people believe this makes their flavors stronger.

Fertilizer. Parsley gets very lush and full with some fertilizer. However, if you amended your soil at the start you don’t need to purchase fertilizer. Plus, avoid fertilizing anything when frosts are a possibility. Come late February you could apply a half strength general purpose fertilizer.

Petroselinum neopolitanum curley parsley_PA_08

Curly leaf parsley grows well in the arid Southwest.

Harvest and Storage. Parsley tastes wonderful when fresh but loses much flavor when dried. Freezing the leaves retains more flavor. Select healthy leaves, rinse, pat dry but leave some moisture. Chop into roughly quarter inch squares and freeze in a labeled plastic bag or yogurt container. This can be used directly from the freezer.


If you let your parsley flower, it should attract butterflies to your garden. Plus you will then get seeds to plant next year.

Not only does parsley look pretty on the plate and in the garden, it also attracts winged wildlife. Indeed, one species of swallowtail butterfly use parsley as a host plant for their larvae. Caterpillar are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feast upon parsley for a brief two weeks before turning into lovely butterflies. Along with butterflies, bees visit the blooms. Seed eaters such as the lesser goldfinch also adore the seed. I let some parsley develop flowers and go to seed each year so the animals can enjoy it once I am done harvesting the leaves. And I save some seeds for replanting.

Petroselinum crispum seed crop

Do save some seed for next year. The best thing to plant in your garden is seed of what did well in your garden!

JAS avatarJacqueline A. Soule has been writing about plants and growing in Tucson for decades. Her latest book “Southwest Fruit and Vegetable Gardening” (Cool Springs Press $22.99) is available at local bookstores and botanical gardens. (Call first though, some venues have been selling out.)

©  Jacqueline Soule.  All rights reserved. I have received many requests to reprint my work. My policy is that you are free to use a very short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Photos may not be used.

Categories: Cooking, Gardening, herbs, medicinal plant | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pumpkin Time in Baja Arizona!

Male flower Magdalena Big Cheese squash (MAB photo)

Male flower Magdalena Big Cheese squash (MAB photo)

Tia Marta here to celebrate the pumpkins and squashes that are now plumping up in every garden and popping up in farmers markets. These sculptural fruits of the vine are our visual signal of autumn and herald cool weather cuisine. So many people ask, “What’s the difference between pumpkins and squashes?” Really there is not much difference, except that, to some ears, “pumpkin” sounds fun but is never eaten, while squash sounds like something your mother made you eat and you didn’t discover how good they are until you discovered Mexican food! (Yum, calabacitas.) Often pumpkins refer to the jack-o-lantern type squash—a Cucurbita pepo—but many squashes of other Cucurbita species are also called “pumpkin” so the term is not cut and dried.
While chubasco rains keep sprinkling our desert, my squash vines have continued to elongate and to flower into the fall. I’m hoping to have winter squashes coming on until the frost hits. Meanwhile, I can go out each morning to assist in pollinating any female flowers with the hefty stamens of the male flowers. Then, what a treat it is to take the plucked, spent male flower and sauté it with eggs for breakfast!

Tohono O'odham Ha:l and curry pumpkins at SanXavierCoop booth, SantaCruz Farmers Market (MABphoto)

Tohono O’odham Ha:l and curry pumpkins at SanXavierCoop booth, SantaCruz Farmers Market (MABphoto)

Native People domesticated several varieties of squash or pumpkin centuries before Europeans invaded North America. We all know the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving story, but here in the Baja Arizona borderlands we should be giving a lot of thanks to the Tohono O’odham, the Yoreme, the Guarijio, and the Raramuri for the gifts of fabulous squashes they have given to all desert gardeners and farmers. From the Tohono O’odham comes the giant cushaw winter squash, known as Tohono O’odham Ha:l or “Papago Pumpkin,” (Cucurbita argyrosperma) with its bulbous pear shape and thick corky peduncle (its vine attachment.)

Tohono O'odham Ha:l "Papago Pumpkin" showing characteristic corky attachment and colorful stripes (MABphoto)

Tohono O’odham Ha:l “Papago Pumpkin” showing characteristic corky attachment and colorful stripes (MABphoto)

From the Yoreme or Mayo comes the round, oranged-fleshed Mayo blusher (Cucurbita maxima). From the Guarijio comes a grand segualca (Cucurbita moschata). And from the Raramuri or Tarahumara, comes the striped mini-pumpkin with sweet orange flesh (Cucurbita pepo). This last one is the pumpkin Native Seeds/SEARCH grew in plenty last year and returned to drought-stressed Tarahumara farmers in a cross-the-border sharing. Check out for images of each of these lovely squashes, or visit the Mission Garden at the base of A-Mountain to see maturing fruits from the monsoon planting. Then plan ahead for next year to plant some of each in your own monsoon garden for great winter cookery and for sharing with neighbors.

All of these Native pumpkins/squashes are the ultimate in desert adaptation. They grow well in the heat with monsoon rains, AND, they keep for long periods of time without refrigeration over the winter. Talk about an easy, low-tech way to preserve food! I have kept the hard-shelled Tohono O’odham Ha:l outside in the shade of my back porch from October’s harvest into May of the following year when temperatures soared. That’s what you call a keeper.

Tarahumara pumpkins Oct2014 from 2013 harvest (MABphoto)

Tarahumara pumpkins Oct2014 from 2013 harvest (MABphoto)

With last fall’s harvest of Tarahumara pumpkins, I started another experiment in non-refrigerated storage. I kept 2 medium-sized pumpkins inside on a tile floor out of direct sun. Over the summer they turned from green striped to bright yellow-orange on the outside. I had no idea this week what they would be like inside when I opened them at last for cooking. To my surprise and gladness the flesh was still firm and gorgeous—bright with beta-carotenes—and the seeds were plump and not-yet-sprouted.

Rich flesh and seed of Tarahumara pumpkin (MABphoto)

Rich flesh and seed of Tarahumara pumpkin (MABphoto)

Pumpkin seeds cleaned to dry and save for next year's planting (MABphoto)

Pumpkin seeds cleaned to dry and save for next year’s planting (MABphoto)

With such luscious pumpkin seeds, some had to be saved for next summer’s garden and some had to become snacks. Here is what I did to them. Give it a try with your next opened pumpkin:

Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seed Snacks
(Makes 1 cup)
1 cup of pumpkin seeds, cleaned
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
¼ tsp of chile powder (choose mild, medium, or hot, depending on your palette)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
(Some recipes call for boiling seeds first, for 10 minutes in 4 cups of water then draining before the next step. It helps to soften the hulls but may remove some nutrients. This step is optional–I don’t bother.) Transfer seeds to a bowl, toss with the honey, oil, and spice ingredients until fully covered, then spread them out evenly onto a baking sheet that has been coated lightly with cooking oil or non-stick spray.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes, tossing once, or until the seeds are crispy and lightly golden brown. Let them cool before serving — they will get even crispier. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc which is great for fall-weather immune fortifying. They also contain L-arginine which is especially good for guys. Enjoy this tasty Southwest snack!

Chile-and-honey-roasted pumpkin seed snacks (MABphoto)

Chile-and-honey-roasted pumpkin seed snacks (MABphoto)

Next I prepared the Tarahumara pumpkin itself for a truly local autumn dessert. It takes a cleaver to carefully open a winter squash and to chunk it into segments small enough to fit into the saucepan. After you scoop out the seeds and fiber, you can boil, steam or bake the pumpkin chunks with skin or shell on. When softened and cooled, scoop out the pulp. Don’t hesitate–serve it with butter and sea salt as a hot vegetable right away. With the remainder, mash or puree it, storing it in freezer for later using in pies, empanaditas, or—as you’ll see below—in a fabulous Sonoran Pumpkin Cake!


Tarahumara pumpkin cleaned and chunked for cooking (MABphoto)

Tarahumara pumpkin cleaned and chunked for cooking (MABphoto)

SONORAN PUMPKIN CAKE with White Sonora Wheat and Mesquite
(inspired by NativeSeeds/SEARCH pot-luck favorite volunteer Ed Hackskyalo)
Recommended for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other autumn occasions.

Preheat oven to 350.
2 cups sugar (or alternative sweetener such as agave nectar or honey)
1 cup vegetable oil or softened butter (adjust less with liquid sweeteners)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 – 2 ½ cups heirloom White Sonora Wheat pastry flour (fresh-milled flour needs adjusting)**
¼ – 1/2 cup mesquite pod meal**
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups “Papago Pumpkin” or other native squash, cooked and pureed (or pumpkin puree)

Combine sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Sift dry
ingredients into a separate bowl; stir into liquid mixture, beating well. Stir in pumpkin puree.
Pour batter into two greased and floured 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for
35 to 40 minutes. Turn out onto racks to cool.

l package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, measure then sift (use less to taste, as less sweet is nice contrast to cake)
½ – 1 teaspoons vanilla extract (as needed for smoothing)
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat well until smooth. Makes enough
for a 2-layer pumpkin cake. Frost pumpkin cake with cream-cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans or pine nuts for extra decor.

**Organic heirloom White Sonora Wheat-berries and flour, and local mesquite pod meal ,are available from Flor de Mayo at St Phillips farmers market on Sundays, or or 520-907-9471. Whole grain organic White Sonora Wheat-berries for home-milling and mesquite meal are also available at NativeSeeds/SEARCH, 3061 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, or online

Sonoran Pumpkin Cake made with organic heirloom White Sonora Wheat and mesquite  (MABphoto)

Sonoran Pumpkin Cake made with organic heirloom White Sonora Wheat and mesquite (MABphoto)

Sonoran Pumpkin Cake tea time on wheat china to honor the Wong Family farmers who are helping to save the ancient white Sonora wheat (MABphoto)

Sonoran Pumpkin Cake tea time on wheat china to honor the Wong Family farmers who are helping to save the ancient white Sonora wheat (MABphoto)

Now in their fifth generation of farming, the Wong Family of BKWFarms in Marana, have taken a rare heirloom wheat–the White Sonora Wheat that Padre Kino introduced into the Sonoran Desert over 300 years ago and “saved” by Native Seeds/SEARCH seed conservationists–and have made it a certified organic and sustainable crop again for the Southwest.  Bravo to the Wongs for making this low-gluten food treasure available to us!

Organic Wheat Farmer Ron Wong, Big Jim Griffith, and Karen Dotson of BKWFarms at Tucson Meet Yourself 2014 (MABphoto)

Organic Wheat Farmer Ron Wong, Big Jim Griffith, and Karen Dotson of BKWFarms at Tucson Meet Yourself 2014 (MABphoto)

BKWFarms and Flor de Mayo gave out samples of White Sonora Wheat-berry sprouts and a fabulous Sonoran Shortbread made with the White Sonora Wheat flour at the recent Tucson Meet Yourself festivities.  Coming up….Come try samples at the Flor de Mayo table this next weekend at the Chiles Chocolate and Salsa Event, Tohono Chul Park, Oct 25-26.   Every Sunday at St Phillips Farmers Market you can find taste surprises made with White Sonora Wheat-berries or mesquite at the Flor de Mayo booth–Stop by and visit Tia Marta and Rod!  And tell your friends in Phoenix not to miss our Flor de Mayo display at the Dia de los Muertos celebration, Desert Botanical Garden Nov 1-2.

Categories: Sonoran Native | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Savoring Our First Anniversary (and Mesquite Cake)

(From left) Aunt Linda, Amy Valdez Schwem, Carolyn Niethammer,  Tia Marta, and Jacqueline Soule.

The Savor sisters: (From left) Aunt Linda, Amy Valdes Schwemm, Carolyn Niethammer, Tia Marta, and Jacqueline Soule.

Carolyn Niethammer here today with this celebratory post. The Savor Sisters, the five writers who bring you Savor the Southwest, got together this week to celebrate the first anniversary of our wide ranging blog about the glories of Southwest food traditions –  traditional, modern, wild and cultivated. The Savor the Southwest month always starts out with Aunt Linda who frequently writes about her bees, recipes with honey, and even making cheese from milk from cows on her ranch. Her posts are lyrical and sometimes spirtual. On the second Friday, you hear from Tia Marta (Muffin Burgess), our ethnobotanist who keeps an eye on what the desert is producing, traditional Native American agricultural products, and ingredients she sometimes uses in her Flor de Mayo products.  I take the third Friday and write about edible desert plants, Southwest specialties and interview other interesting folks in the food world.  On the fourth Friday we hear from Jacqueline Soule who has been taking us through her book Father Kino’s Herbs among other subjects. That’s her gluten-free barrel cactus seed cake Muffin is slicing in the photo. You’ll get the recipe later this month. So far we have only heard from Amy Valdes Schwemm, producer of fabulous spices, on the occasional fifth Friday, but she will be writing more frequently in the coming year.

We are grateful to all of you readers who join us each week as we explore and celebrate the culinary delights of this fabulous area here on the Sonoran desert where we are so privileged to live. Every celebration needs something sweet, so today I’m going to give you a recipe for an easy and delicious mesquite cake that uses whatever fruits are in season. I used peaches and grapes, but plums, pears, apples or even prickly pear would be great additions. This is good for brunch or a not-too-sweet dessert.

Golden Mesquite Fruit Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup mesquite meal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ginger or cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick soft butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 large egs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped fresh fruit

For topping

1 tablespoon mesquite meal

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ginger or cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Chop fruit. Lightly butter a springform pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spice of choice. In medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electic mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addiotn, then beat in vanilla. At low speed,  add flour mixture until ljust combined. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Spread batter evenly in springform pan.

Spread batter evenly in springform pan.

Scatter chopped fruit over top of batter.

Scatter chopped fruit over top of batter.

In a small bowl, stir together the topping mixture and sprinkle evenly over the cake.

Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over cake.

Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over cake.

Put in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. As the cake bakes it will rise over the fruit. Cake is done when it is golden brown and top is firm but tender when lightly touched. Cool in the pan for around 10 minutes and then remove the sides of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. A little whipped cream never hurt anything.

Yummm, warm and fragrant from the oven.

Yummm, warm and fragrant from the oven.


Want more delicious recipes using ingredients from the Southwest?  I have lots of ideas for you. In Cooking the Wild Southwest, I introduce you to 23 easily identified and delicious wild plants of the arid Southwest. The Prickly Pear Cookbook is all about the fruits and leaves of the nopal plant. In The New Southwest Cookbook, you’ll meet some of the most innovative professional chefs in the Southwest and get to try the recipes they serve in their restaurants.


Categories: Cooking, Sonoran Native, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Drunken & Spicy Cerveza Camarones – or (spicy-beer shrimp)



Aunt Linda here wishing you a very Happy October 3rd Morning to you.

Sleeping is sweet here in the Old Pueblo this time of year, with doors and windows opened to October air. Of course, when we open to one thing,  we open to others as well, and the smell that wafted in the bedroom door just now, as a band of Javelina meandered past was so potent it awakened me early this am.  I never saw nor heard them. Unable to return to sleep, I walked outside – the constellation Orion is twinkling as he arises in the eastern sky, as I write

Yesterday, at the front door, a a small crew of hardworking men appeared,  in want of a quick meal. Not exactly prepared for this,  I rooted around for whatever was on hand to work/cook with.  A bottle of beer had strayed from it’s pack and offered itself up.  The fridge held a bag of shrimp that were in need of cooking, or of perishing a second time. Red Chiltepin drying on the table called out to be used. An idea began to bubble up, and form froth on top.  I love  feeling in the midst of a new  invention; even if it is new only to me.  It is highly likely this recipe has been made a a hundred times in a hundred variations before it ever occured to me. I had some red quinoa on hand, as well as some early spicy arucola from the garden on hand, so I decided to cook the shrimp in a beer-chile and make a hearty salad. Consider adding some pomegranate seeds for a tart-sweet crunch.



Recipe Ingredients:

I bottle of beer

One dozed shrimp – peeled and de-veined

Half a small onion, chopped to your liking.

2 Tablespoons Chopped garlic

12 chiltepin, or cayenne to taste.

2 Tablespoons or more of fresh herbs, one for cooking and one for flavoring once cooked.

Serve over Quinoa, or wild rice.

Add Fresh greens to make a salad. Pomegranate seeds. Fresh herbs.


I chopped up some onion and garlic and cooked it in olive oil, along with the red chiltepin ( you could use cayenne), adding some basil from the garden (or any fresh herb of your choosing!) for a bit of flavor. It is probably wisest to add the herbs and chilies at the end as well, so the flavors don’t ” cook out”,  but I wanted to create a bubbling brew of multiple flavors so I added it all in.



Once the onion looks translucent, and begin to brown, add the cerveza, and let it begin to simmer, and softly boil.  Then add the shrimp.


As the shrimp cook in the bubbling mixture they transform from a grey color with a straight posture, to pink and curled. Make sure it is cooked through before serving.I added a bit of salt at the end, along with fresher chile and herbs.

While the shrimp where transforming in their beer-brew in front of me, the aroma invited a question:  Where did the word “cerveza”originate?  I quickly looked up the word origin for Cerveza and found this:

“The Romans called their brew “cerevisia,” from Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, and vis, Latin for “strength.”


Ceres.   Goddess of Agriculture.  It is amazing “who” you can meet hiding quietly inside a word.


Note: I had enough of the spicy beer-shrimp BROTH left over (and did not want to add to my shrimp-quinoa-salad), so I added it to a pot of tomato soup and it was DELICIOUS. Have it with sandwiches ( grilled cheese and shrimp sandwiches!)

One more Note: I HIGHLY encourage you to read Paul Greenberg’s book  American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood. There have been several great interviews with him on NPR if you prefer to listen. The Mother Goddess would, I feel, encourage us to empower ourselves with such knowledge. Then we can more skillfully impact our food systems.

Categories: Sonoran Native | 9 Comments

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