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Easy Burritos

Most of the time I make burritos, I either slow cook a pot roast in the crockpot or we BBQ meat, finish it in the oven until it falls apart and then I mix in green chiles, onions, a tomato or two and voila, I have a great little burrito mix. The problem, of course, is that preparing the meat takes all day and then I still have to make refried beans (yes, from scratch) and grate cheese…

So here’s a quick burrito recipes with hamburger:

Half a large onion diced (to taste)
1 cup diced green chiles (less if the chile is hot)
1 to 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed, stems removed and cut into pieces

Saute the diced onions in olive oil until almost done. Add chiles and spinach leaves and cook until everything is tender (and in the case of the spinach, most of the water should have sauteed off).

Brown about a pound of hamburger and mix everything together. (You may need to add a pinch of salt, but since I’m on a low salt diet and add plenty of cheese to my burritos, I generally do not salt the meat.) Warm refried beans on the stovetop or in the oven (that you prepared earlier or the day before.)

Wrap generous servings of refried beans, hamburger mix, grated cheese, sour cream or guacamole and salsa in a giant tortilla. If you prefer, you can sprinkle the cheese on top and put in the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese.

Posted: April 3, 2012
Filed in Spanish

FOOD – In the Mailbag

l_fleurs-crocus-sativusOoooh, la-la! Today’s mailbag brought a very special treat. Saffron. From the French Alps. I’m not talking about powder either–these are the actual saffron threads. Rich, dark maroon with the elusive smell like that of a fine wine. A sweet flowery scent that you can almost taste.

You know I had to try saffron. I talked about trying to grow it myself, but the bulbs are very hard to procure (the ones that produce the cooking saffron, not the decorative plant.) But Lucile, from Glandeves, helped resolve my curiosity. She not only sent the wonderful French Alp saffron, she included some rare, wild grown saffron from the Himalayan region of Tibet and a great looking tea from Tibet as well. The tea is a mix of saffron and top-grade white peony. It’s a “white” tea–I can’t wait to try it. With the perfume of saffron, it is bound to be a luxury. I’m also very partial to natural teas.

has some other pretty unique saffron products–a syrup, a liquor, and even saffron meringues. The site is in French and English.

Lucile–THANK YOU!!!

If anyone has any favorite saffron recipes, send them my way. I’m going to be trying my hand at paella, I think, but I may need to start with something a little easier, perhaps a cream sauce over rice with fish. Yum!!

Update: I tried the tea. It is quite wonderful. It is a little like the fine Japanese teas that I had in Japan. It is smoother than most green teas, however. Definitely hints of sunshine in an open field of grass and flowers.

Posted: July 21, 2009
Filed in Spanish

More on Saffron

I tried another saffron dish–this time, grilled salmon with saffron rice. Lucile from Glandeves gave me this recommendation (as well as the others I posted earlier.)

I love grilled salmon and it turned out well. I used the French Alp Saffron in this dish and it was very potent, just wonderful stuff! The rice went well with the salmon, but I missed the chicken that was mixed into the dish in the first recipe. I used fresh, homemade chicken broth as before, but really thought that the addition of chicken mixed into the rice would have made the entire dish…that much better. Of course, I don’t know how well chicken goes with salmon–I know it went well with the scallops so I don’t think it would be a problem. (My dad likes to keep seafood with seafood, beef dishes with beef and so on.) Perhaps I could have tried the mussels or some shrimp instead.

The saffron is really a delight to work with. I’m already looking forward to making the chicken/rice/saffron and scallops again. It was just over the top yummy!!!

Posted: August 17, 2009
Filed in Spanish


saffrondishWe have our first saffron dish!  I collected recipes (thanks to all of you who emailed them to me), read through them and…instead of picking one, I combined ingredients and techniques from several!  I didn’t want to start with the recipes that involved too much expensive fish.  That way, if I blew the recipe completely, it wouldn’t be quite so expensive.

As you can see from the picture, I settled on Chicken Saffron Rice with Sea Scallops and Asparagus.

I took advice from Lucile from Glandeves; (after all she grows, picks, dries and sells the saffron).  I soaked about 4 strands of saffron in cream for several hours before I began the dish.

Another friend of mine sent me a recipe that advised making the rice with chicken broth–the homemade kind.  While this may seem like a lot of trouble, saffron is not cheap.  Might as well get the most out of the ingredients to really bring out the dish.  I marinated two chicken thighs/legs in honey and soy sauce and then baked.  I removed the chicken from the bones and boiled the bones with one cube chicken bullion, thyme and celery.   Yum!

I cooked 1.5 cups of rice, minced onions, 3 cups of the broth and about 1/4 cup of the saffron cream.   When it was almost done  cooking, I sauteed garlic in grapeseed oil (high smoking point) and then sauteed scallops.  Using the leftover garlic and oil, I sauteed asparagus.  When the rice was done, I added the last of the cream/saffron (about 2 tablespoons).   I then mixed in the diced chicken.

When the rice was done…wow.  What a subtle, yet beautiful aroma.  I’ve never had saffron, and I can say that it is a truly unique smell.  Definite flowers.  The only other way I can describe it is to compare the smell to a walk in the mountains.  A very clean, fresh scent that is so subtle, you wouldn’t even know to ask the cook about it. The saffron doesn’t overwhelm the dish; it compliments the chicken and the scallops quite well.  It went extremely well with the tart/slight bitterness of asparagus.

I think I may try it another saffron rice disk with wild salmon next. I really did enjoy the scallops as part of the dish. Lucile also mentioned a dish using saffron soaked in white wine. After soaking for several hours, she suggested boiling mussels in the wine and then serving over rice. Doesn’t that sound good???

Oh–one of the things that I learned from my studies: when a saffron dish is very yellow? It’s often because instead of just saffron, tumeric or annato is used to give the impression that a lot of saffron is in the dish! Both those ingredients are cheaper than saffron threads, yet neither one imparts the taste–and in fact if overused can make the dish bitter.

Posted: July 28, 2009
Filed in Spanish