The Big Announcement!

Many thanks to everyone who entered our fall photo contest. As always, you showed us what it means to appreciate the beauty of the Western U.S. We’re always impressed by the creativity and quality of your photos, both from the pros and the amateurs.

Congratulations to our weekly winners — picking one photo was always a tough undertaking for our editorial team. So now it’s time to announce our grand prize winner, chosen from the six weekly winners. Tom White is a regular on our Facebook page — he submits photos for the enjoyment of our audience even when we’re not having a contest, and we’re pleased to award the grand prize to Tom for his image of Fall at Lockett Meadows. Tom, please email aarond – at – and he’ll get a selection of Rio Nuevo books in the mail to you. We’ll also arrange time for an interview so we can profile you and your work on our blog.

Grand prize winner! Lockett Meadows by Tom White

Grand prize winner! Lockett Meadows by Tom White

It’s always fun to see which images resonate with our friends and followers, and this time around, the people’s choice award goes to Sarah Dolliver for her week five entry, a photo of Sedona’s red rocks. Sarah is no stranger to our pages, either. She was the grand prize winner of our first photo contest, and we’re looking forward to catching up with her and seeing what’s new in her life, both photographic and personal. Sarah, we’ll get a book collection out to you and we’ll be in touch to arrange an interview.

People's choice award! Sedona's red rocks by Sarah Dolliver.

People’s choice award! Sedona’s red rocks by Sarah Dolliver.

Thanks to everyone for entering, voting, and otherwise following our contest!

Weekly winners:

Week Two -- Sarah Dolliver

Week Two — Sarah Dolliver

Week three michalicek

Week Three — Georgia Michalicek

Week Four -- Sarah Dolliver

Week Four — Sarah Dolliver

Week Five -- Heather Dunn

Week Five — Heather Dunn

Week Six -- Dawn Santiago

Week Six — Dawn Santiago

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Cook Your Turkey on the Grill

by Marilyn Noble

[URL=][IMG][/IMG][/URL]Among the many reasons to be grateful for living in the Southwest is the fact that for many of us, Thanksgiving is warm and sunny and perfect for grilling. Cooking the turkey on the grill has many advantages: You free up the oven for other dishes, you avoid the mess of having to clean a greasy roasting pan at the end of the day, and you can spend time outside on a day when people in colder climes are huddled next to the fireplace listening to crazy Aunt Sadie droning on about her cats or the drunk uncles arguing over who’s going to win the ball game.

Grilling the turkey is easy, but takes some attention. Start with a quality bird in the twelve-to-sixteen pound range. A pastured heritage breed turkey tastes like turkey used to when Thanksgiving was at Grandma’s house, but they can run upwards of a hundred dollars. If you’re a ninety-nine-cent-a-pound turkey bargain shopper, that seems astounding, but the end result will be a delicious, succulent bird. You can also find fresh organic or pasture-raised turkeys at Whole Foods or your local meat market in the three-to-four dollar a pound range. They really are worth the expense.

Choose your favorite flavor of smoking chips. Mesquite is common in the Southwest, and hickory, oak, apple, or cherry wood deliver different, subtle flavor notes. Soak the chips in red wine, bourbon, or brandy for added nuance. (That also gives you an excuse to have a bottle open, just in case the heated debate over whether or not Peyton Manning should be benched spills out of the house and into the grill area.)

Use a digital remote thermometer. That way you can leave the grill and take care of other tasks in the house. If you don’t have one (or want to invest in one), use an instant-read thermometer and start checking the breast and thigh temperatures after about an hour and a half of cooking. The breast should come up to 165 degrees F, and the thigh should be 170.

Use indirect heat and a drip pan to keep the flames down. If you’re using charcoal, arrange the coals in a circle around the bird and put the drip pan in the middle. If you’re using gas, heat the grill to about 325 degrees F, then turn off the middle burner and place the drip pan on it. Place the turkey on the oiled cooking grate above it. Leave the grill closed as much as possible — each time you open it, the heat escapes and it slows down the cooking process.

If the bird starts getting too brown, tent it with foil.

For gravy, simmer the turkey neck with an onion, bay leaf, and salt while the turkey is on the grill. You can then use the resulting stock as a gravy base. If you don’t want to tie up a burner for several hours when you’re trying to cook everything else, buy a couple of turkey thighs a few days in advance, then make stock and freeze it until you need it.

SW comfortThis recipe is adapted from Southwest Comfort Food, Slow and Savory. The flavors are definitely Southwestern, but you can vary the spices to your own taste. Use a combination of rosemary, thyme, and parsley instead of the chile powder and cumin, or any combination that suits your palate. If you don’t want to do it on the grill, this recipe also works beautifully in the oven.



Barbecued Southwestern Turkey

1 turkey, 12-16 pounds, fresh or thawed, if previously frozen
1 cup softened butter
2 tablespoons red chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 orange, cut into eighths, peel on
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 onion, quartered

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make the compound butter. In a bowl, mix the butter, chile powder, cumin, garlic, black pepper, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Remove the package of giblets and the neck from the turkey. Rinse the turkey and pat dry inside and out. Rub the butter on the inside cavity, and then, using your hands, loosen the skin beginning with the breast, and rub the remaining butter under the skin over the entire turkey. Place the orange, apple, and onion in the cavity of the bird, making sure not to overstuff. The heat needs to be able to circulate through the cavity. Cover the wing tips and leg ends with foil so they don’t char. Don’t truss the legs together because the turkey won’t cook evenly.

Heat the grill, either gas or charcoal, using the indirect method, to about 325 degrees F. Place a drip pan under the grate where the turkey will sit. When the grill is heated, add some smoking chips if desired. Place the digital thermometer into the breast of the turkey under the wing, and place the turkey breast side up on the grate above the drip pan. Close the grill.

Keep an eye on the temperature, checking once after about 90 minutes to make sure the skin isn’t getting too brown. If you’re using charcoal, add more as needed to keep the temperature constant. The total cooking time should be three to four hours.

When the breast temperature is 165 degrees F, remove the turkey from the grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest for twenty to thirty minutes before carving.

Point Reyes headshotMarilyn Noble is Rio Nuevo’s cookbook and blog editor, and has written four cookbooks including Southwest Comfort Food and The Essential Southwest Cookbook. She is also the co-chair of the Southwest/Mountain Ark of Taste committee and the Colorado governor for Slow Food USA.




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Our Final Weekly Winner Is…

Week 6 SantiagoCongratulations to Dawn Santiago, our final weekly winner in the fall photo contest. It was another hard decision this week — there were so many creative and well-executed interpretations of brown, gray, and black. We liked Dawn’s owl because his baleful stare seems to be warning the photographer to back off, but she persisted in taking his portrait anyway. Dawn, your image will be considered for the grand prize, which will be announced next Friday. Please email aarond – at – and he’ll send you your book.

Don’t forget — the voting for the people’s choice award continues until next Wednesday at midnight. If you didn’t win one of our weekly contests, you still have a chance. Remind your friends to add their likes to your photos on our Facebook page. We’ll announce that winner next Friday also.

This brings our 2015 fall photo contest to a close. We hope you’ve had as much fun with it as we have, and we thank everyone who took the time to enter. Stay tuned for our next project.

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Congratulations, Heather

Week Five Heather DunnLast week our theme was red, and we had several great entries. We liked Heather Dunn’s Tubac Cafe because it combines both a brilliant pop of red and a distinctly Southwestern feel with the adobe walls.  The hummingbird feeder in the window is a nice added touch. Congratulations, Heather! Please email aarond – at – and your prize will be in the mail. Your image is also in the running for the grand prize.

We’re in the last week of our contest, and the theme is brown, gray, and black. This one should stimulate your creativity, so send us your best shots before Wednesday at midnight.  We’ll announce the winner next Friday. Good luck!

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Week Six Theme — Brown, Gray, and Black

2015-11-01 17.02.06The transitory colors of fall are coming to an end, as is our photo contest. The first snow has fallen in many parts of the West, leaving behind bare trees, leaden skies, and monochrome meadows. To celebrate our slide into the darkness of winter, our theme this week is brown, gray, and black.

As always, post your photos before midnight next Wednesday on our Facebook page, and encourage your friends to like their favorites. We’ll announce the final weekly winner next Friday, and then, the following week, we’ll announce our grand prize and peoples choice winners.

Good luck!

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And the Week Four Winner Is…

Week 4 Sarah Dolliver

Congratulations to Sarah Dolliver, our week four winner. The theme was rust, and this image gives us the feeling of the old days in the West with the mottled and rusty hood of a land shark. The hood ornament is both cobwebbed and polished, adding an interesting counterpoint to the rusty steel. Nice shot, Sarah! You know what to do to claim your prize, and your photo will be entered in the grand prize competition.

Our contest is in it’s fifth and next-to-last week, and the theme is red. Show us what that means to you. We’ve had some great entries already, and we’d love to see more.

Happy Halloween!

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Week Five Theme — Red

Oregon Coast094

A quiet day on the Oregon coast.

We’re continuing with our celebration of the colors of fall with a new theme this week — red. Red shows up in lots of places in autumn, whether it’s a basket of ripe red chiles, the last of the summer tomatoes, a particularly hardy and beautiful oak tree, or the berries on the shrubs along the creekside trail. But don’t limit yourself — show us other places red pops out at you.

As always, post to our Facebook page before midnight next Wednesday. No more than three entries per person, please. We’re looking forward to seeing your work! And Happy Halloween!

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Halloween Fun in the Old Pueblo

Photo by Barbara Carroll.

Photo by Barbara Carroll.

Halloween can be fun for all ages, and this weekend there are plenty of reasons to don your favorite costume and get out and about. Whether it’s food and music, a slice of history, games for the kids, or a crazy movie, Tucson has something to entertain everyone this weekend.

Viva La Local Food Festival

Tucson’s only local food, farm, and live music festival features food from 25 restaurants, wineries, and breweries; more than 70 farmers market vendors; and a day full of live music. Admission is $6, food and drink tastings $5, free parking, free bicycle valet, and free veggie valet. PLUS, they’ll have plenty of fun family-friendly activities to celebrate Halloween! All proceeds to benefit Southern Arizona’s 501(c)(3) non-profit Heirloom Farmers Markets.

October 31, 9:00-5:00
Rillito Park, 4502 N. 1st Ave.

Chilies, Chocolate and Day of the Dead

If you appreciate chiles and chocolate, Tohono Chul Park is the place to be. The two-day festival (Friday and Saturday) will feature food trucks, vendors, arts and crafts, face painting, chile roasting, music, and family fun.

October 30 & 31, 9:00-5:00
Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte

A Dreary, Bleak, Desolate Place: Tucson’s Abandoned Cemeteries

Over the last 250 years, Tucson has seen five cemeteries used and abandoned. Today these cemeteries lie beneath the homes, businesses, and government buildings of downtown Tucson. The stories of these cemeteries and some of the people who were buried in them will be discussed in this illustrated lecture by archaeologist Homer Thiel and presented by the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson Museum at Dusty Monk Pub, in Old Town Artisans.

October 31, 2:00-3:30 pm
Dusty Monk Pub, 201 N. Court

Desert Boneyard 10K/5K Run

The Annual Desert Boneyard Run is held in the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) “boneyard”, a one-of-a-kind specialized airplane storage site on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Runners have the rare chance to tread between the aircraft that make up the largest air force fleet in the world, other than the United States Air Force. The 2,600 acre site has nearly 4,000 aircraft and is typically only open to employees and the occasional bus tour. This unique event gives the general public an opportunity to see the boneyard’s vast national treasures.

October 31, 7:30 – noon
Kolb Rd and Irvington, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base “Aircraft Boneyard”
Register here before 5 pm today.

Fabulous Halloween at the Children’s Museum

Halloween crafts, a hair-raising story time, and creepy costume contest are among the festivities planned at the Children’s Museum. Dress the little ones and come for a day of fun and surprises before you hit the streets for the big candy score.

October 31, 10:00-2:00
200 S. 6th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701

Fort Lowell Haunted Histories

The Arizona Historical Society presents a free, family-friendly day of stories, games, and prizes for all ages at the Fort Lowell Museum.

October 31, 11:00-3:00
2900 N Craycroft Road

Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary Sing-along and Halloween Bash

At the risk of doing the Time Warp, I think I was at the first Rocky Horror Halloween Bash at the old Loft on 6th Street, just off campus. The theater may have moved, but the fun hasn’t changed in this perennial favorite featuring a troupe of actors, unknown at the time, who went on to bigger, better, and less campy projects.

The early show is the sing-along and includes a costume contest and prop bags so you can participate in the fun. The late show will start with games, prizes, a virgin sacrifice, and a costume contest. Paint those lips red and pull on the fishnets. It’s time to jump to the left and take a step to the right…. (Adults only for this one.)

October 31, 7:00 and 11:00 pm
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway

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The Winner, Week Three!

Week three michalicekOur week three theme was orange, and we were taken with the quiet beauty of Georgia Michalicek’s leaves. Congratulations, Georgia! Please email your mailing address to aarond at and he’ll send you a book. Your photo is also entered in our grand prize contest.

Our people’s choice contest is still going strong, so don’t forget to like your favorite entries on our Facebook page. Just scroll down to the “posts by others” box and click on the first image. Then you can scroll through all of the entries.

Our theme this week is rust, so show us your interpretations. We’re looking forward to seeing them. The deadline is next Wednesday at midnight.


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Week Four Theme — Rust

Rust (n): 1. a reddish-brown color, 2. a state of deterioration or disrepair resulting from lack of use.

2014-12-09 11.14.18

Fall is a time of winding down, getting ready to rest, and sometimes, decay. One of the prominent colors as fall progresses is rust — in fallen leaves, in tree trunks, or even in the ancient steel of an old barn and a long-forgotten truck.

This week, show us what rust means to you, whether literally as in the color, or metaphorically. Post your photos (no more than three per entrant, please) to our FB page no later than next Wednesday at midnight. And please remind your friends to like their favorites. We’ll announce the winner next Friday.

Good luck, everyone.



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