Recipe of the Week: Escabeche Pickles

page-30-EscabecheDo you love pickles? Why not try making your own pickled vegetables at home? Chef Ryan Clark shows us how in Modern Southwest Cooking. Use whatever vegetables you like and don’t be afraid to play around with the mix. These can be eaten immediately or within several days. They’ll only get better as they have a chance to hang out in the brine.

Escabeche Pickles

Makes 2 quarts

1/2 cup pickling spice
1 quart cider vinegar
1 quart water
2 jalapeños, sliced
3 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cauliflower, florets only
1 dozen baby carrots, halved lengthwise
2 ribs celery, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 garlic cloves
12 cornichon pickles
6 small sweet peppers, whole
12 olives
1 cup small mushrooms, such as enoki or oyster
6 radishes, halved

In a large saucepan, heat the pickling spice, cider vinegar, water, jalapeño, thyme, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Set aside until slightly cool and then strain.

Pack the raw vegetables into two 1-quart Mason jars and cover with the warm pickling liquid. Let cool to room temperature. Place the lids on the jars and refrigerate. For best flavor, allow to sit for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator before serving.

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Foodies West review of Modern Southwest Cooking

Modern-SW-coverFoodies West has published a great review of Chef Ryan Clark’s new cookbook, Modern Southwest Cooking.

An excerpt from the review follows. Read the full article, which includes a sample recipe from the book, at Foodies West.

Seriously, this book is the cutting edge of a deliciously brilliant imagination. The title is pure understatement. “Modern” doesn’t do a single page justice. Clark has used his own version of a culinary over-the-horizon radar to “invent” dishes that leave you mumbling—gosh, why didn’t I think of that? Well, according to Clark, if you don’t play with your food, you may never know. Blueberry and wine meatballs with outrageous mole sauce? Yup, a totally yummy invention that you won’t easily forget. Tucson’s very own culinary wunderkind has set the pace for many of the new flavor combinations that will soon be coming your way. Did we mention healthy? Healthy is as healthy does and in Clark’s kitchen every key ingredient is treated with respect. What are the “key” ingredients? Get the book, seriously.

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Friday Photo 4/18

Starry night over Havasu Falls, Havasupai Reservation, Grand Can

Starry night over Havasu Falls, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona. Photo by Kerrick James,

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Recipe of the Week: Easter Lamb


lamb-2 editedIf ham sounds too boring for your Easter meal, consider lamb. This Southwestern version from Marilyn Noble’s Southwest Comfort Food has a subtle spice without being too hot.

Spicy Southwestern Leg of Lamb

Serves 6

6 cloves garlic
6 fresh jalapeños, seeded
1/2 cup tequila
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 leg of lamb, bone in, 5–6 pounds
Cherry–Mint Sauce (recipe follows)

Puree the garlic, jalapeños, tequila, mustard, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Place the lamb in a large glass baking dish and coat with the marinade. Cover and marinate 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat the grill to 225 degrees F. Move the coals to one side. If using a gas grill, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for indirect grilling. Place the lamb on the grill away from the coals and cover. Roast until the temperature reads 135 degrees F for medium rare. Remove from the grill and allow to stand for 15 minutes to allow juices to move into meat. Carve and serve with Cherry–Mint Sauce on the side.

Cherry–Mint Sauce

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 jar (8 ounces) cherry preserves
1/4 cup mint jelly
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Combine the cherry preserves, mint jelly, horseradish, and mustard in a small saucepan. melt over low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and chill before serving.

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Rio Nuevo Well-Represented in the Slow Food Movement

logo-slow-food-usaCongratulations are in order for Rio Nuevo author Chef Ryan Clark. He was recently named board chair for Slow Food Southern Arizona, a chapter affiliated with Slow Food USA. Clark is the author of Modern Southwest Cooking and the proprietor and chef at Augustin Kitchen in Tucson.

Our cookbook editor, Marilyn Noble, was recently named to a four-year term as governor of the Rocky Mountain region for Slow Food USA. She served on the board of Slow Food Denver for five years and spent the last year as board chair. She is also the co-chair of the Southwest Mountain regional Ark of Taste committee for Slow Food USA. In addition to her editing work, she has written or collaborated on four cookbooks for Rio Nuevo, the most recent being The Essential Southwest Cookbook.

Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with supporters in more than 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with commitment to communities and the environment. Slow Food USA is the governing body for more than 200 chapters across the country and sponsors school gardens, the Ark of Taste, national days of action, and the upcoming Slow Meat convening scheduled for June in Denver.

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Great Gallery of Canyonlands by Larry Lindahl

GreatGallery_Lindahl-5282wpLarry Lindahl, photographer and co-author of the upcoming book Ancient Southwest with Gregory McNamee, shared this piece he wrote as a foreword for the book. We’ve published an excerpt here; you can read the rest on Larry’s blog.

The sandy trail leading up Horseshoe Canyon offers soft footing, slowing the pace, quieting my steps. Along the canyon floor, cottonwood trees shimmer with fantastically bright yellow leaves below pastel sandstone cliffs, and a shallow, meandering creek glistens and sparkles under the deep-blue autumn sky.

After driving a 31-mile dirt road from the highway, then descending a 750-foot cliff on foot down switchbacks into the canyon, a three-and-a-half-mile trail then takes me to the most revered rock art panel in the entire American Southwest. Photos I had seen show a majestic, otherworldly grouping of ghostly figures spread two hundred feet across that appear to float above the canyon floor.

Walking up the canyon in this remote extension of Canyonlands National Park, I reflect on what I’ve read about this place. The twenty or more life-size figures were painted 2,000–8,000 years ago. During this time, the nomadic hunting and gathering people slept in brush shelters in caves.

Along the trail, small collections of pictographs appear up on the cliffs and hidden in caves. In the back of one enormously large alcove, I discover a series of roughly painted pictographs on the pale-peach sandstone. They sit low to the ground in faded red, gray, and brown. Sounds in this space seem to float and shift.


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Friday Photo 4/11

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A family of Costa’s hummingbirds at the Arizona–Sonora Desert Museum. Dad was watching over mom and babies. Photos by Aaron Downey.

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Recipe of the Week: Kumquat Ginger Infused Water

p.26 sharpp.26 sharpp.26 sharp copyFor those of us in the desert Southwest, the heat is coming. Here is a wonderfully refreshing drink to help cope with 90+ degree weather, from The Green Southwest Cookbook, by Janet Taylor. Infused waters with a hint of fresh fruit offer a tasty alternative to refresh and hydrate with almost zero calories. You can choose your favorite fruit (or vegetable or herb) and use more or less water. This version is refreshingly colorful with a few stems of just-clipped mint suspended beneath floating sweet kumquat slices. Pressed ginger imparts a hint of mildly spicy flavor that plays against sweet-tart kumquat slices and  pleasant notes of mint, delivering a pleasingly satisfying thirst quencher. Note that young spring ginger doesn’t need peeling.

Kumquat–Ginger Infused Water

Serves 8

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
About 1/2 gallon fresh water
3 fresh mint vines or stems, 8–10 inches each
2 cups kumquats, quartered and seeded
1 small sprig of mint per serving, for garnish
A few kumquat slices, for garnish

In a pitcher, press the ginger with a wooden spoon handle to release its juice. Squeeze or pierce a number of the mint leaves to release the flavor, add them to the pitcher, and then fill half full with water. Add kumquat slices and top off with more water. If necessary, stir to attractively suspend the mint. Allow it to infuse for about 1/2 hour in the refrigerator. Pour over ice in a tall glass and add a sprig of mint and a few kumquat slices for pizzazz. If serving a large group, use a two-or three-gallon glass beverage dispenser and double or triple the recipe, then fill with ice cubes. Citrus rind will gradually cause the drink to become slightly bitter, so serve within 4 to 6 hours.


*Instead of kumquat, place slices from 2 oranges, 1 lime, and 1 lemon into a 1/2-gallon pitcher with about 20 mint leaves; add water and stir. Allow to steep in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

*Aromatic rosemary is full of antioxidants and can aid digestion. Instead of using kumquat and mint, add 3 or 4 rosemary sprigs—twist the leaves a few times to release the perfume—and drop into the water along with peeled grapefruit sections (the rind tends to be bitter). Let it steep in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

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The Tumbleweed Came Back Colorado Book Award finalist


Congratulations to Carmela LaVigna Coyle and Kevin Rechin: their picture book, The Tumbleweed Came Back, is a finalist in the 2014 Colorado Book Awards!

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Friday Photo 4/4

Ancient PictographsPictographs in Sego Canyon in Utah, not far from Green River just off I-70. Photo by Mike Koopsen, Trails Traveled Photography,


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