Friday, September 17, 2010

green chiles, and a giveaway! (exactly what you want)

Last week, a box arrived. I knew it was coming--I'd gotten an email about a week earlier. It was from my friend Heather. Heather lives in Portland with her husband Matt and their sweet little girl, and it turns out that on that day Matt had come home from Whole Foods with an arm full of real New Mexican Hatch green chiles--yes, those very chiles that I moan and cry for at regular intervals around here. He was going back for more, and she asked Did I want a few?, and you can imagine the volume of my hooting and cheering response. Yes, friends...reason number one to start a blog: your dear friends will send you all that you desire.

So there I am with this box- this beautiful box just jam packed with voluptuous and perfect New Mexican chiles. Strange as it is that my chiles would come from Maine, it does serve as just one more point to support the fact that the only place I love more in this country than New Mexico is Portland, Maine. And of course I roasted every one of those chiles in my oven--our eyes watering and our hearts crying out with joy. And then I took out my prized little bag of hominy, and I took a little piece of pork out of the freezer, and I cooked up a pot of posole which warmed my soul and cheered my spirit.

The taste of real green chile is one that I crave with passion. There is nothing like the occasional and perfect satisfaction of that kind of craving.

And it got me thinking...these cravings- the ones that go down to your toes, they are so wrapped in memory and place and feeling. And I started to wonder...what's the taste like this that you crave?

The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to hear what your answers might be. I know sometimes it can be scary to speak up, and so I thought- what would do it?

What if I did my best to find the thing that you crave with all your tastebuds?
I'm going to have to get creative, I'm sure. I have no idea how I'll do it until I know what I'm looking at. But if you leave a comment, and you are randomly chosen, I will figure out a way to answer your call just like Heather answered mine. No limits. Worldwide.

We'll keep the conversation going until Tuesday night (the 21st), and then I'll pick. Ready? Go!


  1. Ohh this is easy...I always crave the food of my childhood, good old Lebanese food. Luckily there are lots of places that now make the classics like hummus, tabouleh and shwarmas (although the hummus is never creamy enough, the tabouleh never has enough parsley and the shawarmas are never as delish as they are in saudi, carved by a sweaty man at a road side stand for about $1 each)....anyway so some of my cravings are met however there is a dessert called Umm Ali (or something like that)that I would die for. It is kind of a bread pudding that is made with puff pastry (sometimes day old croissants) and pistachios and goodness. There was a beautiful hotel called the Meridian that we used to go to for brunch all the time and they had vats of the stuff..warm and bubbly with crunchy sides and mushy, runny, buttery, coconuty wonder in the middle....ahhhh..

  2. Ok, this is REALLY weird. I know Heather and Matt a little bit - we met on the beach last summer, and we have some mutual friends! And my deepest craving is those same damn Hatch chiles, which I didn't know we had here in Portland. Damn, damn, damn.

    It's a really small world, isn't it??

  3. Lol, green chile is my craving, too. In the form of green chile stew. Omg, I miss that stuff so bad.

  4. Of course, since green chile is likely to be claimed by the entire New Mexico ex-pat contingent, I'll tell you about another, equally maddening craving of mine. I spent my early adolescence in a series of foster homes. One of the households I remember most fondly was run by Rose, a Korean woman who made the world's best kimchee from scratch in large glass pickle jars, which took up the entire bottom shelf of her refrigerator. We ate it every day: on rice-a-roni, stirred into top ramen, by itself, you name it, we loaded it up with that homemade kimchee. I have searched high and low in Asian supermarkets and restaurants all over the west coast and in Houston, and so far nothing I've found compares to Rose's kimchee. Some of the Korean deli kimchees here in H-town are pretty good, but Rose's was so much fresher -- almost crispy. Sigh...I think I'm going to go curl up in a ball in the corner and weep with longing now. :P

  5. Funny: I crave things that my grandpap used to can when he was alive. He made these pepper rings that were so absolutely garlicky crispy perfectly delicious on pizza and sandwiches that makes you want to eat them every day kind of good. I miss him so (and his endless canning of tomatoes, peaches, salsas....etc). So has begun my canvolution!

  6. I used to live in New Mexico, and I'm so jealous that you got a batch of fresh green chilis to play with! My favorite when I was sick was a bowl of green chili stew.

  7. Scarily enough, I often crave the Steak and Cheese subs from Josie's (no longer there) just off campus at my university in Waltham, MA. It isn't a Philly style cheese steak, and it is so much more than a steak sub. They were ridiculously good, scorchingly hot with well seasoned cheap beef all chopped up, a lava slide of white american cheese, on a chewy roll that soaked up the meat juice but never got soggy. I got mine with extra pickles, a small dice of super-sour dills that I also have never seen anywhere else. Cannot be replicated.

    And before you ask, no I wasn't.

    At least mostly I wasn't.

    And when I was, they were EVEN BETTER :)

  8. It's a zero-sum world, apparently: I can get all the green chile I want, but I can't get a decent bagel, chicken teriyaki ramen, decent falafel, European dry •beef• salami, a brick of compressed pink carnival popcorn, dry •beef• chorizo (chorizo seco de res), or Tipo 00 pasta flour… just to name the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

    But the craving, all the time, is for •real• bagels. LIke from Daniel's, on Lexington at about 38th.

  9. Mine is something that I don't actually want to want, but can never get away from... because, you know, it's like the tastiest nostalgic food there is for me: soft pretzels. But not any old soft pretzels, I need the ones straight from the vendor off the streets of Philly. Then, if you want a runner up, it has to be the almost equally nostalgic food that I don't want to want: chocolate covered pretzels - the good ones from the candy stores that makes them right there. AND just because I am thinking about it and it has randomly come up 3 times in the past few weeks after I had almost completely forgotten about this at all... when I was a kid, my mom happened upon the most delicious ice cream EVER: pieces of chocolate covered pretzels (like hunks of them) in vanilla ice cream... no idea who made it but I have never seen it since.

    And while it seems like I might be a total junk food addict, I'm not really. I love me the freshest most delicious organic veggies and fruits... but that is this life. And if you are talking about memory and feeling from when I was younger, then that food is different (and still yummy!)

    Mmmm. Now that I am thinking about it, I might have to buy myself one of those fantastic prezelogical berkshrie bark candy bars at work today....

  10. Since discovering that one •can• in fact get good NY pizza here in Santa Fe, NM, I'm no longer jonesing for that.

    But, I have to say, I still crave—one a pretty much weekly basis—good New York bagels. Specifically from Bagel World (or was it Bagel Express?) in Brooklyn. Court St. and Bergen St. I think. They toasted up perfectly, and had the perfect soft to crispy ratio.

    Of course, I would settle for the Chicken Teriyaki Ramen that was mentioned above.

  11. Fish and chips, the right kind, halibut, crispy, and served with lemon, and amber ale, and tartar sauce, but the tartar sauce has to be perfect or else the whole experience is ruined, even if the fish itself was flawless. I hate when they put tarragon in the tartar sauce.

    Tartar sauce is supposed to contain mayonnaise, minced cornichons, minced capers, a whisper of onion, and loads and loads of chopped fresh dill, with a bit of lemon to finish. I do not want it any other way. It is my grandmother's tartar sauce, and it is how tartar sauce is meant to be.

    There's this place down by the marina on our side of the Burrard Bridge a bit of a walk from Granville Island that serves the most beautiful pieces of battered, fried fish in the city. I dream about their fish. I usually get the tacones, but the craving was strong and I needed to have fish and chips. The fish was perfect, exactly how I like it, and the fries were hand cut and the lemon was thin-skinned and mostly juice. And then I scooped a slop of tartar sauce onto a forkful of fish, and put it into my mouth, and there on the patio of Go Fish, I almost cried, and Nick had to talk me down. Fucking tarragon. It was awful, and I felt so melodramatic and embarrassed at what to others would seem an overreaction, but it really was crushing.

    He would like you to know that I am insane.

  12. Hi Alana, Hi Joey! I have been thinking about this for a few days now, and I think I have settled. In almost every italian bakery in New Jersey you can get these big almond cookies that have a chocolate dot in the middle. I used to use the lunch money my mom gave me to buy these instead of the cafeteria food (healthy, I know). I haven't seen these outside of NJ & NY, definitely not in NM. They are right next to the black and white cookies in the display window.

  13. hummm. this is werid because it wouldn't be one thing - cravings for me depend so much on season, mood and who knows what else. so if i should be so lucky to be picked i would throw it back to you. sorry. though i would also mention that i am a vegetarian, love sweets and do not enjoy really "hot" things. (no chiles here ...)

    jacquieastemborski At comcast DOT net

  14. There's a few that definitely come to mind...NY/NJ bagels (as someone had previously mentioned), particularly from the bagel place by my mom's house; Then there's the classic mac & cheese, (such as the one Alana and family so beautifully graced us when my daughter, Noelia, was born; And I can't forget my grandmother's noodle kugel; But, I think what stands out to me more than anything else, is tomato soup and grilled cheese.

    My childhood experiences of tomato soup and grilled cheese involved Campbell's soup cans and fluorescent orange Kraft american cheese. It's hard for me to believe now that that was ever a comfort, but it was. Over the year's it has evolved to homemade tomato soup from vegetables that we lovingly grew, with a fine artisan cheeses melted tenderly over our homemade bread, local butter and usually fresh pesto.

    I am thankful for the evolution of my food palette and for my mom's ability to instill some comfort food in me. I am even more thankful for the opportunity to share this comfort with my family... and now with all of you!


  15. I crave my grandma's butterscotch chip/raisin cookies. They were a staple at her house as long as I can remember. I can't make them like she did - they are just missing something - probably grandma's love.

    More recently, my craving is for a marinated then grilled skirt steak VERY thinly sliced from a local hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint. So delicious, my mouth waters thinking about it. They are open weird hours and I seldom get there these days which makes me sad.


  16. When I was young and visiting my dad in Albany on the weekends, he used to take me to a restaurant called El Loco all the way at the end of Lark St. As an adult, my strongest recurring craving is for the kind excellent, tex-mex the pretty waitresses at El Loco served us. Some people think excellent tex-mex is an oxymoron. I think it's incredibly depressing that the "best" mexican restaurant within an hour radius of me serves tacos with goat cheese and swiss chard. I live in Portland, Maine, city of amazing restaurants and those famous chiles that satisfied dear Alana's craving. Several times a month, however, I would trade in all of our cozy, local-ingredient-using, gourmet, hip eateries for one truly yummy tex-mex meal. I'm talking corn tortillas with sweet, spicy, smokey, tangy red sauce, slathered with melted cheese, shredded lettuce and lime juice, and seasoned ground beef. It has flavour, it has texture, it comes on an obscenely large, warmed plate with soupy refried beans and yellow rice. I just can't fathom why we don't have one of these restaurants on every corner. In any case, if I- or if you, my resourceful friend- found a way to produce this meal in my hometown, one of my deepest longings would be satisfied!

  17. My Noni's homemade gnocchi & meat sauce. Best.Comfort.Food.Ever! The best part is that she taught me how to make them when I was just a little girl & I have the recipe! The bad part is that I haven't made them in about 6 years because of my little guy's egg allergy. :( Tell you what, if you randomly pick me, I'll come to your house & we can make them. :)