Blue winter sunsets: shades of navy, indigo, lavender, yellow, and peach, silhouetting darkened junipers and cottony clouds.
Blue winter sunsets: shades of navy, indigo, lavender, yellow, and peach, silhouetting darkened junipers and cottony clouds.
Tall grass turning brown on the hills, cloudless autumn skies, darkening pine trees, and sunlight frosting it all seemed like good subject matter for a Break it Down post: color palettes of rust, wheat, evergreen, and pale blue. Photo taken on a pretty autumn walk at the Santa Fe Ski basin, before the snows start to come for the winter.
Contrary to what you might expect, these are very tasty little morsels and, thanks to the infamous ricotta, light as a feather or a puffy white cloud—not at all heavy or bready like a typical pancake. Every time I have a recipe that calls for ricotta cheese, it seems like I only use about half of even the smallest container and end up throwing the rest away. Anyway, I had been keeping an eye out for something to do with all that forlorn wasted fluffy goodness, and simultaneously seeing a suspiciously-named item, the “ricotta pancake,” make its appearance on brunch menus in varying locales. In fact, they are so delicious that I might actually purchase additional ricotta cheese just so I can make them again.
*Please note: That is a blueberry, not an olive, in the photos. Black olives with pancakes not recommended.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (reduce to 3/4 tablespoon at high altitude)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Butter, for griddle
Garnish: Sliced, fresh fruit and/or berries, such as peaches and blueberries.
Drizzle of butter, honey, spoonful of (raspberry) jam. Sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together the ricotta, eggs, milk, lemon juice, and zest in a large bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the ricotta mixture until just combined. Brush a hot griddle/cast iron pan with butter. For each pancake, pour approximately 1/4 cup measure of the batter on the griddle and cook on low heat till bubbles form on the surface of the batter; flip with a spatula and cook until the second side is light golden brown.
In the meantime, slice and rinse fruit for garnish; sauté in a pan over low heat with a thin wedge of butter, spoonful of honey, and dollop of raspberry jam. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.
Serve immediately, while piping hot, at maximum ricotta-filled puffiness!
Based on and modified from Bobby Flay‘s recipe.
What would be more amazing than a semi-trailer full of sun-ripened raspberries? What about that same giant truck’s kick-ass purple and pink paint job, and a rotund 1970s/1980s font nostalgia in common with the famed wrappers of Bubblicious (a very large and sugary chewing gum eaten in oversized cube format, as opposed to the more commonly seen stick of chewing gum configuration a la Big Red, probably banned or otherwise unseen since ‘Saved by the Bell’ went off the air. See sample wrapper below, courtesy of the world wide web).
For more about this mythical raspberry ranch in the heart of New Mexico, keep reading.
For one or two magical weekends in October every year, we get a glimpse of a waving honey-colored ocean from the high desert peaks of Santa Fe. This drive up the ski basin, and the journey’s vistas, are a fall classic. Break it down with clear blue skies, gold and copper leaves, pinkly peeling bark and sandy soil, and evergreen.
Come, said the wind to
the leaves one day.
Come, o’er the meadows
and we shall play.
Put on your dresses,
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.
Did you know that the Fall Scenic Chairlift runs for aspen viewing in Santa Fe? First and second weekends of October; dogs not allowed on ski lift FYI.*
*Dog is attached to the convertible with a doggie seatbelt in this photo; never fear.
This recipe turned out to make a really good raspberry pie—and became the fate of all those raspberries we picked. I hate to mash the berries or turn them into a gelatinous slab in order to make a pie; I prefer to leave the fruit as intact as possible, and keep its flavor natural and fresh rather than overly sweetened. This recipe accomplished that, which still making the juices thick enough to keep the crust light and flaky rather than soggy.
Really Good Raspberry Pie
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
This recipe makes 2 double-crusts; if only making one pie, you can save the extra half of the dough in the freezer until you bake your next pie.
4 c flour
1 c chilled unsalted butter
3/4 c vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
Mix the 5 ingredients with a pastry cutter until the dough begins to form small pebbles.
In a separate bowl, mix:
1/2 c cold water
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
Whisk together and add to flour mixture. Work in with a pastry cutter and knead till just smooth.
Split the dough in half, and in half again. Wrap each of the 4 portions in plastic wrap or freezer baggies. Chill at least 15 minutes while you prepare your filling, or up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or freeze until ready to use. Each portion makes half (one top or bottom shell) of a double-crust pie. The dough is easiest to roll when slightly cold, kneaded a few times with floured hands, on a lightly floured surface or a pastry cloth and with a floured wooden rolling pin. Dough should be rolled about 1/4″ thick. Loosely fold the dough into quarters after rolling, in order to transfer it to the pie pan without tearing. Unfold gently and quickly once in the pan and trim excess from the overhanging edges with a sharp knife. Be sure to leave enough excess to fold and pinch into place with the top crust once the pie has been filled.
Line a 9-inch pie pan with one crust. Line the bottom of the crust with mixture of:
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 cups fresh raspberries, gently rinsed and drained
Juice of 1 fresh lemon, squeezed
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 c flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon corn starch
Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch mixture over the berries and stir gently until blended, just before placing the berries into the crust. (Doing this step too early will make the berries too juicy as the sugar causes an increase in liquid the longer it sits on the berries.)
Scoop the berries into the pie shell, and top with:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
Cover the pie with the second crust, trimming, folding, and pinching the edges together with the bottom crust and being careful to cut enough venting to let extra juices evaporate (I slice 7 vents into the top crust on this pie). Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes at 450; reduce heat to 350 and bake 45-60 minutes until golden brown. If the edges of your crust begin to brown before the top, cut narrow strips of aluminum foil to make tents to cover the pie’s edges while the top continues to bake. Remember to turn your pie halfway through its baking time.
Cool completely on a rack before serving, to allow juices to set. If you serve the pie warm, it will be extremely runny and juicy but still delicious. If you have another piece for breakfast the next morning once it has finished cooling, the filling will be set and firm. I refrigerate any leftovers for this pie unsliced, in its pie plate and under plastic wrap, after the initial baking day.
Best with vanilla icecream on top, and alongside a glass of Prosecco!
Modified from the Joy of Cooking Fresh Berry Pies recipe for the filling, and my mom’s famous piecrust.
Maybe it’s the nip in the air, or the last dregs of late-day sunshine—there’s something about fall that makes you want to hit the open road! For a lovely Northern New Mexico day trip in October, try Santa Fe to La Cueva via Las Vegas, then back on a big, scenic loop through Mora and Taos. This was one of the most beautiful drives and pretty, sunny days I could have asked for. Hoping you enjoy my deluxe cell phone photography skills, and ideas for fun stops along the way.
This is the old Grist Mill in La Cueva (above), at the junction of NM Route 518 and 442. According to the old wooden sign seen in the photo, legend has it that the village founder, Vicente Romero, named the town this way because he lived in a nearby cave while building his ranch house in 1851. Cool.
A sweet local gem is Salman Raspberry Ranch. Its harvest season is usually August through October, depending on the first hard frost of the season. We grabbed four pounds of u-pick-it berries from the field, and probably devoured at least that much more on the spot…then proceeded to eat raspberry pie with raspberry icecream, raspberry sauce, and fresh raspberries in the cafe. They are delicious, and I will eat as many as physically possible when they are in season (see previous note).
The wildflower gardens in the old village were nice for walking. Cosmos, roses, sunflowers, and sage were still in full bloom and bustling with bumblebees. And, they were the perfect spot to soak up some of that precious, can’t-get-enough-of-it-golden-afternoon autumn sun.
We finished off our Northern New Mexico day trip winding through the country roads of Mora Valley, beside the river and beneath aspen leaves turning yellow—ending with a little live music and tequila at historic Taos Inn‘s Adobe Bar, and a mountain sunset seen from the driver’s seat as we dropped back down toward Santa Fe.
Here’s to long days and open roads!
It has been a feast for the eyes at the farmer’s market, downtown, around town, and (bragging moment) even our own backyard during this season’s fall harvest in Santa Fe. My husband and I finally did a little “weekend project” work outside our house, and are absolutely loving the colors, smells, flowers, and food that it has provided…not to mention, a great place to sit and watch the clouds over the mountains with a coffee in the morning or the sunset at night.
Project division was basically hubby building a deck ( ! ) and me picking out and placing drought-hardy plants (even better!). After one trip along to Home Depot to help find, drag to the cart, scan, and load what felt like a hundred long, heavy boards, I openly admit that I was totally over it with the deck project and went on to choosing flowers.
I was surprised to learn about some of the species that will thrive here in the high desert environment, and am so happy with the first-year’s growth everything has established so far: butterfly bushes, roses, Russian sage, salvia, yarrow, moss roses, Mexican heather, poppies, the list goes on.
And then there is the vegetable patch. We had some success with our raised beds, this being the second summer that we tried growing tomatoes, Swiss chard, salad greens, herbs, squash, melons, peppers, and herbs. It was a quick learning curve to see the mint (a.k.a. strangler vine) try to choke out everything else in its bed.
I also planted a June bearing and a day neutral strawberry this fall, and am really excited to see how they do next year; this year, we got one berry. I am still pretty proud of that berry.
Back to figuring out more ways to eat copious amounts of chard…
A few words about fall colors, as October starts and the skies begin to deepen their blue, nights get chillier and crystal clear, the first frost has decorated the grass, and we pick by day (and cover at night) the last of our roses, tomatoes, and butternut squash here in New Mexico. I have been walking and sitting outside almost every afternoon and every evening in that wonderful, golden five o’clock autumn light—catching those last few rays of summer-ish sun. This is the road to my house, beautifully filled on either side with wild Mexican sunflowers after a glorious rainy season this year. They are always one of my favorite things to see on the way home, and I will certainly miss them when November comes.
“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”
-Edwin Way Teale
“A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.”
“On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
I know by autumn’s wizardry
On such a day the world can be
Only a great glad dream for me.”
-Eleanor Myers Jewett
I love reading the seasonal poems collected “for gardeners and walkers” here: www.egreenway.com.
Enjoy…here’s to frosty nights by the fireside!
Working with the lovely Heidi Cost (also of the Heidi Cost Photography, Vista del Mar Resort, and La Buena Vida Restaurant websites, which we have had the pleasure of designing, too) is always so much fun! For her family’s adorable adobe rental casita in historic downtown Santa Fe, we were able to go Santa Fe-crazy creating a new WordPress website design, branding, and graphic embellishments with a Southwestern turquoise and rust color scheme, Western-inspired fonts, and geometric Native American graphic accents to reflect the look of the wall hangings, decorations, and charm of the casita itself. We also used a photograph we took of a local agave plant for the site’s background wallpaper to finish off the Santa Fe feel.
Features include: a sidebar widget offering prominent access to guest reviews and instant booking reservations on every page; a custom booking form and calendar of available dates; details on amenities and local attractions; a gallery showcasing each room; family history of the property; directions and embedded Google map to help guests find their way.
As you can imagine, Heidi is really well-versed now in updating her various WordPress website designs that we have created for her. The Chavez House site offers her that same simple updating capability, and Heidi can add photos, check booking requests, keep her reservations calendar up to date, and keep all the details about the casita and local Santa Fe tips current.
Next time you’re in Santa Fe, a stay at this cozy home in an awesome location will be sure to make your trip even more special!
-Kristin + Jackie