Monday, September 29, 2008

Green Chile Burgers

New Mexico's much-famed green chili burger, now made at home with homemade green chili sauce and plain burger meat.

Green Chile Burgers ♥, an authentic New Mexico specialty.

So first? I made Green Chile Sauce, it was the beginning of my quest for green chile burgers just like the cult-favorites in New Mexico.

Next up? The burgers!

At first I fussed with ideas for gussied-up gourmet burgers, y’know, where you grind this with that, add this and poke there. My butcher laughed at these notions and packed up a big hunk of good ground beef. “You won’t be able to tell the difference,” he promised.

So simple good is simple does. Good ground beef. Salt and pepper. A toasted bun. Warm freshly made Green Chile Sauce. It.Gets.No.Better.

EATING TIPS FOR DIABETICS To avoid bread, diabetics and those who follow low-carb and low-glycemic diets often forgo sandwiches entirely. But for anyone with a serious burger hankering, here's a quick tip that reduces bread consumption. (I'm not diabetic but this technique is so simple, I'm doing it too.) Use whole-grain bread rolls, not bread slices and use a fork to scoop out the centers of the rolls without piercing the crusts. (Don't waste the centers – save them for bread crumbs for another dish.) Now fill the roll with the burger, sandwich filling, etc. Easy, yes?!

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Just good meat with an amazingly good green salsa
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 4 soft hamburger buns, split
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound good ground beef (I used a 90% mix)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese, optional
  • 1 cup Green Chile Sauce, warmed

In a large heavy skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter on medium high until beginning to sizzle. Add the buns, cut-side down, and let toast until beginning to turn golden. Set aside.

Meanwhile, gently form the ground beef into four flat patties about a half inch thick. (Handle the ground meat as little as possible, so not to compress it. You want to be able to see the strands, not mush them all together.) Season one side with salt and pepper.

Add another 1/2 tablespoon butter to the skillet until beginning to bubble. Place the seasoned side of the patties onto the skillet, they should sizzle. Season the upper side. Without moving, let the patties cook until a thin crust forms on the underside, about 3 minutes. Turn over (this is where you’d add a slice of cheese, if so inclined) and cook for another minute or two, until meat has reached desired doneness.

Place patties on bottom buns, top with hot green chili sauce, top with top buns. Prepare to be transported all the way to New Mexico.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Burger, including bun and Green Chile Sauce: 316 Calories; 14g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 16g Carb; 2g Fiber; 383mg Sodium; 77mg Cholesterol; 18g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 7 & PointsPlus 7

Crazy for A Great Burger

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chicken Burgers with Fresh Spinach, Feta and Garden Tzatziki Sauce Jerusalem Turkey Burgers with Zucchini Minnesota Sloppy Joes
~ Ten Tips for Better Burgers ~
~ more sandwich recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ more Sandwich, Wrap & Tortilla recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

Green Chile Sauce (Salsa Verde)

The Recipe: A New Mexico-style salsa verde, green chile sauce. Tomatillos add a certain authentic sourness, poblano chiles a warm smokiness. This is definitely "not" a spicy-hot green chile sauce. In fact, it's almost smoky-sweet – and astoundingly good.

The Conversation: What's the first thing Minnesota snowbirds eat when returning to New Mexico for the winter? Green Chile Burgers!

Green Chile Sauce for Green Chile Burgers ♥ Vegan. Gorgeous. Low Carb. WW2.

When my snowbird aunt and uncle reach New Mexico in a few weeks, their first food stop will be for green chile burgers.

My aunt is adamant about the choice. With the winter's first green chile burger, she says, "I know that we are really back in New Mexico.” Somehow, green chile burgers proclaim, “Hello, New Mexico! We’re here! We’re back!”

So on my own trek to Santa Fe in August, I knew to hunt up a green chile burger, just to clinch, for sure, my arrival. Ha! Never once did a green chile burger appear on a menu!

So ever since, I’ve wanted to experience one as authentically as possible, even if concocted back here in the Midwest.

First up, the green chile sauce, which, according to The Feast of Santa Fe: Cooking of the American Southwest is also called chili verde, salsa verde, chile verde con tomatillos and salsa de tomatillo.

And wow, this stuff is fresh and wonderful! It has that slight sour from the tomatillos, that smoky darkness from the roasted poblanos. This stuff is good, worth a trip to the Southwest and definitely worth the hour it takes to make at home.

Next up, green chile burgers! At first I fussed with recipes for gourmet burgers, y’know, where you grind this with that and add this and poke that. My butcher laughed at these notions and packed up a big hunk of good ground beef. “You won’t be able to tell the difference,” he promised.

So simple good is simple does. Good ground beef. Salt and pepper. A toasted bun.

It gets no better. We're back in Missouri. But for a few bites, I feel transported back to the arroyos and rainbows of New Mexico.

CRAZY FOR GREEN CHILE Ever since our trip to Santa Fe, I've put green chiles into one recipe after another. Here are just a few! For dinner, check out Supper Casserole with Pumpkin & Green Chile Cornbread Topping or Quick Green Chile Stew. For sides, try a Savory Sweet Potato Casserole and Microwave Green Chili Cheese Grits.

ALANNA'S TIPS Sure, it's easy to roast one or two peppers on a gas stove. But for a bunch of peppers, the oven is only way to go. Here's a step-by-step lesson, How to Roast Peppers in the Oven.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


New Mexico-style salsa verde
Hands-on time: 50 minutes
Time to table: about 2 hours
Makes 3 cups
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 pound poblano peppers, stems, seeds and membrane removed, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 a large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

TOMATILLOS Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tomatillos, cover and return to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, drain. Transfer to a food processor, process until smooth.

POBLANOS Meanwhile, place a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Skin-side up, flatten the peppers onto the foil, rub a tiny bit of oil on the skins and put under the broiler until the skins bubble and blacken. Fold the foil over to form a packet, seal and let rest for 5 minutes. Peel off and discard the skins. Add the flesh to the tomatillos and process until smooth.

SALSA VERDE Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on medium heat until shimmery. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and barely golden. Stir in the flour and stir well, let cook for a minute. (Cooking the flour in an almost-dry pot helps cook off some of the rawness. It takes just a minute but makes a big difference in the resulting flavor.) A tablespoon at a time at first, add the broth, fully blending in each tablespoon before adding another.

Stir in the tomatillo-poblano mixture, the spices and seasoning. Return pot to a boil, watching carefully so not to burn the bottom. Reduce heat to maintain a very slow simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Can be eaten immediately or covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. Usually, you'll rewarm it for serving.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/4 cup: 68 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 9g Carb; 2g Fiber; 240mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & Points Plus 2
Adapted from The Feast of Santa Fe by Huntley Dent, a fabulous cookbook for anyone interested in authentic southwestern cuisine.

For Word Dancers: Chile vs Chili

Let's not put a chill in the room but can we talk chile vs chili? I've gone back and forth but at the moment in 2015, when I say"chile" it's to refer to hot and spicy capsicum peppers like jalapeños, poblanos, Hatch chiles, etc., also to the special dishes made from them. "Chili"? That's reserved for hot soupy-stews that we serve by the bowl during cold weather.

But if you say chili? No problem! Either way, could we please just chill out and eat?

More Recipes Starring Tomatillos & Poblano Peppers

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Green Chile Sauce (Salsa Verde) (recipe above) Green Chili Burgers Fall Stew Baked in a Whole Pumpkin
Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole Poblano Steaks Pork & Poblano Skillet with Creamy Slow-Cooker Beans

Exploring Santa Fe

Rio Grande rainbow

What an unforgettable afternoon! We stopped on the side of the road between Santa Fe and Taos, outside was pounding rain! But directly above were blue skies and sunshine. And then we looked toward the Rio Grande, an amazing rainbow!


"Aqua Santa" is unimpressive from the street but the open kitchen and warm service make for a place I’d love-love-love to have in my own neighborhood. Sorry, update, this restaurant has closed. The Compound’s sunny outside patio made for a special lunch. Cafe Pasqual’s is a touristy spot but the friendly between-table banter and the easy breakfast choices took us back twice.

But my favorite place of all is in a small casita north of Santa Fe that doesn’t take reservations, a little spot called Karina’s Kitchen. Oh wait – that’s not a restaurant, it’s the home of the Gluten-free Goddess herself, Karina Allrich. She and her husband Steve hosted a memorable birthday supper, where we feasted on simple pleasures like this gluten-free cucumber salad and formed friendships easy to imagine lasting a lifetime.


My aunt recommends two spots for green chile burgers in New Mexico, the Owl Bar and Manny's Buckthorn Bar & Grill, both in San Antonio, New Mexico. Note to Self: Never again leave New Mexico without sampling at least one green chile burger. Otherwise, obsessions with green chile sauce may ensue.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Estonian Apple Cake

The Recipe: A moist, apple-y and cinnamon-y apple cake with a crispy topping, almost a coffee cake, rustic and delicious.

The Conversation: How sharing recipes makes the world a smaller place.

Estonian Apple Cake ♥ Simple autumn cake, moist and cinnamon-y with a crackly top. Rave reviews!

"... yum!" ~ LeAnne
"... my family inhaled it.....very good." ~ Maria via Facebook


If our apples are local, let our inspiration be global.

Three decades ago, my friend Pille grew up in Estonia behind the Iron Curtain, imagining lives on the other side through a cookbook called World Dishes. Her favorite recipe became Kanada õunakook, Canadian Apple Cake.

Last fall, I made Pille’s cake for a bake sale in my hometown on the Minnesota-Ontario border. Knowing locals would yawn at a "Canadian" apple cake, I called it "Estonian Apple Cake". Sure enough, it sold fast!

To fancy up a notch, serve this cake in a pool of crème anglaise (pronounced krem-ahn-GLEHZ), French for "English cream", the runny custard.

CRÈME ANGLAISE Bring 1 cup half & half just to a boil. Meanwhile, separately whisk 2 large egg yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar. Slowly whisk the hot liquid into the egg mixture, then return it all to the saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, until it just thickens. Stir in a splash of vanilla. Serve warm or cold. Makes 18 tablespoons.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Two Tablespoons: 29 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 28mg Cholesterol; 6mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1
ALANNA's TIPS This simple apple cake is mixed by hand so is especially good for new cooks. Besides, not everyone has (or wants) even a simple hand mixer, so I collect dessert recipes, no mixer required. Melt butter in the microwave in a small bowl, using 10 - 15 second zaps so not to spatter. Cinnamon is cinnamon, right? Wrong. Cinnamon is harvested all over the world, some are spicier, some sweeter, some mellower. My favorite is Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon from Penzeys whose collection is a spice ‘n’ herb marvel.


A worldly, neighborly cake
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 9
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (115g) milk (skim is fine)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 60g) salted butter, melted (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 155g
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (see TIPS)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound/450g), peeled, quartered, cored, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (50g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour, fluffed to aerate or 15g
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) cold salted butter

Heat oven to 400F/200C. Spray a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan or an 8x8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.

CAKE In a large bowl, whisk egg, then whisk in milk, butter and sugar. Scoop flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon onto wet mixture without mixing in. With whisk’s tip, lightly combine without mixing in. Now whisk dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Stir in apples. Spread evenly in the baking dish.

TOPPING In a bowl, mix topping ingredients with fingers until mealy, spread evenly atop batter.

BAKE & SERVE Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 – 30 minutes. Serve alone, with Crème Anglaise (see recipe on the left) or simple whipped cream. Keeps 2 - 3 days.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice: 235 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 37g Carb; 1g Fiber; 278mg Sodium; 48mg Cholesterol; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 7

Estonian Apple Cake
PEAR & GINGER CAKE Just substitute ripe pears for the apples and ground ginger for the cinnamon. A delicious change from the apple original!
COOKING for DIABETICS While this remains a "dessert", it is possible to adapt this cake to use less sugar. In the cake itself, substitute 6 tablespoons of agave nectar and use whole grain flour (I had good luck with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour.) Finally, use demerara sugar, an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane, for the topping instead of brown sugar.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite apple recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Alanna and Pille in Tallinn, Estonia

2008, RIGHT HERE IN ST. LOUIS When Pille visited the States, I got to meet my blogging friend in person! Our meeting reminded me why I once wrote about the friendships that form among bloggers, "And when we meet, we're already friends." Pille's blog Nami-Nami (which means Yummy, Yummy in Estonian) is a fascinating window into the life of a young professional couple who live and work near the capital city of Tallin. Be sure to check out what she calls Canadian Apple Cake, also another apple recipe she posted just recently, Oven-Baked Toffee Apples.

2014, RIGHT THERE IN TALLINN, ESTONIA And then we spent a few days with Pille and her family in their home outside Tallinn. What a joy, those days, especially meeting her lovely three towhead children! And a fascinating time to visit Estonia, too, geopolitically, see Estonian Deviled Eggs for the story.

More Sweet Apple Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts Healthy Waldorf Salad Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter
Apple Pudding Cake with Cinnamon Butter Sauce American Apple Pie Extra-Crispy Apple Crisp

Apple Favorites from A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the famous Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.

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~ Crème Anglaise ~

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