What a drive from Denver to Taos! Amazing views: 14ers in the southern Colorado Rockies, desert plains at the New Mexico border filled with bushy white clumps of yuccas in bloom, and switch-backed mountain roads studded with small town adobe architecture. Each town had a local cemetery with small wooden crosses and bright silk flower bouquets adorning each gravestone.
We stopped at a local winery 10 miles southwest of Taos called Vivac, owned by two brothers native to Taos who specialize in working with wine varietals from North eastern Italy. We also stopped at Chimayo Trading in Ranchos de Taos to buy some Navajo and Hopi jewelry as gifts for friends back home.
We continued south on Highway 76 to the Santa Barbara campsite in the Carson National Forest and made a delicious sandwich with goat cheese, radishes, radish greens, avocado, tomato, and sprouts. We washed it down with the bottle of Nebbiolo from Vivac.
The trail head for the hike up to Truchas peak (the second highest peak in New Mexico) was right next to our campsite. We walked about 6 of the 32 miles round trip up and back form Truchas. The most striking feature of the hike was the aspen groves. The average aspen rose more than 40 feet and we walked over many with 4 feet girths that had fallen over the winter and were blocking the trail.
The sun was setting behind the mountains before we got back to camp, and we ended up eating our best camp meal yet, fire roasted pepper and tomato black bean stew with homemade corn tortillas and salsa verde in the dark! Luckily Andrew did his mountain man duty of gathering lots of wood to keep us warm by the fire before we crawled into our cold sleeping bags. It got down to 30 degrees at night!
Super New Mexico Lunch Sandwich
Loaf of Ciabatta
Small package of herbed goat cheese
2 slicing tomatoes
1 bunch radishes with their greens
1 box of sprouts
Cut ciabatta in half the long way. Spread goat cheese on the bottom half. Slice tomatoes, avocado, and radishes then layer each over the goat cheese. Wash radish greens carefully then add on top followed by the sprouts. Cut into thirds.
Black Bean Roasted Pepper and Tomato Stew
Roast the following over the fire grate:
5 roma tomatoes
3 bell peppers, 1 each color, red, yellow, and green
2 anaheim peppers
4 banana peppers
3 serrano peppers
1 whole red onion, un-peeled
1 whole garlic clove
1 can black beans
½ bunch cilantro
Peel peppers, garlic, and onion. Then, finely chop all ingredients and add black beans with juice and then the chopped cilantro.
Fire Roasted Salsa Verde
1 lb tomatillos
3 green onions
½ bunch cilantro
Friday, June 8, 2007