Karina's Roasted Hatch Chile Stew with Sweet Potato, Corn + Lime

Scrumptious slow cooker stew with roasted chiles, sweet potato and lime 

Karina's Santa Fe Inspired Stew

If you are lucky enough to live in enchanted New Mexico (as we were- a few years back), chances are you worship at the Sacred Temple of the Holy Chile Pepper. During the all-too-short chile harvest season you can smell the intoxicating smoky-sweet scent of roasting chiles everywhere you go. 

Teasing. Tantalizing. Infusing your daydreams with green chile fantasies.

In Santa Fe, roasters abound. Even in the Walmart parking lot. For a few precious weeks, they are rock stars, fueled by propane, turning blackened barrels over a fire, locals and visitors patient, in queues, waiting for their holy batch. 

The devotion to roasted chile runs deep in these parts and yes, it's with an e never with an i; if you call chile chili in these parts you may as well kiss your white bread tuchas good-bye, pendajo, because you'll be laughed out of the state. Shunned. Scorned. These folks get very serious about their autumn roasted chile. Don't mess with 'em.

It's harvest time.

Where inside every grocery store stacks of crated fresh chiles dominate the floor space like so many Stanley Kubrick obelisks (cue 2001 music). Where gallon size freezer bags are out of stock in every market. Chile lovers around here freeze enough roasted chiles to last a year (they buy an extra freezer just for chile) though I overheard one woman complaining that her chile stash never lasts more than nine months.  

Yeah, nodded her comadre. We always run out in June, she said. And then it's so hard to wait.

Yes. It is.

If you're up to roasting your own chiles, you can do it on the grill or even over an open flame like Elise does at Simply Recipes; here's her How to Roast Chile Peppers Over a Gas Flame. After roasting, cool and peel; then stem, seed and chop.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Karina's awesome new gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe.
Karina's awesome new pumpkin bread recipe. Gluten-free.

Autumn Pumpkin Bread: Time to Bake

Autumn in Portland, Oregon, is soft and rainy. Foggy. And slow to frost. The scents of Ponderosa pine and red cedar infuse our morning walk with a woodsy familiarity my New England soul craves, as yellow willow leaves flutter earthward, dreamlike, cinematic.

Time to pull on sweaters. Dig out a favorite scarf. Stack kindling and firewood. Choose a new book to love (I am reading Mink River by Brian Doyle- a lovely, lyrical, michievous book infused with Irish-American sensibility and Salish stories).

And best of all, it is finally time- for pumpkin lovers everywhere- to fill the pantry shelves with tins of our favorite curcurbit. Because Dear Reader...

It's time to bake.

And I have a fabulous, flavorful, autumn-worthy gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe for you.

A huge, gorgeous pumpkin loaf.

Enjoy warm from the oven, with butter or cream cheese.

Or make it ahead: Bake it. Wrap it. Freeze it.

And Babycakes, it will feed a crowd.