The Fork

The Fork: Recipes from the Vault

Feed thyselves

SFR recently won a whole mess of Top of the Rockies awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and it feels pretty good around the ol’ office. And while we’d never dunk on the “real” journos who work here, we’re mainly pumped about the staffers who won a first place award in long form food writing for a story from last July dubbed Stop, Shop & Cook.

Therein, SFR writers contacted local chefs and asked them to go shopping at local grocery stores with a price limit of $40, after which those chefs cooked up a meal using the things they’d purchased. It was a pretty interesting view into their worlds, but even better—we got a bunch of recipes (and tasty meals) out of the deal.

And, since a number of folks have expressed to us they’d somehow missed that story, we wanted to gather all those recipes in one place, just for you, dear readers. Below, find four recipes from chefs Fernando Ruiz, Hue-Chan Karels, Jeffrey Kaplan and Jackie Gibbs. You can totally make all these things at home, too!


Fernando Ruiz’s Pork Tacos

You’ll Need:

  • 6-7 pork steaks (thin cut)
  • 1 chayote squash (sliced longways)
  • 10-12 tomatillos (washed and cut in half)
  • 2 serrano peppers (sliced)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • green onion (just the green part, but save the white part)
  • corn tortillas

The Steps:

  • For the salsa verde, add the tomatillos, serranos, cilantro, green onions, salt and a few ice cubes in blender, then blend until “salsa consistency.”
  • Salsa is done and set aside.
  • Season chayote squash and the white parts of the leftover onion with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Grill the squash and onion.
  • Season pork with salt, pepper and dry oregano on both sides.
  • Grill on high heat for about 3 minutes each side.
  • The most important part of this recipe or ANY recipe is to SEASON YOUR FOOD!


Hue-Chan Karels’ Caramelized Ginger Eggplant

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/4 pounds unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes—about 6 cups
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemongrass or ginger, bruised with knife and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons pure cane sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • cup vegetable broth
  • 1 scallion (whites and greens), thinly sliced into rings, and several sprigs of fresh cilantro for garnish

The Steps:

  • Cut up eggplant and set aside.
  • Mix the next four ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil then sliced onions. Sautée for about 5 minutes until fragrant and slightly brown.
  • Add minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add eggplant to the onion/garlic mixture—sautée until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the next four ingredients, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth, cook for another 10 minutes, and stir periodically.
  • At this point, the eggplant should have caramelized and have a nice brown appearance.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and green onions.


Jeffrey Kaplan’s Roasted Shishito and Spinach Risotto with Sautéd Red Trout

You’ll Need:

  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 6 ounces white wine
  • 12 ounces vegetable stock
  • 1 trout filet
  • 5 ounces shishito peppers with the stems removed
  • 1 bunch spinach with the stems removed
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4-5 sprigs Italian parsley (about 20 leaves) thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sweet butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ounce parmesan cheese
  • zest from 1 lemon

The Steps:

  • Have all your ingredients ready before beginning (mis en place).
  • Heat sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sweat the shallots until slightly translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Add the arborio rice and toast for an additional 1-2 minutes. While carefully stirring add 4 ounces of the white wine. Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed by the rice and then add 4 ounces of the vegetable stock. Continue to stir regularly while the rice is cooking and absorbing the stock.
  • Start the second sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Lightly season the flesh side of the trout, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and place the fish in the pan skin side down. Cook on this side for 2-3 minutes or until the fish easily comes free from the pan.
  • Add a couple more ounces of stock to the rice while continuing to stir. Repeat this process of adding liquid and allowing it to absorb while keeping it moving until the rice is finished (about 20–25 minutes depending on the temperature.)
  • Back to the trout. After just a minute on the flesh side, carefully remove the fish from the pan and return the pan to the stovetop. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the shishito peppers. Allow them to cook 2-3 minutes or until they become slightly charred. Add the minced garlic and cook for just a minute. (Careful, the garlic can burn easily at this point!)
  • Add the spinach and sauté until completely cooked, 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining white wine to vegetable pan to deglaze it.
  • Add the rice to the vegetables along with the remaining stock. Add the parsley and salt and pepper while allowing everything to cook together for a moment. Add the butter to create the sauce with the remaining pan jus.
  • Cut the fish in half and top with lemon zest.


Jackie Gibbs’ Chile Rellenos

You’ll Need:

  • 4-6 poblano peppers (or however many you want)
  • colby jack cheese (block or shredded)
  • quesadilla/white cheese (block or shredded)
  • 1 cup flour
  • vegetable/canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • chile of your choice

For the rice:

  • 1.5 cups of white rice
  • 3 cups water/broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 16-ounce can diced tomato

For the calabacitas:

  • 2 yellow squash
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 yellow onion
  • salt/pepper to taste

The Steps:

  • Remove poblanos from plastic bag, set aside (do not dispose). Roast poblanos over a low open flame until blistered (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, place in plastic bag and seal tight. Let steam 5 minutes.
  • Remove from bag again, then peel the charred skin. Slit open and remove the seeds. Put equal amounts of the two cheeses in each. Wrap tight, then impale with skewers or toothpicks to hold them together.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan (pick one with a lid). When the oil is hot on medium-low heat, add the rice. Stir it a bit and let it become a golden brown. Add salt, pepper and cumin and cook for about a minute. Mix and add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, then add water/brother. Reduce heat and cover, let that simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Slice squash and zucchini into half-moon shapes and dice the onion. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a sautée pan on medium heat. When heated, add the vegetable mixture. Sautée until onions are translucent and vegetables are softened and browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. When done, remove from heat and stir in the corn.
  • Separate egg yolks and egg whites in two separate bowls. Add 1 tablespoon of flour into the egg yolks and mix together well, until blended. Whisk the egg whites vigorously until you’ve got firm peaks—a whipped-cream like consistency (be patient, this can take a bit and use up a lot of energy). When done, fold in the egg yolk mixture into the firm peaks (be gentle).
  • Generously cover the bottom of a pan with oil on medium-high heat. Roll the poblanos in flour, then coat them with batter. Gently place the chiles in the pan, let them cook 2-5 minutes on each side—you want them to look golden brown. Flip carefully and cook on the other side. Whole thing should look, feel and sound crispy. Remove from heat.
  • Top with chile and cheese. Plate and look fancy.


We get that that many recipes fired at you in quick succession might seem daunting, but you can totally do this and win at dinner the next time you’re...trying to win at dinner. Even your old pal The Fork made those pork tacos at home, and we’re all about tricking other nerds into making food for us. Congrats to our co-workers who came away with awards because they had the temerity to go eat fish with a trained chef or whatever. God!

Snack Corner

Y’know what we’ve been snacking on lately? Boulder Canyon sour cream and chive chips. They’re crunchy, they’re zesty, they’re from a company that seems small enough that we can lie to ourselves about the healthful qualities of the chips. They’re particularly good, for some reason, with an American cheese grilled cheese sandwich. Or on their own.

As for reader EZ (sick initials, bud), the snack of the moment is obviously Blue Diamond Chile n’ Lime Almonds. They sound amazing, new friend, we’ll for sure try ‘em because we’ve been on the almond train all hard right now.


-This IS the local section of The Fork, but this is not so much a local item as it is a means for New Mexico people to feel superior to Texas, in a way. See, Some website called LawnStarter (which is literally a site that connects people to lawn care services despite lawns being the damn worst) released a survey about the best and worst American cities in which to eat local, and seven of them are in Texas. Hahahaha! New Mexico didn’t make the list either way, but seems Texas hates supporting non-chainy eateries. Why is this funny? Well, because Texans are always getting all up in our business and they ain’t even have local restaurants.

-In lists through which we DO NOT experience schaudenfreude, user review aggregate site Yelp-dot-com released its first-ever Top 100 Places to Eat in the Southwest list just today, and four Santa Fe eateries are all up in there: Ras Rody’s Jamaican Vegan KitchenSantarepa CaféEl Chile Toreado and Mac Santa Fe. Not too shabby, all those places...not too shabby at all. We like all of ‘em, so they’re not telling us anything we don’t know, but still, it likely feels good to get recognized.

-Seems Second Street Brewery is expanding its operations to double capacity, according to a story in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Guess people like ‘em a lot, but let’s talk about images for a second. First, click this link to see the New Mexican story, then scroll down to the photo of Second Street founder Rod Tweet. Cool shot, right? Yeah, we know it is—especially when SFR did it six years ago to the day in a story about breweries (which you can see by clicking THIS link). We know what you’re thinking—it’s a coincidence, probably. And it probably is! But where’s the petty fun in not whining about it? Anyway, there’s more Second Street beers coming you way, it sounds like.

-As of just a week or whatever ago, you can get all kinds of new Topo Chico drinks in stores around New Mexico. Known as Topo Chico Sabores, the new flavored dranks come with extracts and fruit juice and hints of flavors and some pretty neat-looking cans. Thus far, we believe there are three kinds: blueberry, tangerine and lime. Get quenched, we guess, or whatever. #$1ArizoneIcedTeasAllDayBruh

-Reminder, Santa Fe people who have OK relationships with your mothers—Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 14. Make your brunch reservations now. Buy your flowers. Engage with the crippling maw of the machine while you celebrate in ways television told you are correct. Drink champagne.

-The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is back up and running from 8 am-1 pm on Tuesdays in the Santa Fe Railyard now that it’s nicer out. Just know that and eat well.

-Looks like soon-to-open coffee shop Dutch Bros. has started the hiring process in Santa Fe. Click this link to apply to become a broista (their word, and one we very much dislike) in either this town, where The Fork lives, or in Bernalillo, where The Fork has stopped to get gas. Anyway, from what we’ve gleaned, you’re looking at $14.03 per hour, plus an average of $6 per hour in tips. Word?

-We hear that all y’all can now make reservations to dine at The Pink Adobe, which recently underwent an ownership change to the Seret family (owners of Seret & Sons and Inn of the Five Graces) and renovations and all that. The attached bar, The Dragon Room, remains off-limits for now, but we’ll tell everyone when that’s back in play just as soon as we know.

Thanks for being a good sport, Texas

More Tidbits

-A moose in Alaska sashayed right into a movie theater and started eating popcorn like it was no big deal. Bless this moose and how it knows how to live. Apparently the massive quadruped was escorted safely back outside.

-Coca-Cola (being the company that makes Coca-Cola) has reportedly licensed its juice labels Simply and Minute Maid to fruit giant Frutura, which will soon start selling Coke-branded grapes and oranges in the produce section. We don’t know how to feel about this, but our gut is telling us to be snarky about it. We might not be, since we think everyone should eat grapes, but something about Coke being a part of the grape situation feels wrong.

-We here in New Mexico act pretty grand about our margarita feelings, and we sometimes wonder if that might not scare off newcomers. With that in mind, check out this marg breakdown from Punchdrink-dot-com, which says it covers everything you need to know about the celebrated drink.

-Three things is enough, right? For the non-local stuff? This was a long Fork, we know, and you’re probably forktigued by now.

The only Dutch thing we’re interested in just now.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

In the print edition of SFR this week, we look on in grim jealousy as staffers have an insanely good dinner at Zacátlan.

Number of Letters Received


*Y’all like almonds, huh?

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)



Actually Helpful Tip(s)

Many new almond things to try soon.

*Thanks, everyone!

We’re not from Texas,

The Fork

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.