Huckleberry Thinn | Food Will Get You Far – Wildly Nutritious Recipes

A food blog with nourishingly hearty, wildly nutritious & irresistibly delicious food craft inspired by my adventures and designed to motivate yours.


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ancho and guajillo chile enchilada sauce

It’s nearly impossible to use the word “enchilada” in a sentence without the word “love”. I proved this theory in my earlier homage to Baja’s beloved Los Tres Gallos.

los tres gallos 1

Since writing my original Gallos tribute butternut squash enchiladas en salsa roja, I  stepped my huarache-huggin’ feet back into that patio jungle of sea-salty hair and squash blossom sopes.

los tres gallos 2

While dipping under dangerously romantic lanterns and hobbling on Mexican cobble stoned pathways leading to the open-air kitchen, I discovered Tres Gallos’ recipe treasure of dried chile barrels. Some chilies so small and spicy just one could light your night. Some dark and wrinkled like an old man at sea. Each chile adds authentic purity to Gallos’ many hand-and-heart crafted recipes.

As the rose-in-teeth good looking waiter traded my menu for a cold hibiscus tea, I muttered the word “Molé” and we had a language-barrier understanding that I was testing what these dried chilies were all about– the inspiration for this story.

los tres gallos Cabo San Lucas

The same way the worldly women of Gallos poured their contagious kindness into my mole, I dedicated my five-week winter break to five fiery feasting frenzies.

Los Tres Gallos Cabo San Lucas 2

Huckleberry Thinn’s ancho and guajillo chile enchilada sauce appeared as a blanket to a dear friend’s birthday enchiladas, a roof to stuffed poblanos at a neighborhoooood Christmas dinner and a filler to my family’s Christmas tamales. My mole-like ancho & guajillo chile sauce opened mouths and hearts this holiday season the same way Gallos opened mine.

When I watched the Garcias clear tray after tray of double-batch butternut squash enchiladas doused in this street-style chile sauce, I knew the world was ready for my racy red enchilada recipe.

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Huckleberry Thinn’s Ancho & Guajillo Chile Enchilada sauce

12 ancho chilies (dried chile section of Mexican markets and some grocery stores)

12 guajillo chilies (dried chile section of Mexican markets and some grocery stores)

1 bulb garlic, whole-unpeeled

2 cups chile water *see note in instructions

1 28 oz can Cento tomatoes (crushed or whole peeled)

2 scoops Better Than Bouillon chicken stock (or vegetable for a vegetarian sauce)

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 tablespoon cumin

salt

for a smokier, spicier sauce, add a chipotle chile or 2 and some adobo sauce mmmm

early in your enchilada-making day, rinse 12 dried ancho (pasilla) chilies and 12 dried guajillo chilies > lay them out to dry.

dried ancho chilies

turn on your oven broiler setting and set 1 whole, unpeeled bulb of garlic inside > roast garlic for ~10 minutes or until the papery skin starts to brown and the garlic mushes when squeezed > remove roasted garlic from the skin and set aside.

in a heavy dry frying pan (cast iron if you have it), toast chilies on medium heat side by side like sardines and use a spatula to press the chilies into the hot metal > do this to both sides for a couple of minutes until they are aromatic and slightly softened.

guajillo and ancho chile sauce 1

bring a stock pot full of water to a boil then remove from the heat > rehydrate the chilies in the stock pot > place a bowl or small plate inside the pot to keep the chilies submerged for ~20 minutes or until they are mostly soft (some will rehydrate quicker than others–this is OK)

guajillo and ancho chile sauce 2

once hydrated, run the chilies under water to remove the stems and seeds > add the chilies to a blender or food processor > add the roasted garlic > add a 28-oz can of Cento brand tomatoes (whole or crushed) > add 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves > add 1 tablespoon ground cumin > *add 2 cups of the water the chilies soaked in > add chipotles and adobo if desired > blend until smooth and add more chile water to thin out the sauce to desired consistency (thinner for enchiladas, thicker for stews) > place sauce back in the frying pan and simmer on low for 30 minutes > add salt and Better than Bouillon (~2 scoops) to taste.

guajillo and ancho chilie sauce 3

Use this red chile sauce as a topper for stuffed peppers or tamales, a stew base for pork shoulder or shredded chicken, or my favorite…sauce for Huckleberry Thinn’s butternut squash enchiladas.

butternut squash enchiladas

For breakfast or brunch, top these enchiladas with a fried egg and avocado.

This sauce is really a celebration of chilies; filling optional.

Rick Bayless On En-chiladas

Rick Bayless, the Julia Child of Mexican food says it best:

“If you happen to be in the right parts of Mexico, you can experience the thrill of [the real] enchilada in which the tortilla is tightly clad with red chile sauce as it sears on a hot iron griddle. It’s that seared version–the “dip the tortilla in chile sauce then sear” version–that illustrates the very essence of enchilada. Language tells it all. Tortillas that become enchiladas are not en-cased or en-robed; they’re en-chilied tortillas: tortillas enchiladas.”

Enchiladas take time, but the reward is worth it.

Vamos a Gallos! (let’s go to the rooster?)

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flour free blueberry coconut flapjacks

Huckleberry Thinn’s Flour Free Blueberry Coconut Flapjacks

inspired by Green Kitchen Stories

2 banana-bread-ripe bananas

4 eggs

1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbs ground flax seed

coconut oil (~1 tbs / frying batch)

smash 2 super-ripe bananas in a bowl > add 4 eggs and mix well > add 1/2 cup of finely shredded unsweetened coconut, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbs ground flax seed > spoon sand dollar size flapjacks into melted coconut oil on a hot skillet and let brown > top with warmed 100% pure maple syrup and crushed walnuts for a magical morning.

flour free blueberry flapjacks

Nutrition Facts Thinn Style: Defining Antioxidants

We are humans. We eat and breathe. We have separate food and air pipes, but deep in our molecular world, our air and food meet to generate energy to sustain life.

We breathe air from the atmosphere that diffuses from our lungs to our blood, and ultimately, each of our trillions of cells.

In chemistry, oxygen is prized for its electronegativity… think grabiness. It is a nearly perfect atom (7 electrons) and only needs a single electron to be super stable (8 electrons). The closer an atom is to perfection (full valence shell of 8 electrons), the more desperate it is.

So overbearing oxygen is big and boisterous and powerfully attracted to single electrons… Now you see why our bodies choose to breathe oxygen; a true biological bad ass.

Like me, oxygen is fulfilled by food; an electron source. To live, each of your trillions of cells must convert energy from food into a form of energy they can use. Oxygen drives this process.

Food is digested and absorbed in your stomach and gut, then transported by your blood to your cells where oxygen is anxiously waiting.

One thing leads to another…food is stripped of its electrons. Technically, the food undergoes a series of chemical reactions that transfer energy from chemical bonds like a relay race. The energy is collected and reassembled into a new form of energy our cells can use to generate life (adenosine triphosphate or ATP).

Sitting at the bottom of this funnel of chemical reactions is big ole oxygen waiting to get some electron action. Oxygen, all wide-eyed, wants to be electrified. Oxygen creates a force that drives this chain of chemical reactions.

Without oxygen, this reaction wouldn’t occur. You wouldn’t have energy. You would die.

So oxygen is vital to sustain life. Then why eat antioxidants (literally “anti-oxygen”)???

Although we need oxygen to live, high concentrations of oxygen and other oxidant (electron-stealing) species are corrosive.

Oxygen has grips of wild single girlfriends called free radicals. Like oxygen, free radicals just need one electron for chemical stability. In a quest to pair up with another electron, free radicals are highly reactive and destructive.

Free radicals come from the environment (pollution, smoke, UV rays…) and can be made in the body as byproducts of metabolic processes. Regardless of the source, free radicals earn their name by being violently hungry for electrons.

Free radicals will snipe electrons from anything they can get their electronegative hands on. The victim–often your cells–that loses its electron to oxygen/free radicals is “oxidized”. The radical–electron stealer–is the oxidant.

Oxidation throws off the cell’s energy balance, which drastically alters a cell’s function for the worse. It can also damage DNA. This is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can manifest into a number of diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.

Fortunately, free radical food fighters can quench free radical electron appetites by giving up a spare electron to the ravage radicals before they destroy tissue. Named “antioxidants”, these generous free lovers float around handing out electrons so oxidants don’t eat tissue.

Antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, flavonoids and carotenoids.

B is for Brainberries 

Blueberries are blue because they have a flavonoid called anthocyanidin–a plant pigment.  Anthocyanidin is blueberry’s antioxidant.  It contains properties that prevent oxidants from damaging tissue, especially in the brain.

Anthocyanidin’s electron-giving grace saves the brain from electron-scavenging oxidants. They protect neuronal integrity from oxidation-related problems like Alzheimers disease. The same way the antioxidant buffers free radical frenzy in brain tissue, it also protects and repairs DNA and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogentic properties that inhibit heart disease, diabetes and obesity–all inflammation-related problems. 

Be smart. Eat smart.


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pumpkin poblano chipotle chicken chili

Two is usually better than one. Double IPAs, double scoops of ice cream……except when we’re talking about temperatures below zero.

Here’s a double-spicy chili to rescue you from Colorado’s double-digit-below-zero temperatures. It took me longer to scrape the ice off my car window than it did to load the crockpot.

Light up your night, cause baby it’s miserably cold outside.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Pumpkin Poblano Chipotle Chicken Chili

inspired by ateaspoonofhappiness.com

1 yellow onion

4 cloves of garlic

2 poblano peppers

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 15-ounce can black beans

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

6 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth

2 chicken breasts

2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from “chipotles in adobo sauce”)

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

salt & pepper

cilantro & avocado

in a frying pan, heat up a lug of oil and saute 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped poblano peppers and 4 cloves of chopped garlic > add to a crock pot > add rest of ingredients > give it a good stir > submerge chicken > cover the crock pot and cook on high all day > when you get home from work, use 2 forks to shred the chicken into the soup > serve with cilantro and avocado

My hands are too cold to type. So just eat up and heat up!

pumpkin poblano chipotle chicken chili


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full moon butternut squash and leek soup with sage

Butternut squash soup is like beer. If you’re a butternut lover–like beer–you like all blends.There are different flavors and fancies for different moods and moons.

Full moons are a time to get wild. So I did, with this soup.

The moon is a powerful body. So is this soup.

It restrains winter night’s darkness and makes storm clouds glow. So does this soup.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Full Moon Butternut Squash and Leek Soup with Sage

1 large butternut squash

1 dab of roasting oil

3 cups of chopped leeks

1/4 cup dried sage

1 knob of butter

8 cups vegetable stock

paprika

salt &  pepper

butternut squash

halve 1 large squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and lay squash cavity-up in a roasting pan > brush orange meat with roasting oil and sprinkle with paprika > roast squash at 350 degrees for an hour or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork > when perfectly roasty, remove squash from the oven and let it cool enough for you to handle (while waiting for this to cool, skip to the next paragraph) > scoop out the squash meat out and set aside.

roasted butternut squash soup

fire up a large stock pot with a few dabs of organic butter > chop the rooty nub off of your leeks (I had 1 sword size leek, but you could use probably 3-4 regular size leeks) > slice the white part of the leek up the spine lengthwise so you can separate the leek layers and clean well with water (this is where the dirt hides) > take a knife perpendicular to the long leek and chop into 1/4 inch slivers > add leek to butter and stir to distribute butter evenly > saute leeks on low-medium heat until they become sweetly fragrant and a little limp (~10 minutes) > add 1/4 cup of sage > add chunks of squash, and cover with 8 cups of vegetable stock > bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer > let soup cook together for ~30 minutes, then blend together for a smooth finish > add salt and pepper to taste > top with toasted pecans or Huckleberry Thinn’s Roasted Squash Seeds

butternut squash and leek soup with sageFull moon soup.. it even has craters.

This recipe is simple. Simple ingredients, simple steps. Because I really want you to taste the leek, squash and sage, I left out things like carrots, onion, potatoes and garlic. It doesn’t need it. But because there are only a few stars in this soup, you want to use the best quality squash, leek and dried sage you can find. Farmer’s markets are lined with these ingredients right now. A more orange, glowing butternut squash meat will lead to a sweeter, silkier soup.


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maple wheat berry salad

It’s November. Breweries are unleashing fall favorites and my fiber intake is failing for it. Here’s a heaping plate of fiber, fall colors and fall flavors as complementary as pumpkin and beer.

steamboat2013

Huckleberry Thinn’s Autumn Maple Wheat Berry Salad

1 cup dried wheat berries

2 cups water

1 cup chopped butternut squash

1 cup chopped beets (sub carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, whatever)

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

~ 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Add 1 cup wheat berries and 2 cups water to a stock pot > bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for ~45 minutes or until soft > meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees > chop fall favorites into small cubes and fill 2 cups > roll vegetables in 2 tablespoons of liquid coconut oil and lay out on baking sheet > bake ~ 1 hour or until soft in the middle and crispy on the edges > combine roasted vegetables and wheat berries and add ~2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Composition Tip:

Lay a lightly dressed bed of lettuce on a plate > top with a scoop of wheat berry wonder > for extra fiber, topple a handful of garbanzo beans over the pile > if it’s Friday, add feta!

maple wheat berry salad

Why wheat berries?

Wheat berries are the wholer whole wheat. They are the wholesome mother grain to whole wheat flour. That means wheat berries have an intact, unprocessed bran, germ and endosperm, which house most of the grain’s nutrition, including fiber.

Whole grains are rich with insoluble fiber that your body can’t digest.  Well, your digestive enzymes can’t, but the trillions of microbes naturally camping in your gut–your microflora–go crazy for this stuff. And that’s a good thing!

Fiber is a prebiotic; a nondigestable food ingredient that supports the growth and activity of health-promoting bacteria species.

You carry a complex ecosystem of about 500 bacteria species in your intestines. For the most part, these are good bacteria (probiotics… literally “for life”). Like an ocean, your gut ecosystem must be balanced to function in harmony.

Your friendly flora feed on fiber to maintain a good-to-bad-bacteria balance. These bacteria ferment fiber to make short-chain fatty acids (butyric, propionic and acetic acids) that create a favorable acidic environment for good gut flora to flourish.

This is extremely important because your overall health is rooted in your gut health. In fact, your belly’s bacteria account for the bulk (~70%!) of your immune system. They create a physical barrier to keep bad guys out and communicate with the cells of your immune system to storm toward unwanted invaders. They create an acidic environment that inhibits pathogenic bacteria and stimulates immune cell production. What’s more, a well-fed gut microbiota helps you digest your food and make B vitamins and vitamin K.

Embrace your bacteria ecology. Eat fiber. Enjoy fall.

Dr. Mark Hyman makes bacteria sound beautiful: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/is-your-digestive-system_b_313247.html


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roasted winter squash seeds

Without magnesium, you wouldn’t have bones. Without bones, we wouldn’t have skeletons. No skeletons, no Halloween. No wonder pumpkins–through all that brainy pulp–hold seeds with the answer for Halloweens forever. Magnesium!

Save your squash seeds.

delicata

Huckleberry Thinn’s Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

preheat oven to 300 degrees > collect seeds from your winter squash– pumpkin, acorn, butternut, delicata, spaghetti, kabocha > rinse seeds in colander to help separate from squash meat > lay seeds out to dry > mix seeds with a little bit of your favorite roasting oil > coat seeds in your favorite spice ensemble: pumpkin pie spice, chile powder and lime, cinnamon maple, curry, or good ole salt and pepper > spread seeds out on cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes > shuffle seeds around and continue to roast until they become toasty brown > add to Huckleberry Thinn’s GORP Gone Wild

roasted pumpkin seeds

Nutrition Facts Thinn Style

How every tiny seed holds the genetic material for an entire plant is a wondrous way of wild nature. Perhaps even more wonderful is how a plant can squeeze heaps of macro and micronutrients into these little powerful plant foodstuffs.

Squash seeds, specifically pumpkin seeds, are full of magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, essential fatty acids, phytosterols and proteins that all contribute to whole body health.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and the most abundant mineral in pumpkin seeds. It is an electrolyte that can conduct electricity and create batteries in your cells that drive your physiology.

Magnesium does more that electrify your cells; it is a key for many biochemical pathways. Magnesium is a cofactor–an activator–for more than 300 enzymes that regulate biochemical reactions in your body. That’s a big deal. These are reactions that lead to protein, ATP (energy), DNA (genetic material) and bone synthesis.

By shuttling ions across cell membranes, magnesium is essential for nerve impulses and muscle contraction, even your heart beat. On a large scale, magnesium maintains blood glucose levels, controls blood pressure and contributes to bone health.

Long live Halloween!

pumpkin seeds


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hatch chile verde

While most families huddled around Cardiff campfires to cook beans and weenies, Dad insisted on firing up the Coleman at 11 a.m. and sacrificing surf to fill our bellies with chile verde. We ran around the sand until the pelicans came out for feeding, all while my dad cared for a pot of all-day-cooked pork green chile in the campsite. Now, I understand chile verde; it’s a gesture of unconditional love.

So when August rolls in, I begin my hatch hunt and hoard handfuls of the heavenly chiles so I can stew for you, just like dad stewed for me.

I’ve been working on this recipe since 2009. It came to life last month when I found Scott from Ole Dern Farm in Northern Colorado who promised me a happy pig. I had hatch chile hallucinations after my first batch, so I double checked the chile with a second batch. Holy hatch chile, this shit is that good. Recipe serves 8… warm everyone’s heart!

Thinn’s Hatch Chile Verde

2.5 lbs pork shoulder

1 cup whole wheat flour for dredging

2 russet potatoes

4 lbs fire roasted chiles (hatch if you can get em)

18 tomatillos

1 lb your favorite red tomatoes

1 onion

8 garlic cloves

1 tbs. better than bouillon chicken

2 tbs. cumin

1 tbs. mexican oregano

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. paprika

salt & pepper

—–

pepitas

cabbage

avocado

* make it animal-free by omitting pork and substituting vegetable Better Than Bouillon for chicken.

First, preheat oven on broil > husk and rinse 18 tomatillos and arrange in cast iron or casserole dish > broil until blistered

tomatillos for chile verde

Meanwhile, begin heating a well-oiled cast-iron pan > cut 2.5 pork shoulder into small cubes and dredge in whole wheat flour > salt and pepper the pork > add coated pork to the pan (should sizzle upon entry) > BROWN THE PORK ON ALL SIDES DON’T COOK THROUGH! > set pork aside.

In a large stock pot, saute 1 chopped onion in a lug of your best saute oil > once sweaty (onions, not you), add 8 cloves of chopped garlic > add 1 pound of chopped red tomatoes > add 4 pounds of rinsed and peeled fire roasted green chiles (run chiles under warm water to easily slip plasticky skin off) > add roasted tomatillos > cook on low-medium (about 20 minutes) and allow the stew to get juicy > add 3 pint glasses of water to cover the stew > add 2 tbs. chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon > add 2 tbs. cumin, 1 tbs. mexican oregano, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. paprika and salt and pepper > add a fresh jalapeno or serano now if you desire more heat > stir well, cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes

hatch chiles for chile verde

Using an immersion blender, blend green chile into a soup-like finish and check the taste for spices > add pork and 2 peeled/cubed russet potatoes > cover and simmer until pork is done and potatoes are tender ~1 hour or more for deeper flavor.

Top with roasted pepitas (pepita + frying pan), finely shredded cabbage and creamy  avocado.

huckleberry thinn chile verde

Nutrition Facts Thinn Style

It’s hatch chile holiday. From August to October, Hatch-cult Coloradoans instinctively flock to the farmer’s market to get their happy hands on the season’s limited-supply of the no-match hatch chiles. I could use hundreds of words to describe to you the desire for these chiles, but instead I will direct you to your farmer’s market so you can experience them for yourself.

I will, however, try to open your eyes to the celestial phenomenon that hatch chiles symbolize. If you cook with the calendar, you know that spring is for asparagus and August for peaches.

As citizens of Earth, we are designed to eat the seasons for several reasons. Mainly, seasonal food is tastier, fresher and more nutritious. A little deeper, eating seasonally offers a way to connect with nature’s cycles and the passing of time. The seasons are a source of natural diversity. Natural News explains this beautifully: “By eating freshly harvested produce, you will be rotating your foods, thereby keeping your body from developing intolerances to certain foods and reaping the health benefits of a diet that is diverse and naturally detoxifying.”

The same goes for beer. Drink seasonally. Hatch chile verde pairs well with Odell’s Mountain Standard double black IPA. Cheers to a season of hot chiles and cold beers!

Vitamin C is for Chile

Mother Nature knows best, which is why she gives us hatch chiles at the brink of cold season. Chiles contain more Vitamin C per ounce than any other food.

Vitamin C is a nutrient that fits into many of your body’s chemical reactions to make them go—to keep you alive.

Vitamin C is for Versatility

Vitamin C is vicious. It deploys your body’s troops. It stimulates the production of interferons, your first line of defense that can inactivate viruses. When you’re at war with a foreign molecule, your body uses Vitamin C to multiply your white blood cells, which slash, burn and eat the creep before it gets too creepy.

Because Vitamin C is water soluble, the antioxidant can swim around your body and quickly and effectively mobilize to bully free radicals that damage your cells and make them/you old.

The primary function of Vitamin C is to manufacture collagen; your framework. Vitamin C makes the most prominent proteins in your body: cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons. It holds you together. The stronger your tissue, the more resilient you are to cancer’s collagenases (collagen-eaters).

Cancer cells release an enzyme called collagenase, which destroys collagen and allows the fast spread of cancer to other areas. – See more at: http://smartypantsvitamins.com/7-ways-vitamin-c-boosts-the-immune-system/#sthash.fIBzOXpX.dpuf

Your body can’t make Vitamin C, so it’s essential you eat green chile.

encinitas 06 003To health, surf and dads.