By Kelley Coffeen

Las Cruces is known for BIG flavors such as a good ole’ green chile cheeseburgers, enchiladas, tacos and burritos. I am so grateful that these are all specialties at Chilitos, a favorite family owned restaurant serving the Central &  South Valley/University side of town, as well as, the East side. These homemade Mexican dishes, unique to Southern New Mexico, are served with a fresh attitude, along with everyday American favorites. Start your day with a Chile con Carne skillet – home fried potatoes topped with fresh red or green chile con carne, two eggs and melted cheddar cheese…Mmmmm, so good!

However, this is the time of year for patio dining… I recently stopped in to see the Perez Family at their eastside location for an evening of good music (great local bands) and great food out on the patio. Melissa brought me a wine margarita made with a special agave wine that had the perfect balance of a sweet and sour combination. I loved it! For those who shy away from the effects of tequila, wine margaritas are a great alternative. It reminded me of one I hChilitos-Burger-Blogad created years ago in my Fiesta Mexicali cookbook. (A luscious frozen cocktail I will share you at the end of this post). To our delight, the place was full and there was a positive energy in the air! I debated for a bit on what to eat. Even though Chilitos offers a variety of juicy and tender steaks I couldn’t resist my favorite, the Green Chile Cheeseburger and hand cut fries… truly it is an entrée for two!!  Roger had the Beef Fajitas, seasoChilitos-Fajitas-Blogned beef and lightly grilled veggies, marinated in citrus and spices, served with a tower of beans, rice, pico de gallo and guacamole.  It was all just sizzlin’ good and sizzlin’ fun! Stop by Chilitos at either location (3850 Foothills, Ste #10,  575-532-0141 or 2405 S. Valley Drive, 575-526-4184) and enjoy some family favorites of the Mesilla Valley! www.chilitos.net

Our beloved Green Chile…

As I mentioned in my last post, New Mexico and specifically, Hatch green chile is available just a few short weeks a year, so I got my chile supply, for the winter. However, I only got about 35lbs. roasted and peeled. This will realistically last until about January – if even that long! So I am forever thankful to the Franzoy family and Young Guns produce www.younggunsproduce.com for perfecting the art of freezing this fresh commodity. young-guns-frozen-BlogQuality frozen chile encompass' the flavor “from the field to the table” and that is what Young Guns Hatch Green Chile does, delivering New Mexico chile to the customer all year long .  I can pick it up at various grocery stores around town, however, my sister just found it in Las Vegas, Nevada! So, now I sleep better and cook with more enthusiasm knowing that my green chile supply is endless!!

Kelley’s White Wine Margarita

This is a luscious frozen margarita cocktail for wine lovers.

4 ounces white wine (see note)

6 ounces frozen limeade concentrate

1/3 cup of orange juice

3 cups cracked ice

2 limes, cut into quarters

Koster salt

1 orange, thinly sliced

Combine the wine, limeade and orange juice in a blender and processs for 1 minute. Slowly add the ice and blend to a slushy consistency. Rub the rims of each of 4 margarita glasses with a lime wedge and then dust each rim with the salt and fill each glass with the margarita mixture Garnish with twisted orange slice.

Note: a rich, full bodied Chardonnay works well with this recipe or you can also use Sauvignon Blanc a crisp fuller bodied wine.