Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mexican Scalloped Potatoes

Since my husband and I are empty nesters and our Thanksgiving table will include only two additional people, using up a five-pound bag of Yukon gold potatoes while they're still fresh seemed a daunting task.

That is, until I created this twist on classic scalloped potatoes. Green chile sauce adds a bit of zing that pairs perfectly with teriyaki-marinated pork tenderloin, or chicken breasts marinated in Italian dressing. And these spicy spuds taste even better the day after you bake them.

Mexican Scalloped Potatoes
Serves 8-10

4 Yukon gold potatoes, each approximately the size of a fist
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low fat milk
6 ounces low-fat (Neufchatel) cream cheese
1 can (10 ounces) green chile sauce

Slice potatoes about 1/4" thick and set aside (leave skin on). Make a basic roux: melt butter over medium heat and then stir in flour until smooth. Add milk, increase heat to medium-high, and stir continuously until thickened. Stir in green chile sauce and cream cheese and continue stirring until cream cheese melts into sauce.

Cover bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with half of potatoes. Pour one cup of sauce over potatoes to cover thoroughly. Add second potato layer and then pour remaining sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, and then broil for 7-8 minutes until slightly browned on top. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Morning at El Monte Sagrado

I tell my husband and grown daughters I am staying at the 'rock star of resorts' during the two nights I spend at El Monte Sagrado, in Taos. Vibrantly colored bathroom tiles, salmon-painted adobe walls, hand-carved wooden headboards and indigenous folk art characterize my Mexican-inspired suite, while several other suites pay homage to the Orient, the American west and the Kama Sutra.

But there's more to El Monte Sagrado than luxurious rooms. Nature and nurture intertwine here, from the lush spa and indoor aquacenter to elegant dining, sculpted fountains, and meticulously maintained grounds. Turquoise doors mirror the early morning sky that surrounds majestic Taos Mountain, as fall temperatures paint the foliage crimson and butter yellow. And as the sun's rays grow in intensity, they cast an ethereal glow on even the simplest furnishings.