September Cuisine Scene - September 12, 2017

Hurricane relief concert, Smackdown winner, green chile and more

The city is gearing up for the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta next week, but if you don't have tickets, don't fret. You'll find plenty of other cool culinary happenings on tap in Santa Fe this month as well as a  benefit concert with some of Santa Fe's favorite local musicians to help out those affected by the recent hurricanes. It's really the best time of year for foodies and everyone else because who doesn't love autumn in New Mexico?

And the Best Green Chile Cheeseburger is...

Bur first, let's begin with a big round of applause for Rocky Durham, executive chef at the Blue Heron Restaurant at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort. A longtime acclaimed chef in Santa Fe, as well as in London, Durham picked up the coveted Judge's Award at last week's edible Santa Fe Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown. His winning Life Changer Burger featured brisket, rib-eye, vintage cheddar, Alcalde green chile and house-made pickles, all piled high on a brioche bun. Yum!

The competition was tough, as Durham competed against seven other finalists, including Eldorado Hotel & Spa's Agave Lounge and Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder. But in the end, his burger took the gold medal. “The classic simplicity of his burger's style, its top-quality mostly local ingredients, and the expert grilling of the meat—with good sear on it—were big factors in his win,” said judge Cheryl Alters Jamison, a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and host of KVSF 101.5's “Heating It Up!” show (catch it on Fridays from 11 to 11:30 am). A hearty congrats to Durham and his staff for creating such a “chile-licious” burger!

Helping Out After the Hurricanes

It's been an incredibly devastating hurricane season this year and we're only about halfway through it. Let's pitch in and help our neighbors to the east as they struggle to overcome flooding, loss of power, potable water, pets and homes along with so much more. The Santa Fe Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert makes it easy, and fun, to lend a helping hand. The concert takes place this Saturday, Sept. 16 from 2 to 8 pm at The Bridge Outdoor Stage at Santa Fe Brewing Co. and also on Thursday, Sept. 21 from 5 to 10 pm at Skylight. You'll have a chance to “show some love from the desert to those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma” as you enjoy music by some of Santa Fe's best-loved musicians.

On Saturday at The Bridge, check out Joe West, Pigment, Half-Broke Horses, Fritz & the Blue Jays, David Berkeley and Broomdust Caravan with Felicia Ford. Refresh yourself with award-winning craft ales from the Santa Fe Brewing Co. Thursday's line-up, hosted by Teri Lynn Browning, features Francesca Jozette, Elizabeth Scarinzi, Don Curry with Juli King, Chris Ishee, Matthew Andrae, JJ and the Hooligans, Bella Gigante, Moby Dick and The Sticky.

$10 suggested donations from The Bridge concert support the American Red Cross, and, from the Skylight concert, benefit local food banks affected by the hurricanes. See you there, and thanks for helping out those in need!

Green Chile 101

It's green chile season in New Mexico and this little vegetable plays a big role in our regional cuisine. The chile pepper is our state vegetable and also stars in the official New Mexico state question...Red or Green? You can't drive anywhere in Santa Fe this time of year without smelling the enticing aroma of roasting green chiles in roadside stands. But not everyone knows how to cook with green chile and many home chefs are reticent to work with them, fearful of burning themselves while peeling and chopping the ingredient. If that describes you, head on over to The Santa Fe School of Cooking  this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2 pm for a Green Chile Workshop, where you'll learn everything you need to know about cooking with this beloved ingredient that is unique to New Mexico. Explore its culinary history and varieties and learn how to make green chile sauce, green chile, mint and tamarind sauce, and roasted tomatillo and cilantro sauce. And yes, you'll also learn how to safely handle these delicious peppers in your own kitchen so you can make your own green chile cheeseburgers, stew, enchiladas and green chile apple pie—one of my favorites this time of year.

Morning Mojo

Have you noticed the days are growing shorter and the nights a little longer? If the change in seasons has you moving slower in the mornings, then perhaps it's time to take a Southwest Brunch cooking class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. With a focus on local traditions as well as foods, the three-hour demo class will reveal how to make a meal that will ensure you have energy to get you through the day. Best of all, after the meal is made, you'll be treated to everything on the menu, including fresh berry compote, huevos rancheros and chorizo cottage-fried potatoes, blue corn pecan pancakes and chipotle spinach and goat cheese quiche. The class takes place at 11 am Sunday, Sept. 24.

* Photo of Rocky and his team credited to Wendy Forbes

* Photo of Rocky's winning burger credited to Doug Merriam