I’ve noticed the weather is juuusst baarrrrely starting to turn a little bit nippier. The nights are cooler, mornings crisp, the days not as warm. The girls are noticing the weather change as well. Usually, in the hot days of summer, they tend to be a bit sluggish. This past week has seen cooler days and they are rearing to go, eager for their hikes at the Galisteo Basin Preserve. Bernese Mountain Dogs are cold weather canines, they have a double coat that keeps them insulated and warm, allowing snow play to be a daily activity. As summer fades into fall, the girls instinctively know snow is soon to come. Whoa Nellie! they are way tooo excited!
Our dogs love the colder weather. There is nothing like a 20 degree, blistering cold, clear blue sky day with some snow on the ground to get the dogs going. On those days, they are full of #*&%(^&*$ and vinegar! They absolutely LOVE snow! Especially Dolce and Amore. They find a small hill, scramble to the top and slide down on their bellies, like a free ride at the fair! And then they race back up to the top to slide down again. They will sniff out a clean patch of white stuff and make snow angels, rolling over on their backs and wiggling in the snow. A favorite is to nip at the powder as they tear down the trail. When there is fresh snow , they try to be the first to break trail, jumping through the snow like deer springing over tall grass. Snow wrestling is a daily game played by the girls. An outdoor sport only to be brought indoors so they can shake the snow off their fur coats and onto the furnishings. There is never a clean floor when there is snow! By the end of the day, they are tuckered out – and as I’ve always said, “a tired dog is a happy owner”!
Cold weather brings yearnings for roasted green chili and hot soup . A favorite of mine is Hot Tamale and Tortilla Soup. Tamales are great any time of the year but especially good in the early fall during chili harvest.
HOT TAMALE & TORTILLA SOUP
- 1 lb. cooked, boneless chicken meat (I buy a roasted chicken and pull the meat off)
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup roasted green chili, diced (best time to buy green chili is in August/September when vendors heat up their roaster, set up shop in a parking lot and sell roasted peppers hot off the fire)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 – 1/2 cups crushed unsalted tortilla chips
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 – 14 1/2 oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 – 14 oz. can tomatoes, chopped with juices
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 12 purchased tamales (chicken)
- 1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- crushed tortilla chips
Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Melt butter and add the onions, bell pepper, celery, roasted green chili, and garlic, cooking until softened and translucent. Add cooked chicken, tortilla chips, spices, broth and tomatoes. Cover and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat tamales according to the package instructions.
Add beans and corn kernels into soup mixture, stirring to blend. Continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Add cream, Monterey Jack cheese and cheddar cheese and stir until cheese has melted and is well blended. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Place a tamale (or two) into the bottom of each soup bowl. Ladle soup over the tamale into the bowl. Garnish with diced tomato, green onions, shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.
Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.