Thin, wispy, ethereal layers of orange sherbet-colored fluff, with a maizey underlayment served on a crystalline robin’s-egg blue palette. Heavenly dessert? No. Heavenly sunrise yesterday as I dashed out for a cup of good coffee.
Although universal, the golds, oranges and blues inspired me to think of the colors and, admittedly the tastes, of the Southwest, and the deeply warm, spicy flavors the area represents.
So, later in the day, always maintaining simplicity, I began experimenting with dried ancho peppers I had in the pantry. I purchase great dried peppers from a spice house whose products are dedicated to quality. Ancho peppers soften easily when torn in rough pieces, seeded and are allowed to steep in boiling water for 30 minutes.
A warmly spiced chile sauce is very versatile. Rounding out the sauce is easy. While the chiles are steeping, simply sweat 1 large onion, chopped, in canola oil until soft; add 1-2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped and saute for 1 additional minute. Deglaze the pan with 1/2C red wine and reduce by half. Add 1 small can tomato paste and 1 Tbsp each of apple cider vinegar and light or dark brown sugar, 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce and 1/4 tsp dried cumin. Simmer for a few minutes, and check the need for salt and pepper Additional seasoning is likely unnecessary. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Puree sauce in food processor or blender, adding reserved chile liquid in quantities to form a smooth sauce.
This is great sauce to serve as a foundation for grilled fish, roasted pork or sautéed or roasted chicken.
Let simplicity and the skyline inspire you.