A Taste Of Southwest Tradition

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Hello from New Mexico.

My dearest and best friend Cynde Paveglio is here for a visit. She is a nationally published designer/artist/ instructor from Michigan, where I lived for 25 years.

We participated in the same juried art shows, which we enjoyed, therefore while she is here, we have chosen to travel Arizona and New Mexico, visiting art galleries, shows, fairs and immersing ourselves in the Native American culture.

We will come back nourished, with fresh ideas, learned and in much Higher Spirits, a complete mental, physical and spiritual vacation -- two old friends making new memories to talk about for years to come.

To share a couple of benefits from our journey, I am bringing you recipes for Navajo Fried Bread and Santa Fe Short Ribs.

Navajo Fried Bread

10 cups flour

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Water

2 to 3 cups shortening

Mix flour, sugar and salt. Add water gradually, until the dough becomes rubbery, but not runny. Let sit 3 to 4 minutes. Bring shortening to 140 degrees. Roll batter into round, thin patties, 4 inches to 5 inches in diameter, as you would pat out pizza dough. Fry, it must be nice, round and fluffy.

Key: Shortening has to be hot.

You may eat it alone or fill with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, refried beans and cheese for a Navajo taco, or dust with powdered sugar for a dessert.

Santa Fe Short Ribs

Soaked in chile salsa, these meaty beef short ribs cook on a covered barbecue in less than an hour.

For the marinade, use your favorite brand of bottled salsa -- mild, medium, or spicy-hot, as you prefer.

Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes; marinating time: 4 hours or overnight; grilling time: 30 to 40 minutes

Unsalted meat tenderizer

6 pounds lean beef short ribs, cracked

1-1/2 cups dry red wine

3 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup prepared red chile salsa

Apply tenderizer to ribs according to package directions; then place ribs in a large heavy-duty plastic bag. In a bowl, stir together wine, oil, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and salsa. Pour over meat in bag; seal bag securely and rotate to distribute marinade. Place in a shallow baking pan.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until next day, turning bag over occasionally.

Lift ribs from marinade and drain briefly (reserve marinade). Place on a lightly greased grill, 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of medium coals. Cover barbecue and adjust dampers (or cover with a tent of heavy-duty foil). Cook, turning and basting occasionally with marinade, until meat near bone is done to your liking. Cut to test. Grill 30 to 40 minutes for medium-rare.

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