Based strongly on the Sweetcorn chowder with smoky chipotle oil recipe from Meera Sodha in the Grauniad, this took a New Mexican twist when I cooked it up.


  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Idle time: 90-120 minutes


  • 2 oz vegetable oil
  • 4-6 spring onions, chopped finely, green bits and all
  • 1C chicos
  • 1 qt chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you want a vegan dish)
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 leek, trimmed, finely sliced, and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • small handful small yellow potatoes, or one large white potato
  • ⅓bag roasted green chiles from the market, peeled, seeded and frozen, then chopped finely
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp corn flour
  • 2 Tbsp potato flakes
  • 1 can (15 oz) sweet corn, with juice


  • Sauté onions in a skillet with a little oil, 6-8 minutes, until they’ve gone a bit brown, past translucent
  • Put chicos, chicken stock, and coconut milk into crock pot and get it warming on high
  • Add onions to crock pot
  • Sauté leek and garlic in a little oil, until leek is translucent, and add to crock pot
  • Cut potatoes into 1cm cubes and sauté in a little oil until soft, then add to pot
  • Sauté chopped green chiles in a little oil in skillet, and add to pot
  • When pot comes to a boil (over 90 minutes with my crock pot), add corn flour and potato flakes, stirring well
  • After a few minutes, add corn and liquid from can and stir well
  • Taste and season with salt as needed
  • If you like your chowder thicker, put in a stick blender into the pot and blend some of the soup up
  • Serve and enjoy

Notes on ingredients

  • Chicos are corn, roasted on the cob in an horno, and then dried. They keep pretty much forever, and add a nice smoky flavor to food.
  • Green chiles are sold at farmers markets in New Mexico in the fall, roasted right there at the market. They’re typically sold in sandwich bags or quart ziploc bags. We buy the mildest ones available, bring them home and peel, seed, and freeze them into freezer bags (one per bag from the market). A third of one of those bags is enough in this recipe for us, but don’t let me tell you how spicy to make your food. If you must use canned, one of the small cans is probably a good starting place.
  • The simplest way I know of to get all the dirt out of leeks is to cut off the fine roots, thinly slice the leek, then put it in a bowl and rinse it with water. But if you’ve got a better suggestion, have at it! I didn’t use the green part of the leek in this recipe, as it was already plenty onion-y, but again, you’re welcome to use it all if you want.
  • If you want a little added protein in this, adding bacon would be a fine idea. I would use about a pound of bacon, chopped up and sautéed. Or a can of spam if that works for you.

#recipe #NewMexico #corn


Quail near our blue spruce tree

We had some visitors in our yard this morning, and they looked kinda cute. Only managed to get a photo of one of them, though. But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen them, so hopefully I’ll get another chance.

#birb #photography #NewMexico


It’s been a few weeks since my most recent Rocks on the Fence post and almost two months since the first one and needing a bit of a rest after my morning walk today (3500 steps, but in snow with a bit of a crust on it, or ruts from the cars in the street), it seems like a good time to write an update.

Also since I finished the previous post with a snowy day, having the next big snow ending this one seems fitting (though I missed taking a walk and getting photos the past few days).

We’ve continued adding a new rock, or picking up one that had fallen down every day we walk to the mailbox.

And we haven’t seen all the rocks knocked off again this month.

We did even meet a guy and his dogs one morning, and then put a rock up on the fence and took a picture as he was walking away. He didn’t seem curious about the rocks, though.

In spite of it feeling sunny here a lot of the time, we’ve had quite a few clouds in the morning rock picture this month. I think that’s partly due to it being cloudier here in the winter.

It I think it’s also due to mornings having clouds, and us getting out pretty early most days.

As we get closer to summer, the sun will move north, which will be left in the frame.

But I don’t think I’ll ever have a morning shot with the sun in the frame. I guess we’ll see. Sunrise is pretty early in midsummer though, and I generally don’t get out the door until after 7 at the earliest.

And while the number of rocks on the fence is slowly growing, there are plenty of mornings when we find a bunch of them knocked down, either by the wind or by someone walking on the path.

It’s all part of the process, I figure.

Over time, rocks that aren’t very stable get knocked off more often, and then I’ll stack them with the flatter, more stable rocks on the bottom.

So I figure over time, the row of rocks will become more stable, and will probably grow.

But there are only so many that the fence will hold. I’m not sure what I’ll do if we hit that point. Maybe start a pile on the ground.

But for now, it’s something to do after checking the mailbox each morning.

And hopefully someone else in the neighborhood gets a kick out of the rocks.

Or maybe someone reading this thinks it’s neat and will be encouraged to do their own little project.

Have a great day!

#photography #rock #NewMexico #fence


I’ve continued setting rocks on the fence since my first post, though not every day.

It seems I’m mostly the only one playing with the rocks this time of year, but there are very few other footprints walking past the fence now, too.

I suspect I’ll see more activity once the weather gets warmer.

Then again, it may be that everyone will figure that I’ve got so much work into setting up rocks that they won’t want to mess with them.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

For now, I’m happy to add a rock most mornings, and if I didn’t find a good rock on the way to the mailbox, I either rearrange those that are there, or pick one up that’s fallen to the ground.

It takes a pretty good wind to blow the rocks off the fence (more than 30mph, I think), but people also bump the fence as they walk past. That’ll topple a few rocks.

In any case, it’s just a pile of rocks. On a fence, but still.

I have been thinking that I have enough pictures that maybe it would be interesting to make a time-lapse movie from them at some point.

But I’ve tried that before. Aligning all the pictures is conceptually simple, but complicated if you do too many. And while I’m pretty sure I could convince Photoshop to do that, it would take some scripting I have never had much enthusiasm for.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep adding or rearranging a rock most mornings, and then taking a photo from roughly the same point-of-view.

I am looking forward to warmer weather, though. It’ll be interesting to see if I pick up any collaborators.

Maybe I’ll get a dozen years like Ted did with his Lake George series. Or maybe not.

#photography #rock #NewMexico


Every morning (except Mondays) I walk to the mailbox to pick up the mail that was delivered the previous evening.

There’s a fence on the Berm Path that I take home from the mailbox to keep cars, motorcycles, and mostly horses from using the path.

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a couple rocks that had been sitting on the path, and set them on the fence.

Most every morning, I either add a new rock, or rearrange the ones that are already there.

Lately, someone else has been adding rocks, as well.

It seems we’ve got something of a community art installation going. I wonder who my mystery co-artist is.

Even on days when there isn’t any mail, now I’ve got something to look forward to on my walk to the mailbox now.

I wonder how long we’ll keep it going.

At least a few more days...

#photography #NewMexico #rock


A cholla cactus in its winter purple, silhouetted against a clear blue sky, with snow on the arms.

I had mentioned before that chollas turn purple in the winter around here. There’s one on the way to the mailbox that is more purple than any other I’ve seen, so I grabbed a picture of it this morning. Should’ve reached past it to get the other weed out of the picture, but I didn’t want to get footprints in the snow. Maybe tomorrow.

#photography #NewMexico #cholla


A festively decorated horse

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, it’s time when people have put up their Christmas decorations.

We’ve talked of getting farolitos for our driveway, but this doesn’t feel like an especially festive year. Maybe we’ll find some on clearance in January. ;–)

#NewMexico #Holidays


Chilies on a ristra in the morning sunlight

Spotted the morning sun shining on our ristra this morning, and decided it was worth taking a picture of. Some editing to punch the colors, and intentionally shallow DOF to blur the background.

I’m pretty pleased with this one. Might have to print and frame it.

#photography #NewMexico #red


A snow-dusted grassy area in our yard

When I woke up this morning, the wind was howling. After just a few minutes, it let up. When it got light enough out that I could see, there was snow coming down.

Looking south to the nearby hills, after a morning snow.

It wasn’t much snow. Maybe a shade over a quarter inch, but it meant I didn’t have to water our trees this morning, and everything looked beautiful for my morning walk.

An Austrian pine in our snowy yard

The forecast is for the wind to pick back up later this morning, and no more moisture until the weekend. I’m sure glad I got out to enjoy it this morning.

#photography #NewMexico


Snowy cholla with sun peeking through the clouds behind

We had what looks like 3-4 inches of snow overnight last night. Enough to come up to my ankles, but never over my boot-tops on the walk to the mailbox and around the block this morning. It was a little chilly when the wind was blowing, but that wasn’t much of the time, so I worked up a pretty good sweat in my big sheepskin jacket.

The scenery around here looks so different with a coating of snow. The only real color remaining is the yellow of the few aspen trees that haven’t dropped their leaves yet. Otherwise it’s a white to dark green palette. Pretty!

Our floribunda roses with a blanket of snow.

Welcome to #winter, #NewMexico!