Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lone Ranger Shooting in New Mexico

An exciting new remake of The Lone Ranger will film exteriors and studio work in New Mexico, followed by locations in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Armie Hammer stars as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp is his faithful sidekick, Tonto, in Gore Verbinski’s feature-film adaptation of the iconic tale of Old West vigilantism.

The film reunites the filmmaking team of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean blockbusters, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, with Johnny Depp, who created Captain Jack Sparrow in his iconic, Oscar-nominated performance and contributed the voice of the title character of Verbinski’s Academy Award-winning Rango.

Depp and Hammer are joined by a prestigious international cast which includes Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, and Helena Bonham Carter.

According to a recent press release, The Lone Ranger is a thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior, Tonto, recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice, taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction, as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.”

The Lone Ranger is scheduled to be released on May 31, 2013.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taos A to Z Excerpt: Horno

Horno is Spanish for “oven.” In the Southwest, a horno generally refers to a wood-fired oven made of adobe mud, often in the shape of a beehive. Native Americans still use the outdoor horno to cook a special delicacy called “fry bread.” Recently, dog houses have been made in the igloo shape of a horno, for those Santa Fe and Taos residents who want their pooches to enjoy New Mexico style. ~Aimee

Read more about Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico on Taos A to Z

Friday, February 24, 2012

National Tortilla Chip Day

My goodness, if you live in the Southwest, or anywhere in America for that matter, tortilla chips are a crunchy, delicious treat that should be on everybody’s favorite snack list.

Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas cut into wedges and then fried to perfection. Light, crunchy and just salty enough, they consist of simple ingredients: corn, vegetable oil, salt, and water.

These delectable chips are the result of an unexpected, but brilliant, innovation by Rebecca Webb Carranza. During the 1940s, she and her husband ran a Mexican delicatessen and the El Zarape Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles. They were among the first to automate the production of tortillas. The machine often produced misshapen tortillas and Carranza decided to try and use them instead of throwing them away. She took the less-than-perfect tortillas, cut them into triangles and fried them up, selling them for a dime a bag. Carranza received a Golden Tortilla Award for her contribution to the Mexican food industry in 1994.

For decades, tortilla chips have been a nationwide sensation, served alongside salsa, chili, guacamole, and a variety of other appetizers. In fact, Nachos, which are tortilla chips topped with a variation of shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc. (said to have been created by Ignacia Anaya in 1943) account for 30% of all tortilla chips used in American restaurants.

The Doritos brand was the first toasted tortilla chip launched nationally in the U.S. in 1966. There are, however, many local brands, especially in the Southwest, that are considered to be “more authentic” and therefore more desirable for salsa and guacamole dipping.

Grab some of those delicious, crunchy tortillas and celebrate the day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe of the Month: Chile Cheese Bread


3 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes, to taste
10 oz. flat beer
4 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. grated Monterey Jack cheese


Warm beer over low heat to 110° to 115° F. Transfer to large mixing bowl, add sugar and yeast. Cover bowl and place bowl in oven over pilot light to keep warm.

Proof the yeast: Let stand approximately 10 minutes. Foam should appear on top of the mixture. If any yeast granules are still present, return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Once yeast is proofed, add the oil to the mixture. Gradually stir in flour and salt, mixing until dough becomes firm enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Start adding cheese and red chile flakes, working them evenly into the dough as you knead.

When the cheese and red chile flakes have been incorporated into the dough, knead another 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add small amounts of flour to the surface of the dough if it begins to stick. Note: Depending on the humidity and your altitude, you may need to use a little more flour.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with moist towel and set in a moderately cool place to rise slowly.

Note: Setting dough to rise in a warm place causes the dough to rise too quickly. This produces a bread with uneven, open texture and undeveloped flavor. I prefer to let dough rise in a cool place for several hours. This produces an evenly textured, deliciously flavored bread. The difference is remarkable!

Let rise for 2 hours or more, until the dough has doubled in size and does not spring back when pressed. Turn the dough out and knead briefly. Set aside to rise again. When dough has doubled in size again, turn it out, knead briefly and form into a round or oblong loaf. (You can also bake this bread in a cloche, which gives your bread the flavor and texture of having been baked in a brick oven.)

Place on a baking sheet or baking stone. Slash the top of the loaf. Bake at 350° for approximately 50 minutes until loaf is nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Remove loaf to cooling rack. Let cool almost completely before slicing, and completely before storing.


For Authentic New Mexico Chile visit the Taos Unlimited Food Section

Monday, February 20, 2012

President’s Day = Skiing in Taos!

Many of us are familiar with the parable of the six blind men and the elephant:

Once upon a time, there lived in one village six blind men. One day some neighbors told them there was an elephant in the village. They had no idea what an elephant was, so they decided to go “see“ it. The men surrounded the elephant, each of them touching a different part of the animal.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,“ said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! It is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree,“ said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan,“ said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,“ said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,“ said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

When I was a kid, we celebrated Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12th, and Washington’s Birthday on February 22nd. In 1968, Congress decided all federal holidays should fall on a Monday, at which point they proceeded to discombobulate most everyone’s ability to remember when national holidays took place, and in many cases, what they were. To top it off, they couldn’t actually decide what the official name of the third Monday in February should be, so after much hemming and hawing that it should probably be Washington’s Birthday, they never actually named the day. This left the naming and the celebrating of the day up to the individual states, causing it to be called Washington’s Birthday in some states, and Presidents Day in others.

So if we imagine the six blind men could “see“ this day from different places and different perspectives, here is what they might say:

“Hey, this day is George Washington Day, honoring the first president of the United States,“ said the first man, who was in Virginia.

“Oh, no! It is Washington’s Birthday, commemorating the birth of the first president of the United States,“ said the second man, who was in Massachusetts.

“Oh, no! It is Washington and Jefferson Day, honoring the two founding fathers,“ said the third man who was in Alabama.

“It is Presidents Day, as well as a combination of Washington and Lincoln’s Birthday,“ said the fourth man who had spoken with a number of average Americans in several states.

“It is Presidents Day, and is meant to honor all Presidents,“ said the fifth man who had spoken with another group of Americans in a different state.

“It is a holiday created by merchants so they can hold big sales every year,“ said the sixth man who had read a number of newspapers in braille.

Here in Taos, I don’t think too many people pay much attention to what the actual name of the day is. Many people here, and those who make there way here for the third week in February have one thing, and one thing only, in mind. They are grateful to whichever Presidents may be responsible for a special long weekend of skiing! ~Aimee

* * * * * *

I found Aimee’s story to be funny, yet sad, when I think about some of the changes that have come about in our culture in regard to preserving history for future generations. This morning, I was glad to see that the History channel has devoted its whole day of programming to President-related shows. I’ll be spending the day recording some of those programs, but again, I find it funny that they chose a special on Thomas Jefferson, instead of airing programs about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the two Presidents whose birthdays are being remembered on this day.

But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers. I’m glad the channel had the decency to honor the day at all! (I also noticed that the Bing search engine has a beautiful photo of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument on its main page, while Google didn’t change its logo at all for this special day.)

And last, but not least, to those who came to visit Taos over this holiday weekend ... Happy Skiing! And to everyone ... Happy President’s Day! ~Jean

Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Not much is known about the origin of this recognized day or who came up with it. But it is a nice idea and can help swing people’s throughts from the negative pole to the positive. The world can certainly use all the kindness it can get!

There is an interactive website called The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. People go there to share their stories of the giving and receiving of kindness in one form or another from their fellow human beings.

Please feel free to leave your own personal stories about “Random Acts of Kindness” in the comments section of this post.

Let’s think “kindness” today and everyday! ~ Jean and Aimee

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mardi Gras in the Mountains: Red River, New Mexico

No one knows for sure how Mardi Gras came to the Mountains. One myth has it that a gold prospector from Louisiana made his way to the Red River Valley just before the turn of the 20th century. Unaccustomed to being confined to the indoors for the winter, the miner found some much needed relief from cabin fever by introducing Mardi Gras to his fellow miners. Legend has it that the dance halls of Red River City were soon jumping with the sounds of squeezebox and Cajun fiddle.

At least that’s the way one story goes. But for sure...

Mardi Gras is such a big event in Louisiana, that schools are closed for the week, giving Louisiana families a late winter or early spring vacation. Over the years, more and more Louisiana folks have chosen to spend the week before Mardi Gras enjoying a ski holiday in Red River. In 1992, Red River decided to honor their visitors from Louisiana by throwing them their own Mardi Gras-Away-From-Home. And those folks from the Delta couldn’t have picked a better mountain town to throw them a Mardi Gras celebration, because Red River is a town that knows how to party!

Today, Red River’s “Mardi Gras in the Mountains“ is a six-day celebration with over 50 events inspired by the Louisiana Cajun traditions, ending on the official day of Mardi Gras. It’s a fun time for locals and visitors alike. Often, Spring Break will overlap Mardi Gras as well, making for an extra special vacation for all...but it’s cold in Red River, and there are lots of small fry about, so there’s a nix on begging for beads while topless. Luckily, there’s plenty of the shiny treasures to go around.

Read More about Mardi Gras in the Mountains

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tomorrow is... Valentine’s Day

The Two Loves of Georgia O’Keeffe
 Georgia O’Keeffe had two loves in her life, her husband, modernist photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and the high desert and Rocky Mountains of Northern New Mexico. Sadly for O’Keeffe, Stieglitz did not care for the hot, dry climate in New Mexico, preferring the green canopied Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, where he had a summer home at Lake George.

In the early years of their courtship and marriage, O’Keeffe spent summers in Lake George with Stieglitz, but a visit to D.H. Lawrence at his ranch near Taos, NM in 1930 would change that forever. Before meeting her husband, O’Keeffe spent several years teaching in the Texas panhandle, discovering a love for the desert and canyons of the area.

During that time she wrote quite a bit about her walks and hikes in the region, later finding the experiences a real inspiration for her painting. Her visit to New Mexico rekindled that passion, and from the time of her visit with Lawrence, O’Keeffe spent most of her summers in Taos, and then Abiquiu, where she purchased a home she named Ghost Ranch. She spent her winters in New York City with her husband until his death in 1946, at which time she moved to New Mexico permanently. 

More about the unique marriage of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz

More about Ghost Ranch: The Home of Georgia O’Keeffe

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taos A to Z Excerpt: Ghost Ranch

Located in Abiquiu, New Mexico, Ghost Ranch was the home of artist Georgia O'Keeffe from 1949 until her death in 1986. Located in an area known for its breathtaking red rock formations, it is now a retreat and popular tourist attraction in Northern New Mexico, an easy day trip from either Taos or Santa Fe. ~Aimee

Read more about Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico on Taos A to Z

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aimee’s Haiku for February

chill evening stillness
moonrise over the mountains
lone coyote song

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yesterday was... The Second Annversary of Our Taos Unlimited Blog!

We are happy to be celebrating our second great year of blogging on our Taos Unlimited Blog. We had so much fun bringing our readers valuable and entertaining information on Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico in 2011, that we can’t wait to start blogging in 2012! Visit us often, as we will be adding new posts on a regular basis, just like last year. ~ Jean and Aimee

Please visit our portal websites: Taos Unlimited and Santa Fe Unlimited

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

National Wild Bird-Feeding Month

Congressman John Porter (R-IL) read a resolution into the Congressional Record on February 23, 1994, proclaiming February as National Bird-Feeding Month. The formal resolution was as follows:   

“Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize February, one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds, as National Bird-Feeding Month. During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild bird’s natural diet of weed seeds and insects. Currently, one third of the U.S. adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults. Bird feeding provides a needed break from today’s frantic lifestyles. Adults enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness afforded by watching birds: nature serves to relieve the stress and can get one’s day going on a tranquil note.

Young children are naturally drawn to the activities involved in feeding wild birds, which can serve as excellent educational tools. Children can identify different species of birds with a field guide and can learn about the birds’ feeding and living habits. These observations can then provide excellent research opportunities for school projects and reports.

Feeding wild birds in the backyard is an easy hobby to start and need not overtax the family budget. It can be as simple as mounting a single feeder outside a window and filling it with bird seed mix. For many people, the hobby progresses from there. They discover the relationship between the type and location of feeders and the seeds offered in them, and the number and varieties of birds attracted. Parents can challenge an inquisitive child’s mind as they explore together these factors in trying to encourage visits by their favorite birds.”

So, let’s go... feed the birds!