The understated thrill of the road trip is in the realization that you have the choice to keep going; to never come back. Responsibility washes over and away from me in a wave of relief. I exhale. I stare out the window. I sleep. I dream.
I am on vacation.
We’ll drive from Calgary to Winnipeg again, my family and I. We’ve been taking road trips with our kids since the first months of their lives and long before they were even born. And we’ve done this trip a number of times over the years.
We’ll eat grocery store roast chicken, continental breakfasts and we’ll swim in heavily chlorinated swimming pools. Although we sleep in hotel beds, the van is our home – our cocoon. It is here that we really live; we bond and we grow. We don’t have to keep to a schedule – we have the freedom to go where and when we want.
We don’t always go to Winnipeg.
Over the years we have taken road trips to Mt. Rushmore, Las Vegas, Portland and Minneapolis. And last year we had the unforgettable experience of driving through Colorado to New Mexico. Aside from the usual grocery store grub, we do eat the odd meals at restaurants. One of the many highlights of the trip was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we ate dinner at the Blue Corn Café. It came highly recommended in reviews, and for good reason. It was unpretentious, had great service and awesome authentic New Mexican Food.
Because I absorb so many life experiences through food and cooking, my souvenirs are usually aprons and ingredients. So to mark the trip, I bought a jar of authentic roasted New Mexican green chiles. And now, almost a year later, on the eve of our next road trip, I will honour last year’s trip by using them in a Chile Con Queso dip:
Art by: my talented young artist daughter Abby Gilson
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Sophie at Cooking Trips. See: July’s submissions (travel theme)
CHILE CON QUESO DIP
This delicious cheesy Chile Con Queso dip, made with authentic roasted New Mexican green chiles, is easy and great with tortilla chips
- 1 cup canned , chopped green chiles, drained
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp grated onion
- 3 garlic cloves finely grated
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2-2 cups whole milk
- 4 cups grated old cheddar cheese
- 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 plum tomatoes , seeded, diced, drained
- Roughly chopped cilantro (for garnish)
- White-corn tortilla chips (for serving)
- Optional: jalapenos or tamed jalepenos - to your heat preference
In a medium pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes more. Whisk the flour and cumin into the butter mixture and cook until lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Raise the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk constantly until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the cheeses, 1/4 cup at a time. Stir until cheese has melted completely before adding more cheese.
Fold in the tomatoes and chiles (and jalapenos, if using). Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately with chips alongside.
** Note: I bought "mild" because I was worried about to much heat, but the mild had no bite, whatsoever. If you want some heat, add some jalapeno peppers or tamed jalapeno peppers to your liking.
***You can buy green chiles at just about any grocery store, but they are not going to be the authentic New Mexican ones but you can use: Old El Paso chopped green chiles in a can