What a wonderful way to wake up’a cool morning and the sound of the rain. Well, it could be better’ waking up in the Rocky Mountains and spending the day with Sam Elliott. Now that is my kind of dream. Ok, back to reality. I am in Brady and getting out the stew pot and calling my dear friend, Sheldon Johnson’my stew guru. I asked him if this was a Santa Fe stew day and he assured me it truly was. Soups and stews are so wonderful to make because you really do not need a recipe’just some ingredients and a little time. I love to cook with green chilies, and this stew is something I had years ago and just added my twist to it. When I had it in Santa Fe, my friend made it with chicken and pork. I just do the pork. Santa Fe Stew Simmer a pork roast or any other pork meats in your stew pot. Season with: Salt Pepper Garlic powder Cumin (lots of cumin to give it a smoked taste) Chopped onion When the meat is just very tender, I remove it, bone and chop the meat. To the pot, add chopped green chilies (mild or hot, depending on your taste) and cubed potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender and add the meat. Bring back up to heat and serve with cornbread. Jalapeno Cornbread 1 cup cornmeal 1 cup milk Combine, then add: 2 beaten eggs 1 can cream style corn cup oil or bacon drippings Chop one large onion and two to three jalapenos and add to mixture. I like to add a cup of crumbled bacon or sausage for a heartier cornbread. In another bowl, combine: teaspoons salt teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoon sugar cup flour Stir this into the wet mixture. Pour half of the mixture into a baking dish or iron skillet, sprinkle 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, then add the rest of the mixture. Top with another cup of cheese. Bake at 350 for one hour. ‘Another rainy day favorite is cream of tomato soup. I know Campbell’s does a good job, but I like to add a little more to mine. Cream of Tomato Soup 2 large cans of diced tomatoes 1 large chopped onion Salt and pepper to taste Garlic powder 2 teaspoons dried basil Simmer for 20-30 minutes I use the hand blender, or as Emeril calls it, a boat motor. Blend the mixture until mushy (I like to leave a few lumps). Make a roux in another pot with: 1 cup butter and flour to make a thick paste. Add milk or half and half to make a fairly thin sauce. While the tomatoes are bubbling, pour in the roux mixture and stir until thickened. Then make a grilled cheese sandwich and have a great lunch. I know everyone has their own beef stew recipe, so I will not go there, but try it with chicken sometimes for a wonderful stew. I just boil a whole chicken with a few onions and all my seasonings. Get the chicken out when it is done and de-bone. Add your potatoes and carrots and more onions. Simmer until tender, then add your chicken and a can of diced tomatoes. Yum! I do hope this rain and cool days continue. I know we all enjoy this time of year. Happy dining’Barbara!