I’m a big fan of southwestern cooking. I have all of Bobby Flay’s books after all, and a freezer full of Hatch green chiles I bought back in August, and many spices from the Santa Fe School of cooking in my pantry, along with bags of red chile powder, dried posole, and masa in the freezer. You’d think I was a freaking expert in southwestern cooking if you looked around my house. So why is it then that when Chef Loy tells us to create 5 southwestern dishes in the next 2 hours and 45 minutes I have such a hard time? Is it because mid life hormones have destroyed my memory? Is it pressure? What the heck is it? I did manage to make some pretty decent dishes but I could have done much, much better given my knowledge and experience. I did study up on some more complicated things such as tamales and sauces so I could make them from memory. Ever try to make tamales from memory??? Here are my dishes: Chicken tamales with green chile sauce–I made masa with masa harina, corn, stock, and spices, filled with with a chicken, jalapeno, spice mixture. Ambitious project for the time but they turned out pretty good according to the Chef Loy. Chipotle corn chowder–Chef Loy had to run to the store to buy a can of chipotles in adobo and I’m glad he did because my corn chowder turned out very nice. Corn, chipoltles, stock, cumin, cream, finished with a little grated cheese. Quesadilla–open faced with the homemade flour tortilla and peppers, goat cheese, and a roasted tomato sauce I made. Not that great Huevos rancheros–New Mexico style, with black beans, flour tortilla, green chile sauce I liked it but the chefs weren’t too crazy about it. What do they know about New Mexico? Guacamole–last minute crazy thrown together dish with literally 5 minutes left til the presentation window closed. I threw an underripe avocado in the processor, some of my roasted tomato sauce, ran to the fryer and deep fried a corn tortilla (homemade), put the guacamole and chips on a plate and ran to present it. They loved it. Figures.