When I launched the website on October 1, 2020, the first recipe I posted was my awesome Albóndigas! Now that I am recreating the site on this page I'm dropping it in as #1.

Salutations and welcome to my kitchen, and my home, on the edge of the unique and beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.
Coming from a family of fantastic cooks I started this food and lifestyle page as a way to share recipes that are healthy, fresh, and fun – sometimes simple, sometimes elegant, and sometimes…a little naughty. I love to try new things and will share my favorites hoping the recipes on this site will invoke the same passion in you for the rich flavors of Italy, Andalusia, Provence, and the Southwest. The ingredients, products, and tools I use are generally easy to find, or I will provide links to where they can be found because my goal is for people to discover new flavors and maybe fall in love with cooking. 

Check out the Calendar below for upcoming events in the Morongo Basin, down in the Coachella Valley, and other foodie festivals throughout California, like the Strawberry Festival which is so much fun!

This first recipe is easy and perfect for get-togethers. I’ve served up my Albóndigas (a traditional Mexican soup) for weekends filled with friends and football or to have something hot and ready year-round.

For the meatballs:
2 pounds lean ground beef 
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon red chile powder 
Cilantro, finely chopped (roughly a quarter of a bunch)

For the broth:
3 ounces of Butter 
1 cup diced tomatoes 
2 diced Anaheim chilies
1 diced yellow chile
1 diced Habanera chile
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 pound of cabbage, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium Summer squash, diced
Cilantro, chopped (roughly a half of a bunch)
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt crystals 
3 quarts beef broth 

For topping:
Cilantro, finely chopped (last quarter of the bunch)
Sour cream
Limes, quartered or sliced

In a large bowl combine beef, garlic powder, cumin, allspice, chile powder, and cilantro. Mix well and roll into about 30 1½“ meatballs. Place on a baking pan lined with waxed paper and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

In a skillet heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add garlic and onions and stir until tender. Gradually add zucchini, squash, and chiles. 

Transfer onion mix to a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Gradually add cabbage, tomatoes, and cilantro and continue stirring.

Stir in beef broth, add salt and Bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Using a large spoon GENTLY add meatballs one at a time. Reduce heat and simmer for 35-minutes until meatballs are floating on top. Remove Bay leaves before serving.

Ladle into bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime and warmed corn tortillas. 

Transfer the remaining soup to a slow cooker set to Low. Have toppings and tortillas close by for seconds…or thirds.

Substitutions and Product Information:
1. Alternatives to ground beef – I’ve used ground buffalo which has a unique flavor all its own and has a high level of protein and iron, also high in Omega 3's and 6's which aid in combating cholesterol. You can also use ground turkey. For a vegan/veggie twist you can substitute ground lentils.
2. I use an X-Hot Hatch chile powder from New Mexico (
3. I use butter in almost everything but you substitute olive, safflower, or other vegetable-based oil.
4. I use medium grain Alaea Sea Salt from Hawaii – it has an interesting flavor.

5. You can substitute Vegetable broth for the beef broth
6. I prefer the lighter flavor of white corn tortillas


Hi-Desert Kitchen