Category Archives: Appetizers

Fiesta Guacamole!

I was invited over to a friend’s house to have fiesta on Sunday, and it was requested of me to make guacamole. Good thing, too. The avocados at my local Co-Op have just started looking good, and there’s nary a condiment I love more than the guac.

The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via Nahuatl AhuacamOlli, from Ahuacatl (=”avocado”) + mOlli(=”sauce”) (stolen from Wikipedia). This isn’t much different than aguamole, which is a small burrowing animal attracted to water, or a dimensionless quantity. Of water.

Anyhow,

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Make it!
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Gather:
4 ripe avocados. If they’re overripe, that’s probably even better. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to make guac with underripe avocados. You have been warned.
1 small red onion
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 medium lime (or more, to taste)
5 cloves of garlic
1 ½C of your favorite salsa (spice determined by your taste)
S&P
Tequila!!

 

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Choppity-chop up the red onion into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Put both in a semi-large bowl.

 

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Skin and cube the avocados.
My favorite way to skin avocados (which will only work with completely ripe avocados):
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Lightly score the skin on each half into 2-3 sections. Peel away. So easy!!

 

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Add the cubed avocados to the bowl and add S&P – about a ½ Tbsp apiece; cut the lime in half and squeeze all of the juice out over the avocados, and add a large shot of the tequila. If you want to get fancy, add some zested lime rind. For extra iron, mash with a slightly rusty potato masher. If slightly rusty potato masher is unavailable, use a non-rusty potato masher or a large fork.

 

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Mash until avocados reach desired consistency. I suggest mashing until still a little chunky, but with no fear of the dip falling off of the chip.

 

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Chop up a good handful of cilantro (which will chop up to be a rather small amount), and add the salsa to the mixture. If your salsa is very wet, drain some of the water out. We don’t want this to get too sloppy. Fold in the added ingredients carefully (we don’t want the avocados to become more mashed) as if you’re dealing with a fussy baby or juggling knives.

 

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Once it looks well-mixed, have a generous taste, preferably without a chip or any other distractions. Is is spicy enough? Salty enough? Peppery enough? Mine wasn’t spicy enough for me, so I added a liberal amount of Sriracha! Is it cool to add a Thai chili sauce to a traditionally Mexican dish? YES. And don’t question me again. If yours isn’t hot enough, I highly suggest adding sriracha or some kind of chili pepper/sauce.

 

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Mix it up again and taste. Yummy? Good. Now don’t eat all of it – wrap it up and leave in the fridge for at least an hour so all of the flavors have time to party. Once they’ve met, made out, and had some kids, enjoy the guac with some chips, veggies, or just eat it with a spoon. It’s so good for you!

Sourdough Bread

sour-dough-1So I made some sourdough bread. I created my starter sometime in August, when it was actually warm, and have miraculously not killed it yet, even after being on vacation for 16 days and forgetting about it completely for at least 2 weeks in fridge. I have 2 starters now, one at 100% hydration, and one at 50% hydration. Watch me be all baking-geeky now. I used Susan’s recipe for her favorite Norwich Sourdough. I took the suggestion of the recipe the original time to let the second fermentation after the shaping take place in the fridge, which yielded a very sour bread with a splendidly crunchy crust, just the way it should be. I’m tempted to shape these into small boules next time to fill with some fondue or clam chowder. I actually made some more of the same just yesterday, half of which I took out too early. No biggie, though, as it’s cut and getting stale now, and will soon be cut up even smaller and dried even more,then will be made into the dressing we’ll be eating with our Thanksgiving dinner. The batch I made this weekend was mucked up by me (I didn’t allow the dough to rise for 1.5H before putting them into the fridge, which I totally blame on the other 2 batches of dough I was focusing on), so I allowed the dough to ferment for about 2.5 hours outside of the fridge before chucking them in the oven. This batch isn’t as sour as the first, and I had weird issues with the tension of the shape, but otherwise the crumb and crust are good.

sour-dough-2I’m getting much more into baking and just this last weekend made some 100% whole wheat bread (doorstop, but tasty anyhow), Pane al Cioccolato, and the aforementioned sourdough. I think my stash of baker’s yeast is dead, if not nearly so, as I didn’t get hardly any rise out of the biga for the WW bread, nor did the dough itself get very large. I’ve been not using a whole lot of it, since I’ve been using a lot more natural yeast, so I think I’ll try it again sometime with a whole wheat starter instead of the instant yeast, and we’ll see how that works.

The Pane al Cioccolato was an attempt to recreate the Chocolate Panini bread made by the Pearl Bakery, which I am in love with, but would much rather have on my terms. The proportions given by Jude are really close to the panini, so I’ll be working with it more to create a more appropriate bread – something a bit airier, but with less vanilla and more of the nutty chocolate flavor. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

And that’s all for now. I haven’t been taking photos of anything, since my iPhone already has had flour, egg, and other miscellany spilled on it, and it would be much more expensive to replace my Canon. I’ll likely have the boyfriend take photos of the Thanksgiving turkey and the like – I’m still debating on whether to slow-roast (tested and certified, this is a guaranteed Perfectly Juicy and Tasty Bird) or to deep-fry (which I’ve only done with a chicken and wasn’t all that impressed). Until this weekend…

Quick’n’Easy Dinner: Caprese Salad

This is what I had for dinner the other night. Ben was out of town, and I was eating late, so I didn’t actually want to cook anything. The mother-in-law had given me the fixings for some Caprese salad a couple of days prior, so I thought it was the perfect time to toss it all up and eat something lovely. Here is a generic Caprese salad: fresh mozzarella, tomatoes (oh the tomatoes at Costco! So lovely!), fresh basil, S&P, olive oil, and vinegar.

caprese-saladI, however, wanted to spice it up a bit. I had some oregano leftover from a main dish made for the first seder, so I threw some of that in, too. Then I looked at all of my leftover fuji apples (originally for charoses), chopped one up, and tossed that in. Now, normally Caprese salad is made with balsamic vinegar, but I accidentally locked mine up in the chametz cupboard, not to open until tonight, so I used some red wine vinegar. All the rest was the same. And I cannot describe to you how bloody good this was. The sweetness of the apple balanced the tartness of the vinegar perfectly. The addition of fresh oregano was genius, adding a more earthy flavor to the rest of the standards. I will definitely be bringing this at whatever BBQs/Parties to which I am invited this summer.

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