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Friday, July 30, 2010


Do you or some of your family like guacamole? Then try out this tried and tasty recipe!

3 Avocados
1 Tbl. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Jalapeño minced
1 clove of Garlic minced
1/2 Onion minced
2 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 Tbl. Cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. Cumin 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mash avocado with potato masher till smooth but with some chunks. Soak in lime juice.
Drain but save lime juice for later use. 
Add rest of ingredients then add salt, cayenne, and cumin. 
Cover and let sit on counter for 1 hour then add salt and pepper and more lime to taste. 
Cover and place in fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Mango Avocado Salsa

This Salsa recipe was a big hit at a bridal shower this last month so I thought everyone would enjoy adding this one to they're recipe book.

1 Mango diced (make sure it's ripe)
1 Avocado diced
4 med. Tomatoes diced
1 Jalapeño minced
1/2 c.  Cilantro chopped
3 Garlic cloves minced
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. Lime juice
1/4 c. Red Onion chopped
3 Tbl. Olive oil

Stir together first 6 ingredients then add the rest. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour  before serving.

Red Salsa Fresco

This is an all-time favorite in our house and many others have wanted the recipe, so I thought I'd post it for all to share! It's not hot but if you like to have a bit more kick just add an extra half to whole Jalapeño and more pepper.  
It's gluten free, dairy free, egg free, preservative free, but not taste free! Enjoy!

2 lg. Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 lg. Onion minced
1/2 tsp. Garlic minced (you can add more I've found 3 medium cloves does well)
1 Jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
1-1/2 Tbl. Fresh Lime juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Stir together. Cover and place in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shortbread cookies 1-2-3

Another article I read that was good. No I have not read the book yet but I want to, tell me if you do or have....

Food writer Michael Ruhlman's book, Ratio, might just free you from cookbooks forever. Instead of relying on recipes, Ruhlman breaks down cooking into easy-to-understand ratios of ingredients, a method he says allows for more creativity in the kitchen. "When you know a ratio, you don't know a single recipe, you know a thousand," he says. Once you've mastered the basics, you're free to start experimenting by adding or subtracting flavors.
1-2-3 SHORTBREAD COOKIE RATIO: 1 part fat: 2 parts sugar: 3 parts flour

If you're ready to dive into the world of baking ratios, Ruhlman's 1-2-3 cookie dough is the logical place to start. "The dough is easy to remember, easy to make, and allows you to make one cookie or three dozen " he says. In fact, he calls this product of this dough "the essence-of-a-cookie" cookie: "One you know this dough, you really see how cookies work."

On its own, the combination of one part fat, two parts sugar, and three parts flour bakes up into a crisp, buttery shortbread with just a hint of sweetness. It's the kind of cookie that's perfect with tea, or as an after-dinner treat for an adult crowd who appreciates its sophistication. But the real genius of this dough is its simplicity: Because the flavors are so basic, the cookie can be endlessly modified. Doing one of three things-changing the flavor, swapping an ingredient or altering the proportion of flour-will net a different result, giving you literally hundreds of different cookies options.

Where to begin? Add almond or vanilla extract. Try brown sugar in place of white. Swirl in a dollop of peanut butter. Throw in nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit. Sprinkle in some cinnamon or nutmeg. Experiment with eggs and baking powder-they'll give the cookie a lighter crumb. Don't be afraid to try new combinations, Ruhlman says.

But if you're going to stick close to the original ratio, he advises would-be bakers to pay attention to the quality of your ingredients, especially the butter. "If you want to splurge on Plugra, it's going to be a better cookie, " he says, "but I think the most important part is to use fresh butter. Butter has a tendency to pick up odors from the refrigerator, so you want a clean, fresh-tasting butter."

After that, whipping up these cookies is as simple as one, two, three.


Cooking Without Measuring

An article I read that I thought was really good.....

Cooking Without Measuring

Several years ago I was following a James Beard recipe for cornbread that called for two tablespoons of salt, which, even to me, a salt fiend, seemed like too much. But this was James Beard on cornbread, practically the master and his muse, and so I did what the recipe told me to, despite my qualms.

Guess what? It was too salty, way too salty, even for me. I assume it was a typo. The inedible cornbread, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise: It gave me the confidence to question and modify recipes. In time, this led to eyeballing measurements and relying more on common sense, instinct, and tasting than on slavish direction following. Last Thanksgiving I went so far as to cook the entire meal, appetizer to dessert, without measuring or closely following any recipes. It was the most relaxing holiday meal I have ever made.

Cooking without measuring (or even using a recipe) is as old as cooking itself. Grandmothers did it for centuries, but somehow we of recent generations have lacked the kitchen confidence or culinary know-how to pull it off. Of course, this kind of learning happened more naturally when kids grew up watching their mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen improvising. The last decade or two of celebrity chefs as gods and cookbooks as their bibles have, in some ways, made home cooks more dependent on recipes and measuring rather than less.

"A lot of people measure and expect it to be perfect at the end. They're afraid to taste and trust what they're tasting. But it's all up to your taste buds, so you have to taste as you go and trust your own taste," says Diane Forley, the former chef-owner of the two-star Manhattan restaurant Verbena, and now the chef/baker/co-owner (along with her chef husband Michael Otsuka) of Flourish Baking Company. "If you like it, then it's good."

Forley says she almost never measures when she cooks for her family (but then she is a trained chef). What she does, however, any of us can do, which is to eyeball her ingredients and the cooking vessel they're going into and visualize amounts and ratios of one ingredient to another according to flavor. "So if I'm making a vegetable soup in a big pot I'll lay out my ingredients and know that I need two or three carrots, onions, zucchini, maybe rutabagas, Jerusalem artichokes, but only one or two parsnips because they're a much stronger flavor."

With seasoning, of course, a tablespoon versus a teaspoon makes a big difference (as I learned), so adding less and tasting to see if it needs more is the way to go. "For something like a chili or stew, you have to trust that the dish will evolve and flavors will develop, so tasting at the end to add whatever seasoning it needs is important." How do you know what it needs? By believing in your taste buds and cultivating your taste memory-in other words, remembering flavors you've liked. Forley feels she owes a lot of her taste memory to her mother, a natural and inventive cook.

"All I need are the ingredients," says 80-year-old Ruth Forley. "Sometimes I start off doing one dish and I end up doing another because I am spontaneous and I am able to taste it in my mind." The elder Forley's cooking draws as much on her international, multi-cultural background as it does on sheer time spent in the kitchen. Her mother was born at the turn of the (last) century in India and then lived in Israel and Egypt, where she met Ruth's father. Ruth was born in Guatemala and was raised there in a Sephardic Jewish community, doing the rest of her growing up in Ecuador. "Each place has contributed to what I am. I am not a person of one place, I'm a mixture of everything."

And therefore so is her cooking. Like her chef daughter, Ruth eyeballs her ingredients in bunches and pinches, instead of in cupfuls or teaspoonfuls. "It's more creative this way, no? You're able to make something that is your own concoction."

How to make a Flower Pie Crust

Tired of lattice pie crusts? Try this easy-to-make decorative pie crust.
~To make this pretty flower pie:
~Using a paring knife, cut pie dough into strips of various size. A 2 or 3 inch round cookie cutter will make the center of the flower.
~Lay the strips on top of the pie, sporadically overlapping the strips. Top with round center in the middle.
~Adhere strips together by dabbing with water, or brush egg wash over the finished pie.
~Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake.


Monday, March 29, 2010

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