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Looking at guacamole makes me happy. It’s the bright green color and the full delicious flavor of the well spiced condiment that does it for me! I don’t care for the store bought ones in the plastic containers, they taste quite bland to me. It is so easy to make at home and you can customize to your taste buds. I like to make it with tomatillos- they look like green tomatoes with husks on. Tomatillos have a nice tart flavor which compliments the avocados really well. You can substitute red tomatoes for the tomatillos if you prefer. A few other ways to change the flavor is to add ground cumin or ancho chili powder or even chipotle in adobo sauce. They all individually give the guacamole a real smoky flavor.
Since it is the big game weekend and everyone is looking to eat yummy snacks, I suggest you make this guacamole and enjoy it with tortilla chips and a delicious Mexican beer!
- 4 ripe Has Avacados- cut into small chunks
- 3 medium tomatillos- taken out of the husk and chopped
- 1 small red onion- finely minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper- finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves- finely minced
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 2 limes juiced
- ½ cup cilantro- chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients well. Store the guacamole in an airtight container to avoid oxidation. Serve as a side dish or with tortilla chips.
I love vodka sauce, usually with some prosciutto and peas- that is your typical vodka sauce preparation. I wanted to cook it a little differently and thought of using Italian sausage in the sauce. I crumbled the sausage with the onion and garlic and cook it down so the flavor is present in the sauce. Also most restaurant and store bought vodka sauces have quite a lot of cream. I added half-and-half instead. It gives it the nice pink color and a creamy taste for a lot less calories. For those who are concerned about the vodka in the dish, it cooks off and is safe to serve to the kiddies. It is always nice to take help from the store to make your life easier! So I went to find fresh pasta and thought ravioli should be interesting! I bought some cheese ravioli, but I think you can really play around with the flavors and get whichever one makes you happy. A citrus salad and some more white Portuguese wine made the meal complete!
- 1 package store bought cheese ravioli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 links Italian sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled or chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons vodka
- 3 tablespoons half and half
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of sugar
- Sprig fresh basil for garnish
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and golden about 4 minutes. Add the vodka and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Stir in the half and half with some salt and sugar. Stir in the basil and remove from heat.
In the meantime, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the cheese ravioli and cook according the box directions. Strain the raviolis and toss with the vodka sauce and sausage mixture. Top with cheese and serve.
This creamed corn is not your usual recipe that you will find on the web. Most creamed corn recipes are full of cream, butter and cheese- which makes sense since it is called, “Creamed Corn”! I have adapted this recipe from my sister-in-law who learnt this many moons ago in Mumbai. I think the original recipe did call for cooking the corn in cream and adding butter at the end. Over the years I have used whole milk and reduced fat milk. I find that cooking the corn in reduced fat milk works just fine, as long as you put plenty of milk and let it cook and reduce on a low flame for a while. The corn drinks up the creamy goodness of the milk and you are left with a delicious dish. Of course adding the serrano chili helps as well. It gives the dish a fresh, grassy and spicy flavor. I was using yellow or white corn but recently discovered the roasted corn from Trader Joes! The smokiness of the roasted corn works beautifully with the other flavors. Of course if you can’t find the roasted corn, regular corn works really well. In the summer I use fresh corn and the flavor is out of this world!
- 2 cups frozen roasted corn (regular corn will do as well)
- 1 cup milk (whole milk, 2% or 1% will do-depending on how rich you like the dish!)
- 1 serrano chili, chopped and deseeded if you don’t want the dish too spicy
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a 10-inch skillet add the corn, milk, chili and salt. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a medium low. Cook while stirring occasionally for at least 20 minutes. The milk should begin to evaporate and corn looks tender and creamy. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Out of all the potato varieties, fingerling is my favorite! I love the shape and the creamy texture. I make them every chance I get. I do love french fries- even better- are chips (that’s what they are called in England). I love chips because they are thicker and I get more potato per chip! I don’t get to eat chips/fries very often because of the health issue. Although anytime I am at our local Irish Pub, I have to indulge in the Dublin burger and chips, absolutely delicious!
I digress- my point was- try fingerling potatoes, they are easy to work with. I like to make some kind of a potato dish with pork chops or any other roast I am making and usually go for the oven or pan roasted variety- it reminds me of french fries or chips! I added whole garlic cloves in the oil with some thyme and rosemary which gave the dish great flavor. Both the herbs were used in the Apple Pork Chops so they complimented each other really well. We drank a fabulous Napa Valley Cabernet with the meal and called it a night!
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves (do not peel)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
Boil the potatoes till tender. Slice each potato in half, length-wise.
In a 12-inch non-stick pan, heat the olive oil for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium add garlic and the herbs. Saute for a minute and add the potatoes cut side down in one layer. Cook the potatoes with the cut side down for at least 5 minutes, or till golden brown. Turn the potatoes to skin side down and cook for another 5 minutes, or till golden brown. Add salt and pepper and serve.
I had these pork chops in my freezer for a while, I had bought them from a local butcher air-packed and frozen. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until my daughter talked about the delicious applesauce her teacher made at school. Apples go so well with pork chops!! When I think of apples and pork chops, thyme comes to mind! So that is what I did. I took onions, garlic and cooked them with the apples. Adding the flour right into the skillet saves you a step (and cleaning a pan!). I decided to use cider for the pan gravy. The cider gives the dish a very deep apple flavor, and cooking the chops right in the gravy makes them tender and full of flavor. I did make creamed corn and fingerling potatoes (recipes to follow in the next few days!). After all of that, my daughter ate the pork chops but did not like the apples!! They were not the same as what her teacher made! I guess you can’t please everyone! Enjoy!
- 4 boneless center cup pork chops ½ to ¾ inch thick
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1 large Granny Smith apple or 2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/8 inch wedges
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups apple cider
Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, dry pork chops with paper towel and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Brown chops in single layer until deep golden on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip chops and cook until browned on second side, another 3 minutes. Transfer chops to a large plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and apples. Using wooden spoon, scrape bits on pan bottom and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and browned around edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour to the skillet and cook for about a minute mixing well. Next add the apple cider slowly whisking the entire mixture until it turns into a smooth sauce. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Add the chops, cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer until pork is tender and paring knife inserted into chops meets very little resistance, about 20 minutes.