Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guacamole Matrimony

What do you get when you combine an avocado and mandarin oranges in holy-guacamole matrimony? 

A match made in heaven.

I thoroughly enjoy a good guac but, after a recent trip to Mexico where I was able to indulge in a healthy dose of guacamole at almost every meal, I found myself daydreaming about different combinations of ingredients that might provide an exciting alternative to the original. 

At first glance, these ingredients may not sound like a complimentary combination.  But, if you give it a chance, I think you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.

My husband watched as I threw the ingredients together and later told me that, as he sat there he thought, “She’s ruining those avocados.”

I could see the doubt on his face too as I sat there chopping, mixing and sprinkling away.  At first, with the avocados it was like, “Yes.  This is par for the course.  I’ve seen her do this a million times before.”  When I pulled out the mandarins, peeled and diced them up, he looked perplexed.  When I threw the mandarins in with the avocados though his face said, “Welp, that’s trash bound.”

Thankfully, I was undeterred by this lack of confidence. 

I could see his skepticism, even a bit of reluctance, as he plunged a chip in for the first bite.  Then, the moment I love, a look of surprise couple with satisfaction swept across his face. 

“Wow,” he said.  “This is really good.  This is so good, it almost makes me mad because I just want to gobble up this whole thing!”

Muah, ah ah,” I thought to myself as a self-satisfied smirk spread across my face.

“Yep.  Skills,” I said.  “My taste buds know what taste buds like.”

 Mandarin-Avocado Guacamole
2 avocados
6 mandarin oranges
1 lime
½ - 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt (add more to taste if desired)

Scoop out avocado and dice into bite size pieces.  Peal and dice mandarin oranges into bite size pieces.  Combine juice from one lime, avocado, oranges, cinnamon and salt in bowl and mix well, mashing avocado as you go.  Taste, add cinnamon or salt as needed and serve.  

And tell me if your taste buds no likey.

Need another incentive to try this dish?  Check out this article explaining the health benefits of cutting saturated fat from your diet while increasing the healthy kind, unsaturated fat; the kind found in avocados.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ha ha Ha!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cilantro Solutions

So, I got a lot of great ideas from friends on FB for different ideas for ways I can make use of all this cilantro.

A few of the more inventive suggestions included:

"It makes a fun festive add at the bottom of vases! I used rosemary in centerpieces for a bridal shower this weekend."
- Deepa Varughese

"Chop it up, add to ice cube trays, top off with water to add to soups in the winter."
- Jayna Elam

Though I'm sooo not in the mood to be thinking about winter, I thought the ice cube thing was a great idea; it would be really pretty.  I enjoy the smell of rosemary so, I love the idea of using herbs as a part of centerpieces too.  That one gets the "Most Martha Stewart-like" award.  

My aunt also shared a link to a "five star vegetarian version" of Pho Noodle Soup that calls for cilantro amongst many, many other ingredients.  She said she's "addicted" to this soup from a vietnamese restaurant near her home in Grapevine, TX.  Since I can't exactly hop in my car and have lunch with her (though I so wish I could just beam myself there Star Trek style), I'll just have to search out something closer to me.  

For the time being, my solution for the overgrown cilantro tree is baba ghanoush!  I posted a recipe for it after I had it for the first time at a friend's birthday.  I just substituted cilantro for parsley (and instead of "2 Tbls" added about 1/2 cup!) and voila!  It's the freakin' bomb.

This week at the grocery store, I purchased garlic infused olive oil and decided to take that and my hurbs and put them to good use.

I took about two cups of baby carrots and cut each carrot lengthwise into about four pieces (some of the larger babies got a few more chops).  I tossed my carrots in a frying pan with about a tablespoon of the garlic infused olive oil and let them cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots were tender.  While the carrots simmered, I put about 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, sea salt (about 1/4 tsp.) and black pepper (to taste) into my food processor and chopped them until the pieces became very fine.  I then sprinkled the carrots with this mixture and allowed them to cook the rest of the way.

The baba ghanoush was a nice compliment to the carrots.

This carrot side was super quick, easy, and bursting with fresh flavors.  It was a slam dunk with my husband and a great way to make use of some of the beautiful growth I have sitting on my back patio.

Happy Herbing,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ideas for Cilantro

Anyone have any great ideas for ways to use copious amounts of cilantro?

I literally have a cilantro tree growing in one of my containers.  I love cilantro.  I use half-a-cup or two in my recipes fairly regularly but, now I'm wondering if there isn't something, almost like a cilantro based pesto that would be a good way to use some of this verdant growth.

Any ideas?  Comment and let me know.

If you're at all curious about my little candles there, check out my post (with lots of pictures) on Becoming an Artist, about how I created these twinklers.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Calorie Clarification

Check out this excellent article from Yahoo News that offers helpful insight into the sometimes convoluted conversation about calories and how they effect and/or work in our bodies.

I get particularly on board with the last statement of this article, "Avoid artificial sweeteners and load up your plate with the bona fide low-calorie saviors: fruits and vegetables."


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mexico Ruminations

I have returned... though, it was no easy feat dragging my sunburned butt away from the glowing Mexican sun.

From the moment we stepped foot into the airport to leave the familiar behind to the minute we said, "Adiós" to the lovely resort staff, every single step, bite, interaction and experience was absolute and complete bliss.
My husband (who I just celebrated 6 years of marriage with over this trip) packed my new, never-goin'-to-fly-without-it travel companion, the Snuggie, so that I wouldn't freeze to death like I normally do on plane flights.  It was so great.

Yay!!! I love needing my passport!!!

The first morning, laying out on a bright blue beach chair, ridiculously large sunglasses over my eyes and a big floppy hat on my head, I could easily understand why ancient civilizations worshiped a sun god.  The sun was beautiful, bright and its rays ran all the way down to earth, warming every grain of glittering sand and every inch of my epidermis.  My skin cells were smiling (and so was my face).
The view under my brim:

My skin is a tad bit itchy having been roasted ever so slightly to a light tinge of pink.  I was quite fastidious with the sunblock application and reapplication until the final day when I threw caution to the wind and the sunblock in my beach bag and just let the rays do their thing in the hopes that it would, "just turn to tan."

A few more applications of aloe coupled with a few sun free days and I think I may end up with just that ---- a nice little tan courtesy of the sol de May-hee-co.

The resort was lovely.  The staff - absolutely, positively, friggin' terrific.  The hardest working, most courteous, kind people I could have ever hoped to have the pleasure of meeting while being on vacation.

The food…

         Oh!  The food

It was fantastic!!!!

I ate fresh guacamole every single day.  I had frijoles negros as a part of my breakfast almost every morning.  And in between the French and the Italian and the Indian restaurants I would be hard pressed to give an answer as to what my favorite thing was all week long.

José (sipped not shot) and the best refried beans I've ever had in my life!
Beans for breakfast?!  Yum.
Chocolate Mousse from the French restaurant... muy moussay
"Tequila Boom Boom"

One thing that does stand out to me though was the coffee.  It was so delicious; so bold; so black, so full bodied and aromatic.

Every morning, as I sat across the table from my husband, I would have this moment, a moment of pure appreciation; appreciation for him, for the place, for the food, the beautiful people, the lovely resort, the means to be able to be there experiencing what I was experiencing, making the memories I was making. And then, a sip of coffee… 


It was perfection.

We went with a group of three other couples.  Let me tell you, that is the way to travel.  Good friends, building great memories and sharing in each others stories.

It was a beautiful week and I feel extremely thankful to have been a part of it.

Roasted & Rested,