Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Guacamole...For Sam

We had friends over on Sunday and I made guacamole and wings and pizza.
I make the simplest guacamole in the world.
Here you go Sam.

2 roma tomatoes
juice from 1/2 a lime
1/4 white onion
1 medium sized jalapeno
2 avocados
salt and pepper to taste

Cut it all up. Put it all together. I don't mash the avocado, I just chop it up. This is easy with avocados that are just the tiniest bit firm, but for a really ripe avocado, you're going to have to go ahead and mash.

When I was in college I would go through these weird food phases where I would only eat one thing for days on end. I had one of these phases with guacamole. I ate nothing but chips and guacamole for two weeks. I may have gotten sodium poisoning...but it was worth it.
A Case of The Mondays....

Sometimes, when a Monday has been especially long and grueling, you need to come home and make a recipe that calls for Merlot.
This turned out especially well. I served it with mashed red potatoes that I made with green onions, garlic, and plain non-fat yogurt. It was so good that Al actually cleaned his plate. That's really the test of a recipe...the "Al Clean Plate Test." You would think that he would clean his plate every time I cooked, considering that before me he subsisted completely off Lean Cuisines and frozen burritos, but no.

Steak with Shallot-Merlot Sauce (Bon Appetit, Nov. 1996)

1 12-14oz. Steak
1 Tbsp. Olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
6 tbsp. Merlot
3/4 cup beef stock or canned broth
3 tbsp. unsalted butter (I only used 1 tbsp.)

Salt and pepper steak. Heat oil in large skillet on high heat. Add steak and cook until brown on each side. Reduce heat and cook stead to desired doneness. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
Add shallots to same skillet and saute over medium heat about 1 minute. Add Merlot and boil until reduced by half. Add stock and boil until syrupy; about 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Whisk in butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut steak into strips. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yeah...I made that bad boy all by myself.
After weeks and weeks of being obsessed with all the great food blogs that I have discovered, I finally decided to make something great...and it turned out so great I had to start a blog about it. It turned out so beautiful that I called my boyfriend into the kitchen every five minutes. "Al, did you see my tart yet?" "Al, come look at it again, I turned it and it is catching the light completely differently now. You haven't seen it until you've seen it in this light."
I made the tart for my dad for Father's Day. He is diabetic, so my brother teased me that this was my way of contributing to my father's demise. Funny, I thought that living with my boyfriend and changing my major in college three times was my way of contributing to my dad's demise.
I know that I got the recipe for this tart from one of the wonderful food blogs on here, but I can't remember where, or I would give credit where credit it due.

Pear and Almond Tart
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
4 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cole butter, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp solid vegetable shortening
3 tbsp ice water

Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add butter and shortening and work together until crumbly. Work ice water through dough until it comes together. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. (I put it in for about an hour)
Pre-heat oven to 375. roll dough out into a circle and place in 9" tart pan. (okay, so I only have a 12" tart pan, but it was totally enough dough) Fill tart with pie weights, or aluminum foil and rice like I did. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until edges are golden brown. Remove pie weights and bake for 10 more minutes until bottom is slightly browned. Let it cool.

Tart Filling:
1/2 Cup sugar
2 large ripe pears (I used asian pears)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 c. half and half
1/2 c. slivered almonds

Whisk eggs and sugar until they are pale yellow. Whisk in the extracts and the cream. finally stir in the almonds.
Cut each pear into thin slices and fan out around bottom of tart crust. Pour the custard over the top of the pear slices. Place in 350 oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Maybe now is a good time to mention that my oven is crap. I have to turn it down to 200 and constantly check on anything that I put in there...so be wary of any time I estimate baking time.