Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guacamole! Ole!

As posted on SheSpeaks.com Special Edition June 30, 2010

On a recent trip to San Antonio, my husband and I were walking along the Riverwalk when we passed a Boudro's Texas Bistro. A waiter with a cart full of ingredients was chopping an avocado into a bowl of fruit juice. Table-side guacamole. I was sold.

This isn’t your typical avocado paste. It’s a chunky colorful blend of avocados, tomatoes, and chiles. The twist is a combination of orange and lime juice – slightly sweet, aromatic, and tangy. It’s like summer in a bowl!

I’ve recreated the recipe for you. It’s my new favorite and I hope it will be yours too.

Guacamole Naranja
Guacamole with Orange Juice -This guacamole has
a juicy, coarse texture that is closer to salsa than a paste.

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tsp salt
1 large or 2 medium avocados
2 roma tomatoes, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced*
½ to 1 serrano chile, roasted, seeded and minced*
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Tortilla chips for dipping

Combine orange juice, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl. Stir until salt is fully dissolved. Halve the avocado(s). Remove the pit and scoop the flesh into the salted juice. Use two butter knives to ruggedly chop the avocado. This guacamole is rustic so don’t worry about precise cuts.

Next, stir in the diced tomatoes and chile. Add a little chile at a time so that you get just the right amount of heat. Then add the red onion and cilantro and stir to blend.

Serve with tortilla chips and a frosty margarita!

*Roasting Tomatoes and Chiles - Line a cast iron or heavy sauté pan with aluminum foil. Heat the pan over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes and chiles to the pan. Use tongs to turn often until they are charred on all sides and starting to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away most of the charred skin using a sharp pairing knife. Then, slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise, scoop away the seeds and dice. When the chiles are cool, slice in half lengthwise and use the tip of your pairing knife to scrape out the seeds and ribs. Mince.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Play with Your Food

With kids out of school for summer, I’ve been thinking about kid-friendly food. The classic conundrum seems to be the struggle between what kids want to eat, and the nutritious food we want them to eat. So I asked myself, "why, can't nutritious food be kid-friendly too?"

Kids want to eat food that’s fun and that tastes yummy. Who can blame them, really? Don’t we all want fun, yummy food, at least some of the time? Take dipping, for example. Isn’t it more fun to dip and dunk what we eat? Can you think of food that you dip that doesn’t taste better? Come on! Chips and dip, so much yummier than chips alone! How about chocolate fondue with strawberries? Juicy strawberries dipped in decadent chocolate…That’s food I’d play with.

Another delightful dipper is chicken tenders. You've probably been tempting to sneak a couple off your child's plate from time to time but then the guilt of fried food takes over and you stop yourself.

Well, I’ve come up with some chicken tenders that are so good you won’t want to share them with your kids! These dunkable delights are coated with herby yogurt and cornflake crumbs, so you get the tang of ranch dressing with a satisfying crunch. The trick is more flavor, less fat. Try dipping them in my Gingered Honey Mustard dipping sauce.

Chicken Tenders with Gingered Honey Mustard

1 c plain yogurt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
2 c corn flake crumbs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Gingered Honey Mustard, recipe below

Preheat oven to 425°

Combine yogurt, parsley and chives in medium mixing bowl. Add in the chicken strips and mix to thoroughly coat. Combine cornflake crumbs, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. One at a time, drop chicken strips into crumbs to bread lightly.

Place onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 12–15 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

Gingered Honey Mustard

1/4 c yellow mustard
1/4 c honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Do you have any tricks for kid-friendly food that's fun and nutritious? Share your favorites with us

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best Burger Ever!

It's BBQ season again! Time to dust of the grill and get down to some serious summer feasting.

Burgers are classic American BBQ fare. I'm sure that there have been many heated discussions about what constitutes the best burger. The best beef to use. The best cut to grind. The ratio of fat to lean. Charcoal or gas. "Must use" condiments. Ultimately, I think most will agree that the burger has got to be juicy and flavorful.

I'm here to tell you that regardless of all the rest of the choices this one little tip is going change the way you eat burgers forever. Juicy, flavorful, burger nirvana! So, what's the secret to the Best Burger Ever? Get out some extra napkins because this tiny pat of heaven is gonna rock your burger world.

The Best Burger Ever!

2 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
Burger Nirvana Butter, recipe below
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns, your favorite
Burger condiments, your choice

Fire up the grill or preheat your grill pan.

Divide the ground beef into four equal portions. Slice four pats of Burger Nirvana Butter, about 1/8 to 1/4 thick each. Make an indentation in the center of each burger portion, and place a pat of Burger Nirvana Butter into the indentation and shape meat into a patty. (Be sure that the butter isn't sticking out anywhere.) Season each patty with salt and pepper.

Grill burgers to the desired doneness - about 7 minutes per side for medium, or 10 minute per side for medium well. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime, spread a little of the Burger Nirvana Butter on the inside of the hamburger buns and toast lightly on the grill or grill pan. Top with the burger and your favorite condiments, serve and wait for the "oohhs" and "aahhs!"

Makes 4 8-ounce burgers.

Burger Nirvana Butter

2 sticks butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced shallots
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Chop the butter into chunks. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter at medium speed until it softens and lightens in color, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, shallots, parsley, and mustard to the whipped butter and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes until blended. Scrape the butter from the mixing bowl onto wax paper or plastic wrap. Use the edge of a baking sheet to form the butter into a tight log. Chill for 2 hours before serving or freeze for up to a month.