Sunday, June 29, 2008


3 avocados

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

1/4 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tbs chopped cilantro

Optional Ingredients:

1/2 cup diced tomato

2 tbs finely chopped red onion

Serves 4

Avocados are one of my favorite things to eat. They are creamy, low in saturated fat, and absolutely delicious with tortilla chips, or your favorite Mexican dish. If you're like me, and don't live in Hawaii or California, good avocados can sadly be very hard to come by. I often find that the avocados in my grocery store are hard as rocks, but with a little patience and a brown paper bag a beautiful ripeness can be achieved. Just toss them in a bag and place in a window sill for a day or two and your avocados will soften nicely. Note, no substitutes here, the bag has to be brown paper. Here is one of my favorite avocado recipes.

Start by cutting the fruits (yep, it's not a vegetable) in half and scooping the insides into a bowl.

To continue, add lemon juice and garlic powder and mash the avocado until smooth.

Next, finely chop the cilantro and Mix into the dip. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you'd like to kick this simple dip up a notch, add in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped red onions, and a 1/2 cup of diced tomato. Sooo good!

Note this recipe should not be made too far in advance because the avocado will begin to discolor after an hour or two from exposure to the air. Legend has it that if you save the pit in the dip, the avocado will retain its color longer, I'm not so sure this isn't just an old wives tale. Anyone tried it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wine Bottle Dressing

1 cup olive oil

½ cup plus one tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 clove of garlic smashed

2 Tbs honey



Ok, so listen... I have turned into a vinaigrette snob. If it's not homemade, it's not making my taste buds very happy. But making a vinaigrette every time I want a salad can be a bit daunting. So here's a fun and easy way to make and store any homemade dressing all in one bottle. For this recipe you will need a funnel and a clean wine bottle with its cork. Start by peeling the clove of garlic, and giving it a quick smash, just to let out all of the flavor.

Next, drop the garlic pieces into the wine bottle.

Then, measure the vinegar and oil into a liquid measuring cup, and pour into the wine bottle via the funnel.

After the oil and vinegar, comes the honey. I specify adding the honey after the oil, because the oil will grease the way, allowing the honey to just slip through the funnel. Be patient! This part may be a little slow.

To add the salt and pepper, I found that it was easiest to use a piece of paper, or a paper towel to add everything into the bottle.

Now its simple...all you have to do is shake until everything comes together into a beautiful, thick vinaigrette. This will take about 15 seconds at the most!

The bottle can be passed around the table so that people can dress their own salads, and later stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks....if it even makes it that long!

This is just a basic recipe. Delicious variations can be made by substituting balsamic vinegar, or jazzing up the recipe with your favorite fresh assortment of herbs or flavored olive oils.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sweet Potato Wedges

This is a great little fake out for anyone trying to watch what they eat. I'm used to sweet potatoes with cinnamon and sugar, but served up savory, they are quite a treat. Add a little ketchup, and you'll think your eating something completely sinful.

2 sweet potatoes

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp course salt

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tbs fresh rosemary

Serves 4

Start by washing and cutting the potato in half, and then in half again, and then in half again to create wedges. Next, cut each of these wedges in half short ways. You will wind up with about 16 pieces for each potato.

Next, finely chop about a tablespoon of fresh rosemary.
Place all wedges on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Use your hands to mix around the ingredients while on the tray. You could also use a bowl and a spoon for mixing if you prefer.
Place into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Flip over each wedge with either a spatula, or a fork, and then bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and serve with ketchup. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fresh Strawberry Daiquiri


2 cups strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup rum

1/4 cup lime juice

2-3 cups of ice

whipped cream

Serves 4

Sure you can order a Strawberry Daiquiri just about anywhere, and you can even buy frozen or canned mixes from the grocery store, but did you know how truly simple and satisfying it is to make this cool drink from scratch? You'll find that a handmade, real fruit version of the daiquiri is so refreshing you'll never regret the little bit of extra prep work. Here is an easy recipe that anyone with a blender and a few simple ingredients can put together.

To start, simply mix a 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water with a wire whisk over medium heat until all sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).

This will create what is called a simple syrup, a common base for many types of cocktails and blended drinks. By using syrup, you avoid having gritty grains of sugar in your glass. Next, pour the mixture into a container and refrigerate for about an hour, or until cool. If you're in a rush, you can freeze the mixture for about 15 minutes. Now rinse and slice about 2 cups of strawberries and toss them into the blender.

The berries should slightly heap over the measuring cup.

Cut and juice enough limes to squeeze 1/4 cup of juice. This should be about one lime.

Add to the blender along with a half cup of clear or golden colored rum.

Once the simple syrup is cool, pour all of it into the blender and add one cup of the ice.

Pulse your blender until the mixture begins to smooth out. Slowly incorporate the rest of the ice until you have reached your desired thickness. If you add all of the ice at once, you may overwork your blender so I have found that it's better to go slow.

Once you have reached your desired thickness, pour into your favorite glass and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with a lime wedge and a strawberry, and enjoy. Any leftovers (I never seem to have any...) can be stored in the freezer. Just partially thaw and then re-blend the mixture to break up any ice before serving. You may need to add a few more cubes to help thicken the drink.

Voila! A cool summer treat to share with your friends.