Month: September 2014

The Best, Homemade Guacamole

guac

Guacamole is one of those things that I will never ever buy from any restaurant or any grocery ever again. I have found how I like it, and I will forever be biased towards this guacamole. It’s not a strange, green paste. It’s chunky, it is very clearly avocado with fresh veggies. I love diced onions and tomatoes. Nothing is macerated or processed. In addition, I add in garlic, which I think makes everything better! However, the most important ingredient in this guacamole is cilantro. Cilantro is the pulse of guacamole, the dip just comes alive with a brightness and a freshness after cilantro is added! I advocate very very generous use of cilantro, but I understand that many people do not like the taste of cilantro. I would encourage any naysayers to at least try a little bit in this dish. It really does complete the flavor profile and add depth to the dip.

I also love to add a little lime and a nice heaping serving of kosher salt! These two flavors are incredible with the fatty, smoothness of the avocado. The acid of the lime is great because there isn’t really another fresh, acidic flavor represented here! The lime also keeps the avocado from turning brown so quickly.

Overall, the idea behind this guac recipe is to create a brighter, chunkier version of typical guacamole. Originally, when I came up with this recipe, I just thought: what do I want with my avocado? I decided not to look at any other guacamole recipes, and just to wing it. What resulted (and was perfected after a few tries),  turns out to be something that is reminiscent of traditional guacamole, but with hopefully fresher flavors than you are used to!

The recipe is so easy to make too! It is great with chips but I will even eat spoonfuls of this by itself, because it is that delicious!

 

guac

 

The Best, Homemade Guacamole

 

Ingredients
(makes about 2-3 large servings)

2 medium-sized, ripe avocados (I used one regular and two miniature avocados)
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 small clove of garlic
1/3 yellow onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 lime
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

guac

 

First, I scoop out the avocado into a bowl. I used miniature avocados because I just found out that they exist and I think they are the cutest things, so I had to include them!

guac

At this point, you shouldn’t even worry about trying to mash them.

guac

Next, dice the tomato, and mince the garlic. Then add both of those into the bowl.

guac

Dice the onion and add that in!

guac

Next, chop up the cilantro, and add it in. Then, squeeze out the juice from the lime on top of everything in the bowl.

guac

You can chop the cilantro more finely if you’re not sure about liking the big chunks, but I think it is just amazing this way! Also, the end result resembles all of the ingredients more closely instead of looking like green mush!

 

Mix everything together really well, but not too much! You want it to stay very chunky!

guac

 

Add in the kosher salt and pepper (I usually do about a teaspoon of salt).

 

Enjoy it with chips or by itself!

guac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grandma’s Cure for the Common Cold

Readers,

One thing that people do not tell you about teaching that they really should is that you will be exposed to the largest array of resistant-strain colds, flues, bugs, and God knows what else. It’s somewhat of an occupational hazard. Despite my fervent attempts at employing the use of hand sanitizer and germ-killing sprays, I have fallen sick, overtaken by whatever illness is running rampant through my place of work this week.

The long sleeves of my jackets have nobly been subjected to these germs, as I pull them over my hands to open every door and drawer, to push every button. I refused to let my unprotected skin touch anything that these children have also touched. Alas, the struggle has ended with my defeat, and oh, what a horrific defeat it is. I have been wracked with coughing fits, endured chills and night sweats, and a mighty congestion the likes of which my body has never endured before.

Children get sick on a level that is so completely foreign to me. I, in my adulthood, have suffered on very few occasions from debilitating illnesses, but most typically from slight malaise. This is a sickness on a whole new level. If children were natural experts in anything that thing would be the art of getting sick. They are the best at this skill, and I am even convinced at times that they come out ahead of the elderly.

But enough about my illness! I realize I have been slacking and I have not been updating the blog as well as I should. Today, I thought I would post something that has been particularly relevant in my life as of late. This recipe is one that my family has used for a long time to aid in fighting colds and flues and bugs. It is an extremely comforting drink for me, and I find that it is the perfect drink to share with others as flu season kicks into high gear.

One thing you will notice is that there are no pictures in this recipe. Unfortunately, being sick has really worn me out and I haven’t been able to take pictures of this process. (Truth be told, I haven’t even been making them! I taught the BF how to do it and he has been amazing in helping to take care of me while I’m down for the count!)

Honey, Bourbon, and Water

Ingredients

1 shot bourbon (or whiskey, if you prefer)
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey

First, measure your bourbon and water into a cup and mix them together. Microwave this for 30 seconds. Then, add in the honey and stir. The mixture will be very hot, but it is so comforting and it feels so good on your throat!

This drink is definitely not one that’s going to get you drunk, it is just comforting and warm. It has been perfect on these cold, desert nights when I am feeling especially wiped out by body aches, congestion, coughing, and a fever.

Also, for anyone who isn’t sick and just needs a great excuse to have some good bourbon, this makes an excellent alternative to late night hot cocoa! It’s warm and fairly rich, which makes a for a great, soothing drink.

Yours in germs and Clorox,

Katie

Fully Loaded, Twice-Baked Potatoes

 

twice baked potatoes

Baked potatoes have always seemed boring to me. When I was young, my little sister was obsessed with them and I always remember the dreaded day that her dinner request would be granted: “We’re going to Jason’s Deli tonight!” NOOOOOOO.

I really don’t know why I despised the deli, tucked away near the entrance to Brookwood Mall. Something about it was just bland and simple. We were paying for food that looked and tasted like it came from our own kitchen on a lazy Sunday, only there was no room for substitutions or picky eaters. Little effort was put into the flavor profiles, and as a vegetarian I felt trapped in a field of overdressed iceberg greens and crappy salad toppings. As it happens, the baked potato at Jason’s Deli was “fully loaded” and therefore not vegetarian friendly.

twice baked potatoes

However, later in my life (probably at some catered banquet event), I was walking through a buffet line, warm plate in hand. One station in particular caught my eye. I have always loved mashed potatoes, and I have always loved cheese. Here was a magnificent sight: a perfectly oval, edible cup filled to the brim with mashed potatoes and baked to crisp perfection with melted cheddar cheese glistening at the top. I instantly went for the tongs and carefully chose the cheesiest, choicest potato. These were no ordinary baked potatoes. They were baked not once, but TWO times! This station came equipped with many toppings, so that each potato fit its owner’s preferences to a tee, and I was in a carb-lover’s heaven!

Since then, I have only ever had twice-baked potatoes at catered events. Really, I have no idea why. They are so easy to make, and if you’ve got picky eaters in your household, this is the perfect opportunity to let them create their own food.

twice baked potatoes

For this recipe, I used fake bacon, because I do love having the smokiness in the potato. However, as every topping is optional, this dish could easily become vegan friendly.

 

The Fully Loaded, Twice-Baked Potato
makes four servings

Ingredients
2 Idaho potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
black paper to taste
2 green onions
3 slices sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices chopped, fake bacon (or real bacon, if you prefer)

twice baked potatoes

 

First, preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare the potatoes for baking. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil, and scrub the potatoes clean under warm water. Using a fork, poke holes deep into the skin of the potato to allow for full cooking.

twice baked potatoes

 

Rub olive oil over the potatoes, and sprinkle them generously with kosher salt.

twice baked potatoes

Bake them for about an hour, and then carefully remove them from the oven. The olive oil will have created a deliciously crispy skin that makes for the perfect container for the potato filling!

twice baked potatoes

 

Being careful not to burn yourself, slice the potatoes in half, longways, like so:

Using a spoon, scoop out the cooked potato into a large bowl.

Next, add the sour cream, butter, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Chop the green onions and add them into the bowl as well.

Mix everything together well with a spoon, breaking up the larger chunks of potato. Slice the cheese into little squares and mix half of it into the potato mixture.

Next, add in the crumbled bacon.

Mash everything together. The result should be a mixture that looks a lot like mashed potatoes.

Carefully, spoon the mixture into the empty potato shells.

 

Cover the tops generously with the remaining cheese. If you need to cut more cheese, feel free. With everything in this recipe it’s important to make sure that it’s made to your taste preferences! It is so easy to alter the saltiness or the cheesiness or the amount of onion a bit, and the result will still be delicious!

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.

twice baked potatoes

 

These potatoes can be eaten right away, or refrigerated for up to a week and then microwaved. They are still amazing even days later. However, you should not freeze them. The process of freezing alters the taste of green onions and the entire potato will be ruined!

twice baked potatoes

Serve  and enjoy!