Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Avocado Soup


Avocado Soup
(4 servings)

 
Ingredients:

2 large ripe Avocados
1¼ cups Crème Fraiche
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 tsp. Salt
1 medium Fresh Lime, juice only half of it
1 small bunch Fresh Cilantro, chopped
½ tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Cut the avocados in half and remove pits.  Scoop out pulp with a spoon and place in a food processor.  Add 4 tbsp. of crème fraiche and process until smooth.  In a large sauce pan over medium heat, warm chicken stock until hot but not bubbling.  Stir in the remaining crème fraiche and salt.  Add the lime juice to the avocado mixture and process briefly to mix.  Then gradually stir into the stock mixture.  Heat gently and do not let mixture approach boiling.  Pour soup into bowls and top with the chopped cilantro and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Note:               Because this soup contains avocados, it may discolor if left to stand.  So make it just before serving.

Note:               For an added left, use a little more lime juice just before putting into bowls.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Part 7 Mexican (Avocados) Cuisine

"Avocados" are used all over the world.  However, I believe that when you mention the name most people think of "Mexican Cuisine."  Mexico is in fact the largest producer of avocados in the world.  No other country is even close to them in production.

Most everyone, also, first thinks of "Guacamole" when you mention the word avocado.  But Mexican cuisine uses the avocado for more than just this one dish.  In fact, they not only use the avocado's pulp but it's leaves too.  They use the leaves both fresh and dried in dishes.  In the USA, the leaves are found in Mexican grocery stores or specialty stores.  The dry leaves are used similar to a bay leaf.

The avocado is used in soups, salads, sauces, marinades, stews, tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and with seafood.  There are several types of avocados but the two most common would be the "Fuerte" (Original Mexican avocado) and "Haas" (common to the USA & Mexico).

The Fuerte has a glossy green smooth skin with yellowish-green pulp.  The Haas has dark green skin that turns black as it ripens.  It too has the yellowish-green pulp to eat.

When buying avocados, look for ones that have a little give when you press the top end of the fruit.  If you have ones that are not ripe yet, leave on a counter for a couple of days.  As soon as the avocado is ripe, refrigerate it.  This will help them to last a little longer.  As they over-ripen the pulp will start to turn black.  This also happens if they get bruised.  Exposing the pulp to air will also cause it to turn black.

To help keep this from happening, cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Another method to help keep the pulp from blackening is to cover it with water.  An example would be guacamole.  After you finish making it, put it in a sealable container and cover with a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water.  Use an small measuring cup and slowly pour the water over the guacamole (or whatever you have used the pulp for) trying not to disturb it.

There are also several different ways to remove the avocado pulp from it's shell.

First there is the cutting it in half method.

To do this, cut the avocado in half from top to bottom.  Take a half in each hand and turn in opposite directions to separate.  The pit will usually stay in one half.  Carefully put the knife blade into the pit and turn it while holding the avocado half in the other hand.  The pit should release from avocado and remain stuck to the knife.  Carefully remove from the knife.

This works well for scooping a half of avocado pulp out in one piece.  You do this by just using a tablespoon and slipping between the shell and the pulp.  Then working your way around the entire inside.

It also works well for cubing or dicing the avocado pulp.  In this case, hold a half in the palm of your hand and use a pairing knife to run slices through the pulp without going through the skin.  Then repeat making slices diagonally across your first ones.  You will want to keep the distance between the slices equal so you have uniform pieces.  Then use a tablespoon to scoop them out.  You could try peeling the skin off too.

Second is the quartering method.

You start just like above cutting it in half.  Then you turn it and repeat the cut giving you 4 equal quarters of avocado.  They will usually start falling apart with the pit dropping out.  Once you have the 4-quarters, it is easy to peel the skin from the pulp.  Just start a the tip and peel back the skin.  You may need to use your fingers to get between the skin and pulp.  Practice makes it easier as with any new thing you try.

These quarters without the skin can than be mashed, chopped up, sliced or used in food processors for desired needs.  It is another way to make avocado use easy.

I already have a couple of guacamole recipes on the blog.  My favorite is Guacamole (Villa del Arco) It is an easy mild guacamole to which you could add heat if desired.  This week on Thursday, I have a "Spicy Guacamole" recipe for you to try.  My favorite doesn't have tomatoes or chiles in it.  This new one has both.  Tomorrow is a recipe for "Avocado Soup" and it is easy and tasty.  Again it doesn't have heat to it but could if you wanted.

So always I hope this has been helpful to you and you have learned something new about avocados.  Enjoy this week's recipes and until next week "Happy Cooking."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pimento & Olive Deviled Eggs


Pimento & Olive Deviled Eggs
(16 servings)

 
Ingredients:

8 large Fresh Eggs
2 whole Pimentos (from jar or can)
8 large Pitted Green Olives
5 tbsp. Mayonnaise
8 drops Tabasco
pinch Cayenne Pepper (amount to your taste)
to taste Salt & Black Pepper
½ tsp. Paprika, for dusting eggs

Directions:

Place eggs in a medium sauce pan and cover with cold water by 1 inch.  With sauce pan on stove, bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat.  Once at a boil lower heat to keep a slow boil and continue for 3 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and let eggs rest in the hot water for 9 minutes.  Carefully drain hot water and add back cold water to pan along with some ice cubes and let sit for 12 minutes.  Drain water, get one egg, crack shell and remove under slow running cold water.  Repeat process with each egg.  Now cut each egg in half lengthwise and remove yolks to a nylon strainer over a medium sized bowl.  Push yolks through strainer into bowl.  Then mash with a fork.  Drain pimentos on paper towels, chop finely and add to bowl.  Leave 16 little strips to garnish finished eggs.  Finely chop olives leaving 16 slices to garnish finished eggs.  Add the mayonnaise and mix well.  Now add tabasco and cayenne.  Salt and pepper to taste.  You can now pipe the mixture into the eggs or spoon it in.  Once all the eggs are filled place on a serving dish and top each with pimento and olive pieces saved for garnish.  Now dust each egg with a little paprika and serve.

Note:               Once done, eggs can be carefully covered
                        and refrigerated until needed.

Note:               There are many different instructions for cooking boiled eggs.  I find this one the best for me.  Also, you want to use older eggs for boiling as they peel easier than fresh ones.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Green (Avocado) Deviled Eggs


Green (Avocado) Deviled Eggs
(12 servings)

 
Ingredients:

6 large Fresh Eggs
1 large Avocado, ripe
1 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1 tbsp. White Onion, very finely minced
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, very finely minced
1 tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, fine chop
½ tbsp. Ancho Chile Powder (optional) or to taste
as needed Smoked Paprika for dusting finished product

Directions:

Place eggs in a medium sauce pan and cover with cold water by 1 inch.  With sauce pan on stove, bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat.  Once at a boil lower heat to keep a slow boil and continue for 3 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and let eggs rest in the hot water for 9 minutes.  Carefully drain hot water and add back cold water to pan along with some ice cubes and let sit for 12 minutes.  Drain water, get one egg, crack shell and remove under slow running cold water.  Repeat process with each egg.  Now cut each egg in half lengthwise and remove yolks to a nylon strainer over a medium sized bowl.  Push yolks through strainer into bowl.  Pit and peel avocado and scoop into bowl with eggs.  Then mash with a fork.  Next add the lime juice, onion, garlic, cilantro and chile powder (if using) and combine well.  You can now pipe the mixture into the eggs or spoon it in.  Dust each egg with the smoked paprika and chill until time to serve.

Note:               Some changes you might make if needed include onion powder to the real onion, different chile powders for both in mixture and/or for dusting eggs.  Use your imagination.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What are Deviled Eggs?

"Deviled Eggs" are very popular in the USA and actually around the world too.  What are they and where did they begin?

A "Deviled Egg" is a hard boiled egg that has been cut in half (lengthwise mostly) and filled with a mixture usually containing the egg yolk combined with other ingredients.  Mayonnaise and mustard are the two most common ingredients used.  But the filling possibilities are unlimited because of everyone's varied pallet.

The origin of "Deviled Eggs" can be traced back  to Roman times.  You can find reference to them in the early AD.  Over the years they have been called many names (depends on the country you are in).  In the UK they are called "Devilled Eggs" for example.

In some parts of the South and Midwest in the USA, they are referred to as "Stuffed Eggs", "Salad Eggs", "Dressed Eggs" or even "Angel Eggs."  This is mostly to do with them being served at church functions.  The word "Deviled" doesn't go over so well in these settings.

The name "Deviled Eggs" referred to the dish being spicy.  Mostly because of the use of mustard and pepper as ingredients in the mixture.  They don't have to be spicy but most recipes have some ingredient in them to give it a little kick.

I have two recipes this week for "Deviled Eggs" that are not your traditional types.  The first is "Green (Avocado) Deviled Eggs" and is along the line of guacamole for a filling.  That's tomorrow and then on Thursday, I have "Pimento & Olive Deviled Eggs" for you to try.

Both recipes tells you how to boil eggs for the best results.  Now there are many different recipes out there for making hard boiled eggs.  I believe they all work but I like the one I use best.  The yolks of these boiled eggs will last 4 to 5 days before starting to turn green on the edges.  These is nothing wrong with them when this happens but it is best to use them when they are their freshest.

It also makes it easier to peel hard boiled eggs if you boil older eggs.  The fresh ones are a little harder to peel.  Try and buy them about a week before you are going to boil them.

Enjoy trying these two "Deviled Eggs" recipes and "Happy Cooking" until next week.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cilantro-Lime Butter


Cilantro-Lime Butter
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

16 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
¼ cup Fresh Cilantro, rough chop
1 clove Fresh Garlic, peeled & rough chop
1 small Shallot, rough chop
1 medium Fresh Lime, zested & juiced
to taste Salt & Black Pepper (optional)

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse 5 times for 5 seconds each.  Scrape sides as needed between pulses.  Then process for 1 minute to fully combine.  Use for current meal or freeze for future use.  To freeze, place half of the butter in a line down the middle of plastic wrap.  Bring over the butter one side of the plastic wrap and form into a log.  Roll up completely in the plastic wrap and then twist the ends to finish.  Repeat process with the second half of the butter.  Label and store in freezer until needed.

Note:               If you like a little heat, add a jalapeno or serrano chile to process.  Depend on heat level, you can remove or leave the seeds of the chile.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Herbed Steak Butter


Herbed Steak Butter
(4 servings)

 
Ingredients:

8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. Fresh Basil, rough chop
1 tbsp. Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, rough chop
4 cloves Fresh Garlic, peeled & rough chop

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse 5 times for 5 seconds each.  Scrape sides as needed between pulses.  Then process for 1 minute to fully combine.  Use for current meal or freeze for future use.  To freeze, place butter in a line down the middle of plastic wrap.  Bring over the butter one side of the plastic wrap and form into a log.  Roll up completely in the plastic wrap and then twist the ends to finish.  Label and store in freezer until needed.

Note:               Double or triple the recipe and place in freezer.  Larger batches work better in a food processor.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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