Tag Archives: chips

avocado monster

19 Jul

I’m an avocado monster. This is what California has done to me. Here, avocados are like cheese. You put them in any food that requires assembly — burgers, salads, sushi, omelets, egg rolls… anything goes!

I still enjoy avocados most in their purest form, halved with a bit of soy sauce and a spoon. That’s how we grew up eating them in Hawaii. My grandma would walk down the block every day to check if any of the neighbor’s delicate “pears” had fallen to the ground street-side (i.e. “up for grabs”).

These days, I hit up my local farmer’s market for the super ripe hass avocados — perfect for guacamole making. I’ve been making guacamole for years now with on-par results, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I was introduced to the ultimate recipe.

I get compliments every time I make this for a party, and everyone always asks for the recipe. There aren’t any special spices, just well-measured ingredients and traditional grinding (preferably in a molcajete).  I have my foodie friend Christina to thank for introducing me to this guacamole of perfect proportions.

the very best guacamole
adapted from Rosa’s New Mexican Table via Saveur magazine

* 2 tbsp. finely chopped white onion
* 3 firmly packed tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeño
* 1 tsp. salt
* 3 medium-ripe hass avocados
* 3 tbsp. diced tomato
* 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice (or more to taste)

Grind 1 tbsp. of the onions, 1 tbsp. of  the cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a molcajete until all the ingredients are well ground. (Alternatively, use a fork to mash the ingredients to a paste in a wide bowl.)

Cut avocados (about 8 ounces each) in half. Twist the halves to separate them and remove the pit with the tip of the knife. Place an avocado half, cut side up, in your palm and make 3 or 4 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through its flesh down to the skin, without cutting through the skin. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same fashion.

Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the molcajete. Repeat with remaining avocado halves. Gently fold the avocado into the chile–onion paste, keeping the avocado pieces fairly intact.

Add lime juice, tomatoes, remaining 2 tbsp. of the cilantro, and remaining 1 tbsp. of the onions.

Fold together all the ingredients. Taste and add salt, if necessary. Sometimes I add a dash of soy sauce instead of salt for extra umami!

Serve immediately, directly from the molcajete (or bowl), with tortilla chips.

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mint chocolate cupcakes, metrics mayhem

15 Jul

At Christmas time, Trader Joes makes a special candy cane version of their Joe-Joe cookies (fake Oreos), which happens to be a favorite of my friend Mariel. So, when asked to make birthday cupcakes for her 30th, I set out to find a recipe that would mimic that oh-so-festive mint and chocolate combination.

Unfortunately, a search for “mint chocolate cupcakes” returns surprisingly slim pickings. However, one recipe stood out with a description stating “like an AERO chocolate in cupcake form.” If you’ve ever had an AERO bar, the titillating sensation of bubbles of chocolate bursting on your tongue immediately springs to mind. I was definitely going to make this recipe.

Of course as AERO would suggest, this recipe comes from the UK, specifically from the kitchen goddess herself, Nigella Lawson. While I am a huge fan of Nigella, she does live in the land of metrics and I am total crap at mathematical conversions. But… I will do just about anything for the sake of a cupcake.

Here is my metrics conversion masterpiece. Perhaps a tad bit off, since the cupcakes turned out slightly more concave than convex…. all the more room for butter cream frosting!

mint chocolate cupcakes with butter cream frosting
adapted and converted from Nigella

batter:
* 1 2/3 cup self raising flour (not the same as AP flour, but you can find it at Safeway)
* 4 tbsp cocoa powder
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 1/8 c super fine sugar
* 2 sticks unsalted butter
* 4 eggs
* 1 tsp peppermint extract
* 3/4 c plain choc chips

icing:
* 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
* 1 2/3 cup confectioners sugar, sieved
* 1 tsp peppermint extract
* green food colouring

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.

Place 18 paper wrappers into muffin tins.

In a bowl sieve flour, baking powder and cocoa. Beat butter and sugar together in another bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat together.

Add flour mixture gradually. Stir in the mint extract and chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into cases and bake for about 25 mins.

To make icing, beat icing sugar and butter in a bowl stir in the mint extract, and just enough food coloring to turn the icing mint green.

Ice the cooled cupcakes and decorate with chocolate chips or sprinkles.

Did I mention our cowboy party theme?