Category: Appetizer

Guacamole

Guacamole

Guacamole

This guacamole recipe has a great citrus taste with a hint of garlic. The key to a great texture is to use avocados that are semi-ripe instead of using ones that are very ripe. This way they retain some of their texture and create guacamole with some texture, instead of making wallpaper paste. If you can find them, the addition of Campari tomatoes add sweetness without much acidity, and the tomatoes retain their texture in the mixing, making this guacamole something special (of course any tomatoes will taste great, use what you can). In the image above you will see the peaks and valleys that indicate the rough texture of the guacamole, which is achieved by using avocados of the proper ripeness, which means no more searching in vain for the softest, ripest avocados. I can often make guacamole with avocados I buy the very same day.

Ingredients
5 semi-ripe Hass avocados

4 medium Campari tomatoes (or other medium sized tomato if you don’t have Campari)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 medium red onion
3 limes
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
1 tsp salt

Directions
1. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) and place into a bowl.

2. Juice the limes and pour juice into the bowl with the avocado. Limes will juice more easily if you roll them against a flat surface first with the palm of your hand, pressing down firmly while you roll for a few seconds.

3. Dice the onion and add to the bowl.

4. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds with your fingers. Cut the tomatoes into a small dice and add to the bowl.

5. Using a garlic press, press the garlic cloves into the bowl.

6. Cut the cilantro leaves into small pieces and add to the bowl.

7. Add salt.

8. To achieve a well textured guacamole, the method for the best result is to take a regular steak knife and rip through the avocado pieces continuously, cutting the halves into smaller and smaller pieces in the bowl. This will let you mix all the ingredients together without mashing the avocado into a paste. Use a fork to finish the mixing by folding in the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with diced tomato and a sprig of cilantro leaves if desired.

Serve with tortilla chips to about 8-10 people.

Tip summary
Tip #1 – Use semi-ripe avocados, not fully ripe ones for great texture. Over-ripe avocados can have a musty flavor that some people don’t like anyway.
Tip #2 – If you can find them, Campari tomatoes will retain their shape instead of breaking down into mush. Their low acidity helps the dish retain a nice balance of taste and sweetness.
Tip #3 – Cut the avocado instead of mashing it. This will result in a nice, chunky guacamole instead of paste.

Better Than Your Onion Soup

This is without question the best version of onion soup that I have ever tasted.

Ingredients
4 lbs. big yellow onions
1 stick butter
Pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 14 oz cans beef stock
1 14 oz can of water
½ cup red wine
¼ cup gin
French bread.
Gruyere (or good Swiss) cheese

Directions
1. Chop and saute yellow onions in butter until translucent.

2. Add salt (to taste) and sugar to onions and mix.

3. Add beef stock, water, red wine, and gin. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Turn off stove and let stand 1 hour or more.

Ladle into bowls, cover with thin slice of toasted French bread. Cover that with lots and lots of Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese. Run under broiler until cheese melts.

Serves 8 or more

Classic Zucchini Soup

Ingredients
6 small zucchini, trimmed and cubed or shredded
2 medium onions, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. sweet butter
5 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp fresh herbs-combo of oregano, basil, parsley, chives
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions
1. Place cubed or shredded zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for about 30 minutes.

2. In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic in oil and melted butter until the onions are golden.

3. Dry zucchini on paper towels and add to onions and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.

4. Puree soup in a blender or food processor. Return soup to pot and season with herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

5. Cool and refrigerate. Should be made 2-3 days ahead so flavors blend.

Serves 8+

Senegalese Soup

Senegalese Soup

Senegalese Soup

Ingredients
3 tart apples
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. Curry powder
2 Tbsp. Flour
8 cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 poached chicken breast (cutlet), chopped

Directions
1. Peel, core and chop the apples.

2. Melt butter and cook the apples, onion and garlic until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Add flour and curry powder and cook 2 minutes, stirring.

4. Stir in chicken broth and simmer covered for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

5. Stir in heavy cream.

6. Cool and puree. Strain and chill for 2 to 3 hours (or more).

Garnish with a few pieces of chopped chicken breast and serve.

Serves 12 or lots more, depending on the size of your bowls or cups.

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Ingredients
1/4 c. butter
12 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 c. finely chopped carrots
2 c. milk
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 c. finely chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c. finely chopped green pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
1 quart chicken stock
5 slices bacon, fried, drained and crumbled

Directions
1. Melt butter over moderate heat in heavy 2-3 quart saucepan.

2. When foam subsides, add all vegetables (not parsley) and saute for 15 minutes over low heat. Be sure not to brown them. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle in flour

3. Stir until  flour “disappears” into the mix.

4. Cook over moderate heat 12-3 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and whisk in stock.

6. Return to heat and bring to and maintain at a simmer for 1 or 2 minutes.

7. Whisk in the cheese and keep whisking until cheese has been smoothly incorporated into the soup.

8. Add milk, pepper, salt and mustard whisk again. Bring to the bubble and serve.

Garnish with parsley and bacon.

NOTE: When making ahead do not bring to final bubble. Do that just before serving.

Serves 6