Saturday, October 23, 2010

I have been Painting

It took us a week to get the house ready for the painting project, do the project and put the things back the way they were before....and here is the end result.
Click THIS link to see the Facebook pictures.
Enjoy !

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roasted Beet Salad

If you like beets but have been wondering how to get the most of them then this is your answer.
I only bought 2 at Whole Foods and if I remember well they are being sold at different prices.
The taste of these 2 is pretty similar, but the colors are fantastic especially when paired.
So you just need 2 fist size beets, some cooking oil, salt, pepper, zest of 1/2 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon and aluminum foil.
Start by preheating your oven or in my case - toaster oven -to 375 F and continue with washing your beets, then peeling them.

Place the beets on a sheet of aluminum measuring 12 to 16 inches long, then drizzle with oil and using a brush or your fingers make sure the oil is evenly distributed.

After the oil, sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper.

I prefer coarse pepper.

The yellow color looked much better in reality but the camera just refused to capture it.

The next step is folding the edges of the aluminum foil to make an envelope or a pouch for baking.

To begin roast the beets for 1 hour, then increase the heat to 400F and cook for 45 more minutes.

If your beets are egg size, then they might be ready at the 1 hour mark.

When time is up, they will look like this...but do not let yourself be fooled by the darkened skin.

Look at the marvelous pop of color !

The beets will release juices while cooking at that will be the start of your dressing.
To it add the lemon juice and mix to blend.

Chop or cube the beets and place them in a glass bowl.

Add the lemon zest...

...then add the dressing and toss to coat.

Chill for 10 minutes then serve as is or with anything else you might like.
You will probably not stop from eating it - it is THAT good.
Enjoy !

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chunky Guacamole

My husband Jeff loves guacamole and if you are a fan of it too, then you really have to try it.
My recipe has something that probably none other has and if you make it you will see how good it really is.
Mine has lemon zest, not just lemon juice and it has one small shallot, not the regular 1/4 white onion.
The shallot is milder in flavor and even softer in texture than the regular onion.

1 large tomato, diced small

1 shallot

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut in 2
1 handful parsley or cilantro
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 avocado

Process everything but the avocado in a small food processor until it is finely chopped.

If you find it to be too dry and separating on the sides of the food processor, then add 1/3 of the tomato quantity.

At first it will look like this.

Then with the tomato added it will turn red like this.

Before you cut the avocado make sure you have washed it thoroughly.

With a knife make a cut all the way around and then twist the halves.

Discard the large seed and scoop the contents or the pulp of the fruit into a bowl.

The perfect tool for this would be a teaspoon.

Add the mixture from the food processor and the diced tomato and mix to combine.

Check the salt & pepper taste and adjust accordingly.

The avocado oxidizes easily and the lemon juice helps prevent that from happening.

Delicious nonetheless.
Thias guacamole is best served immediately with chips, but if you want to make it ahead and chill it or just save it for later, then the best way to do that is by placing the guacamole in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Enjoy !

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Passionate about Passion Fruit

I know most of us are willing to try exotic flavors, especially in syrups, as a chocolate filling or in a drink of some sort or even in ice cream, but how many of you would really eat that fresh fruit?
Some time ago I spotted passion fruits, all shriveled in a basket at Whole Foods and at a $3 + price tag (tax included) per piece, I thought I would give it a thought before purchasing it and possibly discarding it.
After weighing in the scientific evidence, I decided to pick one up, slice it and look inside and possibly even taste it and if I like it then even go on to start looking up for recipes to use it in.

 This particular passion fruit is called a purple passion fruit which is ripe only when the skin starts to wrinkle, such as in my case.
Compared to a large Granny Smith apple, the passion fruit is about 1/3 its size or slightly larger than an extra large egg.

It's easy to cut into and it's juicy, tangy and extremely fragrant.

You will notice that there are some black seeds inside and they add some crunch to your salads or you can strain the pulp to retain the seeds and have just the pure juice to work with.
One fruit yields as much pulp as the volume occupied by one egg - you know....the yolk and the white together...slightly under 1/4 cup.

I have put mine in a plastic container in the fridge for the moment and I am thinking maybe I will either make some drink or vinaigrette for a salad or even some syrup for dessert.
There are even recipes for curds out there.
Have you tried it ?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Colorful Fusilli Pasta and Grilled Bratwurst

How do you like the decoration?
Isn't it just so cute?
When you want to use very few ingredients and make dinner in a sinch - this is your go-to recipe.
Pasta and sausage.

I'll show you how:
You pick your favorite sausage or in this case - bratwurst- and grill it on high after scoring it with a sharp knife.

While the grill is heating up, bring water to a boil, add some salt and boil the pasta until al-dente or softer, depending on how you like your pasta cooked.
I like it softer.

 When the pasta is almost done, heat up some oil in a saucepan, add salt and pepper or grill seasoning to the oil....

...then add a small can of tomato sauce. Look for the "no salt added version" so you can control the amount of salt that goes into your plate.

Add the strained pasta over the heated up sauce and toss to coat.

In the meantime the sausage will have grilled and gotten some charring on it.

Look at those lines !

When everything is ready just plate and serve !!