Monthly Archives: January 2012

Guacamole

Guacamole

The other day Bruce and I found a box of fuerte avocados on our doorstep that was mailed to us by Bruce’s mother in Southern California.  His mother has a ginormous avocado tree growing in her backyard and whenever Bruce travels down to visit his mother, I always hope that he brings a few avocados back home with him.  The avocados that she grows in her yard are fuerte avocados.  Fuerte avocados have a lovely dark green skin, and a light green creamy flesh.  I like to eat them plain with a pinch of salt, chopped up in salads, and especially in homemade guacamole.  Guacamole is really simple to make and tastes great with crunchy tortilla chips.  Make this guacamole and you will never want to eat the store bought kind ever again… Thank you Lois for the wonderful avocados!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 large avocados (halved, seeded and peeled)
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/4 c. red onion (minced)
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried ancho chili pepper
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, (seeded and diced)
  • garnish with chopped cilantro and Roma tomatoes

In a medium sized mixing bowl add all the ingredients with the exception of the tomatoes and the garnishes.  Use a fork to mix all the ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the avocado mixture until ready to serve.  Be sure not to make the guacamole too far in advance (a couple of hours max!) because the avocado mixture likes to turn a brownish color rather quickly.  When ready to serve, stir in the tomatoes and garnish with the fresh chopped cilantro and a couple of diced tomato pieces for color.  Serve with crispy tortilla chips, in burritos, or as a side dish to some of your favorite Mexican dishes.

Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne

Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne

Can you believe that I started my new year without any resolutions?  Nope, none, nothing, nada…  I have a tough time keeping resolutions.  Every year I say I have one, I am good for a few short months and then my bad habits creep right back up on me.  This year is different.  I decided that this year I am having “New Year’s Expectations”.  Expectations, I know I can do.  Expectations are attainable and having expectations is how I operate.

One of my expectations for 2012 is to be less wasteful in the kitchen.  Instead of buying expensive store bought vegetable and meat stocks, I will make my own.  It saves money and helps keep spoiled vegetables in the vegetable drawer of my refrigerator to a minimum.  I also expect to be more creative with the use of leftovers.  That also saves money and valuable refrigerator space too.

Last night I made a gorgeous prime rib roast for New Year’s Day dinner.  I had a couple of pounds of the roast leftover in the refrigerator this morning.  Living up to my “new” expectations, I decided to make a Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne.  My Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne is made with leftover prime rib roast, cranberry beans, homemade beef stock (from the prime rib), onions, garlic, carrots (leftover too!), extra dark cocoa powder  and fragrant spices.  Top your bowl of Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne with fresh grated cheddar cheese, green onions and red bell pepper.  Makes about 2 quarts of chili or 8 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 pound leftover prime rib or roast beef cubed (fat removed)
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock (0r more if needed)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. dark chili powder
  • 1 Tbls. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbls. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onion and chopped red pepper.

Begin by washing, picking over and soaking the cranberry beans in a bowl of water overnight.  Grab a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  On medium heat saute your onion, shallots and carrots in the olive oil.  Cook until onion is opaque.  Add soaked cranberry beans and the remaining ingredients with the exception of the garnishes. Cook for about 4 hours on very low or until beans are cooked to your liking.  Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.  Taste the chili, correct your salt level, add additional stock if needed and ladle into bowls.  Garnish with shredded cheese, sliced green onions red pepper.  Note:  Go ahead and make this in your slow cooker.  About 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Happy New Year!  I hope you all  had a great New Years Eve and came home safe and well.  I don’t know about you but I have high expectations for 2012 and am feeling pretty confident that this new year will be a much better year.

I love black-eyed peas.  From what I gather, it is thought by many people that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day brings luck and prosperity in the New Year.  I am open to increasing my chances to do just that and that is why I make it a point to serve my Black Eyed Pea Salad as a side dish at our New Year’s Day dinner.  My Black-Eyed Pea Salad is made with organic Oregon grown black-eyed peas, vibrant red and yellow bell peppers, bright cherry tomatoes, green onions, spices, extra virgin olive oil and lovely white balsamic vinegar.  It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful.  Best of luck to you in the new year!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag frozen and precooked black-eyed peas (defrosted)
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered (about 10)
  • 2 Tbls. fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions chopped
  • 4 Tbls. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper or to taste

Add all ingredients to a medium sized mixing bowl.  Toss and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.  Overnight is best because you want the flavors to marry before serving.  Taste and correct your seasonings. Makes about 8 servings.