Simple Avocado citrus salad

My friend dropped off 10 avocados from her father-in-laws avocado farm-lucky!  I love avocado but I simply had too much and was gaucamoled out.  I made a really “light” dressing of lime and a teaspoon of honey on top of a bed of sliced tomatoes and avocados and some chopped cilantro. This is a refreshing and filling side dish or perfect for  lunch.  I now am the proud owner of an avocado tree, but it will take years to yield many avocados.

For two servings:

2 Haas avocados sliced or cubed, depending on your preference

2 tomatoes sliced.

handful of cilantro chopped or cut with scissors

1 lime squeezed into small bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon or more of honey and 2 tablespoons oil of your preference.  Mix and drizzle over avocado and tomatoes!

Add salt ( sel de cali- citrus blend, cilantro red pepper, or chardonnay) Voila, ready to eat.

simple avocado salad

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shrimp cilantro lime tortillas

English: Fresh Cilantro (Coriander) Deutsch: V...

food

This is a really simple dish.  Basically take a bunch of shrimp, toss them in cilantro.  Heat up a pan with olive oil. Toss in shrimp, garlic and cilantro, cook till opaque, add in diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes at last-minute, just to warm up.  Meanwhile heat up tortillas as you usually do.  We just heat one by one on a frying pan with nothing in it, note, be careful, you could ruin your pan as we have.  It beveled under the heat but we also have an annoying electric stove top.  Anyway, add the shrimp, fresh squeezed lime wedge, a piece of avocado if you have one, some sour cream if you have, to your tortilla and voila, a lovely bite of mexicana americana Alla Karine and Paul.  Actually, I have to say this was Paul’s recipe he discovered from a friend while living in an artist loft in downtown Detroit.

 

18 or so shrimp for 2 people about 3 tortillas each

6 flour tortillas

2 limes

1 avocado sliced in 6 pieces-one piece per tortilla

a bunch of cilantro

a handful of cherry tomatoes or 2 plum tomatoes diced

2 tablespoons sour cream-preferable full fat!

you can add some hot peppers too

 

Baked tomatoes

Various heirloom tomato cultivars
Various heirloom tomato cultivars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle...
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle Stuttgart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Small tomatoes in Korea
Small tomatoes in Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is such a simple dish.  They are not stuffed or cut in half.  They are just simple baked tomatoes at 350 F for 30 mins then 375 F for 20 more minutes.  I love this dish.  I started making it over the summer when tomatoes were in season.  I just cut the tops off the tomatoes, enough to sprinkle salt, pepper and whatever herbs I have along with a good dose of extra virgin olive oil.  Sometimes I add chopped garlic, too.  At the last part of cooking, grated parmesan cheese is great on this, too.

The great thing about this dish is it makes a great accompanyment to just about anything.  It can be used as a sauce  as well.  Serve it on a big bowl of rice or pasta and it’s simple and delicious.  I could eat this everyday.  The tomatoes really make a difference, but it’s still good if you jazz up bland tomatoes with a bunch of garlic, basil, oregano, cheese… whatever.  Enjoy!

July's Tomato Haul
July’s Tomato Haul (Photo credit: statelyenglishmanor)

Tacos with a fabulous Guacamole

In the land of fish tacos, Los Angles has some pretty great bites.  The mexican influence with its spicey salsas and yummy dishes are easy to come by in Southern California.  LA has LAfied the taco.  But with all that said, I decided just to make my own tacos tonight. I bought the taco kit… not so authentic, but it will cure the taco fix.  When using the kits,  I usually toss out the spice pack  and the salsa pack.  But tonight I was stressed for time and it just seemed easier to use the premixed spices, this time at least.  I did toss the salsa pack away.

The way I made my tacos:

I used fresh organic hamburger meat about 1/2 pound for 2-3 people.  First, I chopped up some onion and sautéed it slightly with a touch of oil.  I then added the fresh organic ground hamburger meat and then the spice packet with a bit of water, as they advised on the packet instructions.  While this was cooking I moved onto making my salsa.  I will not eat the prepackaged salsa that was in my taco kit, even if time is a constraint.  It’s so easy to make a nice fresh salsa.  I chopped up some red onion, used half for my salsa and put half to the side for my guacamole.  I then chopped about 8 nice plum tomatoes,  a big bunch of cilantro and about 1  jalapeno or any hot pepper .  I put it all together and then for the last touch, I added tons of lime and put it aside.  Meanwhile I checked on my meat and stired it a bit.  It was time to put the taco shells in the oven to warm them up.  While they were heating, I start on my guacamole.  I used about 3 ripe avocados ( You can buy unripped avocados and place them in a paper bag over night, they will be ready by the next day) I smashed the avocado up nicely, not too soupy in consistency and not too chunky.  I cut up one tomato and de seeded it.  Cherry tomatoes are also wonderful to use.  I added the chopped tomatoes to the avocadoes, added some chopped jalapeno, maybe a tablespoon, then a few drops of hot sauce.  Stir it all together.  Add salt and pepper and then a bunch of nicely cut up cilantro. For the final touch stir in about  1 and 1/2 limes juiced.

Yum and more yum  I then open, as guilty as I feel for not making them myself, a can of re-fried beans.  It just adds to the taco’s texture and taste.  I heat it up, chop up some romaine lettuce and place it in a bowl, dice some tomatoes and place them in a separate bowl and then shred some sharp cheddar cheese and put that in a separate bowl as well.  These bowls are for us to assemble our own tacos to our liking.

Beep the oven goes off, we are ready to compile our tacos.  I made myself 3, fabulous tacos and my husband made 4.  This was a definite splurge meal, according to the Dukan diet.  But I feel its’ much healthier, aside from my canned beans, than anything you will get in a fast food, taco restaurant.  I  like cooking at home with the freshest and most natural products possible which makes a big, big difference in taste.  For dessert we had some brownies with red wine salt-Sel de Cali.  Yum a perfect meal.

 

The two sauces will work just by adding all the ingredients and mixing.  There is no right or wrong way.  Just use yummy ingredients and they will turn out great.  

Salsa: 

8 plum tomatoes chopped

a big bunch of cilantro

1 Jalapeno pepper, de seeded and finely chopped

1/2 red onion chopped

1-2 squeezed lime juice

salt

 

Guacamole

3 ripe avocados

1 big bunch of cilantro

1/2 red onion or sweet yellow onion

1 jalapeno chopped (de see)

1 tomatoe diced and de seeded or 6 cherry tomatoes

a few drops of hot sauce

1 juiced lime

 

Bolognese sauce

 

Olive oil-about 3 tablespoons

1 yellow onion

2 small carrots

2 small celery stalks

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

4lbs Roma/plum tomatoes or use 18oz canned tomatoes

ground nutmeg

salt/pepper

red pepper flakes

 

This was for my husband.  He is a pasta lover and we both like a good Bolognese sauce, otherwise known as “ragu” in Italy.  It is an easy sauce to make, yet it requires many steps.  The first step is chop, chop and chop some more.  You will need to chop carrots, celery and onions as finely as possible.  The onions are chopped separately.  I have opted to use fresh tomatoes, you need a lot more, but the results are better.  You will get a fresh sauce without all the additives of a canned tomato.  I used to blanch my tomatoes to peel them until my mom who swore by this, bought me the zyliss tomato peeler.  It is a life saver.  I just peel the tomatoes, de-seed them, buy cutting them in half and squeezing out the seeds out over the sink.  Then I dice them.  Add a bit of olive oil to a pot and cook the onions for about 3 mins.  Add the carrot and celery mix, let cook for a bit, maybe 10 mins.  Now all I need is some white wine, a glass for me and about a cup for the sauce.  Actually, I also need a wholesome glass of milk, about a cup.  Once the carrots, celery and onions are cooked, add in about a pound of beef.  I like to actually use about 1/2 lb beef and 1/2 lb ground pork.  I think it adds depth to the sauce.  Cook the beef/pork till the pink is gone.  Add about 1 cup milk and cook till almost evaporated.  Then you add about 1 cup dry white wine.  Try to use a good quality wine, one that you would want to drink as well, while cooking.  After the wine is evaporated add your tomatoes.  I use about 4lbs of Roma Tomatoes.  You can also use two large cans of whole tomatoes.  Add some pepper flakes, not too much, just a few pinches.  My friend added about 2 tablespoon full and we spent the evening trying the sauce, adding more tomatoes, trying the sauce again, finding it too hot, added more tomatoes. By the end, we still had a very spicy sauce, but about 6 times the amount, she had enough to feed a small army!  Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.  You will want to cook your sauce on medium for a bit then reduce to low and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours.  This is a great sauce to freeze, but it will also last up to one week in the fridge.  I plan to use our left-over sauce to make a Bolognese lasagna with a bechamel sauce.  The bechamel is easy to make and more common in Italy than using ricotta, which I feel dries out the lasagna.  For those of you following the Dukan diet, this is a great recipe for all phases minus attack.  If you are doing the second phase, this is even delicious just alone!  This sauce is delicious on pasta and polenta.  Enjoy!    Yum.