Author Archives: Georgia

Mini Quiche Tartlets

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Why hello! We’re back!

It has been an almost unprecedented length of time between blog posts–Caty, as semi-avid readers of the blog will know, has posted every once in a while about her concoctions in her dorm kitchenette, but the two of us have not blogged together since Christmastime. Half a year, nearly! This is due to the fact that geography has separated us for much of this semester– she’s been kicking butt at school in NYC and writing for  NYU Spoon, while I was traversing Peru and volunteering at an orphanage. (I decided not to dedicate an entire post to Peruvian cuisine as it was not my favorite, but you all might be delightfully disgusted to know I sampled both alpaca and guinea pig meat while I was there, as well as some more appealing empanadas and tamales.)

However, we’re both back in our little town, and though we’ve been sad to end our years’ adventures I think it’s safe to say one of the upsides of summertime is going to be blogging more frequently and being able to enjoy each other’s company again. Summer is a beautiful time to cook; one of my favorite things to do this time of the year is pick over fruit and veggies at farmer’s markets and make something delightful to eat on the porch on a sunny late afternoon. So, rest assured we will be bringing you lots of treats to look at (and make, if you want!) in the upcoming months.

We kicked off our summer cooking a couple days ago with these scrumptious mini quiches. Quiche has been one of my favorite foods since I was little, partially since I am a sucker for anything with a pie-like crust, and these little guys were no disappointment. Quiche is wonderful because you can put really anything you like in it and it’ll still taste good. Most kinds of cheese and meat bits work great, as well as virtually any vegetable. We ended up making these with goat cheese and a small assortment of veggies (sundried tomatoes, swiss chard from the garden, and mushrooms) and they were delectable. The crust is buttery and couldn’t be easier to make; we used the same reliable 4-ingredient dough recipe we’ve been counting on for years now. It’s the perfect summer snack or meal and so easy and adaptable. Enjoy.

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Mini Quiche Tartlets

1 recipe pie dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch  Swiss chard, stems and leaves divided, both chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, minced
¼ cup mushrooms, sliced and sautéed if desired
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 ounces goat cheese, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Press pie dough into four greased mini tart/quiche pans, poke with a fork a couple of times, and cover with aluminum foil. Fill aluminum foil with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil/pie weights/beans and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chard. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chopped Swiss chard stems and a dash of salt. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Mince the garlic with another dash of salt. Add garlic and chard leaves to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and milk with a wire whisk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. After the crusts have cooled, divide 1 ounce of goat cheese between the four crusts, then add chard, tomatoes and mushrooms. Top with the remaining goat cheese. Pour the egg mixture on top of vegetables.
  6. Bake the quiches at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until set.

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Dirty Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce

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My friends, Wright Time for a Schnack has officially reunited! We have meandered our way back to snowy little Rhode Island from our respective corners of the world, and this morning happily cooked in the same kitchen for the first time in over four and a half months. We might be a little more street-smart, city-slick, and worldly, but we are still delighted to return to our now-quaint hometown and the brilliant friends and family who inhabit it.

On this chilly winter morning, both of us recovering from colds, Caty and I concocted a delightful warm breakfast of dirty chai (chai with espresso, for those not in the know) pancakes with a sweet caramel sauce to top it off. It was enormously satisfying. One of the many lovely things about pancakes is that they are extremely adaptable–one can put any number of ingredients in pancakes and they transform to suit any number of occasions. In this instance, our occasion was our blogging reunion, and the newly-born year of 2013. (If you don’t have any occasions to celebrate with food, I encourage you make one up on the spot.)

I would recommend for those without huge sweet teeth (and believe me, I myself like my sugar) to cut back on the amount of the caramel sauce, because between the two of us Caty and I probably ate no more than half of what we had made–the sauce-to-pancakes ratio was quite high.

These were a lovely treat, but the best part was enjoying each other’s blogging company after so long apart! There’s only one person who understands my need to dance crazily in the kitchen, and that is one Caty Schnack.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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Dirty Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Cooking for Seven

For the spiced caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of each cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger

For the pancakes
1 1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso (we used Cafe Bustelo espresso-style coffee)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. For the caramel sauce: Place sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously until completely melted, then add butter one piece at a time. Slowly pour in heavy cream while continuing to whisk. Remove from heat and add salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. Combine the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle for five minutes.
  3. Sift together the dry pancake ingredients. Add the curdled milk, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until just combined. The batter might be liquidy; let it sit for a couple minutes and it will thicken up.
  4. Heat a heavy skillet and coat with non-stick cooking spray or butter. Drop batter onto skillet using a 1/3 cup measure and cook until bubbles appear on the sides of the pancake, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until cooked on both sides.
  5. Serve with caramel sauce and enjoy!

Tapas and Tinto: Some Words on Spanish Cuisine

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Well hello, Wright-Time-for-a-Schnackers! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here, I’ll admit– but worry not, I have certainly not abandoned our beloved food blog. I’ve been quite busy, living in the incredible city of Madrid for the past month and a half, sampling some of the varied, incomparably delicious cuisine that España is known for.

some Spanish olives, a typical tapa

Spain is known for its tapas: small servings of savory food, usually served with drinks at a bar. Apparently, they originated a long time ago, when a past king of Spain realized that drunken buffoonery was reduced if alcohol consumers ate with their booze, and so ordered some of the bars in Spain to begin serving a small portion of food with each drink a customer ordered.

one of the amazing restaurants I’ve visited. the bread was still warm. mmm.

Now, Madrid has a raging tapas scene, though they are not quite so commonly served free with the drinks you order (if you do, the drinks will be much more expensive, anyways.) A typical tapa would be a crusty slice of baguette topped with some ham (Spaniards LOVE their ham) and olive oil, or perhaps a small, greasily delicious empanada. Fruits and veggies are not usually served raw here (how I miss my mom’s giant salads!) but the deliciousness of the dishes they serve instead more than makes up for it.

okay, so this was technically French-style cuisine, but seeing as this crepe was consumed in Spain it counts, right?

The ever-present ham is certainly a staple for Spaniards, but I’ve sampled a variety of their other signature dishes as well. My favorite thus far has been croquettes, small fried balls of bechamel white sauce, peppered with ham and swirled with cheese. They’re basically little deep-fried bombs of creamy, tangy deliciousness. Another favorite is paella, the classic Spanish savory rice dish. And the churros con chocolate. And the coffee here is amazing. AND OKAY LET’S JUST FACE IT I’ve been spending all my money on food because I can’t stop eating everything Madrid has to offer me.

churros and chocolate- essentially the most delicious thing ever.

Spanish meals are served significantly later than American meals–lunch is typically at about 2-3pm, dinner at about 9-10pm. It took a bit to get used to, but now that I have it makes lots of sense. Everything is adjusted here to the thriving nightlife of Spain, so all events, from club openings to meals to store hours are pushed back to accommodate.

coffee and a veggie croissant at a retro café in an extremely hipster neighborhood

Some of my newly acquired friends and I have started a “Tapas Tuesday” lunch club kind of tradition every week, where we go out and dine at a reasonably-priced, highly-rated restaurant in the city. Every week I think the restaurant won’t top the food from the week before, and every week it does. Today’s was especially delightful. Good food and good company can do wonders to one’s happiness level.

the best gazpacho I’ve ever eaten

I apologize for the not-quite-as-stellar pictures, but unfortunately dimly-lit restaurants and iPhone cameras are sometimes not the most flattering for the dishes. I assure you, they lack in photographability what they make up for in deliciousness.

a giant pan of paella

I hope you enjoy hearing about/observing the photos of the international eateries I’ve experienced. One final disclaimer: All of the food in this post was eventually consumed by me, but none of it was made by me– excepting the very last photo, an extremely high-class and gastronomically advanced concoction created by my lovable 13-year-old host sister and I.

Yeah, it’s a cookie monster cupcake. And it’s fantastic. Like I said–the height of gastronomical class.

Adios, and gracias for reading!

Peach-Glazed Buttermilk Donuts

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My friends, we have reached the last blog post in which Caty and I cook together for quite some time. Tomorrow marks the day in which Caty is headed off to NYU to study (what else) food, and in three weeks I depart for Spain. We are hoping to continue the blog from our little parts of the world, but the posts will be coming at a bit of a slower pace than in the past. This is okay. We are a rare breed of people that enjoy taking pictures of their cuisine, and it’s become such a lifestyle now for both of us that Wright Time for a Schnack is quite unlikely to be disappearing into cyberspace anytime soon.

For our final summer post (sniff sniff) we knew we wanted to incorporate peaches. We are lucky to have a number of farms locally (buy local, everyone!) that provide pick-your-own-fruit orchards and such. So we ventured off to a lovely, expansive farm dotted with hydrangea plants and berry bushes to pluck some delicious peaches off the trees. Unfortunately, many of them were still underripe, but after some serious fruit examinations we picked a peck of perfectly prime peaches. Pretty praiseworthy peaches, in fact.

So with help from Caty’s newly purchased donut pan (she gets a little excited about kitchen utensils) we crafted some peachy keen baked goods. Any baked item that includes buttermilk is great in my book, and when you add notes of honey and farm-fresh peaches these are one great snack that can’t be beat. Our one revision would be to add a bit more baking powder, for they were slightly dense, but the taste was truly delicious.

Caty and I have had some really fantastic, silly and delectable times cooking together in our last year of high school. We hope you all have enjoyed our adventures in cooking as much as we have– and stay tuned for more, varied dishes from the Big Apple and Madrid. Enjoy the last few days of hot, lazy summer and remember it’s always the Wright Time for a Schnack!

Peach-Glazed Buttermilk Donuts

2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 pureed peach
2 eggs
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup pureed peach
1 Tbsp honey

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour donut pan
2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl
3. Stir in buttermilk, eggs, peach puree, butter and vanilla; beat until just combined
4. Fill each well 2/3 full. Bake 10-12 minutes, until top of donuts spring back when lightly touched.
5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, combine powdered sugar, peach puree, and honey. Add extra powdered sugar if consistency too thin and extra puree if consistency too thick. Stir until smooth.
6. Put glaze in shallow bowl and dip the top of the donuts in the glaze. Let cool. Devour.
Thanks for reading, everyone.

 

Scrumptious Cereal Bar Treats

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I’ll be honest: I had really no idea what to call these. I debated between Anti-Rice Krispie Treats, Everything But the Kitchen Sink Treats, and the very accurate This Is What Happens When You Have Extra Marshmallows and a Box of Cheerios Treats. Well, if you, like so many of us in the summer, are faced with an abundance of marshmallows after a bonfire or celebration of sorts, here’s a suggestion. Add Cheerios + espresso +Nutella + shredded coconut + marshmallows + butter + drizzled chocolate, receive heavenly gooey treat things that will make your mom roll her eyes and make cutting remarks about cavities. It’s a good combination, but feel free to adapt the recipe and take as many culinary liberties as you would like.

Summer Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese

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Well hello, my fine friends. I hope you all have been enjoying your summer as much as I have and have squeezed in plenty reading, swimming, and of course cooking if you are able. As it is tomato season, and as we have been rather dessert-heavy for the past few posts, Caty and I decided to concoct this savory tart and it was a raging success. In my opinion, anyway.

This light tart is a perfect combination of fresh vegetables, salty goat cheese, and buttery crust. We layered goat cheese on a simple dough crust with caramelized onions, arranged thinly sliced tomatoes on top, and drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and garnished with garden-fresh basil. It was delectable; the perfect dish to bring to a July luncheon. Really, though, one could eat it at any time of the day. I certainly would have had some for breakfast tomorrow had there been any left. Alas, it was demolished in twenty minutes flat after we deemed it ready for the eating.

I hope this delights you as much as it delighted us.

Summer Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese
Crust recipe courtesy of Food and Wine online magazine
(http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/all-butter-pie-dough)

For the crust:
1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 of a white onion
6oz. goat cheese (chevré)
2 tablespoons chopped basil
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. For the crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until the size of peas. Drizzle in the water and pulse until the crumbs are moistened; turn out onto a work surface. Gather into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pie crust to 1/4 inch thick on floured work surface. Place in and mold to ungreased tart pan (the buttery dough requires no additional grease.)
3. Place tart pan/crust in freezer for 15 minutes.
4. Bake crust in oven for 25 minutes, or until it turns a light golden brown. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Let crust cool for 10 minutes or so .
5. Chop onion. Heat in pan with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil until they turn light brown and caramelized.
6. Spread goat cheese evenly over crust. Top with caramelized onions. Layer tomato slices on top.
7. Drizzle with olive oil, and generously sprinkle salt and pepper on top to taste. Bake for 25 minutes. Garnish with  basil, and serve to adoring family and friends.

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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Welcome to the deliciousness tour. Here on the left, folks, we have the world’s most amazing chocolate cookies, brought to you straight from the virtual pages of the New York Times and constructed in the kitchens of Wright Time for a Schnack. Though it is difficult to resist consuming all the cookie dough in the 24-hour refrigeration period between prepping and baking, our specially trained chefs exhibited an inordinate amount of willpower and prevailed against temptation. They were finally rewarded today with what are described by Chef Caty as the best chocolate chip cookies in all the land–large, flat, chewy, chocolaty disks of pure heaven. If you, too, wish to follow the recipe below, you may find yourself soon swearing off of other cookie recipes–you have reached the holy grail of pastry.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The New York Times 
 
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt.
 
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
 
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.
 
Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza

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Okay, it might sound a little weird. Strawberries? Bacon? Cheese? Balsamic? What is this nonsense? You expect us to dump it on a pizza and consume it?

YES, my friends–the answer is yes. In this fabulous kitchen of Wright Time for a Schnack, we do not judge. We don’t judge ingredients when they are strange, or me when I drop dishes and food on the floor. (My most recent victim was a cake.) We might judge a little bit when we see Caty’s spastic dancing, but we love it and her all the same.

This pizza is especially delectable when you have picked the strawberries yourself. Caty and I had a lovely time scouring the fields of a local farm for the perfect berries, and once picked and purchased I myself consumed upwards of thirty of the strawberries on our ride home, until Caty told me to stop. So then I had my last one. And then six more.

We devoured this pizza for breakfast, but it could be eaten any time of the day. Caty decided to make the dough and the strawberry jam from scratch, but if you’re not feeling quite so ambitious you can always go with storebought. (Like I said–no judgement.) It somehow has the right amount of all the flavors. The salty bacon, the sweet strawberries, and the toasty bread are a perfect (if unconventional) combination. So go forth, with no judgement whatsoever, and make this pizza. Trust me on this one. You will not regret it.

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza
From Annie’s Eats

For the sauce:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup strawberry jam or preserves
For an easy strawberry jam, cook 2 cups strawberries, crushed and 4 teaspoons sugar over low heat until syrupy
1 tsp. sriracha chili sauce (optional)

To assemble:
1 ball pizza dough
Olive oil
1 cup shredded or diced cooked chicken
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp
½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
½ cup hulled strawberries, sliced

  1. Cook the balsamic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 4-5 minutes or until reduced by about half with a thick, syrupy texture.  In a small bowl, combine the balsamic reduction with the strawberry jam and sriracha chili sauce.  Set aside.
  2. To make the pizza, heat the oven to 500˚ F and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the crust of the dough with olive oil.  Spread the balsamic-strawberry mixture in a thin layer over the crust.  Layer with the cheeses, chicken, bacon, onion, cheeses, cilantro, and strawberries.
  3. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 11-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Toffee Layer Cake

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For mother’s day this year, my little sister and I decided the best way to celebrate would be, of course, with food. For a while now, we’ve had this amazing Norwegian cookbook that I’ve been eyeing. And what better way to tell mom “I love you” than by secretly baking her a layered, decadent, delicious toffee cake?

It was really, really delicious. It was somewhat labor-intensive, but if you have a special occasion and are searching for the perfect dessert to celebrate it with, this cake is both extremely attractive and intensely delicious. The toffee on top consists of little more than cream, butter and raw cane sugar, and the spongy layers spread with whipped cream and a smidgen of apricot jam are crumbly and saturated in flavor. It was a bit of a self-serving gift, I’ll admit, as I wanted to consume just as much as Mom did. But it was a clear success, and completed one of the happiest and most delicious mother’s day dinners I’ve had in a while.

(P.S. The fancier pictures with the black background are Caty’s; the other one is mine from the day of. She would also like it to be known she contributed to this recipe by eating some of the leftover cake. And then some more.)

So, without further ado:

Toffee Layer Cake

From the Nordic Bakery Cookbook by Miisa Mink

Layers
4 eggs
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons apricot jam

Topping
1.5 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
4 teaspoons unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch springform pan.

2. Put the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk with a handheld electric whisk until the mixture is foamlike. This will take up to 10 minutes. When it is ready, it will be very pale, have doubled in size, and the batter will drop off the beaters in a figure eight when you lift them out of the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, sift the baking powder, flour, and cornstarch together, then fold into the egg mixture.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool for a further 20 minutes.

5. To decorate, whip half the whipping cream until quite firm.

6. Cut the cake horizontally through the middle to make two equal layers. Lay one layer on a cake stand and sprinkle half the milk over itto moisten it. It is best to start from the edge and work toward the center. Spread the apricot jam on top, then spread half the whipped cream over that. Place the second layer of cake on top, then sprinkle the ramaining juice or milk over it.

7. To make a toffee frosting, put the sugar and remaining unwhipped cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until it thickens. Add the butter and stir until melted and smooth. Pour the toffee over the cake, using a spatula dipped in hot water to spread it evenly, if necessary. Spread the remaining whipped cream neatly over the side of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before serving, to allow the toffee to set.

Fresh Guacamole

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Aaaaand we’re back! Sorry for the post hiatus. Thankfully, today has brought new scrumptiousness, an addictive guacamole recipe, per request from one of our commenters. The beautiful thing about guacamole is that it is perfectly acceptable to wing it, if you have a rough idea of how you like your guac to taste. Personally, I prefer it salty (over-salty, if you ask miss Caty…) and limey, with bits of tomato and red onion. This is a general recipe, for guacamole the way we enjoy it- but let it be stated that ALL ingredients should be adjusted to your personal preference. Enjoy.

Fresh Guacamole

4 avacados
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup shredded cilantro
1 lime’s worth of juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mash avocados in bowl until somewhat smooth. Stir in other ingredients to taste.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips and eat the whole thing. Then complain about how full you are.

 

PS If you’ve got leftover guacamole, whip up a Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich!