One of the greatest pairings in food has got to be Guacamole and Salsa; they go so well with beef, pork, lamb, goat, fish and tortilla chips. Last night I made awesome steak tacos with Guacamole and Salsa that took just half an hour to make. Thanks to the legendary Diana Kennedy… Anyone can cook authentic Mexican food at home. My good friend Jay Erisman gave me her cookbook a few years ago and I have been trying her recipes ever since. Here is my modernized version of Guacamole and Salsa maintaining all of Diana’s original ingredients.
3-4 Ripe avocados
1 Medium onion
2-3 Serrano chiles finely chopped
1 Large handful cilantro
Juice of one lime
1 Tsp salt or more to taste
In a blender or food processor combine quartered onion, serranos, cilantro, salt and juice of ½ lime. Blend until finely chopped. In a bowl, mash avocados with a potato masher or fork until only small chunks remain. Next add serrano, cilantro, onion and lime juice mixture. Do not add all at once; about ¾ usually is but this way we can make it to our own taste and consistency. Add remaining lime juice if needed.
3-5 garden tomatoes chopped
1 medium white onion finely chopped
2-3 serrano chiles finely chopped
1 handful chopped cilantro
Juice of 1-2 limes.
1 Tsp salt- add salt to your own taste or none at all.
In a bowl combine all ingredients and let rest in the refrigerator for about ½ hour. For a more liquid salsa combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
About six years ago my friends had a late night get together after a Tequila tasting. Carol Friesz and Greg Agricola are excellent home cooks. Carol made an excellent cold Orzo Pasta Salad with shrimp and Greg made smoked burgers on the grill. I asked for the recipe but we never took the time to make it happen. Several months ago I bought a package of Orzo; it sat in my pantry for far too long. I finally cooked my Orzo in this incredibly easy recipe.
1 Pound orzo pasta
8-10 Baby Portobello mushrooms
10-12 Asparagus spears
1 Red bell pepper sliced
1 Small Spanish onion sliced
3 Cloves garlic minced
1-2 Ounces fresh basil torn or chopped
Fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Treat Orzo like you would any other pasta when cooking. Have a saute pan ready and preheated when you add the pasta to the water. Immediately after adding the Orzo to the boiling water add olive oil to preheated saute pan. Add all ingredients except basil and saute for 8-10 minutes; this is the exact time it takes the Orzo to cook. Add salt and cracked pepper. Add basil after 4 minutes of cooking. Drain cooked Orzo and add to sauteed vegetables and stir in adding more olive oil as needed. Plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Do not overcook the vegetables.
Alternate Recipe: Substitute Fried smoked bacon and grease for olive oil. Add crumpled bacon at the end. Saute vegetables in the bacon grease.
I came up with this recipe to accompany grilled swordfish. My friend and “Foodie” Jay Erisman makes a killer Pineapple Habanero Salsa that he brings into work for people to snack on. I make a desert called Grilled Pineapple Skewers. I married these two recipes to come up with this salsa.
1 Pineapple sliced in 1/2″ rings
1 Large white onion
2 Habanero peppers
1 Clove garlic minced
1 cup cilantro
Salt to taste
Grill pineapple, onion and habanero peppers until caramelized and peppers are lightly charred. Let Cool. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until chopped well. Do not over mix! Add salt to taste. Chill in refrigerator and serve with grilled seafood such as shrimp or swordfish.
Green Bean & Potato Salad
2 Pounds Green Beans or Asparagus or both
1 Pound Red Potatoes
1 Cup Chopped Flat leaf Parsley
¼ cup Balsamic
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 Clove Minced or pressed garlic
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
Steamed fresh sweet summer corn (optional)
Loaf French bread.
My sister lived in France for six years and brought back a variation of this recipe that I have played with to come up with this. The parsley can’t be substituted for anything else and makes this dish perfect for lunch dinner or a side to grilled meats on a hot summer day. I hope you like it.
Prepare a large bowl or sink filled with ice water. Steam green beans and potatoes one at a time until cooked but still crisp when bitten and remove to ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Add parsley, garlic, olive oil, cracked pepper and Balsamic vinegar. Fold ingredients gingerly making sure not to damage potatoes. I like to use my hands as they are the best mixing tools I have. Do not add salt to this dish until it hits your plate. The salt will draw out the moisture in the green beans making them soft.
There is no better use for fresh sage and rosemary than this dish in my opinion. I remember Chicken Vesuvio at Ristorante Italia on Harlem Ave in Chicago where Pina Lollino had the best Italian food in Chicago. I came up with this recipe while trying to duplicate Pina’s Vesuvio Potatoes for a cooking class I was teaching at The Party Source in Bellevue, KY.
2 pounds red potatoes wedged or Idaho Russet wedged
Olive Oil as needed
1 handful fresh sage about ten large leaves roughly chopped
1 handful fresh rosemary about 3 6 inch sprigs finely chopped
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400
Heat an oven proof skillet ( I use cast Iron) to medium high. Generously drizzle enough olive olive oil to coat the pan. Add potato wedges and a good amount of black pepper. Brown the potatoes well.
Tip: When frying potatoes do not add salt until the potatoes are almost cooked. The salt draws out the liquid and makes them stick.
Add sage and rosemary and mix well adding more olive oil if necessary. I use quite a bit of olive oil in this recipe. Add garlic and sprinkle generously with salt and put into a 375-400 degree oven. After 15 minutes pull pan out and stir and turn over with spatula. Put back into oven and cook for 10-15 more minutes. We are looking for nice browned potatoes, not burned! If your potatoes are done before the time I specified, take them out. The garlic will brown and get bitter the longer it stays in the oven.
This is my favorite potato dish and all my friends that have tried it say it’s their’s as well.
125 ounces tomato sauce or strained tomatoes (Pomi Brand)
125 ounces chopped tomatoes or (Pomi Brand)
6 ounces fresh basil or more to taste
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley: (Some supermarkets call this Italian parsley)
1 tsp dried oregano or tbsp fresh: (Do not over do the oregano. This marinara not pizza sauce!)
3 tbsp Olive Oil (Save the extra virgin for drizzling and dressings; regular olive oil is fine for this)
2 medium onions finely chopped or chopped in food processor
3-5 large cloves of garlic or more too taste
1/2 tsp black pepper or more to taste
Very Large stock pot
Very long spoon
Mason or ball jars: (pint and liter)
Bring the heat up on a pot to medium; add oil after the pot is heated. Thicker based pots take a bit longer but hold their heat longer. If the oil smokes the heat is too high. Saute basil, garlic, black pepper, parsley, oregano and onions until onions become translucent (only a few minutes). Pour in tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes. Turn up the heat to medium high stirring continuously from the bottom up for 15 minutes until the sauce evenly heated. This is very important so the sauce doesn’t burn. Turn the heat down and let simmer for at least 4 hours stirring frequently.
This sauce is great for canning or freezing. Remember when you’re filling jars for freezing not to fill them too full; the liquid will expand and break the jars.
I can my sauce. When the sauce is done I turn up the heat so the sauce gets hot. Using sterilized jars and lids; put the canning funnel in jars and fill leaving 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Wipe off all excess sauce with a paper towel around the mouth of the jars inside and out. Put on the lids and tighten loosely until the jars self seal. You will hear them pop and seal if you are in the room. When they have sealed tighten the lids a little more. This method is unconventional, I stumbled upon it when I was getting ready to can them in water. It appeared that they seal on their own as they cool down. This only works if the sauce is hot. Jars that don’t seal can go into your refrigerator or freezer. I make this sauce every year for Christmas gifts.
Use this sauce for pasta and pizza sauce.
Just the way I like it.
2-1/2 cups warm water
1-1/2 packs dry yeast
1/2 olive cup oil
1 tsp salt
Mix your wet ingredients together & then add them to the flour & salt mixture. Mix till dough comes together in a ball. The dough will be sticky and may need small increments of flour mixed in.
Let proof for an hour covered, the dough will almost double in size. Pull out dough on a floured surface and squeeze down a little. Pull about softball size pieces of dough and roll out with a rolling pin. The dough should be thin as it will rise a little when cooked. Make sure you have plenty of flour and corn meal on your board so it’s easy to slide the pizza onto your pizza Stone.
Italian Sausage (very small pieces) the sausage will need to cook so small pieces are good
Bacon semi cooked and sliced
Pancetta (Italian salt cured bacon)
Prosciutto (Italian salt cured ham)
Sliced onions (very thin)
Sliced mushrooms (very thin)
Sliced tomatoes (very thin)
Diced or thinly sliced green or red bell pepper
Sliced Jalopeno (very thin)
Marinara Sauce or store bought pizza sauces.
Shredded Parmegiano Regiano, Romano, Asiago or all.
The ingredients can be done in any combination you want except the sauce unless you don’t want sauce.
Have your oven and “Pizza Stone” preheated to 485-500 degrees depending on how accurate your oven is. Getting your pizza from the board to the pizza stone is a little tricky at first but it took me about 2 pizzas to develop a technique. Shaking the board while pulling back will deposit the pizza onto your stone. Remember the flour and corn meal, this is the key to getting the pizza to move!
Cook pizza for 10-14 minutes until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden brown. You will have to pay attention after ten minutes; the cheese and crust goes from perfect to burned very quickly.
This is a great recipe for people with kids and can be very fun. Just roll out smaller pieces of dough and let the kids make their own personal pizza; they will love it.
Makes 3-4 large pizzas or 6-7 Personal pizzas.