Showing posts with label guacamole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guacamole. Show all posts

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Killer Guacamole from the harried Lucy Burdette

LUCY BURDETTE: So, confession. I really can't be on a writing deadline and cook up marvelous things at the same time. But we wanted to invite some pals over whom we hadn't seen in a while. 

We settled for drinks, because I simply did not have time to make dinner. But I had to serve something to nibble on. And sometimes a chunk of cheese with crackers lacks that certain panache. It can say to your guests: We couldn't be bothered...

Guacamole, on the other hand, says: We're glad to see you!

And the only thing hard about it is remembering to buy the avocados a few days ahead so they have time to ripen.
2 avocados, ripe (soft) but not black

1 ripe tomato
4 scallions
dash of good olive oil
1/2 lemon or lime
dashes of Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste

Stacy's Chips
Sliced cucumbers 

Peel the avocados and spoon the flesh into a bowl. Chop the scallions and the tomato and add them to the bowl. Squeeze the lemon or lime over the top, add a few dashes of Tabasco sauce plus salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil. If you're a fan of cilantro and you have some around, you may also chop that and add it to the other ingredients. Mash everything together until well combined though still a little chunky.

Serve with cucumber slices, Stacy's pita chips, or blue cornmeal chips. Should you have leftovers or if you're not serving right away, nestle one of the pits into the guacamole--this keeps the dip from turning brown! 

Lucy is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, available wherever books are sold! MURDER WITH GANACHE will be out in February but you can preorder now. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Welcome, Laura Alden!

I have had the pleasure of knowing Laura Alden for a few years. I knew her wonderful humor would appear in her books, but I was blown away by the touching relationships she paints with her words. Laura lives on a lake in Michigan with her husband and two cats, which, she says, means she spends "winters and summers falling down on skis."

I confess that I had to try this! We loved it. So quick and easy, but delicious and a wonderful way to get fish into our diet without being boring. The photos are from my attempt at making it. My apologies to Laura!

Welcome, Laura!

When Krista asked me to guest here on MLK, my first thought was, “Oh, how kind of her to ask!” My second thought was, “Oh, dear. My cooking/baking skills are pathetic!” But when she assured me that a fast/easy/minimal-ingredient-recipe was perfectly acceptable, I had a third thought; “Buck up, buttercup. You can do this.”

So here’s the dinner my husband and I cooked the other night. It’s going to be an odd recipe, because this is one of the few things I make up as I go, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

Fish and Guacamole Tacos

Ingredients: Fish, guacamole, and tortillas.

And that’s it. Thanks for asking me to guest post! :)

…Okay, there’s a little more to it than that, but not much. Here’s a slightly more detailed list of ingredients for a dinner for two:

About 10 oz. tuna steaks
Little bit of oil
Salt & pepper to taste

1 avocado
2-4 teas. onion, finely chopped
1-2 teas. garlic, finely chopped
1-2 Tb. cilantro, finely chopped
1 teas. lemon juice
Shake of salt

4-6 tortillas of either corn or flour (use whatever size diameter you have handy)
Little bit of olive oil (depending on warming method)

First, make the guacamole. Slice the avocado, remove out the pit, and scrape the yummy goodness onto a plate. Smush it up with a fork, then start adding the goodies. Depending on the size of the avocado, its freshness, its ripeness, and way the planets are aligned, the desired amounts of onion, garlic, and cilantro will vary. I start on the low end of the scale and keep adding until things taste Baby Bear right. It’s an individual thing, so don’t think my amounts as set in stone. By the way, it is possible to add too much cilantro. Did that once, won’t do it again.

[Note: cooks who don’t have a spouse who abhors tomatoes can add small bits of tomatoes to the guacamole.] Part of the fun of making guacamole is getting to taste test. I recommend warming up a few tortilla chips in the toaster oven for the job.

Once the guac is done, it’s time to cook the fish. Salt and pepper both sides of the tuna to taste, brush a small amount of oil on a grill pan (or frying pan) and cook 2-3 minutes on a side to desired doneness. Slice the tuna into strips.

[Note: though tuna is outstanding for this dish, we’ve used salmon happily enough, although we bake the salmon instead of using the grill pan. And I’m sure most any kind of fish would work just fine, although a thinner cut of a less-firm fish will flake apart when slicing. Which isn’t a problem; you just end up with fish flakes instead of fish slices.]

When the fish is cooking, it’s time to warm the tortillas. We use two different warming methods. My husband prefers the oven version; place tortillas under the broiler on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, with one side of the tortilla brushed with a little olive oil and heat until just before they start burning. I find this a little chewy, so I warm my tortillas in the microwave.

Put a happy heap of guacamole onto a tortilla, top with fish, roll it up, and eat! If we’re really hungry, we’ll make a double batch of guacamole so we can have some as a sort of a second course with a bowl of warmed tortilla chips.

If you want to go to extremes, try making your own tortillas. Amazingly good stuff. And if you want to go to ridiculous extremes, cut some of those home-made tortillas up and fry them to make your own tortilla chips.

Laura Alden grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Currently, Laura and her husband share their house with two very strange cats. When Laura isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing. Laura’s debut novel, “Murder at the PTA” was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. Her fourth book, “Curse of the PTA,” was released in April 2013.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Quickies Challenge: MISSION...POSSIBLE!

Eyes Only

Take on the Quickies Morning, Noon and Night Cooking Challenge

Avocado and Feta Cheese must be used!

Open – add any ingredients to complete the dish


Chef and author Denise Fletcher of Quickies on the Dinner Table; Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks; and Natasha of Five Star Foodie Culinary Adventures.

Although one of the prizes for winning this challenge is Denise’s gorgeous cookbook, Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night, I must confess that I already purchased it, and I’m so very glad I did.

Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night
by Denise Fletcher
Denise's Quickies is not just a book of recipes. It's a joyous, vividly illustrated trek through breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts with a knowledgeable culinary professional by your side chatting wonderfully witty insights as you go. The recipes themselves are by turns eclectic, exciting, comforting, and inspiring. (I LOVE this book!)

In fact, inspired by the many useful tips she includes throughout (like how to pair wine and food or choose a tender cut of meat), I decided to make my own cheap, little visual aid to go with this recipe. Just click the arrow in the window below (and please hold your guffaws until you've finished reading the entire post…).

So what is my mission here? Amuse Denise, Lazaro, and Natasha with my own fumbling attempts at a recipe using any ingredients I wish as long as they include avocado and feta cheese.

Okay, here we go…

My first try working feta and avocado into the same recipe was this savory cheese tart. Pretty, isn’t she?

The filling for my tart (ricotta and feta) was delicious with the tomatoes and thyme. I planned on creating an avocado-cilantro coulis to drizzle over the slices, but ... I took a wrong turn with the crust. Instead of pastry dough, I wanted to try something very different. Too different as it turned out. You see, I’d just made a graham cracker crust for a frozen key lime pie (a Terry Odell special, stay tuned for that delicious recipe) by pulverizing sweet crackers and mixing in butter.

I decided to try the same kind of press-in crust method by swapping seasoned bread crumbs for the graham crackers and olive oil for the butter. Sounded logical. Tasted like shite.

Try, try again, right? But as I prepared to re-make the tart, another thought struck me. With the start of summer here in the USA, many households will be looking for meals to make on the grill or stovetop—anything to keep from using that oven.

I also thought about the ricotta, which is a very neutral carrier of flavor, just like...avocado. So, why not just mix the avocado pulp with the feta cheese? A generous squeeze of lime was a no-brainer for flavor and to keep the avocado pulp nice and green. (Note better living through food chemistry – an acid will prevent your avocado’s flesh from darkening right away.)

While you can certainly eat this yummy feta guacamole with tortilla chips, I had a much better idea for lunch. You see, I live in Queens, New York, a short hike from the neighborhood of Astoria, where Greek immigrants bake the most delicious pita bread in the US (IMO). So I decided to make the base a pita bread—Naan bread, flatbread, or a pre-baked round of pizza dough will work just as well.

Toppings? When nobody’s looking, I’ll be piling it on (red onions, roasted peppers, black olives, anchovies…) but since my Quickies pita pizza needs to be photographed, I decided to stick with sweet, brilliant and currently plentiful grape tomatoes. A little chopped cilantro adds aromatic floral fun for the olfactory senses as you bite and chew.

And that’s the ticket. Probably not a dish that will get me hired onto Wolfgang Puck’s gourmet pizza brigade, but a nice, light summer lunch just the same—easy, healthy, colorful, and best of all Quickies-inspired.

Quickies Challenge

A “Quickie”
Fresh Summer Pizza
with Feta Guacamole

Makes 1 serving


1 round of pita bread (or Naan or 8-inch round of flatbread or baked pizza dough)
1 tablespoon olive oil (approximately)
1 small ripe avocado (I use Hass)
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 ounces (about 50 grams) feta cheese
8 grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped


Step 1 - Toast the pita bread: For an outdoor grill: lightly coat the pita on both sides with olive oil. Place the round over the heat of your grill and turn several times until bread is toasted and crusty. For a stovetop: Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil. When the pan is good and hot, add the pita bread, turning several times. Bread should not be soft when you remove it. You are doing more here than simply heating the bread; you are making it firm and crunchy. Plate the bread.

Step 2 – Make the feta guacamole: Remove the flesh from the avocado and mash it with the prongs of a fork. Mix in the lime juice. Crumble the feta cheese and continue mixing with a fork or spoon until you’ve created a smooth paste.

Step 3 – Assemble, top, and serve: Spoon the feta guacamole onto the toasted pita and use the back of the spoon to work it into a smooth, even layer. Place the grape tomato halves on top of the pizza, sprinkle on the cilantro. Slice into quarters and serve.

Additional topping ideas: This pizza is also delicious with roasted red peppers, black olives, anchovies, and red onions. Instead of cilantro, you might try chopped parsley or thyme leaves. You might also try tossing the grape tomato halves with olive oil, cumin, oregano, and sea salt before placing on the pizza. Then...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Felicidades!

First a little history: The holiday of
Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May,
commemorates the victory of the
Mexican militia over the French army

at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is
primarily a regional holiday celebrated
in the Mexican city of Puebla
and throughout the state of Puebla, with

some limited recognition in other parts of
Mexico, and especially in U.S. cities with
a significant Mexican population.

It is not Mexico's Independence Day,
which is actually September 16.
This year is especially important as Mexico will be celebrating its bicentennial!

And now onto the food! First off, we have the Hub's wonderful
tequila-lime salsa. If you missed it last time, it's worth checking
out. I am a salsa snob, and I have to say the Hub's is the best
I've ever tasted! Also, we have my very own enchilada casserole.
This is a fabulous dish to whip together using chicken, turkey or
beef. It's easy and delicious!

Another recipe I like to use because of its versatility is one for
a quick oven baked quesadilla. It can be made with chicken or
beef, I tend to use beef, and my favorite part of making it is

shopping for the ingredients. My sons and I like to shop at the
Ranch Market in Phoenix. It's a wonderful market that always
makes me feel as if I'm in Mexico (but the drive is much shorter).

The dudes and I spend a lot of time in the tortilleria,
watching the tortillas
being made and then it's on to the
meat counter for our carne asada. I enjoy so much about the
Hispanic culture in the Southwest. The art and history of our
neighbors to the south is truly fascinating. And the food, well,
I am pretty sure I can never leave the Valley of the Sun, because I
simply can not give up Mexican food. I am addicted.

Oven Baked Quesadillas


2 lbs carne asada, broiled and diced
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 whole wheat tortillas
pico de gallo
sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put a tortilla flat on a baking sheet.

Layer on cheddar cheese and
carne asada, fold tortilla over.
Repeat three more times until
you have four folded tortillas.
Bake for 6-8 minutes until the
quesadillas are heated through
and crunchy on the outside.
Garnish with pico de gallo, sour
cream and guacamole
as desired.
Makes 8.


And now our contest news...

Congratulations to Stacy from Louisville!
You've won Riley's
Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate
Grilling Rub Collection

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure, debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started: Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - The Poisoned Pen (my local mystery bookstore) - Barnes & Noble -