Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mango- Avocado Salsa...

As much as I do not really want to admit this, my friends and I have been known to compare ourselves to the women from Sex and the City. Although, we really are nothing like them...after a couple glasses of wine, this topic of conversation sometimes comes up. With the recent movie, my roommates and I found ourselves again comparing. They agreed that I am most like Carrie...slightly crazy and outspoken. Well, considering she uses her oven to store shoes, I beg to differ but as I was apartment shopping in Chicago this weekend...I think I may have slightly channeled my inner-Carrie.

In the movie (and yes, if you continue reading, I am going to ruin a scene), Carrie and her boyfriend, Mr. Big, are looking for a place to live...they walk into a beautiful penthouse with the light streaming in and hardwood floors...Carrie is instantly hooked until she sees the really tiny little closet. Mr. Big, of course, says he will build her a better! so cute!

Well, in Chicago this weekend, the realtor showed me a number of places that were small, dark and depressing. Then we walked into this absolutely gorgeous studio... my mouth dropped as I looked at the view of Lake Michigan, jumped for joy at the amount of sunlight and then cringed when I saw the tiny little kitchen...I looked around for Mr. Big but, alas, I didn't have one...

I went for it anyway. It is a beautiful apartment and the kitchen will just challenge me to be more creative with cooking. Plus, although I do not need the space, the closet is huge so I may just have to store some of my kitchen ware in there! I think the best part is that the apartment is all mine! For the first time, I will not have roommates!

I know this should be a Daring Baker's post but...the challenge this month was just not in the cards. I barely had time to cook, let alone make the delicious Danish Braid that is popping up all over the place. Instead, I have been keeping things simple with this yummy mango-avocado salsa. This time I paired it with this chicken and some rice. Some simple seared salmon or tilapia also tastes great with it. I also want to enter this in Meeta's Monthy Mingle of Mango Mania over at What's for Lunch Honey.

Ginny's Mango-Avocado Salsa

3 Mangos, diced
1 Red Onion, diced
2 Avocados, diced
3 Tomatoes, diced
2 cups cilantro, chopped

5 limes, juiced

1. Mix it all together and serve. Makes a really large bowl.

P.S. Many thanks to Canary Girl for passing along the I Love You This Much Award! Made my day!
I would like to pass it along to some excellent bloggers...

LyB of And then I do the dishes
Mark of No Special Effects
Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Deborah of Taste and Tell
Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Click Here for Recipe...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Attempt at Lotus Root Curry...

My boyfriend, J, and I are major dorks. Yes, I admitted it! When he suggested the idea of reading a book together this summer...I was quite excited! When was the last time you read a book and discussed it with someone? After much deliberation, we finally decided upon Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

Yesterday, J emailed me this passage....

"his wife grew lotus-roots and other curious vegetables on one of the
many 'floating gardens' lilting on the surface of the spring and summer
water" (9)

followed by a few links to recipes...

As a cook, you can imagine my reaction...yep, he's a we decided upon a lotus root curry...

The recipe we used was from Chachi's Kitchen for Coconutty Lotus Root Curry. Unfortunately, the store was out of lotus root so we had to resort to frozen lotus root. There were also no kaffir lime leaves or Thai basil. We added some fresh basil that we had in the fridge. I know it really doesn't work but we were trying.

For our first attempt at curry, it wasn't exactly a disaster. J dubbed it "Ginny's Neon Beige Curry" because it glowed hot while still being bland. I would love to have some advice on how to best make curry because I am very interested in learning to cook out of my comfort zone.

Coconutty Lotus Root Curry
(original recipe from Chachi's Kitchen)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion; sliced into rings
2 tbsp green curry paste (according to taste; available in Asian stores)
400ml/14fl oz can coconut milk
400gm lotus root, frozen
3 potatoes; washed and sliced into ½ inch rounds
½ cup basil leaves chopped
1 teaspoon of coriander, ground
1 lime; juiced

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onions until golden brown, add the green curry paste over a fairly high heat for about a minute,
Reduce the heat slightly and add the thick part of the coconut milk from the tin, stir for a few minutes, add the rest of the coconut milk.

2. Add the lotus root and the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes, add the potatoes, cook a further 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the sauce is thickened. Stir in the basil, coriander and lime juice.

Let it stand for 15 minutes, serve with rice.

P.S. Thank you MK for the beautiful platter! I love it!

Click Here for Recipe...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

California dreamin...

On such a summer day? It is finally summer and I find myself craving avocados alot. Last night as I was roaming the aisles of the grocery store, pondering what to make and searching for inspiration...I kept coming back to this comfort food sandwich that my mother makes quite frequently. The combination of the creamy avocado with the juicy grilled chicken breast is delicious. So I made it last night for dinner and again for lunch today. Problem is...I still want more avocado...

A couple weeks ago, Lore of Culinarty tagged me to write a 6 word memoir. Even as I sit here poised to write it, I am uncertain of what to say....

Critical (mostly of myself)

I am not going to tag anyone but if you are interested...consider yourself tagged!

Mom's California Sandwich

1 chicken breast
2 tablespoons of white worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
1 poppy seed bun
mayo to taste and preference

1. Marinate chicken breast for at least an hour with the worcestershire sauce and rosemary.
2. Grill chicken breast.
3. Toast bun.
4. Spread bun with mayo and place slices of avocado.
5.Top with Chicken Breast and top of bun.
6. Slice and eat!

P.S. As the summer takes off, so does my life. I am finishing my job, going to Ireland on vacation, moving to Chicago and starting law school...all the while trying to find as much time to spend with my friends and family as possible. This will limit my blogging but I will post when I have a chance...just a warning, if I go quiet, it is not for lack of thinking of you all...but life is getting busy. Of course, I will continue to read your posts because really nothing goes better with my morning coffee than a slew of tempting and mouthwatering dishes...

Click Here for Recipe...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Coconut Macaroons and a Cause!

More and more lately, I have been struggling to find the time to blog, as my life has gotten quite hectic with graduations, moving plans and vacation ideas. I try not to feel guilty about it but as I watch my google reader fill up with many posts of delicious, scrumptious food, I become sad. I feel neglectful of my duty as a fellow food blogger and friend. I miss reading and commenting on blogs. And this is often only after a few days...

One of the major benefits of starting a food blog has been the people I have "met." In only a few short months, I have developed relationships with my fellow bloggers. I look forward to reading their blogs and am concerned if they have not posted in a while. I want to know what is going on with their lives, both the good and the bad. I feel like I have become part of a community and I really value this experience.

I have been following Bri's Figs with Bri for quite some time now. When I heard that her cancer had returned, I felt this rush of sympathy for a woman, who I have never met and yet have gotten to "know" through her food and posts. As she fights for her life, she is also struggling to pay for the treatments. I remember when my aunt had cancer and as a family, we had fundraisers in order to help her pay for the necessary expenses. The food blogging community has rallied behind Bri and decided to help.

The Click team, together with Jugalbandi have organized a special fundraiser with June's edition of CLICK. With the help of many generous bloggers, a spectacular variety of prizes are being offered as part of the fundraiser.

CLICK is a monthly photography workshop hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri. Yellow is the color of hope. Through the work of the LiveStrong Foundation, it has also come to signify the fight against cancer.

If you are at all interested in supporting this campaign to help Bri, please visit here for more details.

Ah, the Macaroons. My family was in town this weekend for a huge family party in honor of my sister, brother and cousin. My sister and cousin have graduated college and next weekend my brother will be graduating from high school. Congratulations to you all!!!! I am very proud of you!!!!

My mother asked me to make something for the party, so I decided to use up all the coconut in the apartment by making a triple batch of macaroons. They turned out great but I do not think I would attempt to triple the recipe again. I managed to make a huge sticky sugary coconut mess. And thank you to my boyfriend for the beautiful flowers!

Coconut Macaroons
(adapted from here)

4 large eggs whites
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. In a heavy saucepan stir together the egg whites, the sugar, the salt, the vanilla, the coconut, and the flour.
2. Stir the mixture until it is combined well.
3. Cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, increase the heat to moderately high, and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until it is thickened and begins to pull away from the bottom and side of the pan.
4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, let it cool slightly, and chill it, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until it is just cold.
5. Roll about a tablespoon of the dough into a ball and place 2 inches apart onto buttered baking sheets.
6. Bake the macaroons in batches in the middle of a preheated 300°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are pale golden.
7. Transfer the macaroons to a rack and let them cool.
8. The macaroons keep, chilled and separated by layers of wax paper, in an airtight container for 3 days. (If the macaroons are made in advance, let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving).

P.S. I did not followed step 8 as it was written. I placed them on a plate, covered with plastic wrap and left them overnight on the counter. The macaroons still tasted excellent the next day. I wanted to cover them in chocolate but unfortunately did not have the time. Check out the original recipe, if you are interested in chocolate covered macaroons!

Click Here for Recipe...