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Posts Tagged ‘guacamole’

yhst-73011301488282_2053_5859150I’m the minority in my neighborhood. The only girl out at the grill on any given night. The back of that mug is absolutely correct- it says ‘Saucy, smokin’ and HOT!’

And let me tell you, those boys ain’t got nothing on me.

Why is grilling such a guy thing? You go to any festive outdoor event in the summertime and there’s a guy at the grill, and the other guys there are gathered around like an envious pack, watching the grill, assessing the technique, gazing covetously at the grill itself, or the toys the cook waves about. They clutch their beers and shuffle their feet. It’s some odd ritual that I can’t possibly figure out. And where are the women?

I was never in the kitchen, or clustered around the food table, crowing like a group of hens with the other women- I was out at the grill, pushing my way front and center, taking in the scents and sights. I knew from a very early age that being at the grill was where it’s at, among the smoke and flames, the one everyone turned to because they were hungry and you held the key to filling that void. It’s about fire. And from the dawn of time, fire has been a guys thing.

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Well not in this house it isn’t!

I do the majority of the cooking in our house and so naturally it falls to me to grill as well, although I know plenty of partnerships where, despite the female influence at the stove, the guy automatically gets grilling rights. Hhhmmmpff.  Step away from the flames and hand me my tongs. Please. Like I said, the guys ain’t got nothin’ on me.

Although meat does make a slight comeback in our house during the warm months, as it takes on a flavor unlike any other when cooked over a flame, I’m just as happy with a huge plate of grilled vegetables and have made many other items on a grill too, my favorites being Pizza and Quesadillas. I even built a wood-burning pizza oven inside my patio Chimnea. More on that later.

Quesadillas have been a stand-by for a grilled meal, a simple and quick way to cook up a smoky treat. Once the filling is ready, they take but a snappy 5 minutes on a hot grill to be perfect.

So I marinated some chicken in lime juice and Penzeys Taco Seasoning-
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Made a bowl of my famous Guacamole-
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Stirred together some mustard oil for brushing on the vegetables-
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And prepped an array of goodies….baby vidalia onions, red peppers and zucchini-

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I love the flavor of grilled vegetables. Our gas grill is going on 7 years old and really needs to be replaced, but it is advantageous for this method because it has a superb hot spot that is just perfect for fire-grilling.

Mmmmm…..yummy charred goodness!
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The chicken looked spectacular. It almost seemed a shame to chop it all up.
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And wow, did it smell fabulous!

After prepping the vegetables and chicken, I left the grill on to get it smoking hot while I took everything inside and assembled the quesadillas.
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I use one tortilla per quesadilla as it makes it easier to rotate and turn on the grill. I’ve tried using two, with the filling between them, but inevitably when you go to flip them over, some of the filling is lost to the flames. Using one tortilla folded over eliminates that headache, and lost goodies AND cleaning out the charred bits from inside the grill!

Ta-Da!!
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Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, diced
zest of half a lime
juice from half a lime
1 T. kosher salt
2 t. Penzeys Adobo seasoning (or 1/2 t. each cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper)
1 medium tomato, diced

Combine all ingredients and stir to mix. Allow to sit at room temperature for flavors to develop. {{I don’t use fresh garlic or raw onion in my guac- I think it’s a bit too overpowering, but to each their own}}

Mustard Oil for grilling

3 T. spicy brown mustard
1/2 c. olive oil

Whisk to combine and allow to sit for about an hour. It will not make an emulsion, but the mustard will flavor the oil and it’s terrific on grilled vegetables.

Making the Quesadillas is pretty subjective; use veggies suitable for you or your family. Shrimp or beef is a great substitute for chicken, or make up a whole lot of toppings and have a Build-Your-Own deal. I use the 10″ flour tortillas, folding one over the filling. The larger wrap-style tortillas work beautifully for quesadillas too, being quite substantial. The grill grates do not need oiling for tortillas- they won’t stick. Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole on the side.

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It’s National Pickle Day and National Guacamole Day. I suppose since ‘being green’ is the new buzzword phrase that everyone is throwing down- even computer software, which makes me think ‘What the heck is ‘green’ software?’- naturally having a green food day is apropos.

picklesThink pickles and you think cucumbers, you don’t think ‘process’ but pickling is a process and not a food. It’s like saying ‘I need a Kleenex’. Kleenex is a brand, but what you want is a tissue. I know that I’m just comparing apples to oranges and y’all really don’t need to be told this; pickles have undergone that etymology that now means a crisp briny cucumber, not a process of preservation and pickles have become much more mainstream as well. There are companies who produce artisan pickles out of a wide variety of vegetables, honing the art with a fine tooth comb and creating an new legion of fans to all things vinegar. It’s not just about sauerkraut anymore.

Pickling has been around for 5,000 years and differs from canning in that it does not require the item to be completely sterile before it is sealed. The distinguishing feature of pickling is to produce a pH that is low enough to kill of bacteria; natural fermentation at room temperature, provided by lactic acid bacteria produces this required level. The presence of acid or saline, along with the deprivation of oxygen brings the desired end result. These days, with refrigeration, this means of preservation isn’t as much a necessity as it is a pleasure; people love pickles of any kind. Asian cuisine is renowned for pickled items, most notably kimchi and umeboshi, in Britain you find pickled eggs and onions in many pubs as a snack food, herring is pickled in Scandinavia and we’ve already mentioned sauerkraut. Italian Giardiniera is a very popular dish of pickled vegetables including onions, carrots, celery and cauliflower. Middle Eastern countries serve pickles at almost every meal and of course, in the USA we have pickles galore of every kind, shape, and size- sweet, dill, hot and either crispy or soft; they’re sliced, quartered, whole in all sizes from the tiny cornichons to the gigantic sized pickles on a stick. Olives are pickles, or simply pickled. Okra is a popular pickled item in the South and pickled peppers are found from Italian to Mexican cuisine. Pickling can be considered a dry cure too, such as corned beef, pastrami, lox or even ham.

Had enough of pickles? I’m not a huge fan of them although olives tend to make me weak-kneed; my pickles need to be so crisp that they snap when you bite them and although I can eat the sweet bread-and-butter pickle slices on hamburgers, I prefer dill pickle relish on my bratwurst and fuggedabout sauerkraut. Just fuggedabottit.

On the other hand, guacamole is something I could eat every day.

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I love a chunkier guacamole as opposed to the smooth version. Traditional Mexican standard ingredients include avocados, minced tomatoes and white onions, plenty of cilantro, lime juice, garlic and salt. Made it in a molcajete or just stirred together in a bowl, it goes with your burrito, taco, enchilada, taquito, chalupa, chimichanga, corn chip or simply on a spoon.

This is how I like to make it: Split three avocadoes and carve into a dice, scooping the flesh into a bowl. Add one seeded and diced tomato, lime zest and juice from half a lime, a rounded teaspoon of kosher salt, half a teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder and a few shakes of garlic and onion powder. I don’t add raw onion or garlic- too strong. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.

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Enjoy the green today!

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