Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recipe Formula: Guacamole, Hot Italian, Fish and Eggs

A recipe is only one piece of the puzzle.


A pastry green dip that on two days of the year pushes the sale of avocado past 30 million pounds, yes you are right, on Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco De Mayo (May 5th). The name comes from an Aztec dialect which literally translates to “avocado sauce,” and Guacamole has been made by the Aztecs since the 16th century.

As with any recipe which has survived such a venerable passage of time variations have found their twists and turns past the original. In its original form an avocado is peeled and crushed with salt rubbed into the mix. Today we find onions, tomatoes, hot peppers and more added to provide individual and distinct flavours.

I had made an “avocado sauce” at my Chef's station and it was rather well accepted with over 200 copies of the recipe requested on the day. Here it is used as the first recipe to kick off the regular weekly recipe feature, try it even though the Super Bowl is months away.

4 medium ripe avocados
1/4 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
1/4 cup of cilantro and parsley
1 small red chili pepper finely diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
dash hot sauce
1 cup of finely diced tomatoes
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil

Cut and peel avocado, after removing the large pit.
Cut into quarters and place in bowl.
Add lime juice, onion, cilantro, parsley and 1 small red chili pepper finely diced.
Begin to combine ingredients with avocado flesh.
Add garlic, hot sauce, tomatoes, feta cheese and olive oil.

Combine all ingredients together to create a smooth avocado dip.

Hot & Mild Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

Another popular recipe from several weeks ago was something that one could call Italian comfort food. On a cold winter's day this combination of flavour and taste would warm not only the stomach, but the heart as well, make enough and the leftovers won't last long in the fridge.

500 grams rigatoni or penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups chopped onion
3 large mild Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
3 large hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (796 ml) Italian tomatoes with liquid
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup each fresh oregano, basil and sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups grated provolone cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a skillet add onion, garlic and sausage meat, breaking and crumbling the meat as it cooks, saute till meat is no longer pink.
Add mushrooms and zucchini, saute till slightly limp.
Add wine bring to boil, stir in tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs (oregano, basil & sage) bring to a boil, reduce & simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat stir in pasta & chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Empty 1/3 of mixture into prepared baking dish. Spread with 1/3 provolone repeating layers.
Top with parmesan cheese, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, cover and bake for 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake 15 minutes more till cheese is golden brown.

(This will provide six healthy servings)

Horseradish Root Tilapia Fillets

Recently I took Tilapia fillets and added some grated horseradish root to the crumb coat, and a family who had not been able to get their kids eat fish before found a way to bring this simple coating to their children's plates. The compliment received from this lovely family will stay with me a very long time.

4 tilapia fillets
2 cups panko
1 cup horseradish root grated
2 eggs, beaten

Mix panko with horseradish root grated.
Coat fillets in egg then crumb mixture.
Place under broiler for 7 to 8 minutes per side.
Saute mushrooms, onions, fresh basil and oregano.
Add cup whipping cream and reduce.

(4 fillets will provide four servings)

Glazed Maple Chicken

On a dismal and cold Thursday going back a couple of weeks I found a need for a finger-licking fun food. Snow had hit us in over abundance and the skies were heavy and grey. At my Chef's station I decided on something both a touch sweet and at the same time a little spicy.

6 pounds of chicken wings
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
½ tsp ground cumin
pinch red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet pan with aluminum foil, set aside.
Place chicken wings into a large glass bowl.
Mix together melted butter, salt, pepper, maple syrup, mustard, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, sriracha sauce, ground cumin, and red pepper flakes until well-combined.
Pour half over chicken wings and toss until well coated. Place chicken wings onto lined baking sheet and bake until chickens are baked through and the skin is crispy, about 40-45 minutes. Brush with additional sauce and return to oven until the sauce is glossy, about 5-8 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve warm.

(Finger-licking filling for six)

Asparagus Scrambled Eggs (Spanish Revuelto)

This time out I had left breakfast till the end, hey after all I often have dessert before the main course. In Spain fresh seasonal ingredients are used as a combination with creamy scrambled eggs in what the Spanish call a Revuelto. In my recipe I used crisp asparagus and the response was in a word, wow.

2 garlic cloves chopped
1 thick slice of bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 eggs beaten

    Grind garlic & bread to a loose paste, adding a small amount of water (1-2 tbsp).
    Heat oil, saute asparagus till becoming tender 2 minutes.
    Add garlic & bread paste, paprika, vinegar & pinch salt, stir to combine.
    Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes till asparagus is tender.
    Pour in eggs, cook to creamy consistency, season to taste and serve.

(Will serve four with your choice of fresh bread)