Larrupin

Uncommonly Good

I Love Summer Tomatoes!

I didn’t plant a garden this year, but a friend did, and she has been sharing the bounty! I have garden fresh tomatoes for the first time in years, an I am in hog-heaven!

I put this quick snack together a few hours ago.

Fresh Tomato Bruscetta

 

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

For a Single Serving

  • 6 half-inch slices sour dough bread (or any other dense bread)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Garlic granules
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • Balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Put the bread slices on a foil lined toaster oven tray.
  2. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic granules. Turn slices over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Sprinkle with oregano and basil.
    Optional: Toast the bread at 300°–325° to your preferred crunchiness. Skip this if you’re in a hurry or if you want your bread soft.
  4. Top each slice of toast/bread with a slice of tomato.
  5. Sprinkle with more basil and oregano.
  6. Top with slivers of Parmesan cheese. (Feta crumbles are also good if you have any.)
  7. Slide the toast in the oven at about 350° until tomato is warmed through.
  8. Serve with a small bowl of balsamic vinegar. Dip toast in the vinegar before each bite.

Note: if you make more than one serving each person will need a personal bowl of balsamic vinegar. There will be double dipping. 🙂

Larrapin!

 

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July 4, 2012 Posted by | Appetizer, Snacks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once de Guacamayo

Avocados are on my top ten list of favorite ingredients. I wanted to share this recipe last week on Cinco de Mayo (which, by the way, is not a celebration of Mexican independence) but I couldn’t find any good guacs at the last minute. So now, on the eleventh, I’m sharing this Once de Guacamayo recipe.

If you want to make guacamole and can’t figure it out on your own you’ll find recipes that call for 4 or 8 or 12 avocados, and piles of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions and more. Unless you’re feeding a crowd it’s way more than you want to make and all that chopping and slicing and dicing is a lot of work for a simple snack.

So here’s my shortcut. Two ingredients. Avocado and salsa. Lime is the essential third ingredient and if I have some fresh cilantro anyone who eats it will swear I made it all from scratch.

Here’s how it goes. Cut an avocado in half by starting at the pointy end and sliding the knife all the way around.

Avocado, Onion, Serrano, and Jalapeno

Twist each half of the avocado in opposite directions to loosen it from the seed.

Twist the sides in opposite directions to pull it apart.

Split Avocado

This avocado is perfectly ripe and ready for anything.

Remove the pit by striking it with the blade of your knife. It will slice into the pit and stick. Twist the knife, still attached to the pit, and pull the pit out of the avocado.

Remove the Avocado Pit

Remove the avocado pIt by whacking into it with your knife. You can see I've already sliced and diced the avocado half on the left. It's ready to scoop into the bowl.

While the avocado is still in the skin, use the knife and slice it one direction and then the other. Make your slices few and far between for chunky guac, and close together in all directions for smushy guac.

Diced Avocado Ready for Guac

The diced avocado goes into the bowl first.

Use a spoon to scoop the avocado out of the skin and plop it in your mixing bowl.  I used a small plastic container that held blue cheese yesterday. (The blue cheese went into meatballs. That recipe will come soon.) It was a handy size for dipping and would be a handy size for leftovers.

Add Salsa to Avocadotg178

Add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa to the avocado.

Add your favorite salsa. If this is all you’re going to do, mix and taste. But if you’re adding more ingredients wait to mix it so it doesn’t totally turn to mush by the time you’re done.

It just takes a small amount of any optional ingredients to make a difference in the taste and the texture. You may need to add another avocado if you get too rambunctious. A little goes a long way when you’re starting with just one avocado.

Jalapenos and Serrano Peppers

Jalapeno and Serrano slices are ready to dice for the guacamole. The Serranos were green when I bought them, but continued to ripen and turn red.

  • Finely diced red onions
  • Finely diced peppers: Jalapenos and Serranos are frequent choices; red bells add color and crunch but no heat; habaneros add color and a LOT of heat.
  • Thinly sliced green onions, including the tops
  • Crushed garlic
  • Garden fresh diced tomatoes
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Salt and pepper if you must
Avocado soon to become guacamole

The avocado is disappearing under a growing pile of finely diced red onions, green onions, jalapenos, Serranos and salsa.

My essential optional extras are:

  • fresh lime juice
  • fresh cilantro

    Lime and Cilantro

    Avocado and options are ready to mix. Lime and cilantro are my essential finishers for any salsa or guacamole.

Gently fold the guacamole together and finish it off with the essential optional extras: a generous squeeze of lime juice and cilantro.

Guacamole

Guacamole mixed and ready for the finishing touches.

When you’re done you can transfer the guacamole from the mixing bowl to a festive serving bowl if you’re serving guests. Or you can just eat it. Which is what I did.

Guac and a Tray of Chips

Guacamole and a tray of chips.

PS – if you end up adding too much heat (like, how could that happen?!) you can add more diced tomatoes. You can also serve it with a plop of sour cream or plain yogurt top. Don’t mix it in, just dip into it as you need to. The dairy will dilute the heat without diluting the flavor.

If you have leftovers, transfer to a lidded storage container. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the guacamole and press out any air bubbles. Press the plastic wrap up the sides of the bowl and around the top edge before putting the lid on it. Put it in the fridge.

I’d planned to take a picture of the storage set up, but alas, there were no leftovers available for the demonstration.

Larrapin! Continue reading

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Appetizer | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Brie and Cranberry Sauce

Update: I posted this about a year ago and today came across another tasty way to combine these two flavors. These baked brie bites come from Joy the Baker.

They are hot little treats on a stick… all full of melty cheese.

Joy the Baker suggests Cherry Jam, and she says you can use your personal favorite jelly or jam but my mouth immediately watered for cranberry sauce.

This would be a great way to introduce new flavors to kids or anyone who steers clear of anything different. They won’t see the rind on the brie, and they won’t see the lumpiness of the homemade cranberry sauce. They’ll probably just ask for another one.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programing

– – – – – –

I subscribe to a handful of food and recipe blogs and newsletters so my mailbox usually has a half-dozen or more recipes in it each day. I’ve noticed brie and cranberry sauce in the subject of  more than a few emails the past few weeks.

Cranberry Brie
Mmmmmmmmmm.

Here’s how I put them together.

I sliced a small loaf of  French bread into slices about a half-inch thick. They went into the toaster oven and I turned the oven to about 325° or so just to warm the bread and barely toast it.

I smeared each slice with a thin spread of butter (I happened to have unsalted butter at room temp today) and topped it with a thin—about 1/8″ thick—slice of Brie. Then I slid the baking sheet back into the toaster oven at the same setting for a few minutes. It won’t look melted, but after a few minutes touch the cheese with a knife to see if it’s ready. When it’s soft and smearable it’s time to take it out.

Next I spread cranberry sauce on top of the cheese and slid it back in the oven for another minute or so. Just long enough to take the chill off the cranberry sauce.

Then I ate them. All by myself. I think I’ll go make some more.

Larrupin!

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Appetizer, Sauce | , , | 1 Comment

Bruschetta

Bruschetta – or Fresh Tomatoes on Toast
I went to the farmer’s market yesterday morning and found some really nice tomatoes. They were from Texas, but that was as close as I could get to “home grown” this early in the season. I was in the mood for a late night snack last night and the tomatoes sounded good so I decided to make bruschetta to take advantage of the fresh flavor.
Generically speaking, bruschetta is simply toasted bread, seasoned with olive oil and herbs, topped with tomato and cheese. It can be prepared on the grill or in the oven. Here’s how I made this batch in a toaster oven.

Ingredients:

  • French Bread
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
  • Herb Seasoning Blend*
  • Fresh Tomato*
  • Hard Cheese*
  • Avocado (optional, but yummy!)
  • Balsamic Vinegar*

Directions:

  1. Slice French bread about 3/4 inch thick, and place on foil-lined toaster oven baking sheet. Coat both sides with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with herb seasoning.
  2. Toast at about 300°-325° just until tops start to turn golden brown then turn & toast the other side. (In a toaster oven close to the heat source this will just take 5 minutes or so.)
  3. When both sides are golden place slices of tomato on top of each slice of toast and sprinkle with more herbs. Top with grated hard cheese and return to the oven until cheese is melted.
  4. Remove from toaster oven and top with slices of avocado.
  5. Pour a thin layer of balsamic vinegar on serving plate and place bruschetta on the plate in the vinegar.
  6. Dig in.

*How tos:

  • To coat with extra virgin olive oil* pour the oil in a small condiment bowl and use a pastry brush to paint with oil. An easier way is to keep oil in a spritzer bottle and spray it on the bread slices. The spritz method also lets you use less oil if you’re concerned about counting fat grams.
  • Basil is the herb* most frequently found in bruschetta recipes. Top tomato slices with fresh basil leaves or sprinkle with dried basil if you don’t have a favorite herb blend you want to use. I’ve created my own herb mix, Janz Seasoning Blend, that I use on practically everything. Basil is one of the prominent flavors in this blend.
  • Some bruschetta recipes call for chopped tomatoes*. However I prefer slices so I don’t lose any when I eat it. It much neater to eat if you don’t have to worry about the tomatoes falling off when you take a bite.
  • I have a cheese grater that I fill with chunks of Parmesan, Asiago and Romano* cheeses. When I fill the grater with different cheeses I automatically get a cheese blend when I use it. Another cheese option is to slice thin slivers of Feta on top of tomatoes.
    By the way, cheese is the reason I line the baking sheet with foil. Small bits of baked cheese can be hard to clean. A foil liner can be tossed. Rinse the baking sheet and you’re done.
  • In the past, I have “drizzled” balsamic vinegar* on the top of each piece prior to serving, but found it hard to “drizzle” and frequently ended up pouring vinegar over each piece. This obviously makes the toast soggy and the flavor can be overwhelming. Plan B has been to pour a bit of balsamic vinegar in a condiment bowl and serve it on the side for dipping. Last night it occurred to me to pour the vinegar on the serving plate before I pulled the toast from the oven. I placed the toast on the thin puddle on the plate and the bottom 1/8th inch of the toast soaked up the vinegar, just enough to provide flavor in every bite without making the toast soggy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures before I ate this tasty snack. However, I still have a couple of fresh tomatoes and as soon as an avocado is ready, maybe tomorrow, I’ll make it again and I’ll add some pictures.

As I wrote this I looked up recipes for bruschetta and found some alternatives with white beans or prosciutto. I’ll give those variations a try and share the results sometime soon.

May 24, 2008 Posted by | Appetizer | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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