Home-Cooked: Strawberry Guacamole

After many years of internal debate and unnecessary apprehension, I can finally say that I am an avocado lover. My initial reservations about this lovely green fruit were washed away when it was perfectly paired with it's berry cousin: the strawberry! I owe this to a local Mexican restaurant that prides itself on it's robust "guacamole" menu.

The menu at this restaurant covers a wide span of flavor profiles from sweet to savory or spicy to mild. This means that there is a type of "guac" for every type of food lover!  As I have eaten my way down the list sampling all the varieties, none compare to the first one I had the fortune of trying: Strawberry Guacamole.

After many attempts to recreate this dish for my own purposes, I've finally landed on my own recipe worth sharing. It's quick and easy, and has become a hit at potlucks, parties or cookouts. The recipe can be found below!

STRAWBERRY GUACAMOLE

Ingredients

  • 2 Ripe Avocados (Medium to Large Sized, Pitted and Scooped)
  • 1/2 Cup - Chopped Strawberries (Fresh and Ripe)
  • 1/8 Cup - Chopped Black Olives
  • 1 tablespoon -  Minced Garlic
  • 3 tablespoons - Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Lime (Finely Zested, Juiced)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher until coarsely mashed. 
  2. Fold in strawberries, black olives, minced garlic, cilantro and lime until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Garnish the top with some olives and chopped strawberries.
  4. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate.

 

 

 

 

 

Home-Cooked: Sweet Potato Cornbread

Every so often I get a nagging craving for something that lingers until satisfied. This unfortunateturned blissful occurrence, presented itself just a few weeks ago. After binging on episodes "Chopped" and seeing a chef do a clever take on "cornbread," my own culinary creative juices start flowing. I decided not only was I going to get what I wanted, but I was going to add in a little "Geo" flavor and flare to modernize the classic cornbread recipe.

With a pinch of luck, (and some sweet potatoes that I needed to use quickly) - I was able to upgrade the classic "Jiffy" cornbread recipe and turn it into a skillet-baked Sweet Potato Cornbread. The end result was absolutely delicious, and I am happy to share the recipe with you!

SWEET POTATO CORNBREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 2/3 Cups Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Teaspoon of Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees, and place a cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until well mixed. 
  3. Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven, and coat the bottom and sides with cooking spray.
  4. Pour in batter and spread evenly in the skillet.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 25 - 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

5 Easy Holiday Side-Dishes

And just like that - we're back....

It's funny how time miraculously moves at light-speed and in the blink of an eye the holiday season is greeting us with a warm embrace. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday (next to my birthday), is typically a day where I rejoice in the warmth of my kitchen which has been transformed into an oasis of autumn aromas.  This year, as we approach this glorious occasion I have feelings of anxiety and fear. 

For the first ever, Mark and I are the brave souls who volunteered to host the "annual" feast at our home. As we finalize logistics for an intimate, but enjoyable evening with my immediate family, I have searched far and wide for dishes that are trudge the line of innovation, but still appeal to the pickiest of eaters (*cough* my mother).

As you curate your own menus for the BIG day, my pinterest board  for "Holiday Dishes" may get your gears turning and mouths salivating.  If you're looking for some easy items to add a little flare to your table,  look no further as I have hand-picked these special (and might I add quite EASY to make) side-dishes just for you.

5 Easy Holiday Side-Dishes 

1. Brown Sugar Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon (recipe via eRecipe Cards)

2. Slow-Cooker Corn and Jalapeno Casserole (recipe via Real House Moms)

3. Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans (recipe via Southern Bites)

4, Sweet Potatoe Souffle (recipe via Vintage Zest)

5, Sausage and Rice Dressing  (recipe via Kalyn's Kitchen)

 

 

 

Home-Cooked: Apple Blossom Tarts

Apple Blossom Tarts (2).png

If ever asked my favorite season, my answer is always a resounding FALL!  During these months, where the air is brisk, I often seek refuge indoors through kitchen related activities such as baking. Fair warning: the next few months may bring an on slew of fall desserts. 

Warm apple pie paired with vanilla ice cream ranks highly on my list of favorite desserts for this season. While I have tried my hand at several apple pie recipes in the past, this year I wanted to challenge myself to try something a little different. Perusing Pinterest for some ideas, I came across a recipe for Apple Pie Roses. The recipe looked simple enough, but as I began the process I realized it these little pastries might be a tall order to fill.

Although my final product didn't turn out quite like "roses" (more like blossoms hehe)- I gave it an honest try (and even made my own pie dough for the first time). The finished desserts also received Mark's stamp of approval for taste! 

Check out the recipe below for my Apple Blossom Tarts!

Apple Blossom Tarts Recipe 

(adapted from frommyimpossiblytinykitchen )

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar (see note below)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Add in the cubed butter. Work the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingertips until the mixture looks like a coarse meal and there are no pieces of butter larger than the size of a pea. Add in ice water and stir to combine. The mixture should just come together into a ball, add additional ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough seems dry.
  2. Form the dough into a disc, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4" thick. Use a biscuit cutter, a cup or a bowl about 3 1/2-4" in diameter and cut out rounds of dough. Fit each round into the cup of a buttered muffin tin, pushing the dough up the sides. Chill dough while the filling is prepped.

For the filling:

  • 2 apples (Pink Lady, Braeburn, Honeycrisp etc)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (see note below)
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. To cut the apples and remove the core, place the apple upright and make a cut about 1/8" from the center of the apple - basically making straight cuts around the core. Repeat on the remaining sides, you should have 2 large pieces, 2 small pieces and the core.
  2. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, cut the apples very thinly into half moons. Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and combine with 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Pour mixture over the apples along with lemon juice and toss to combine. Microwave apples for about 1 minute, until soft and pliable enough to roll.
  3. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and combine with remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Brush the bottom of each dough cup with the mixture.
  4. To form the roses, place about 10 slices of apples on a flat surface, laying them out horizontally and consistently with the skin side facing you. Place each slice so it overlaps the previous slice by half. Begin tightly rolling the apples from one end to the other. Once you've got the basic rose shape, pick up the apples and add any additional apple "petals" around the outside, depending on how large you want the rose to be. I used about 12-18 slices per rose.
  5. Put an apple rose in each cup of the muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes at 375F until crust is golden and apples are cooked through.

 

What are your favorites desserts for fall? Please let me know. I may decide take a pass making them this season!