Sunday, April 8, 2012

Recipe: Guacamole Salad

I had a good friend in high school named Sarah whose heritage happened to be Mexican. Two dishes that I remember she and her mom making were burritos (a.k.a. "chimichanga" in some areas) and guacamole salad.

Of course, I already loved burritos, but from then on, I also loved guacamole salad. I've had guacamole salad at many restaurants in San Antonio in many forms, but I always come back to the basics.

2 ripened avocados
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 small onion, diced (I use white or yellow, but red would be good, too!)
1 small tomato, diced (Any variety is fine, but firm ones are best.)
2 cups finely shredded iceburg lettuce (if iceburg isn't available, any very crunchy lettuce will do)
1 medium or large bag tortilla chips like Tostitos or Santitas--NOT DORITOS! (or make your own)
Salt & Pepper

After removing the avocado "meat" from the skin, mash it in a medium-sized bowl with the lemon or lime juice.

Layer the salad in individual small bowls in this order: lettuce in the bottom, avocado on top of that, then tomato & onion.

Once it's served, I usually eat my portion by applying salt & pepper to taste, then mixing the salad with a fork. I use the fork to scoop the mixture onto a chip and stuff as much of the chip into my mouth as possible. :-D

Guacamole salad is great alone with iced tea, cold beer, and margaritas, or as a starter for a full Mexican meal.

Recipe: Enchilada Casserole

Having grown up in South Texas, I love Mexican food. Well, not *all* Mexican food--I probably will never try tripas or menudo. Just not interested. There's plenty of delicious "normal" food to be had; I feel no need to expose my palette to offal.

Though I've grown up eating Mexican food quite regularly, I've never really been good at cooking it--even my tacos suck. But a few months ago, I was craving enchiladas, and I remembered that one of my sisters had mentioned making enchilada casserole.

She sent me her recipe and, since then, I've probably eaten enchilada casserole 2-3 times per month ever since. I make a big pan, eat some for supper, then freeze the rest. A quart-sized freezer bag easily holds one or two servings. I don't get fancy with reheating from frozen--I microwave it, bag & all, for 20 seconds, then turn it out of the bag onto a plate and microwave it for 4-5 minutes on high. Top it with cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

Be advised that the measurements in this recipe need not be exact; e.g., if I say a 10.5oz can of something, it's ok to use a 10.75oz can instead. It's supposed to be an easy recipe that you can adjust to your tastes and/or product availability.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

1-3lbs ground beef (sister's recipe said 1lb; I've made it w/up to 3lbs, and it came out great)
1 medium or large onion (I use yellow or white, but whatever. It's optional, anyway.)
1-10oz can enchilada sauce (I've never made it from scratch, but here's a recipe just in case)
     Note: Some brands of enchilada sauce are available in different degrees of spiciness. You can always
              sprinkle the finished product with ground cayenne pepper on a serving-by-serving basis if the can
              you bring home turns out to be too bland.
1-10.5oz can cream of mushroom soup
1-10.5oz can cream of chicken soup
16oz grated Velveeta (or up to 32oz white or orange cheddar; I like the stringiness of melted sharp cheddar)
12-18 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the corn tortillas into a bowl, and cover them with water. Let them soak while preparing the meat.

Chop or dice (your preference) the onion.
     Note: If you prefer your onions softer, put them into the frying pan with the raw meat. If you like them
              crunchier, add them to the meat toward the end of browning or even later.

Crumble the ground beef into a large, deep frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Remove from heat, and drain off the fat.

Return the cooked beef to the frying pan. If you wanted your onions crunchy, add them to the browned ground beef now. Dump the enchilada sauce, cream of mushroom soup, and cream of chicken soup into the ground beef. Stir until fully incorporated.

Smear a few spoonfuls of the beef mixture into the bottom of a 13"x9" rectangular casserole dish. Tear the soaked tortillas into quarters. Place a layer of quartered tortillas into the bottom of the dish followed by a thin layer of beef mixture and a thin layer of shredded cheese. Repeat this process until all ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of cheese on top.

Bake the casserole for 30 minutes.

Serve with a green salad (or guacamole salad!) and iced tea. Optionally, top with more raw diced onions, a dusting of ground cayenne/red pepper, and/or even more shredded cheese.

Serves six normal people or one glutton. :-D

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Recipe: Strawberry Gravy [status: untested]

I don't have the resources to experiment much in the kitchen these days, so somebody try this for me.

The Bloggess just posted the BEST IDEA EVER: STRAWBERRY GRAVY.

I tried to think what she might mean by that. We'll just ignore all the possibilities of what it could be drizzled (or POURED) on top of; let's just think about how to make it.

Here was my suggestion*:
*Actual screencap of my comment on The Bloggess's page

So what do you think? 
Suggestions as to whether the flour and the puree would really work? 
Should I be more precise regarding how the heavy cream is sweetened?
What do you think it would taste like?
What might it be good with?

Feel free to make your comments over on The Bloggess's post instead of here. But truthfully, unless you make them here, I'll probably never see them.


Oh! P.S.: I'm putting a list of Depression blog posts written by other sufferers in the sidebar. It might just have one today, but I'll have to google a bunch to find the ones I've read before.