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Beach Camping!!!

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Beach Pizza
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Cuisine: Outdoor
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Adapted from when we were camping. We used leftovers but you can make it at home with a frying pan or a frying pan on your electric grill. I prefer cast iron.
Ingredients
  • 8 sandwich rolls
  • 1 Hot Salami or hard cured meat of your choice
  • 1 package of Campari tomatoes
  • 8 oz of Irish cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Cut rolls in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, ask set aside
  3. Slice cheese, advice set aside
  4. Slice salami and set aside
  5. Put 4 slices of salami in pan or on grill
  6. Cook for a minute or two on each side
  7. Put 4 tomatoes in same pan or on grill skin side up
  8. Cook for about a minute
  9. Turn tomatoes over
  10. Cluster tomatoes and salami together with a couple slices of cheese
  11. Cook for a couple minutes, capsule cheese should just start to melt
  12. Put half of a roll on top and cover for a minute or two till cheese melts
  13. Take spatula and remove from grill or pan and plate bread side down.
  14. Do not smash tomatoes, as the juice is key to keeping sandwich from being dry
  15. Careful this can be a bit messy
  16. So you may have to scoop melted cheese that tries to slip away
  17. Serve immediately.
  18. If you have a big enough pan or grill you can do more then one at at time
  19. Just be careful to keep ingredients in separate clusters for each roll
Notes
You can add some fresh cut Basil on top at the end or some hot sauce, Kalamata olives, or thin sliced red onions.

 

 

Beach camping has finally arrived.   A little late, but it is here and we are so excited!!!  Here are a few pics from our little adventure.  Hope you like them.  And for those of you who want to know.  Our first night, we had salmon steaks, asparagus and mashed potatoes for dinner.   Our second day, breakfast was scrambled eggs, bacon and new red potatoes boiled in sea water.  Lunch we had Spam musubi, dinner was vegetable chilli that we added hot salami to, with a side of grilled corn and for desert, Jello chocolate pudding cups!!!    Our last day if we have any leftovers we incorporate them into the meals.  Breakfast was the usual eggs and bacon but with mashed potato’s.  For lunch we had grilled cheese with cucumber and cherry tomato sandwiches.  But, since we had left over salami…………  Jason grilled the salami and cherry tomatoes, put some cheese and bread on top for amazing upside down grilled sandwiches!!  Of course he was nice enough to turn them right side up when it was time to eat – just like mini beach pizzas !

With our first camping excursion over we look forward to the next.  So until then we will post more of what summer in NYC is all about.

Ceviche 3 Ways

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Ceviche 3 ways
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. of fresh white fish (Tilapia, dosage Basa)
  • 2-3 juiced lemons or lime
  • half a red bell pepper
  • half a yellow or orange bell pepper
  • half a small onion (red or yellow)
  • ¼ cup chopped Cilantro
  • Version 2
  • 1 can of coconut milk.
  • Version 3
  • 1 freshly grated coconut
Instructions
  1. Make sure the fish is as fresh as you can get. It really makes a difference.
  2. Juice citrus( I prefer lime)
  3. Chop fish into small bite size pieces
  4. In a bowl add fish and juice
  5. Cover with plastic wrap or put in a zip lock bag, healing
  6. Chill in fridge for at least and hour or more. The longer the better.
  7. Chop onion and peppers into small pieces, set aside
  8. Chop up cilantro and set aside
  9. When fish is done combine with veggies, cilantro in serving bowl
  10. Serve immediately
  11. *Version 2
  12. When fish is done rinse in a colander and put in serving bowl
  13. Add veggies and cilantro
  14. Add coconut milk, stir and serve.
  15. *Version 3
  16. When fish is done rinse in a colander and put in serving bowl
  17. Add veggies and cilantro
  18. Grate coconut and use a piece of cheesecloth to squeeze out the milk
  19. Add coconut milk to fish and veggies
  20. Serve immediately
Notes
The measurements are approximate. Make sure there is enough liquid(juice) to cook the fish. I like to use a zip lock bag so the juice gets everywhere, and put it on a flat surface in the fridge. Halfway through the marinating process turn the bag over or if using a bowl, stir it at least once. Also when we were in Fiji the chef told us that when they don't have citrus they use white wine vinegar. We haven't tried it but if your going to, rinse the fish off after and use coconut milk.

 

Coconut Ceviche

Spring is here, although it took a while, we are seeing the signs everywhere.  People are out and about.  Eating on the sidewalks, lounging in parks, riding bikes and doing anything they can to be out in the world.  We here at Houseofzeta.com have been prepping in our own way. We have made a few batches of beer over winter,  collected some recipes to try out and put the up the BBQ.  We made our annual trek to D.C. for the Blossom festival, planted new flowers, signed up for the bike share and put away our winter clothes.  It is time to start fresh and get ready for summer!!!  Here is a quick easy recipe, that we have made many times and is a staple at our rooftop bbq’s, but now with a South Island twist that we learned when we were in Auckland and Fiji.  So enjoy and make it all summer!  Your guest will love it and never get tired of it!

On the road to Fiji

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We start our second leg having one last brunch with Margaret and Andrew.   After saying our final goodbyes, this we rented a Jucy car and headed towards Central Otago, visit web wine country.   We were off and running, doctor but first a pit stop at the Black Swan Cafe for a flat white.  Heading west on state highway 8, it wasn’t long before we found a lovely park in Lawrence where we had a quick snack and a stretch.  Then it was off to the famous Jimmy’s Pies in Roxburgh.  Some people might say the best pies in New Zealand.  I agree, maybe even in the world.  Hey, I even bought the T-shirt!!!  After filling ourselves with pies we headed to wine country, Cromwell.  We missed the wine tasting but, we did manage to pick a couple local wines (and see large fruit) that found there way back to NYC.  Our final destination for the night was Lake Wanaka.  We stayed at the Altamont Lodge.  It’s little out of the way of town but nice and great for the peace and quiet.  They don’t have a lot of rooms, another plus.  We were running late and missed most places that were open for dinner but we did manage to find the only good pizza in NZ(from what I am told).  The Cow Restaurant.  It was the only place left open(barely).  It is also a little out of the way(off the main road), so do yourself a favor and look for it.  They were kind enough to let us order a pie to go and have a beer while we waited.  Next time we will make it earlier so we can have a proper sit down meal.   The next day we took a small walk around the lake and headed over to Lake Hawea.  This was the beauty spot, perfect for lunch and a bottle of rose.  Even though we really liked Lake Wanaka we might just stay here next time.  Super peaceful and beyond quiet, a real getaway.  The couple hours we were there we only saw four other people.

As we drove down the beautiful Haast Pass highway to our next destination we came across  the Blue Pools.  Insanely blue and gorgeous.   So of course we had to dive in!  But we weren’t the only ones.  We were joined but a couple German tourists.  One of them even took to diving off the side of the mountain!  Another must stop, but be prepared and wear bug spray or you will get eaten alive.  Also if you do go for a dip it is cold and reapply that bug spray when done.   Swimming always makes you hungry so we made a quick stop at Haast for some……………….fish and chips!!!!! Jason tried to get me to eat white bait but I wasn’t biting! We did stop under the  Haast River Bridge to eat and have a Macs beer.    In keeping with our rushed schedule we are so fond of.  We made a few very quick stops before reaching our next sleeping destination, Franz Josef Glacier.  A quick stop at Knight Point, and the Tasman Sea.  We made it to Franz Joseph just in the nick of check in time at the TOP 10 Holiday Park.  This was probably the smallest room we stayed in but all we were going to do is sleep.   We also manage to get in a few beers in town at Speights Landing Bar.  Very touristy, but it is open late, has a huge outdoor patio with a fireplace and the drink prices are good.  The next day was Franz Joseph Glacier!!!  Walking through a rain forest it is hard to imagine you will be next to a glacier.  But, guess what? It’s true!!!  We did make a quick stop at the waterfalls and as you can see we had to jump in.  Although the water was cold(and refreshing) it was no where near as cold as what was coming from the glacier itself.  Talk about ice water!!!

After our fun with Franz, we started towards our next resting spot.    Along the way we pulled off onto Forks Okarito Road to check out the Tasman Sea one last time and found a Kiwi!!!  Not really but we did see the sign!!!  And a really small village of Okarito with a backpackers lodge.  If you really want somewhere to stay that is away from it all, this little village is it.    A little further up the highway we pulled over for some flat whites and beer in Whataroa and found this charming court house.  Next was a stop in Hokitika for what else,  fish and chips!!! We wished we could have stayed here longer it’s a nice little town and a great beach.  Although we kept our stops to just a couple, we managed to get to our final destination, wait for it………just in time for check in!!!.  Arthur’s Chalet  was one of the best places we stayed at. We got in just in time to have a beer at the bar and then take to our room and drink a couple we bought in Whataroa.  It’s an old-school lodge/chalet, which I love.  Complete with fire place, lots of wood beams, a bar and squeaky floors.  Plus they serve breakfast for free!!!  Only place in Arthurs Pass.   Also a good thing to remember is they actually close from 11-2 in the afternoon.  The owner has great advice on what to do if you aren’t sure or like us just passing through.   First stop of the day was the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall,  truly amazing.  Just when you think you’ve seen enough waterfalls you come across probably the most spectacular one yet.  The pictures really don’t do it justice.  By now we were hungry and needed to get on our way.  We made a quick pit stop at Arthur’s Pass Store and Cafe for a flat white and a chicken, brie with cranberries pie, yum!.  As we left Arthurs Pass our hostess told us of one other place for us to visit, Cave Stream.  It is exactly what it says.  It is a stream(albeit a very strong one, almost a small river) that runs through a cave.  Well, the water carved out a cave would be more accurate.   And, you can walk from one end to the other!!!  Luckily there were two nice guys who had a little glossed look about them but had just finished the walk and let us know what we were in for.  So with our swim trunks/toggs(New Zealand speak) head lamp, shoes and our hoodies we headed out to take on Cave Stream.  Boy were we glad we were warned!  At one point, probably half way through we looked at each other and thought our we lost? did we take a wrong turn? how much longer do we have? We aren’t in Disneyland anymore.   It definitely was an adventure.  Time went out the window and you wonder why you were there.  But, as we kept pushing forward we enjoyed the magnificence of where we were.  We finally reached the end at about an hour and some change.  Delighted to be out in the world again, we realized why those to nice guys had that glazed look on their faces.  We felt like they did, not sure what just happened and almost like an alien landing on earth.  I know this sounds like it wasn’t much fun but,  I would have done it again in a heart beat!  Next time with two head lamps and a water proof camera that had night vision, if it’s possible.  It truly is something you will probably never experience anywhere else and is a must, if you have the chance.

Our final destination before we head off to Fiji is Christchurch.  We arrived at the YMCA and first thing we did was laundry!!  After four days on the road, it was needed.   With clean clothes and freshly showered we headed out for dinner.  We ended up at Pegasus Arms which is a pub with live bands.  So what do you think we ordered? What else?  Fish and chips!  After a few beers and food we tried to find our friend Robins house but had no luck.  We did find Cruz bar.  Unfortunately no one else did.  After a few drinks we decided walk around for a little bit before finding something else and when we did, it was too late, so we went back to the Y and call it a night.  Not the best night we’ve had, but we did find the Pallet Pavilion which is this amazing art/music space and see some of the damage that the 2011 earthquake did.   The next morning we went to see more of the wreckage and it was heartbreaking.  Picture the downtown of the city you live in, in ruins.  This once vibrant area was fenced off.  It is now known as the red zone.  Even though this tragedy has destroyed many historical buildings and homes, it has not destroyed the people of Christchurch.  They are bright eyed and optimistic about their future.  We saw that in the warm smiles and friendliness we encountered everywhere we went.  Also the rebuilding that’s going on, like the Pallet Pavilion and the Shipping Container Mall that’s part of the Re:Start project going in the city.  With a few souvenirs from the mall, we took our Jucy car to it’s new home.   The airport.  We were very lucky to be in Christchurch on that weekend as it was the 3rd year anniversary of the quake.  We got to witness something extraordinary.  At precisely 12:51pm we all stopped to take a moment of silence to remember.  Of all the wonderful amazing things we encountered, waterfalls, beaches, glaciers, boulders, this was truly something special.  You might think this would be a little bit of a downer but quite the opposite.  To see every one stop what they were doing and just be silent and remember, was one of the most beautiful experiences that we were lucky enough to be part of.

 

 

* There are so many tragedies and reasons to give to charities that it can be quite daunting. With hurricanes, tornado’s, I could go on for days.  But when a city 3 years later is still having earthquakes almost daily such as Christchurch, and to see it personally, you can’t help but want to, help.  I don’t ask for favors like this and I’m not asking for you to give anything except your thoughts and if you pray then your prayers.  The earthquakes right now are small but they could get worse or they could stop, no one knows and that’s scary.  Growing up in earthquake country you know what it’s like and it’s quite frightening.  My heart goes out to the these wonderful people and I hope they get some peace soon, if not today.  Like I said we are not asking for money but if the spirit moves you, here is where you can donate.  Thank you.

Earthquake donations http://www.ccc.govt.nz/homeliving/civildefence/chchearthquake/earthquakedonations.aspx

 

 

 

From NYC to the NZ

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We had a great adventure this winter visiting Jason’s family and homelands.  The weather, stomach food and landscape were everything you could imagine and more.  Made all the more amazing by Jason’s wonderful and loving family who took in this yank with open arms and hearts.  We started off in LA visiting my family and friends.  We only had a day but we all made the most of it.  Next we were off to Australia and the beautiful Gold Coast.  We stayed with Jason’s granddad, information pills who ran us ragged!!!  Broad Beach was amazing, sick with warm water, bluebirds, good food, a little rain here and there, but also some wonderful sunshine.  I had my first of many fish and chips at Johnny’s Fish and Chips, as well as my first flat white, a.k.a as coffee here.  The next day we walked down to Surfers Paradise Beach and ended up at Pete’s Fish Market where we bought some fresh prawns that we grilled for pasta.  After a few days of running around we spent our last day taking it easy, lounging in the pool and jacuzzi.  We weren’t barely dry before it was time to catch the plane to New Zealand.

Our first stop, Auckland.  We arrived at night so we missed seeing one of the newest additions to the family but we had a great late night catching up with Mike and Shona.  The next day was a trip to Piha Beach with it’s beautiful black sand beaches and Lion Rock laying there with the grace and beauty of well, a lion.  The water was cold, but that didn’t seem to stop any one from having a good time, so of course we joined in.   Unfortunately little Cindy wasn’t up for a swim.  For lunch, we had  fish and chips.  It was day one and I was already in love with this beautiful land.  The next day was brunch at Mike and Shona’s favorite spot Circus, Circus.  It did not disappoint.  I had eggs benny and Jason had a more traditional breakfast with poached eggs, beans, grilled tomato, sausages, hash browns and toast.  Both were amazing.  And to wash it all down with?  What else, a flat white.  That afternoon we caught up with our dear friend Gemma at Point Chevalier Beach for Auckland’s Big Gay Out.  We also had the pleasure of meeting her mum and had  a wonderful snack of ceviche in coconut milk,  bbq’d lamb with grilled eggplant and lovely white wine.  Though we never did get to see the famous wine cellar.  For our last supper we had, what else,  grilled lamb and lots of wine!  Although our last day was a short one, we did managed to squeeze in the Sky Tower and some lovely cosmos.  Not a bad sendoff.  Thank you Mike, Shona and Cindy!!!

Next was the South Island adventure with a great big welcome from more of the Tagg clan who greeted us with hugs, kisses and welcome home’s at the Dunedin airport.  We were then promptly whisked away to lunch at Margaret’s house.   After being on a small cramped plane it is exactly what we needed.  The garden was exquisite, you could sit in it for hours.  We then spent the next few days lounging around Jason’s father John’s and his girlfriend Hee Ji’s house/jacuzzi and running around seeing Dunedin.   Our first stop was Otago University where Jason’s dad works and were Jason along with his brothers went to university.   We made a quick stop at Danish Delights Bakery for snacks and lunch supplies to take to Sandfly Bay where we met a very lazy but loveable sea lion.  That night we drove to Careys Bay Hotel and Seafood  in Port Chalmers for an amazing dinner.  As if that wasn’t enough, we spent the next day seeing old haunts, driving back to Port Chalmers to spend some time at Jason’s favorite beach Purakaunui Bay where we had a quick dip in Canoe Beach. But not before we took a ride on the the tree swing. We then headed up to Fleurs Place in Moeraki for more amazing sea food.  Jason had the Bacon wrapped Blue Cod, and I drooled.   It’s and hour or so outside of Dunedin but it is a must go. We even got to meet Fleur herself!!  Such an amazing women.  Plus as an added bonus you  can stop and see the  Moeraki Boulders.  Truly an amazing natural wonder.

Just when we thought we might get a bit of rest we sped off with Margaret, who took us to the Catlin’s.   We made a quick stop at Dollyworld and Teapotland(I’m sure you can see why).  Upon arrival we stopped at Curios Bay Fossilized Forest  where we almost go blown away.  Then the Waipapa Lighthouse.  Stunning view, especially knowing that your at the most southern part of the world that is closest to the South Pole besides Stewart Island.  We scrambled and made it to the Chaslands Area Cathedral Caves just in time.  If we had arrived any later we would have been in high tide!!   Although I almost did get swept away by the tide taking a picture of Jason and his mum.   That night we stayed at The Whistling Frog Cafe and Bar.  Our chalet was perfect, and so was our dinner.  The next day as we headed out we stopped at what would turn out to be one of many waterfalls, McLean Falls.  It was a beautiful walk to a beautiful waterfall, so green and lush.  A great way to start our day.  We managed to get in a few more quick stops like the Estuary Boardwalk and  The Lost Gypsy Gallery on our way back to Dunedin.    When we arrived back in town made a quick stopped at Signal Hill that has the most amazing view of the city and habor below it.  As well as marveling at Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.

After our short whirl wind tour of the Catlins, we said a momentary goodbye to Margaret and a hello to the McTaggley’s.   Also known as Andrew, Kathryn, Elizabeth and Laura.   Upon our arrival on that night, Kathryn made a delightful Pavlova and dispensed some sage advice.  Ask anyone who has made or attempted to make a Pavlova and you get a knowing smile or the knowing horrified face.  It seems everyone has one or both of these kinds of stories up their sleeve.  Jason and Kathryn were no exception to this rule. They were quickly swapping battle stories of Pav’s lost and won.  We spent the next couple days  molding clay, reading books and playing the ukulele, while managing to get in some sites.  Like the tranquil Chinese Garden, which is the only truly authentic Chinese Scholar’s Garden in the Southern Hemisphere.  I say tranquil, but the girls kept us moving right along.  They also took us for a swim at the Moana pools.  Our last night was adult’s only.  We hit the town and showed it no mercy!!! And our throbbing heads showed us no mercy the next day.  But we had a blast.  The Octagon will never be the same.

We finish our lovely stay back where it started, at Margaret’s, with a wonderful lamb dinner and a fond/sad farewell to the McTaggley’s.  The next morning we are sent off with a wonderful care package of lamb sandwiches, fruit, tea, coffee and fruit cake with more farewells from Margaret and Andrew.  With the sun on our backs, we headed out alone to the great beyond of Central Otago, then up the west coast and back over to Christchurch for our final night and departure.

It all started with Meatballs

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balls potatoballs riceballs onionschicken

It started as a possible trip to IKEA for meatballs.  Then we realized we had some in the freezer, cure all we needed was the gravy.  A quick search on the internet and presto we had the recipe.  I then started to look at what else we had to go with these delicious round balls of meat.  We had left over mashed potato’s, rice, veggies, kimchi and beets.  It was beginning to look like things were shaping up. I had a flashback to when I lived in LA and my roommates and I had watch the movie Mermaids one too many times and started to have appetizer nights.  We called this a mermaid dinner.  If you’ve seen the movie you’ll understand.  If not, then watch at your own risk.  I started to imagine our dinner was all round and how fun that would be and what a challenge it would be with the ingredients we had.  So we started with the potatoes and took the left over onions and peppers and made Coroke,  a side dish a different roommate I had back in San Bernardino used to make.  Usually you would make them into small patties with meat and onion and fry them, but tonight it was veggie rounds.   I also had made Teriyaki chicken a couple night’s before(also a recipe from the same roommate) and used the chicken, added some ginger, red onions, garlic, egg and presto fried rice.  We used our  microwave egg poacher(more on that in another post) to make them.  Next the ice cream scooper and a spoon were perfect for the kimchi.  We now had everything, put it all together and  had a great time being silly, making our evening well rounded.

Pumpkin Pie. Or is it?

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Another Turkey day has come and gone and we are sad to see it go.  But we have great memories.  We arrived at our destination late so we didn’t get any pictures of what was made.  There was the usual suspects, stuff Turkey by Joe, decease green beans, side effects stuffing, cranberries along with a few new items.  I made Jason’s famous smoked sweet potato/potato mash, there was a refreshing fennel salad, Brian’s sweet potatoes with paprika, Anna made butternut squash with parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and thyme, while Kirk made a lovely whiskey cocktail that had everyone thankful.  Luckily for us Jason did take pictures and made a fabulous pumpkin pie that disappeared faster than giblet gravy!  Or was it a pumpkin pie?  I told everyone I would let them know what was it it but not til after.  So without further ado the secret ingredients in the the pies were Butternut Squash and Brandy.  No pumpkins were harmed in the making of this pie.  We got the idea from The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/video/2012/11/14/dining/100000001903215/pumpkin-pie.html  We thought, hmmmm interesting lets do it! The results speak for themselves.  Two pies gone in no time.  We also had an actual pumpkin pie and it was delicious.  But I think from now on it’s Butternut Squash Pie that will be made in The Lab.

Comfort Food

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As the week ends, information pills we start focusing on Thanksgiving, seek   the ultimate in comfort food.   While Mexican is my main food of choice, I would have to say I have a favorite from almost every region , from Ethiopian stews, Italian pastas, Japanese, Thai, Greek, German, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Polish, New Zealand meat pies, Indian, anything curried and of course French, mmmm butter, mmmm cheese. But for most of us, what we grew up with is what truly makes a meal or dish comforting. This time of year though, it’s Thanksgiving.  Turkey, gravy, mashed potato’s, stuffing, cranberries,  green bean casserole and pie.  I’m getting full and sleepy already!!!  We always add new dishes and keep old favorites but it always ends up with friends and family enjoying a day and a meal together.  To me, that is the ultimate in comfort food.  Food for the soul.  I usually make two or three dishes to take with me and as usual I wait till the weekend before to decide what I am bringing.  Hopefully you have your game plan and can stick to it.  If not, don’t worry, in the immortal words of Hudson & Halls have another glass of wine and it will all work out.  Well, that may not be exactly what they said but I like to remember it that way.  In any case, I will be doing a bit of both.  So as you go into the wonderful day of tradition and new experiences remember to take comfort in all that is around you and eat all you can!

$3 Grab Bag!

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Look what you can get for $3 at the farmers market! We got 2 bags!! We made a cucumber salad, try added the carrots, treatment celery and some onion to our roast chicken, advice then with the leftover chicken, the veggies and drippings from the pan we made Chicken Pot Pies! The potato’s will go great in the morning with eggs and bacon. The parsnips and yellow beets we will roast with other root veggies later this week and the peppers we will probably stuff and make an appetizer out of them. So the next time you stop by your local farmer’s market and see a grab bag don’t walk away. With a little imagination you can make some really amazing dishes, and you’ll be supporting local businesses.

And the Emmy goes to……………..

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Here at houseofzeta.com we are often asked to cook a meal or make a dish for a party and we are always happy to oblige.  This was the case a couple Sundays ago when I went to a friends house to watch the Emmy’s.  O.K. so it was my idea, approved I had some new recipes and wanted to try them out.  Also, order it’s a great excuse to see friends and dish about celebrities.  Sounds like a win, win situation to me!  I went shopping for the final ingredients, prepped what I could and made the trek to Williamsburg.  As I unpacked the bags my friends were like, “did you bring the whole kitchen?” And on closer inspection, I kinda did!  I hadn’t realized it till I started to pull everything out of the bags.  I brought ingredients to make pork and kimchi dumplings, chicken satay, a cabbage and snap pea salad and beef with onion soup.  Oops my bad!  Like I said it was my idea so why not feed everyone, right?!  As I got to work on the feast a friend brought some multicolored baby potato’s to add the the meal.  It was perfect addition, we just boiled them and plated the with the rest of the meal.  The unintentional star of the night was the Beef and Onion soup. It was hearty, rich and just the right dish to end our culinary trip around the world.  Everyone was so pleased with the soup that they were like we need this recipe, put it on the blog!  I was taken back a little, I was really proud of the satay and sauces, of course our dumplings are always a hit.  But if the crowd wants beef and onion soup you give them beef and onion soup.  So without further ado, here is the recipe enjoy!!!

Beef and Onion Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 quart pot
  • 1 Lb of boneless round steak or chuck steak
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 3 large onions
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • ¼ cup of dry red wine, plus a little more.
  • 1 table spoon of worcestershire sauce, divided.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. Cut steak into 3 inch strips
  2. Cut onions into ¼ inch rings
  3. slice mushrooms
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pot
  5. Add meat, cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat or till done.
  6. When done set aside.
  7. Melt second tablespoon of butter.
  8. Add onion and mushrooms.
  9. Cook till onions are translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
  10. Add stock and meat, red wine, salt and peeper.
  11. Cook for 30-45 minutes.
  12. The last 15 minutes add half of worcestershire.
  13. Add the rest if you want more.
Notes
The wine and worcestershire are approximates because everyone's tastes are different. I put between ¼ and half a cup of wine and the whole tablespoon of worcestershire, but I like really bold flavors. Remember these ingredients can make or break a dish. They are very strong flavors so you don't want to go overboard cause there is no coming back if you do.

Guacamole 3 Ways

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Guacamole, information pills the word alone is magic.   To say I heart guacamole is an understatement. But making that beautiful mound of green gold is another matter all together.  It can be one of the simplest things to make and also incredibly easy to mess up.  I speak from experience.  I just gave my Aunt one of my versions of guacamole and then decided to try it myself, cost only to find I had messed up my own recipe.   In my defense I change my recipes as I go.  So, pharmacy depending on how the wind is blowing or my mood I may make it spicy, chunky or through everything in but the kitchen sink.  I’m this way with most everything I cook.  I usually have an idea in my head of what I want to do and then go for it.  I call this on the fly cooking.  A few years ago I was really put to the test when I moved to NY and was living with friends on their couch.  It was  my job to take the vegetables we got from the co-op and plan the weeks meals with them before they rotted.  I really liked that challenge and still do, so when I got to farmers markets I try and plan my meals by the time I get home.  When making guacamole there are some things that are a must like cilantro and lime juice.  Some people use lemon but I prefer lime.  My usual go to has tomato, onion, garlic, lime, cilantro and seasonings, it’s basic but classic and it’s what everyone is used to.  The best thing about making guacamole is that you can have fun with it.  Experiment, use different peppers for a variety of spiciness, add radishes for extra crunch, or red onions instead of regular white .  However you make it, make sure the ingredients are as fresh as can be.

Guacamole 3 Ways
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • ¼ of a lime, juiced
  • 1 Small onion(white or red)
  • 1 Roma tomato,
  • ¼ of a bunch of cilantro
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of Ancho chile powder
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of chipotle chile powder
Instructions
  1. In a bowl cut and smash avocados(save pit for later)
  2. Chop up tomato and onion
  3. Dice Jalapeno
  4. Chop Cilantro
  5. Mince Garlic
  6. Combine all ingredients, add spices, salt, pepper and lime juice
  7. Serve immediately.
Notes
Guacamole 2 Add radishes and Italian peppers and take out Jalapeno. It wont be hot but the pepper adds sweetness and the radishes add crunch. Guacamole 3 Use 1 large tomatillo and lemon juice instead of tomato,onion, and lime juice. Also only use garlic, salt and pepper as your spices. This is my I'm in a hurry version. Simple, yet delicious.

 

Oh and here’s a great tip.  If you find you have leftovers(ha, ha , that’s like having extra wine! no such thing!!!). Seriously,  if you have extra take a Ziploc baggy and  put the guacamole in it long with the pit of one of the avocados, squeeze ALL the air out of it and it will stay fresh for 24 hours.

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