Posts from the ‘Restaurant’ Category

Guacamole Dip

It is no secret that I am an avocado fan. I love this green savory, sometimes squishy fruit. I put it in salads, wraps, sandwiches, dressings, dips, etc. I have not tried it as an ice cream base yet; those recipes and experiences will happen later. Guacamole or guac can be marvelous with chips, crackers, and vegetable sticks and slices. I’m not quite sure how my mom made her guacamole on Thanksgiving, since I was busy working on the turkey. This is pretty much the recipe I grew up with; it was nice having a bit of nostalgia at our family holiday feast.

Guacamole Dip
Yields
3 cups dip

Ingredients
3 Medium Avocados, pitted, skinned, chopped
1 Lemon, juice of
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled, chopped
1 Tomato, cored, chopped
1/2 Onion, skinned, diced
2 Scallions, trimmed, chopped
1/4 cup Salsa
1/2 cup IMO or Dairy Sour Cream

Directions
Mix ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork, mushing it together until the dip is smooth but has some chunks of avocado.

Chevy’s makes a great guac that has a definite lime flavor. Their recipe is pretty delicious, simple and adjustable when you order it. One of the great things about Chevy’s is the tableside guacamole made in front of you by a waiter or waitress, which is much more interesting and exciting to me than the usual kitchen-made method. Their recipes page lists their tortillas, sauces and spice mixes.

Chevy’s Guacamole
Makes
2 cups dip, 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients
3 Medium Avocados, pitted, halved
1 Small Lime, juice of
OR 1 tablespoon Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup Pico de Gallo Salsa (see below)
1-2 Cloves Garlic, peeled, chopped
OR 1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic, chopped or minced
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, optional
1 teaspoon Jalapeno Pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 teaspoon Salt

Directions
Slice through the avocado flesh while it’s still within the skin from one end to the other longways, without piercing the skin. Turn the avocado and slice it perpendicular to the cuts you just made, chopping the flesh into rectangles. Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. Mix in the lime juice to completely coat the avocado. Gently stir in the salsa, garlic, oil, pepper and salt. Mash together the ingredients until the dip is creamy but slightly chunky.

Pico de Gallo Salsa
Makes
2 cups salsa

Ingredients
1 pound or 2 cups Tomatoes, cored, seeded, chopped in 3/8-inch pieces
1/2 cup White Onion, skinned, ends removed, diced
2 tablespoons Cilantro, stemmed, freshly chopped
OR 2 teaspoons Dried Cilantro, soaked in water 20 minutes
1 1/2 tablespoons Jalapeno Pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
2 teaspoons Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions
Mix ingredients thoroughly. Store in refrigerator.

Tah-dah! Personally, I use heirloom yellow tomatoes, since I can’t eat red ones due to my acid reflux; besides, colorful heirlooms are much prettier. I use Himalayan Sea Salt (pink rock salt) for its flavor and (sea salt in general) to keep my sodium levels down. (Yes, different varieties of salt have distinct flavors due to mineral content; go to your local spice shop’s salt section and have a taste for yourself. It was quite an eye-opening experience for me.) I also generally prefer sweet yellow onions for their mild flavor and lower acidity. You can easily alter these recipes into your own versions. There really isn’t a wrong way to make guacamole. Sometimes I forgo onions and add more garlic or use salsa verde instead of pico de gallo. You can also garnish the guac with extra onion, garlic, tomato or cilantro. Heck! You can garnish it with queso fresco or queso panela (Mexican crumbly cheeses). Experiment with flavors to find a version you like.

How do you make your guac? What do you eat it with?

Two Fantasic Local Restaurants and Chocolate

Monday was my first wedding anniversary. I feel so spoiled! I got gifts all week. To be fair, I had more gifts to give my husband throughout the week, too. 🙂 Last Monday, my husband and I went out to a restaurant we have been eying for a while, called Stark’s Steakhouse, in downtown Santa Rosa. The restaurant was great. They had a full menu and gluten free menu. Their food was very tasty gourmet surf and turf. Hubby had a New York steak with a peppercorn sauce, whereas I had Arctic Char with Indian spices and cucumber dill yogurt sauce (yes, I took my pills to eat them). We also shared a hand cut steak tartare with smoked chili aoli and capers as an appetizer and DeCicco broccoli with pine nuts and golden raisins as our side side. Everything was so good! We must have been starving, because we even had dessert! It was also fabulous, by the way. I had the warm flourless chocolate cake with caramel mousse and buttered almonds chocolate ice cream. I was so focused on my decadent treat, I don’t even remember what my husband ordered. It was chocolate ice cream in something. I don’t quite remember. I know he wasn’t impressed with it. He’s a pretty picky guy though.

Then on Saturday I was in for another treat. We went out to dinner again. This time it was to a cute little husband and wife owned Italian gourmet restaurant, called Cucina Paradiso, in downtown Petaluma, not far from the masonic lodge. It was also very impressive. It was so popular, I’m surprised we got a seat at all, even though it was at the bar, which was still pretty nice. (Yea! I got new super digestive pills made from bromelain enzymes from pineapple. I can more successfully eat meat now. Tested and approved!)

Before I get ahead of myself, we stopped by a chocolaterie/chocolate specialty shop, called Viva Cocolat, a couple doors down from the restaurant. First of all the shop smelled divine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They have a full case of chocolates and sweets that were very skillfully and artistically made. There is also a section of tables up front where you can drink hot chocolate, apple cider, specialty coffees, teas, sipping chocolate, etc. and share chocolate fondu with friends. They have prepackaged chocolates from pretty much everywhere in all different varieties. By the way, the chocolate pasta package has a recipe for chicken mole on the back. My hubby is such a dear one. The first thing he did was ask for the darkest chocolate they had. He knows I like my chocolate bitter-sweet (emphasis on bitter, the darker the better). The eyes of the girl helping brightened as she made a beeline for the little Michel Cluizel Nior Infini 99% cacao bars with a teensy bit cane sugar, ginger, cinnamon and Bourbon vanilla. Sounds amazing! I have yet to try them, but I like to snack on straight toasted cacao nibs (crushed up cacao beans) or put them in trail mixes and cereals. I think the highest concentration I have ever had was 90%, which was fabulous. I dislike it when other pesky ingredients get in the way of my chocolate, especially when it’s diluted with milk. I prefer mine also all natural, not Dutch processed. Ick. ;P I’m guess I’m kind of a chocolate snob…. Anyway I got one big piece, a white and dark chocolate covered mushroom shape with a crispy cap and caramel stalk. Mr. Wright got two pieces, a peanut butter truffle a delicious dark chocolate covered toffee, which he is still raving about. After dinner we went back and told the chocolate folks we were so impressed and asked for some business cards to recommend to other people we know; they were all so nice (I got permission to take pictures.)

Ok, back to Cucina Paradiso. We both had a nice light house salad with balsamic vinaigrette and complimentary bread (so glad I took my assortment of pills before hand and afterward.) with a garlic oil and pecan dipping sauce. The service so so quick! I finished my salad and out came our beautifully plated entrees. Hubby got Ravioli Di Anatra, the roast duck ravioli with sun-dried tomato, basil pine nut sauce. I ordered Petto di Anatra al Balsamico e Timo, the medium rare roast duck breast in balsamic vinegar-thyme sauce with roasted squash and lightly seasoned potatoes. The dishes were rich, supremely seasoned and flavorful. Impressed is an understatement. It was so good, we stuffed ourselves full. I’m surprised no one had to roll us out the door. It was painful (each plate was at least two portions), but so good. There was no way we could order dessert even if we wanted to. We wisely decided not to tempt ourselves but instead savored our chocolate bits. What a perfect night!

Canoa con Carne de Molida

My husband and I went to El Coqui in downtown Santa Rosa today for a lunch date.  Yum-me!  Alex ordered the Canoa con carne de molida.  Roughly translated to Canoe with Ground Beef.  The fried plantain is stuffed with really great ground beef and covered with jack cheese.  Its crazy amazing.  You should go and order it, too.  Here’s the yelp link for the restaurant:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-coqui-puerto-rican-cuisine-santa-rosa

Or, if you are feeling adventurous, you could try this recipe I found and Google translated for us.
I would love to know how you like the restaurant, or better yet, if you find a great recipe for this.  I really need to make it at home.  It sounds pretty easy.
CANOE ripe banana

ingredients:
8 ripe bananas
1 pound ground beef
sauce to taste
2 crushed garlic
seasoning to taste
1 / 2 jar spaghetti sauce
1 / 2 cup water
pizza cheese
bananas oil for frying

How to prepare:
In a pot, pour the meat and let cook over medium heat, stirring to loosen them. When meat is cooked, discard the juice and add the sofrito solto, garlic and Sasson. Cook for a few minutes and top with sauce spaguetty and 1 / 2 cup water. Continue cooking covered over medium-low for 15 minutes. Apart Peel the bananas and the part that is shaped to make a canoe adventure deep oval without crossing the other side. Heat oil in a skillet to heat and cold whole bananas and fry over medium heat leaving. Place it on a napkin to absorb the oil (let cool before filling). Place in a pan filled with the meat and cover with cheese pizza or your preference. Put the microwave on high (hi) for 10 minutes or conventional oven at 350F for 20 minutes. Serve with salad or rice.

Note:
I prepare each wrapped in aluminum foil in the oven.