Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Abuela's Avocado Pie (tastes like Key Lime on decadent steroids)

Aguacate / Avocado
Aguacate / Avocado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Summer! 

Summer in D.C. is hot and sticky. Friday nights we would open the windows and let the fans blow. The delicious spices from Abuela Rosa 's food made our tongues sing. But after the jalepeno, it was always nice to have something sweet and cold. This recipe tastes luxurious and is so quick and easy. But you'll be surprised that people balk when you tell them it's an avocado pie. It might take some coaxing, but then they will love you forever :)  As a matter of fact this recipe is how she claims to have won Abuelo Carlos's heart.



English: Disengaged base and wall of springfor...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the Crust:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 package of coconut macaroons

For the Filling:
2 medium hass avocados
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt

Optional lime zest for garnish


Make the crust: Brush an 8-inch springform pan with some of the melted butter. Mix the remaining butter with the cookies. Since the cookies are soft this is a mooshing/squeezing with your hands effort. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Chill in the fridge.

Make the filling: Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop out the flesh and mush with the back of a fork. Transfer to a bowl, add the cream cheese and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the condensed milk, lime and lemon juices, and the salt and beat until fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed. Pour the filling into the crust, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill at least 4 hours. (I actually put mine in the freezer so it's more like an ice cream treat)

Remove the springform ring and slice the pie. (If you freeze yours like I do, just let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before you serve it.)  Garnish with lime zest, if desired. 

NOTE! Serve and eat immediately - wrap and put the unsliced portion back in the freezer. Like an avocado, this pie will brown when out in the air and become unappealing to look at. And that would be a darned shame.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Abuela Rosa's Vodka Spiked Tomatoes with Dipping Salt

Choro guitar.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Abuela Rosa opened her house to family and friends every Friday night. There was guitar music and the rhythm of heels on parquet floors punctuated with laughter. Abuela and I started early in the day to get enough food prepared for the crowd. This recipe was a fun one that was adults only - quick, cheap, and always a big hit.

You'll need:

1 pnt cherry tomatoes
1 cup vodka

English: A pack of organic cherry tomatoes, fr...
English: A pack of organic cherry tomatoes, from a local farm food co-op program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1T ground cumin
2T finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2T salt

Then all you have to do is take a tooth pick and poke each tomato about a dozen times. Put them in a bowl and cover them with the vodka for about 3 hours.

When the guests are arriving, mix your seasoning and place them into a small dipping bowl/dish.
Pour off the extra vodka and voila! You're done.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jadda's Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Shop with spices in Morocco
Shop with spices in Morocco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My Jadda was born in Turkey and married a man named Khaled at a very early age. They lived here and there in the Mediterranean as Khaled climbed the business ladder. Finally, he became a sales rep here in D.C.

The thing I remember with the most clarity about Khaled was that he had an amazing voice. His voice reminded me of rich warm spices: nutmeg and allspice, a twist of lemon, and cinnamon.  When he was happy, which was most of the time, Khaled's cinnamon scented voice was like rice pudding on a snow day - comfort food. But like too much cinnamon, too much Khaled -- the angry Khaled -- could burn my sensibilities.

Khaled entertained a great deal - and this recipe for stuffed dates is the one he liked for Jadda to make up and have on hand. She liked the ease and quick clean up. I, of course, just liked eating them.

Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

English: Tunisian dates called Angou العربية: ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 oz of crumbled goat cheese
1 clove of garlic crushed in a garlic press
2T freshly chopped basil leaves
16 dates - split these open with a sharp knife (dipping the knife in water between slices helps), remove the pits.

So all there is to it is: mix the first three ingredients and spoon a little of the mixture into your dates. Arrange on a plate, cover and stick them in the fridge to let the flavors blend for a couple of hours. Serve this at room temperature.

(Makes 16 hors d'oeuvres - recipe can be multiplied)
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