Archive | May, 2011

Funky Chicken

27 May

Battle of the ’80s: Neiman Marcus bacon wrapped chicken breast ($100 a package) Large chicken tenders are stuffed with cream cheese and four asparagus spears and then wrapped with Applewood bacon.

Versus:

CHICKEN BREASTS STUFFED WITH ASPARAGUS
Recipes from Best of Bridge Aces
Ingredients:
4 Whole chicken breasts, halved, boned and pounded
24 medium asparagus spears, lightly blanched
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Prepare chicken and asparagus. Combine butter, mustard, garlic and wine. Dip chicken breasts in this mixture to coat. Place 3 asparagus spears on each breast and roll securing with a toothpick. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan and parsley together and roll breasts in this mixture. Bake 30 minutes at 350 F. Serves 4 – 6. Pass the blender hollandaise sauce and hear the raves.

Shiny. Happy. People!

26 May

These luxurious, heavy, lovely goblets caught our eye in Palm Springs, and lo and behold, we found them back home. True, they are not lead crystal, but they are stately and wonderful.

Plus. Dig that bottom starburst. We have been dying to use the bottoms as a cookie stamp: coat with sugar and press into dough.

Voila. Waterford cookies anyone?

That’s what I thought you said. 🙂

Big Island Goat Cheese

22 May

Spring is stirring some island yearnings. Although Tommy Bahama’s take on “Floribbean” tastes are more Palm Beach than Palm Desert, we stubbornly associate this with our southern California visits to the restaurant’s roof top patio.

UPDATE: We just busted this out, but used chunks of mango to make hors’ doeurvre-size bites. Behold:

BIG ISLAND GOAT CHEESE
Warm macadamia nut encrusted goat cheese served with mango salsa, flatbread and a sweet soy glaze.

Toast chopped nuts. When cooled, roll goat cheese (rolled into marbles or patted into patties) in nuts to coat. Serve drizzled with reduced soy glaze or President’s Choice balsamic glaze.

macadamia-crusted-goat-cheese.img.jpg

MACADAMIA-CRUSTED GOAT CHEESE

Makes: 8 servings

10 oz/280 g Laura Chenel’s Chèvre goat cheese
½ cup/65 g roasted macadamia nuts, chopped roughly
½ cup/120 ml clarified butter, melted
8 oz/230 g Mango Salsa (see recipe below)
½ cup/120 ml Sweet Soy Glaze (see recipe below)

Shape goat cheese into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball in macadamia nuts.

Flatten each ball into a puck, 2½ in/65 mm wide by ¾ in/20 mm tall. Then coat each puck again with macadamia nuts in newly exposed surface areas.

Preheat a nonstick sauté pan on medium heat. Add clarified butter. Add goat cheese and cook for 90 seconds on each side.

Place Mango Salsa on plate, then top with warm goat cheese.

Drizzle with Sweet Soy Glaze.

Tip: When cooking, don’t move pucks until you’re ready to flip them — otherwise they’re liable to fall apart.

 

MANGO SALSA

Makes: About 2 cups/455 ml

1½ cup/250 g mango, diced ¼ in/6 mm
½ Tbsp jalapeño, deveined, deseeded, minced
2 Tbsp green onions, bias cut ÂĽ in/6 mm
3 Tbsp red bell pepper, diced ÂĽ in/6 mm
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
ÂĽ tsp black pepper, coarse ground

Fold all ingredients together.

 

We’re thinking this Tommy Bahama rub recipe would make a great coating for fish tacos or barbecued chicken for grilled quesadillas/pizza with gooey jack cheese and chunks of sweet mango or ripe peach.

Here is the restaurant’s rub recipe:
FLORRIBEAN RUB
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp curry powder
½ Tbsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp kosher salt
½ Tbsp allspice

Kentucky Derby Feedbag

7 May

It is to our credit that we have managed to resist buying honey brown earthenware dishes (round, flat bottomed with a handle). Oh, yes, we’ve seen them on our vintage treasure hunts.

And we know damn well what they’re intended for: beautiful, bubbling Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches.

Thanks to the delightful 2002 PBS documentary, Sandwiches That You Will Like, by Rick Sebak of WQED, we were quickly seduced by the romantic lore of this calorie-bomb.

In the 1920s, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests for its dinner dance. In the wee hours, booze-soaked, weary guests would stagger to the restaurant for pre-dawn eats. Bored with traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt created this divine mess.

We hold the Hot Brown in high esteem, in keeping with post-midnight fried chicken and waffles, chicken hash with hollandaise, and midnight cheese toasts (white wine soaked ham and cheese).

Next time you’re facing Thanksgiving leftovers, you can add Hot Browns to your repertoire. But we’re also thinking what a great New Year’s Eve snack this would make in miniature. Washed down with some bubbly, of course.

For purists, the hotel’s printable recipe is at bottom. Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain version here:

KENTUCKY HOT BROWN

Mornay sauce:

2 1/4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Few dashes of hot sauce

Kosher salt

Pepper

 

Sandwiches:

16 slices of thick-cut bacon

2 tomatoes, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon canola oil

Kosher salt

Pepper

Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of day-old white sandwich bread

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 pounds roast turkey breast, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (4 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Chopped chives and chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the bacon on a rack set over a baking sheet. Cook until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.

 

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in both cheeses until melted. Stir in the nutmeg and hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the tomato slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 
6 inches from the heat until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side; keep warm.

Arrange the bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and spread each slice with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter; season with salt and pepper. Broil until lightly toasted, about 
2 minutes. Flip the bread and toast for 
1 minute. Top each toast with some turkey and a slice of tomato. Spoon the sauce on top and sprinkle on both cheeses. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to plates and top with the bacon. Garnish with chopped chives and parsley and serve hot.

 

 

LEGENDARY HOT BROWN
Recipe courtesy Brown Hotel
(Makes Two Hot Browns):
• 2 oz. Whole Butter
• 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
• 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
• 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
• Salt & Pepper to Taste
• 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
• 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
• 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
• 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
• Paprika, Parsley
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Taco de Mayo

6 May

Ode to crumbly tacos of yore.

Beef Tacos
Makes 8 tacos, serving 4.

Tomato sauce is sold in cans in the same aisle that carries canned whole tomatoes. Do not use jarred pasta sauce in its place. cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes are, in our opinion, essential.

Beef Filling
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 small onion , chopped small (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Ground black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces), or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 small diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 diced avocado
1 small chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
hot sauce

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally,
until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Using wide, shallow spoon, divide filling evenly among taco shells; place two tacos on individual plates. Serve immediately, passing toppings separately.


From Rick Bayless: Remember those taco-in-a-box kits? You know, the ones with spice packets and U-shaped crunchy tortillas? These…aren’t those. Consider these “North of the Border” Tacos a grown-up (and way better) version.

“North of the Border” Tacos

1 pound boneless chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes and placed in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to firm OR 1 pound 80% lean coarse-ground beef

1/2 medium white onion, cut into ÂĽ inch pieces

2 tablespoons powdered ancho chile

1/2 teaspoon powdered chipotle chile

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Sugar

Salt

1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use

12 warm corn tortillas, for serving

1/2 cup sour cream, for serving

1/2 small head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, for serving

2 medium red-ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped, for serving Mexican hot sauce (I like Valentina or Tamazula), for serving

If using chuck roast, pulse the freezer-firmed meat in a food processor to a coarse ground beef texture. In a very large skillet set over medium-high, cook onions until golden brown but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, spreading it over the entire surface to ensure even browning. Sprinkle in the chile powders, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Mix everything together and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Taste and season with salt and a big pinch sugar to give the classic American chile powder flavor. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle in about 1/2 cup of the jack cheese to the skillet and mix just to incorporate. To make each taco lay a corn tortilla on a plate and spoon on a portion of the meat, sour cream, the remaining Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and hot sauce. Serve immediately.

NYT’s Middle School Tacos

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola, peanut or grapeseed

1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons chile powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

1 cup chicken stock or beef broth

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion, and cook until softened and starting to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so to soften, and then the ground meat. Cook until it starts to brown, stirring and chopping with a spoon to break up the meat, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Pour off excess fat, leaving only a tablespoon or two in the pan.

Add the chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cornstarch, paprika and red-pepper flakes, and stir to combine.

Add the stock or broth, stir, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered until the sauce has thickened slightly, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

As sauce cooks, place taco shells (on a taco rack, if possible) on a sheet pan, and toast in oven until they are crisp and smell nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve a few tablespoons of meat in each taco, along with whatever toppings you like.

Serve with refried beans on the side, if desired.

 

 

 

 

Fish Tacos Times Two

5 May


Cinco de Mayo wouldn’t be complete without these delicious fish tacos.

Perfectly paired with cold beer, it would be interesting to serve both of these.

The first is a clean, vibrant and puckery.

The second is a rich, luxurious smokey version.

LEE’S ROCKING FISH TACOS
Gwyneth Paltrow
serves 8
A bunch of cilantro
Juice of 5 limes
1/3 cup of olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for cooking
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 jalapeño or 3 red fresno chili peppers, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
Coarse salt
2 pounds halibut, finely diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
Combine the cilantro, lime juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, onion, garlic, chili, garlic powder, cumin and paprika together in a blender with a large pinch of salt and puree until thoroughly combined and smooth. Set the mixture aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a

large pot and add the halibut. Cook, stirring now and then, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Pour over the reserved cilantro mixture, stir gently just to combine and cook for just another minute to let all the flavors say hello. Serve immediately with deep-fried flour tortillas, crema fresca (or sour cream), cotija cheese, and a fresh pico de gallo with chunks of avocado (mix equal parts diced tomatoes and avocado and then season with salt, pepper, fresh cilantro, lime and diced red onion).

_______________________________
ACHIOTE-MARINATED FISH TACOS
LA TIMES
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons achiote paste

1 pound yellowtail fillet, skin removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 small corn tortillas

1 cup finely shredded cabbage

1 cup chipotle mayonnaise

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt and achiote paste. Put the mixture into a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag with the fish. Refrigerate for an hour.

On a cast-iron griddle or in a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Scrape some of the extra achiote paste from the yellowtail, then grill the fish, about 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until done. If the fish is cooking too quickly or unevenly, adjust the heat as necessary. Let the fish rest for a few
minutes before slicing it thinly across the grain; if the fish breaks apart, that’s fine.

Warm the tortillas on a pan over medium heat; place on a platter or individual plates, two per person.

Divide the fish among the tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and a teaspoonful of chipotle mayonnaise. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.

Chipotle mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped

In a food processor or blender, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt and chipotle peppers. You will have more chipotle mayonnaise than is called for in the recipe. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Beef enchiladas

4 May

When we think of enchiladas, we recall our American relatives’ enchilada casserole, consisting of beef, canned soup, enchilada sauce, and pounds of orange cheese. It’s a guilty pleasure but not exactly authentic fare.

Did we mention it is traditionally served with a kidney bean, corn, and corn chip chopped salad topped with a Catalina-type dressing?

Ay caramba…

The time has come for a more grown up version:

Authentic Beef Enchiladas
Serves 6-8

Vegetable oil for browning
1 1/4 lb top blade steak, dried, cubed, and salted (can substitute chuck steak)
2 medium white onions, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 15oz can of tomato sauce

12 6-inch, white, corn tortillas
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (can substitute a mild cheddar)
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, minced (can substitute a 4 oz can of green chilies)

1 lb sour cream
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/4 cup cilantro, plus 2 tablespoons
4-5 limes
3-4 avocados

Directions:
1. Brown steak in vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a Dutch oven (~6 min), remove steak from the Dutch oven.
2. Add onions and saute on medium heat (~5 min).
3. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and sugar, stir well, “toast” spices (~2 min).
4. Add water, tomato sauce, and salt, bring to a simmer, return meat, cook for 1 1/2 hours covered on the stove top (maintaining a simmer).
5. When the time is up remove the meat, onions, and all sauce to a strainer Push out as much sauce as possible. Reserve sauce. At this point turn on oven to 350.
6. Shred meat, combine with cooked onions, 1 cup cheese, 1/4 cup cilantro, mix well.
7. Heat tortillas in microwave. Do in 2 batches, 1 minute each batch, with tortillas wrapped in paper towels.
8. Coat the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking dish with ~1/2 cup of sauce.
9. Assemble enchiladas by filling each tortilla with a 1/3 cup of the meat mixture, roll and arrange 8 vertically down one side and 4 horizontally stacked by two on the other side
10. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce, using a spoon to spread it over all of the tortillas.
11. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and bake covered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 5 minutes.
12. Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup cilantro, chipotle, juice of 1/2 lime, and salt.
13. Chop avocados, combine with 2 tablespoons of cilantro, juice of 1/2 lime, and salt.

Monkey see, monkey buy

4 May

This just in:

Vintage monkey pod, mother of pearl lined, pineapple lazy susan.

Cost? $3.99.

But crazy lasts a lifetime.

Poblano Pepper Party

2 May

We are dreaming of poblanos.

In particular, roasted poblanos stuffed with sweet potato, goat cheese (any combination of Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar, low-moisture Mozzarella, up to 1/2 cup Cotija), chipotles in adobe, beans, raisins, cumin, onion, cilantro, lime.

Or stuffed with fried, diced potato and onion with creamy cilantro dressing.

Or creamy, smooth beans smothered in cheese, napped with enchilada sauce.

True, crumbled chorizo would be a delicious addition to any of these, but not necessary.

There are two ways to make these: either by roasting, removing seeds through a slit, or stuffing them raw and the roasting.

Start by cutting the peppers in half lengthwise and removing the seeds.

Combine filling, and gently stuff each pepper, taking care not to tear if they are pre roasted.

Carefully place the pepper halves on the section of the grill with indirect heat.

Cover and grill for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the peppers are nicely softened. Then transfer the peppers to the direct heat section of the grill for 3 to 5 minutes until the peppers are charred and softened.

Roasted Potato stuffed Poblanos with creamy cilantro, jalapeno, garlic dressing

6-8 fingerling potatoes or 2-3 russet potatoes, coarse chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, coarse chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, coarse chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican basil (don’t substitute Italian)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Combine filing and toss until potatoes are well coated in oil and spices. Spread the mixture onto a roasting pan, or casserole dish, and place on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Fill poblanos with cooled mixture, top with cheese and cook til heated through.

Creamy cilantro garlic dressing

2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1 tablespoon fresh goat cheese
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon diced jalepeno
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

______________________________________
2 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
4 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
2 poblano chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 ear white corn, stripped of kernels
2 scallions, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro – I like lots, but depending on your taste, you might want 1/4 cup chopped
1 lime
Fresh avocado, diced

Baja Shrimp Tacos

2 May

It’s Cinco de Mayo week here at Saucy Cherie and we couldn’t be happier.

Here’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s simple, and mighty delicious, grilled shrimp tacos.

Paired with puckery guac, these are clean-tasting and amazing.

BAJA STYLE SHRIMP TACOS
A southern California classic, grilled shrimp tacos couldn’t be quicker to prepare—and they happen to be very healthy at that. The combination of fresh lime juice and Cholula hot sauce is pretty much unparalleled.

2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
the juice of one lime
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 dozen corn tortillas
pico de gallo (see recipe below)
lime wedges for serving
Cholula hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
crumbled cotija or feta cheese (optional)

Preheat your grill over high heat. Toss the shrimp together with the olive oil, lime juice and salt. Grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes a side.

To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry frying pan and wrap them in a tea towel to keep warm. Pile a few shrimp on top of each tortilla and serve with a bit of pico de gallo, fresh lime juice, a few dashes of hot sauce and a little of the crumbled cheese if you’d like.

Pico de Gallo
Simple to prepare and about a thousand times fresher and more vibrant than any jar of salsa, fresh pico de gallo is worth making from scratch.

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
coarse salt
squeeze of lime
as many finely chopped red jalapeños as you’d like (optional)
Combine the tomatoes, cilantro and onion together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and lime. Reserve some of this mixture for the kids, and then add as much jalapeño as you like to the remaining mixture for the adults.

Black Beans
By adding a few aromatics to a can of black beans, you get that Mexican restaurant flavor without hours of soaking and cooking.

1 can of black beans
4 cilantro stems
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt
Combine everything together in a small pot and simmer over low heat for about 15-20 minutes (I do this while I’m preparing the rest of the meal). Be sure to simmer the beans long enough so that they’re not watery.

Guacamole
A lesson in simplicity—the best guacamole is a showcase for ripe avocadoes. A little salt, lime and cilantro go a long way.

2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons minced white onion
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 lime
coarse salt
Cut each avocado in half, remove and reserve the pits and score the flesh inside of the shells. Scoop the avocado into a mixing bowl and mash gently with a fork—you don’t want it to be completely smooth. Stir in the onion and cilantro. Cut the lime in half and squeeze in enough juice to taste. Season the guacamole with salt, and either serve immediately or stick the pits in to keep it from browning (remove the pits before serving).