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Archive for July, 2008

BLTG

It may have taken a whole two months – almost the entire summer – but I’m getting the hang of planning meals. That is, taking things you make and using them the next day for something else entirely different! Or somewhat different. Which leads me to my Bacon Lettuce Tomato Guacamole Sandwich

The BLTG

I had my tomatoes left over from yesterday (that went into my guac) and of course the guacamole from yesterday. I stole a piece of romaine from Rebecca, and I was all set! I had an entire package of bacon that I had to thaw, so I just went ahead and fried it all up and offered out the leftovers. People can’t seem to turn down a piece of bacon (excepting our vegetarians). I had just enough left to play with when I cook dinner tonight.

BLTG deconstructed

My guacamole added an interesting kick to a classic. It added the texture that’s so pleasing in the BLTA with some limey, cilantroy, peppery goodness. Speaking of texture, that’s my favorite part of a BLT(A/G). Slightly toasted bread, crispy lettuce, cool tomatoes, salty crispy/chewy bacon, and creamy avocado/guacamole.

Mmm BLTG texture

To me, texture is VERY important in my food. It can completely make or destroy something for me that’s otherwise only “ok”. This sandwich? Well beyond “ok”.

And now I need to get back to shuffling through my references about the anatomy of the Aedes aegypti alimentary canal.

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Final product

Having a paper to write does wonderful things for my motivation to cook. That is, my desire to procrastinate. My desk has been cleaned, my papers are organized, my inbox is clear. However, I have made none of mentor’s corrections. Oops! Let me just say that when I have some beautiful, ripe avocados in front of me, writing about the peritrophic membrane of mosquitos (and trying to write with some flow) takes a back seat. I guess that’s why I’ll never be a PhD. And that is JUST fine.

Then Michaela wanted to go to the store and the avocados were just perfectly ripe right there, and on SALE. So what else would you do with a lovely avocado but make some guacamole! Guacamole is so easy to make and everyone loves it. Honestly, all you need is a sharp knife, a mixing bowl, and a fork. And, of course, some wonderful fresh vegetables. What beats any sort of store bought guacamole is the freshness you get in home-made.

Guacamole vegetables

I also finally dug out my camera, because everyone had been through my pictures on iPhoto and noticed the category “Blog Photos”. They all thought it was tres cool, so when I asked them to slide over a bit so I could borrow the light, everyone happily obliged. Michaela was quite enthusiastic about me asking her to hold a chip.

Enjoying 2

In the end, I had a TON of guacamole. Luckily it’s Fridays when the younger crowd from the lab likes to get together at the dock. They were down there with Coronas when I provided them with guac and chips, so a significant portion disappeared. Interestingly, people have a lot of opinions about guacamole. Today I got things from: “wow, you put lots of THINGS in there. I usually just put some spices”, to “ach onion!”, to “what’s that green stuff? cildanro? gah, ew”.

Well, I like my guacamole CHUNKY and full of FLAVOR. Whatever they said didn’t seem to matter much after they tried it, because they all ate significant amounts. As far as constructing a guacamole goes, I loosely followed the recipe I found, because I think as long as you’ve got some avocados, everything else is secondary. I really just used what I had plus a couple other things. I don’t really like spicy, nor do I like green bell peppers, so I picked up an orange bell pepper (in large part because it was such an unmarred orange that I couldn’t leave be). Also, I prefer white onion to red onion, and I’ve never been big on cilantro. I love how it smells, but I can’t handle it when it overwhelms dishes, so I also cut down on that.

Guacamole

Recipe modified from http://www.cookthink.com/recipe/4159/Guacamole.

1/4 orange bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cored, seeded, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
<1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 Hass avocados

Mix all ingredients except avocado in a large bowl. Cut your avocado in half, discard the seed, and scoop out the flesh, adding it to the bowl. For an excellent tutorial in avocado dismantling, click here. Take a fork to the ingredients and have a ball, mashing it up until it reaches your desired level of smoothness.

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Cookthink?

I was surfing around for ideas for things that I will probably never make nor blog about, when I found this website: CookThink . I’ve been poking around for an hour now finding EASY recipes. It’s really focused on simple, everyday, tasty foods.

One of the best features is that at the beginning of the recipe it lists “things you need” – as in kitchen tools. This is GREAT for me, since I have limited supplies in my kitchen and those I have are sketchy at best. So, if I don’t read a recipe closely, I can get halfway through it and realize I need to do some serious improvisation and construction. For example, it’s great when I find this recipe that only requires a skillet – I can easily make that here. But I can also find something like this and toss it into my recipe box to save it for home.

The website really aims itself to customization, with easy to use “meal builder” features. You can Create a Meal, then add recipes to it as you come across them. To help even more with “meal building”, it has “goes with” suggestions on a panel next to each recipe.

And for a cooking beginner like myself, it has handy-dandy technique articles with each recipe. For example, when I see this and although there aren’t many ingredients or kitchen utensils required, I’m not quite sure when it means “make overlapping diagonal folds” with your parchment paper. Right next to it there’s a link to a How To article with pictures and instructions for “how to fold a papillote“. All it needs next is a pronunciation guide!

I’m so excited to put this to use!

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