Friday, July 8, 2011

the guacamole recipe that ended it all. finally.

don't worry. everyone's fine.
what this recipe ended for me (back in jan '08), was that reinventing-the-wheel search every time i wanted to make some guac. you know what i'm talking about. that dish you find yourself craving, and it's a basic (we're not talking risotto or cheese souffle here) so you decide to make it yourself.  and then you panic....which recipe is really the best? how do i know that the effort i put into this dish will really deliver on the other side?
i don't know what dishes do this to you, but mine are simple things like tomato sauce (still haven't found the perfect one there - so DO share!), banana bread, hamburgers, mac 'n cheese...every time i go to make one of these dishes i spend at least an hour searching the internet for that one perfect rendition. you know what i mean, right?
anyway, i've got a guacamole recipe that has spared me said frantic search, and i thought i would share it with those of you who have not yet found your perfect guac recipe (and to those of you who already have a recipe memorized  - you might want to reconsider...)

oh wait! i can't possibly post the recipe right now. you see, i'm in the middle of this (the logistical workings of an inter-office move of twenty or so people and all their...belongings):

those scraps of paper you see are photos of every piece of furniture/lighting fixture and accessory in our offices...
there has to be an easier way...but it's also a project reminiscent of both colorforms and paper dolls. how much fun is that?!

anywho - guacamole recipe coming your way before the weekend - ends!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

a secret in my closet

it's a small thing, but it has saved me countless hours (and dollars) over the years: no matter how perfect that color matches the rest of the room - or one of the kids' latest disney character obsessions - only buy white.

that goes for both sheets and towels.
no more sorting so the right towels get to the right bathroom, no more rummaging through the closet to find the matching top sheet, and the most thrilling benefit of all - you can bleach the snot out of them and they'll look good as new.

oh, and if you really want to know, the same rule applies to paper products in our house as well. not for any reason other than the fact my mother instilled in me her vehement distaste for the printed varieties (so gauche).  can't say the same for her insisting that the spices be put in alphabetical order....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

summer supper salad number two

this white bean and tuna salad appears on our lunch or supper table nearly every week during the summer. it's so full of summer goodness and flavor. and there's usually a small tub of leftovers in the frig in case anyone wants to stuff some into a pita, take it out on the front porch, and call it a picnic.

white bean and tuna salad
2 cans cannellini beans (15oz each), drained and rinsed
2 cans tuna (use the dark italian variety, packed in oil, if you can find it), drained
3 summer ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarse
1/2 red onion, diced
1/3 c fresh basil leaves, slivered
1/2 c olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 t dijon mustard (grey poupon really is better than any of those fancy french brands)
pinch kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

mix olive oil, balsamic and dijon with s&p in bottom of a large bowl.
add everything else (beans, tuna, basil, onion and tomatoes).

stir gently so as not to make mush of the beans.
adjust seasonings.
let sit 30 minutes before serving - if you can wait that long.

Friday, July 1, 2011

due to overwhelming readership demand - okay, my only readership (hi sara) - i'm including here a recipe for some pretty decent italian sausage stew, sans photo...

italian sausage stew
1 lb italian sausage (buy bulk if you can. removing those casings is a nasty task)
some olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t crushed red pepper flakes (more if you've used sweet sausage, less if you selected the 'hot')
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried oregano
1 t fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
28oz can diced tomatoes (san marzano, please)
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 c chicken broth
1/2 c fresh torn basil
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
s&p to taste

this is a one-pot meal, so begin the process with whatever pot you have that's large enough to house the entire finished stew.
once you have located said pot:
heat pot to med-hi heat. add 2T of olive oil and brown the sausage in it (remove the casings first if you couldn't find bulk sausage).
then add the onion, carrots, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and fennel seeds.
season with a little salt and pepper and saute for about 10 minutes.
add the tomatoes, beans and chicken broth (throw in a parm or romano cheese rind at this point if you happen to have one sitting in the frig) then cover and simmer for about an hour (or you can throw it in the oven on low while you head out to work with no averse effects).
when you get home (or 20 mins before serving) toss in the spinach and grated parm.
then taste test for seasonings and indulge.